Thomas Sowell
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Now that Newt Gingrich has become the latest in a series of Republican front-runners, he is getting the kinds of scrutiny and attacks that have done in other front-runners.

One of the issues that have aroused concern among conservative Republicans is that of amnesty for illegal immigrants, especially after Gingrich said that it would not be "humane" to deport someone who has been living and working here for years.

Let's go back to square one. The purpose of American immigration laws and policies is not to be either humane or inhumane to illegal immigrants. The purpose of immigration laws and policies is to serve the national interest of this country.

There is no inherent right to come live in the United States, in disregard of whether the American people want you here. Nor does the passage of time confer any such right retroactively.

The usually sober and thoughtful Wall Street Journal, on issues other than immigration, outdoes Newt Gingrich's claim that it would not be "humane" to deport illegal immigrants who have been living here a long time. A Wall Street Journal editorial says that it would be "psychotic" to do so.

"No one honestly believes the government should or will mount a nationwide manhunt to deport millions of people," according to the Wall Street Journal.

What we have today is virtually the opposite of that. Cities that openly proclaim themselves "sanctuaries" for illegal immigrants put their own policemen under strict orders not to report illegal immigrants to the federal authorities, with the result that illegal immigrants who have committed crime after crime are free to stay here and commit more crimes, including murder.

You don't have to launch a "manhunt" when a known criminal is also a known illegal alien. What many local policies have done has been to virtually put illegal aliens in a witness protection program.

The more doctrinaire libertarians see the benefits of free international trade in goods, and extend the same reasoning to free international movement of people. But goods do not bring a culture with them. Nor do they give birth to other goods to perpetuate that culture.

Why do people want to come to America in the first place? Because America offers them something that their native countries do not. This country has a culture which has produced a higher standard of living and a freer life than in many other countries.

When you import people, you import cultures, including cultures that have been far less successful in providing decent lives and decent livelihoods. The American people have a right to decide for themselves whether they want unlimited imports of cultures from other countries.

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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