Speaker Gingrich on Immigration

By John Tanton
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 6, Number 1 (Fall 1995)
Issue theme: "Infamous immigrants"

My experiences and interest in the field of immigration reform led me to look over Newt Gingrich's book, To Renew America.1 My hope was to learn something of his plans for us as a nation. The clear writing style was most helpful. In this article I would like to offer some comments on Chapter 14 of the book titled 'Illegal Immigration in a Nation of Immigrants.'

Concentrating on illegal immigration, the speaker says that this issue 'should be a simple slam-dunk for any serious citizen.' He gives ten principles that he calls 'obvious and historically irrefutable' - (1) anything illegal is by definition wrong, (2) any nation has an absolute obligation to protect its sovereign border, ('if you can't block people from coming across your border, you really can't protect your citizens'), and (3) our border is clearly known and must be guarded effectively by the federal government whose job it is to do so.

Few will object to Mr. Gingrich's first-mentioned principle as a philosophical jumping off place. Point two is a needed restatement of Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution 'The United States shall ... protect each (state) against invasion....'

Points two and three, however, belie a misunder-standing that most resident illegal aliens entered our country illegally. Exactly the opposite is true. As Maria Puente reports, '... more than half the estimated 4 million illegal immigrants are 'visa overstays' - people who enter the country legally on a tourist, student or business visa but don't go home....'2 So while ending illegal immigration involves much increased protection of our borders, that is only partially the answer.

Our border is much more than just our land border with Mexico

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