It is interesting that the Republican Party and its presidential candidates are just now discovering illegal immigration as a campaign issue, as reported by Jane Norman in her piece,Immigration key for GOP candidates, July 16, 2007. Modern illegal border crossing began in 1904 when 75 men and horses were authorized by the U.S. Immigration Service to patrol the United States-Mexico border to stem the tide of illegal Chinese immigration.
Fast-forward to 2007 and suddenly illegal immigration is the fashionable topic of the season. Even Democrats are incensed at the hoard of undocumented laborers taking jobs-- dish washer, busboy, packing plant worker, landscape gardener, construction laborer and so on---from American workers. Television host Lou Dobbs revives his flagging show by railing against illegal immigration. Republican Congressional back-benchers Tom Tancredo of Colorado, a free market fundamentalist who has never worked a day in the private sector, and Iowa's own Steve King, an earth moving contractor, rise to national prominence on the wet backs of illegal immigrants.
If the U.S.-Mexican border is a sieve, for the last 103 years and counting, why are no media pundits questioning illegal immigration's sudden rise as a political issue?
Let us face the fact that once again the Republican Party, with the complicacy of Democrats, has fashioned illegal immigration as this political season's abortion and "gay" marriage; an issue designed to radiate much heat, little light and about which little will ever be done. Look at the GOP's track record. With majorities in both houses of the federal Congress from 1994 until 2006, the Republican Party did nothing to outlaw abortion or "gay" marriage, nor did they legislate an end to affirmative action or school busing for racial parity in public schools, colleges and employment. Moreover, the GOP conveniently forgot its 1994 pledge to make term limits for political officeholders the law of the land. Perhaps it is time we Americans hold the GOP to its promise to build a Great Wall of China-like barrier from San Diego, CA to Brownsville, TX.
The Democrats, however, are little better for they know, the only way to truly stem the tide of illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America is by improving the economy of that region, though a Marshall Plan-type program, and repudiating the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA.)
The ugly truth of illegal immigration is, free market fundamentalists in both parties are content to keep things just as they are.