Undocumented immigrants shouldn't replace legal ones

Undocumented immigrants shouldn't replace legal ones
© Getty Images

President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonPennsylvania's other election-night story Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' MORE’s 1995 State of the Union included the following remarks:

“All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected, but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers.”

“We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

Clinton is not the only Democrat who has spoken out against illegal immigration. The Republicans provide a number of examples in a blog they posted recently: “The Democrat Hard Left Turn on Illegal Immigration.”


The blog also provides video clip links, including one that shows Clinton receiving a standing ovation for his remarks about Americans being disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering the country.

We don’t have reliable information about aliens who enter illegally.

We have a screening process for aliens seeking admission as lawful permanent residents. Aliens who enter the country illegally are not screened, and usually there is no reliable way to determine who they really are or where they are from when they are apprehended.

The screening process for aliens seeking admission as lawful permanent residents determines whether they are inadmissible under the provisions of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. It includes a physical examination to determine whether they have a communicable disease. The aliens also have to establish that they have had required vaccinations.

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the communicable diseases that has to be ruled out. According to the CDC, TB is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, and one fourth of the world’s population is infected with it. In 2016, there were 1.7 million TB-related deaths worldwide.

A total of 9,093 new cases of TB were reported in the United States in 2017.  

In 2017, the top five countries of non–U.S.-born persons with TB were Mexico (1,204; 19.0 percent), the Philippines (783; 12.3 percent), India (595; 9.4 percent), Vietnam (526; 8.3 percent), and China (400; 6.3 percent).

The screening process also addresses security and terrorist concerns. Aliens who have engaged in terrorist activity are inadmissible, and it is not possible to determine whether an alien has engaged in terrorist activities or is a threat on any other basis without knowing his true identity and where he is from.

Impact on American workers.

The negative effects of illegal immigration are not limited to allowing dangerous communicable diseases, crime, or terrorist threats into our communities.

recent report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) on the labor laws California has enacted to protect unauthorized immigrant workers indicates that many of the immigrants who have been attracted to California by its sanctuary policies are being exploited by unscrupulous employers.

In fact, the main beneficiaries of California’s sanctuary policies are the employers who exploit undocumented immigrant workers and deportable immigrants in police custody who otherwise would be turned over to ICE when they are released.

California has had to enact seven laws to protect undocumented workers from being exploited by their employers.

EPI found that the ability of U.S. employers to exploit unauthorized workers undercuts the bargaining power of U.S. workers who work side by side with them. When the wages and labor standards of unauthorized immigrants are degraded, it has a negative impact on the wages and labor standards of U.S. workers in similar jobs.

In reality, we could meet all of our immigration needs with legal immigration. We do not need nor ultimately benefit from uncontrolled illegal immigration.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.