Friday, September 22, 2023

Ron Paul vs. Rick Perry on The Immigration Issue…

October 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Misc., News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( In the last Republican presidential debate Texas Governor Rick Perry was taken to task by his fellow candidates for allowing children born of undocumented parents to receive in-state college tuition rates, and providing social welfare benefits to all regardless of citizenship status. His response?

“(I)f you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society. I think that’s what Texans wanted to do. Out of 181 members of the Texas legislature, when this issue came up, only four dissenting votes. This was a state issue. Texans voted on it. And I still  support it greatly.”

Let’s take a look at Ron Paul’s position on immigration, as expressed in one of his ads, and then let us try to place the issue in historical context.  

 “For generations Lady Liberty welcomed immigrants who came here legally, followed the rules and led productive lives. Today illegal immigrants violate our borders and overwhelm our hospitals, schools and social services. No Amnesty! No Welfare to Illegal Aliens! End birthright citizenship!”

Up until 1925, however, anyone from anywhere (except Asia) was permitted to enter this country. (In 1875 and 1882 laws were passed ending immigration from Asia. And thus was born the concept, “illegal immigrant.”) 

Those who sailed into New York harbor, nonetheless, faced bitter opposition and prejudicial treatment. Ironically, many of their descendants today act the same way towards today’s newcomers.

Opposition to immigration goes back to 1492. Neither Columbus and the Conquistadores, nor the Pilgrims and all who followed them, entered “legally.” They came. They saw. And they conquered.

Native Americans, the original inhabitants of the continent, were not considered citizens until 1924. And Africans in America were not granted citizenship status until 1868. In 1909 Congress tried to pass The Negro Exclusion Act to halt immigration from Africa and the Caribbean. However, no such laws were even suggested during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Twice as many Africans as Europeans entered North America, but their mortality rates, given that they were in bondage, was far, far higher. The Negro Exclusion Act was ultimately defeated thanks to the lobbying efforts of the NAACP, its first major victory.

Note that whenever Texas is mentioned people automatically, “Remember the Alamo!” the desperate last stand of a band of Texans against an overwhelming Mexican Army in 1836. However, few recall that the American settlement at the Alamo, in the then Mexican province of Texas, was violating the law by practicing slavery. Nonetheless, the Texans soon won their independence from Mexico. The Mexican War (1846-48) was later fought and the entire Southwest, the Northern half of Mexico, was taken by force by the US. Today, however, Spanish speakers are flocking into the entire region.

Rick Perry and Ron Paul are both from Texas the state which contains two thirds of the US border with Mexico. One is the governor, the other a Congressman. As the representative of just one of Texas’s 32 seats in the US House of Representatives, Ron Paul, represents the sentiments of a small corner of the state. But, as governor, Rick Perry speaks for the state as a whole. And the state legislature overwhelmingly ratified these measures. And is this not a matter of States’ Rights, a cause Republicans champion?

Keep in mind that Texas spends, on education, among the least of all the states. Imagine if they were to cherry pick whom to give access to those scant funds!

Yes, the flow of immigrants has to be better regulated. And, yes, building fences and denying aid to immigrants are some of the options that may be considered. However, the right of citizenship to everyone born here is granted by the constitution and can only be changed by amendment. As far as building fences is concerned, neither Rick Perry nor Ron Paul favor that, but most of the Republican field does, and vociferously so.

As for social welfare and medical assistance for undocumented individuals, Ron Paul says that we simply can’t afford it, and that the certain knowledge that they will get assistance is drawing people to this country. However, whether that is the case or not, we cannot legally deny assistance to anyone born in this country. As for their parents and older siblings, the state of Texas has collectively decided that this is not the thing to do.  And as for what is straining our medical system, is it aid to the undocumented, or unnecessary medical tests, needless operations, deadly drug prescriptions, poor diet, lack of exercise and extremely costly, oftentimes unnecessary, end of life procedures?

The experts in the press roundly criticized Rick Perry’s comment that those who would deny aid to immigrants are heartless. However, that was the clearest, loudest defense of the immigrant population I have heard any presidential candidate ever make. If the Texas governor sticks to his guns, he will be doing what Republicans need to do if they are to remain viable in the years to come. They must broaden their narrow, largely white, often reactionary, base and become much more inclusive.

And so again, yes, the flow of immigration must be regulated, and there are a wide range of options. But let us always strive to keep the discussion in historical context. Also, yes, many African Americans are fearful of competition from undocumented individuals. However, many, many immigrants start their own businesses and strive to get a better education. As do we, but we must do more. 

Also, keep in mind many of those seeking to enlist Black support against Latino immigrants do not care for either group. However, yes, there are many principled, sincere opponents to immigration, and those are the people who must be drawn into fruitful discussion. Finally, isn’t the education of all of us key to understanding the world, its peoples, our society and our economy? More knowledge, not less, is sure to illuminate us all. That is my opinion. What is  yours?

Staff Writer; Arthur Lewin

This talented author has just published a NEW book which is entitled; AFRICA is not A COUNTRY!.



18 Responses to “Ron Paul vs. Rick Perry on The Immigration Issue…”
  1. Jason Evans says:

    Interesting food for thought here (especially the first “illegal immigrants” info). Mexican immigration is difficult but we must look at past interventions that created the incentive in the first place. Consider NAFTA (North American “Free” Trade Agreement). In 1993, the US had a 1.6 billion dollar trade surplus with Mexico (meaning that we made money selling our goods to Mexico), this agreement was supposed to increase this surplus and make both countries prosperous and increase jobs for both countries – thus decreasing incentive to immigration. However, with most government intervention the real reasons for the NAFTA were hidden and the truth was that it created a loop hole for China.

    Here are the facts: In 17 years since NAFTA passed into law, it is estimated that the US has lost nearly 700,000 jobs and that trade surplus is now a over $100 billion deficit, according to records from the US Census bureau. With the passage of NAFTA, we began moving manufacturing jobs to Mexico and companies use this as leverage against the unions to decrease wages and benefits. Also we began bankrupting the local Mexican farmer by exporting corn (highly subsidized by the gov’t) to Mexico and out competing their farmers. The net result was that the number of illegal immigrants, according to dept of homeland security, nearly doubled to 6.65 million from 2000 to 2009.

    A wise black free-market scholar Thomas Sowell pointed out that you have to watch the incentives – there is where the deception lies. By the way, this is only Mexico – you should see what we have going on with China (wow). Now we are pursuing new trade agreements with other countries like South Korea.

    Lastly, as others have pointed out, it’s a war on drugs destroying the black community by creating an financial incentive local law enforcement and the feds to go on which hunts invading private property without warrant and taking non-violent offenders and teens into hardened criminals through the “justice” system. War = injustice! Mexicans who live in the US can’t go to Mexico because they know that the US war on drugs has made it dangerous to live in Mexico.

    Strength through peace and prosperity, free trade without free trade agreements. Ron Paul 2012!

  2. Arthur Lewin says:

    Bharat Patel, you make some good points. However, a key question remains. Why is it that the governor of Texas and the vast majority of state representatives disagree so sharply with Ron Paul? Texas is a very conservative state. And Texas contains two-thirds of our border with Mexico. Yet Texans are much more willing to accommodate and assimilate undocumented persons than Ron Paul who represents a small isolated corner of the state. They see the bigger picture. Paul does not. Yes, Ron Paul has a lot of answers, but not all of them.

  3. Bharat Patel says:

    Your writing obviously presents wide range things related to immigration issue. However, one more thing should be considered while considering history of immigration, which is “history of welfare”.

    Who was paying cost of health-care, food and education of the immigrant’s children in old times? When did those responsibilities came under government’s arms? Certainly, in early phase of immigration to USA, the people were responsible for getting their education, health-care and much more. This would have impact on the number of people migrate to USA, because there was no attraction like free-goodies, as you mentioned. The history of immigration laws is not comprehensive if not presented side-by-side with history of welfare.

    Going with Ron Paul, he is against welfare and he is in favor if getting governments out of business of educating children in exchange of tax benefits. If that happen, then foreign nationals will have much less desire to
    move to USA as they wont’t have better life funded by citizens and legal immigrants.

    Finally, unlimited immigration is not good for USA, and we need to makeup mind on who we want to come to USA. Politicians are talking about legalizing illegals at the same time we are sending back people with legal Visas and USA born children back to their home country because they are out of work for a few months (its about H1B Visa). Isn’t that weird?

  4. Victor Langhorne says:

    BulletG says:
    October 2, 2011 at 9:17 am
    Dear Mr. Lewin,
    I would like to clear up a what might be a small error in your Texas history…

    Thanks for the clarification on Texas history with respect to Mexico’s appeal for immigrants from the US and later reneging. It might seem minor in the larger context of Lewin’s article, but I appreciate the correction very much. However, my question is this: Did the introduction of slavery by the Texas/Mexican immigrants lead to Ana’s violation of the Mexican constitution.

    This is a significant point for me. As you know new immigrants can commit such egregious violations of a host country’s laws that leaders appear and feel justified in violating their constitutions in order to extract justice. Consider the drone attacks that is targeting and killing (without the usual constitutional “due process”) leading terrorist who are US citizens.

    Perhaps there was a similar, if tortured, justification for reneging on certain constitutional guarantees to the Texas/Mexican immigrants. But on your larger point, I slightly agree. The annexation of Texas and the Southwest were technically distinct. However, morally, I have a hard time defending the provocative manner in which the US goaded Mexico into a war my country (the US) knew that Mexico could neither avoid nor win in order to annex the Southwest and ultimately Texas.

  5. Victor Langhorne says:

    Your article was focused, well-researched, and poignant! Thanks.

    I found only one bone of contention: unless you are referring to the editors of the Washington Times, conservative commentators, or the talking heads at Fox and its conservative-minded media affiliates, Perry was not “roundly criticized” by most of whom I would consider to be “experts in the press”. Many of the real experts found this to be one of two important issues with which they agreed with Perry. The other issue of agreement being Perry’s support of forced immunization of young girls to prevent vaginal (cervical) cancer.

    Please don’t hold your breath for the rank and file Republicans to accept Perry’s leadership on this immigration issue because he apologized for his “loudest defense” of the immigrant remark before the proverbial ink dried.

    Carl Rove and G.W. had already pitched a clear and loud defense of Hispanics in the hope of maintaining the viability of the GOP. The GOP rank and file are not buying it. More importantly, as far as I can tell, the leadership of the Chicanos and Hispanics are not buying it either.


  6. You’ve mentioned a very common theme – I vote for Ron Paul on principle. Here’s a few more I hear regularly.

    I vote for Ron Paul because I don’t want to be complicit in the millions of murders our government commits and abets overseas.

    I vote for Ron Paul to bring the troops home.

    I vote for Ron Paul because I insist on having my civil rights, including all the protections the Constitution guarantees me.

    I vote for Ron Paul because my (sister brother mother father husband wife) smokes pot and I don’t want them to go to prison.

    I vote for Ron Paul because I don’t want the country to go bankrupt.

    I vote for Ron Paul because I feel that ONE layer of bureaucracy is enough.

    I vote for Ron Paul because I support competition in government

    I vote for Ron Paul because he will get the foot of corporations off the neck of citizens.

    Ron Paul is a single position candidate on a multitude of positions. Even if you only agree with ONE of them, it alone is worth electing him.

  7. Arthur Lewin says:

    whatever5678, if using drugs were no longer against the law, as Ron Paul advocates, that would go along way to stabilizing the border, ending police corruption in both countries, decreasing the US prison population, etc..

    Regarding in state tuition for undocumented persons those outside of Texas, and even those inside Texas living far from the border, may not realize that the number of undocumented school age children in the state, as a whole, is a large share of the state’s youth population. To deny them this would not only create resentment but help solidify a permanent Spanish speaking underclass.

    Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and others went off on Perry for having the audacity to advocate for these young people. Their chief line of attack was that students from neighboring states who wanted to attend the University of Texas would have to pay $100 thousand more than undocumented students living in Texas.

    However, those same supposedly disadvantaged students could go to their own state schools and get reduced tuition rates, and they are not being disadvantaged by being charged more in Texas. Any of the 49 other states would charge them the full rate. Furthermore, it was a collective, overwhelming decision by Texas state legislators on behalf of the people of Texas to treat all children fairly. If they believe in states rights, as they say the do, they should be content with the voice of the people of Texas.

  8. Arthur Lewin says:

    BulletG, thank you for your detailed response, but you ultimately contradict yourself. “It is so strange to me that a white Texan like myself needs to call attention to true racism that you, the black man, has missed. Or is it ignored? Black, white, brown, yellow…why don’t we just refer to each other by what we are….people.” You cannot have it both ways.

  9. BulletG says:

    Dear Mr. Lewin,
    I would like to clear up a what might be a small error in your Texas history. The “Texans” you mention fighting the Mexican army were not Texans…yet. In the early 1800’s Mexico advertised for immigrants to the northern state of Texas. They offered land and citizenship for any who would colonize this large open area. When Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna took power he began to take back the land from those who were legally Mexican citizens. The named “Alamo Flag” was the Mexican flag with the year “1824” emlazoned on it. It was an effort to shame Santa Anna into upholding the Mexican Constitution of 1824 which granted it’s citizens the same rights as the American Constitution. Up until Texas gained it’s independence in 1836 many were quite content to remain Mexican citizens if Santa Anna had abided by his own laws. Texas was then it’s own nation, a Republic, for ten years before joining the US. Therefore, the “entire southwest” as you put it was not “taken by force by the US.” ALL of the Mexican citizens in Texas became Texans. Which is why we have so many Texans with Mexican surnames. Such as Mr. Sanches, a friend of mine who works for the Texas Highway Patrol. Mexican by name, Texan by heart. Therefore there is no truth to the idea of Texas being “taken” from anyone.

    Everyone seems so content to judge the US when it comes to illegal aliens. Strange that NO ONE seems to want to judge the root of these poor peoples problems which is MEXICO! A terrible government which treats it’s people terribly. Everyone with a brain knows that the Mexican people are ruled and controlled by a government who’s leaders are ALL of European decent. Nobody wants to notice that Calderon, Fox and the other leaders all look WHITE and not INDIAN. There are two classes of people in Mexico. The elite (white) and the commoner (Indian.) Why do you and so many give these people a pass? THEY are the cause of the suffering of the Mexican people. THEY are the cause of the rush to our borders. If more people held those folks accountable there just MIGHT be a chance to change the lives of over 100 million people. Instead folks like you blindly lay all the blame at the feet of the US. It is so strange to me that a white Texan like myself needs to call attention to true racism that you, the black man, has missed. Or is it ignored? Black, white, brown, yellow…why don’t we just refer to each other by what we are….people. If the true problem were to be addressed then the “illegal” problem would vanish as the Mexicans would have a country they could survive and prosper in. Who knows, we might even find ourselves wanting to cross the border south one day.

  10. Jose Mora says:

    I agree with Ron Paul 95% on this issue. However, there is a major root cause that he seems to not emphasize.

    Whenever government interferes with the law of supply and demand, it creates a surplus, a shortage, or both. That’s Economics 101.

    The so-called Minimum Wage Law is such a law. It sets an artificial price on labor and thus creates a surplus of legal labor – better known as massive unemployment. Google Walter Williams and Minimum Wage since he explains it much better than I could. The result is a black market if the form of illegal labor. THAT is the main root cause of the illegal immigration problem.

    Then there is the War on Drugs or more precisely Drug Prohibition. This creates another black market – along with the gang and cartel violence.

    BTW – illegals do pay taxes. They pay sales taxes and they pay into fake Social Security – from which they will never see a dime. In fact, they actually subsidize the social security system.

  11. wonz says:

    Ron Paul does not believe in the welfare state on moral grounds. So it should come as no surprise that he does not believe in providing welfare to immigrants let alone anyone else.

    Besides, the system is broke anyway. Where is the money going to come from?

    At this point in time, Texans are faced with the problem of an influx of productive immigrants… over time you can bet your bottom dollar as the tyranny increases in America, the tyranny in Mexico wouldn’t look so bad. At that stage Texans will be faced with the problem of not enough productive immigrants.

  12. TLR says:

    Ron Paul’s immigration plan sounds like something that will help all sides of the issue. This is why so many people are running to him.

  13. whatever5678 says:

    Well, I can tell you that often undocumented and/or illegal immigrants based both on fear of being caught, not having insurance and culture do not go to the doctor when they are sick. What happens a lot of times is that an issue will fester until a trip to the emergency room is required. ER visits are extremely costly and illegals will tend to not pay much if anything. As many people know this re-routes the cost for healthcare back to those that have insurance through higher insurance renewals based on the insurers and providers negotiating. It does affect us all.

    This is something to remember.

    Also, regarding your comment in the last sentence or two about education illuminating the way. It really is something that warrants further debate. To simply state that education is good and right is fine except that according to Texas’ plan these folks get a discounted rate. The debatable part would be if they are legal citizens getting some sort of discount based on their income or something. One could argue for or against this. But to say, “well the kids didn’t bring themselves here so we have to educate them” but on the taxpayers dime? That seems like a bad deal for the legal american families.

    Instead of heckling IRan and continuing to “fix” Iraq (see NPR’s interview with Peter van buren “we meant well”) we should either do something about drugs (what ron paul advocates) OR declare some sort of “war” (not ron paul’s idea and I am just being facetious) on mexico as they are undermining our safety by the immense corruption from the drug cartels. Over 24k dead in the last 2 years I believe do to drug wars down there.

    Maybe, just maybe, if the drugs were legal OR we could make them here OR force the Mexican cartels to clean up and act like businesses as many folks wouldn’t flock from Mexico and we could employ less extreme measures shoring up our border. I don’t know just an idea. I think you have to look at why people are leaving there and why they are coming here. If it’s for safety and a better life. well what’s our solution. lock them out, continue our welfare state through the tax credits/discount for schooling, essentially free healthcare (ER visit)? OR do something about the cartels or nothing and hope it works out. I don’t know but using taxpayer money seems like an incentive, albeit a small one. What would a kid that did this tell their family if back in mexico still. Well, I got an education discount and am a legal citizen since I was born here but you shouldn’t do it that way?

    I wish I had a tax credit from when I went to school. Still paying off school loans.

  14. Bill Oreally says:

    Your position is basically Ron Pauls, I dont know what these ‘other options’ you refer to are, maybe you should let us know sometime

  15. Lucas-Benito says:

    ron paul if against the federal government paying for illegals. if Texas wants to pay for them they can, but not with federal tax dollars. Texas would have to use its own tax funds for that type of education.
    Perry is however running for President, and if he brings the same view of educating illegals to the federal level, then he is the same as a liberal. its the same thing with the HPV vaccination. On a state level it was a “bad decision” about a vaccination, on a federal level it could be martial law.

  16. Denis says:

    Interesting read.

    There’s one aspect that is often overlooked concerning illegal immigration – they pay no taxes and therefore do not participate in funding any programs they partake in. Income tax was only instituted in 1913, so it isn’t surprising that immigration was being limited since 1925.

    I am immigrant myself. My parents brought me from Russia when I was 16. But we went through a drawn-out process and did everything by the book. We’ve been paying all the taxes and therefore feel like we’ve been a productive addition to American society.

    Ron Paul’s position on immigration is complicated. He is against amnesty, but he also doesn’t believe in deporting illegals on ethical and moral grounds. He would like to secure the border and remove the benefits currently available to illegal immigrants to remove the initiative for them to come here. As far as illegals already here, while they’d never be given US citizenship, he advocates for bringing them into the system and out of the shadows so they can pay into the system like everyone else.

  17. David Ullery says:

    Wealth does not magically flow from a printing press no matter how much planning the central planners plan. Inflation is the cruelest of all taxes on the poor. Trillions of dollars are being used to bail out foreign banks. Which side is Obama on? Who did Obama select for his DEA chief? The neo cons are military Keynesians with bigger budgets and believe in more government than some on the left

  18. David Ullery says:

    Ron Paul will liberate thousands of minorities and others from federal prison without drones that sometimes kill innocent people. Ron Paul vets more contributions from military employees than all the GOP candidates combined. Libertarians believe in individual liberties, not groups; therefore we judge the content of the individual’s character only, and admire civil, passive resistance. It is much easier to collect unemployment than to go through the red tape it would take someone to get a cart and sell stuff in my town. The troops should defend Americans at home and the President needs to return the power to declare war to congress, so we the people can decide. The President just needs to be transparent

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