There are excellent reasons to be concerned about the vast number of illegal immigrants in our society. But their taking jobs from Americans is not one of them. If we have historically low unemployment rates while at least 11 million illegal immigrants are here, how many jobs have these people really taken away from Americans? What would our unemployment rate be if we had no illegal workers here? One percent? And wouldn't our inflation rate be higher without millions of people working at such low wages helping to keep consumer prices low?
It must be emphasized that while just about everyone on the left is opposed to what they describe as "tax cuts for the rich," many on the right do not argue that illegal immigrants have taken jobs away from Americans. But an energetic segment of the Right does.
And they do so despite what the conservative Washington Times reports: "The economy appears to have achieved what analysts call 'full employment' -- a state where nearly every worker who wants a job can get one fairly easily."
How, then, does the whole Left and a significant part of the Right argue things that just aren't so -- that tax cuts are bad for the nation and that illegal immigrants have taken millions of jobs from Americans?
The answer is that passion often trumps reason. The Left is passionate about inequality and ever larger government. And the Right is passionate about America remaining American.
I share the Right's passion and agree with the conservative voices that argue for (1) building a fence to prevent millions more from illegally entering America, (2) creating a national ID card, (3) making English the official language of the United States (thereby ending, for example, ballots being printed in myriad languages), and (4) ensuring that American schools Americanize foreigners rather than celebrate multiculturalism (if all cultures were equally wonderful, millions of Mexicans wouldn't be leaving theirs to live in ours).
But those of us who are very worried about the demise of American national unity, identity and security need to argue about those things, not about illegal immigrants taking millions of jobs from Americans.
And those on the left need to cheer the unemployment data. But they can't do that until they love the low unemployment figures even more than they hate George Bush and his tax cuts.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”