Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Let’s Say I Break into Your House (Illegal Immigration Analogy)

Posted by Tony Listi on March 15, 2008

Got this in a chain email. Thought it illustrated the conservative position on illegal immigration very well.

“Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the US might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely.

Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests. Let’s say I break into your house. Let’s say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, ‘No! I like it here. It’s better than my house. I’ve made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors. I’ve done all the things you don’t like to do. I’m hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).’

According to the protesters:

You are Required to let me stay in your house
You are Required to feed me
You are Required to add me to your family’s insurance plan
You are Required to educate my kids
You are Required to provide other benefits to me & to my family

(my husband will do all of your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest, except for that breaking in part).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there.

It’s only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I’m just trying to better myself. I’m a hard-working and honest, person, except for well, you know, I did break into your house And what a deal it is for me!!!

I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior.

Oh yeah, I DEMAND that you learn MY LANGUAGE!!! so you can communicate with me.

Why can’t people see how ridiculous this is?!”

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19 Responses to “Let’s Say I Break into Your House (Illegal Immigration Analogy)”

  1. Asus said

    You hit the nail on the head.
    They see all of this, they just hope that most
    of us will not. And if we do, they will try to
    use the race card. If this is the new definition of racism,
    then I am proud to be a racist. How can we (Americans) say that we don’t
    need a nanny government when we will not protect ourselves.
    American citizens need to take action because the government will
    not admit that it cannot handle it alone.
    I think people need to realize that a war has already started, and it’s
    with Mexico.

  2. foospro86 said

    I think Congress got the message when the American ppl shot down the last Kennedy-McCain bill.

    Glad you agree with me but, I’m not sure that this is a “war” or that talk about “war with Mexico” is productive.

  3. Alejandro said

    I think “Asus” has a quite limited, if nonexistent, understanding of the ties that bind the United States and Mexico. The amount of FDI in Mexico that comes from the United States runs over 80%. An armed conflict would not be beneficial for either sovereign power.
    On the analogy, the issue of immigration is clearly oversimplified. I would disagree with both its premise and the conclusion. As I have stated in previous comments, the vision that the analogy represents is not in tune with the economic and political realities of a globalized world.
    Transnational forces, in various forms, are increasingly playing a key role in international politics. I would say that the phenomenon of immigration is clearly one of these transnational forces that is challenging developed nations from the U.K. to Chile. Conservative or liberal, we can all agree that the federal government must institute an immigration policy that recognizes the economic realities of both the U.S. and its neighbors. In the meantime, we should refrain from caustic remarks targeted at the Hispanic community. Please keep in mind that, if the demographic trends continue and we achieve proper representation, Hispanics will be one of the strongest political forces in the nation. We do not need to create animosity amongst ourselves at this crucial time in history. America has plenty of problems, from a decline in prestige to a weak economy, and needs to leave political bickering behind in order to regain its footing in the world.

    Hernández

    • roger said

      Obviously the hispanics aren’t taking work from YOU. What a luxury to have such a positive outlook. I’m a blue-collar worker. I love the work I do. It’s very difficult to find a job these days because most of the jobs I do are occupied by hispanics. Most do not even speak English and will work for minimum wage. I am unable to compete, so yes I have an attitude agaist immigrants.

      • Jordan said

        “I’m a blue-collar worker.” That statement already states how you have a job. Yes, it may be hard to find, but you have one, don’t you? If the Hispanics were taking your job, then you would be unemployed.

  4. foospro86 said

    Armed conflict seems too extreme. Doesn’t seem just or productive.

    How exactly does globalization undercut the analogy? Households are not self-sufficient, but the consent of the owners is required to enter and resources/labor used to manage the household are admitted or secured in an orderly fashion.
    Yes, the US should not isolate itself from Mexico or cut itself off from its labor. But that is no reason not to first increase security and enforcement of the border while cracking down on employers (using a worker ID card) and only then revamp the guest worker system. Foreign workers may contribute to the economy but they also burden state and local treasuries. There can be no free and open immigration under a semi-welfare state like the US. Or a state that is targeted by foreigners for terrorist attacks.
    Public finances and security require stopping the flow of illegal immigrants first and then changing the system to provide for orderly entry, employment, and naturalization in the US. At that time, the current time to become a citizen should probably be shortened and streamlined. We should exect most temporary workers to become permanent residents, if not citizens.
    Of course much of this problem would be solved if social welfare was limited strictly to citizens, or better yet abolished altogether. But that seems unlikely to happen.

    And none of what you have said is a reason to accomodate Spanish through govt fiat. Accomodation hinders assimilation. All foreigners who want to be successful in America must learn English. And especially all those who want to become citizens. This country cannot function economically or politically without a common language.

  5. Alejandro said

    As you can imagine, I am opposed to any official english/english only legislation at any level of government. There are numerous studies that consistently point to the fact that second generation immigrants speak English very well. Furthermore, I don’t think the issue here is accomodating Spanish but rather assuring that immigrants have access to English instruction. I would welcome federal, state or local funding towards ESL programs. I think that is the best way to ensure that all immigrants learn the language skills necessary to be successful in America. Indeed, I would even venture to say that the Mexican governement should also ensure that all Mexicans are bilingual to faciliate their assimiliation into North American society.

    On the other hand, all American students should be proficient in at least three languages. For those students who want to succesful working in the hemisphere, there should be ample availability of French, Spanish and Portuguese classes. We should also increase funding for Mandarin Chinese and Arabic classes. I would obviously maintain the focus on English education and say that any student taking a second, third or fourth language should already be throughly proficient in English.

    Let me say one more thing, I think this whole Spanish issue, at least for conservatives, is linked to Huntington’s assertion that the non-assimilation of Latin American immigrants will hurt America. I fundamentally disagree with the notion that we are not really assimilating. I think most, if not all, Latin American immigrants respect and understand the way things operate in America. We will always be proud and hold onto our cultural heritage. Even so, we cherish what Americans have accomplished, both politically and culturally. I think that the geographic proximity of our home countries does uniquely change the way we will assimilate in America. But this does not mean that we represent any sort of threat to the United States or that ultimately we will not identify ourselves more with America than with our home countries.

    Back to the analogy, I think it is fundamentally flawed because it is all too simple and does take into account all the factors involved when talking about immigration. When I talk about transnational forces, I am talking about a more profound issue. In essence, I think we are witnessing the end of the Westphalian system. In the face of what some see as a deterioration of national sovereignty, we have to answer very serious questions about what the system that will emerge post-Westphalia will look like. I think the immigration issue, not only in America but also in Europe and Asia, is part of that broader debate.

    If you start to study some of WTO and ICJ cases, you can see that national sovereignty has already started to be redifined. In the case of North America, I think we are led back to a discussion on NAFTA. If you look closely at the immigration data, you will realize that a large percentage of the immigrants that are now in the States and that migrated in the 90’s left from traditionally agricultural Mexican areas. As NAFTA was implemented, many of these farmers simply could not compete with American farmers. Since they had no other job opportunities in Mexico, they started to migrate to the United States and in many cases do the same work they did in Mexico but this time on American farms. Now, I mention this particular isssue because it highlights what happens when as a region we create free-trade agreements that allow for the free movement of capital and goods but not workers. Clearly, we are facing a regional issue that America can’t solve on its own.

    Already, immigrants have moved from land routes to reach America to sea routes to reach the shores of the States. I think you will appreciate this next point because in essence what I think is happening is that the government is trying to work against the market. As long as there is plenty of work in the States and a lack of it in Mexico, fencing and Border Patrol will not end immigration into the States. Now, I think the slow down in the United States economy will work towards reducing immigration in the near future but this is not a long term solution. Futhermore, I was alarmed to learn that the numbers that Congress was working with regarding the number of workers allowed under a temporary working program were purely political. Any such calculation must be based on market conditions and change from year to year.

    Alright, I think I have already said much on the issue. It is easier for you to point out anything in particular that you think I haven’t covered in detail. As you can see, the immigration is quite nuanced, this talk of breaking into houses does not do the issue justice. In any case, there are plenty of Americans who welcome immigrants. Does this mean that they can stay in the house? Rhetorical question of course.

    Hernández

  6. Alejandro said

    On the bilingual issue, you know that most cities in Texas must provide their services and information in both languages. It has nothing to do with ideology, they simply need to be able to run their cities and it is the only way to be able to do so effectively. I should point out that regardless of their immigration status, most immigrants do pay their taxes to the city, either through the rent they pay on their apartments or through the property taxes on their mortgage.

    On globalization and free-trade, I don’t think most liberals reject either. Rather, we see a need, as do many in developing nations, to have fair trade and be able to counterbalance some of the negative effects of globalization. I think over time, through the strengthening of international law, international organizations, and agreement on Doha, all these issues will be dealt with and resolved.

    I never said that anyone has to surrender the very concept of America. I do think that the traditional notion of the nation state is nearing its end. If the current trend of integration and globalization continue, traditional views of sovereignty will have to be reexamined. I must point out that I gave examples as to how this process has already started. Therefore, all developed nations that form part of the WTO, subject themselves to the ICJ or form part of the ICC have already surrendered part of their national sovereignty in certain spheres. Of course, you can’t talk about this whole issue of sovereignty without mentioning the EU and its continued success.

    I never said we should ignore the issue of immigration but I do think that the only truly effective policy solutions on the issue will emerge from regional agreements. Implementation of new immigration policies on a national level, without regional considerations, will not be effective in dealing with the immigration issue in the long term.

    Hernández

    • roger said

      I am a white American. Not only is it an issue of speaking English. I have found that more and more “mexicans” dislike Americans. I am met with so much prejudice in my country. I even had a “{mexican” tell me that he did not like whites. I told him to get the hell OUT of my country then. How dare soemone break into my country illegally and hate me. I say GET out and make the best of your own country.

      • Jordan said

        This country is not “your” country. REALITY CHECK: WHITE PEOPLE ARE NOT THE ONLY PEOPLE INHABITING AMERICA. This country is commonly refereed to as a melting pot because of all the different cultures. Also, you can not categorize all Mexicans into ONE conversation you had with ONE Mexican. I have met unpleasant people of all races. That is not going to make me conclude that every race is horrible and everyone hates me.

  7. foospro86 said

    If private institutions want to accommodate Spanish or any other language (in order to accommodate customers and make more money), they should be free to do so. But public institutions should not accommodate Spanish.
    You may be right about the reality of assimilation. I’m sure it varies from place to place. Assimilation is not as great a problem to me as the public welfare that illegals receive for free.
    Of course, we do a horrible job of teaching our own children what America is and stands for and how it works and has worked in the past. So how do we expect to teach and assimilate immigrants? I think some immigrants, especially those who are illegal, are hearing something quite different than the traditional American Dream story. Liberalism has perverted that story, so that now government gives you what you want rather than working hard to become successful. And that is why many legal and illegal line up to support the Democratic Party.

    This is very interesting. So apparently liberals, in general, despise globalization because it entails capitalism and free trade all that goes along with it. But they like globalization in the sense that it undermines the nation-state, that it creates a world without borders. Liberalism going back to its roots in communism has always wanted to unite the world and get past national divisions. Kant’s Perpetual Peace seems to exemplify something similar to this, though less radical.
    Now conservatives are fine with free trade (well, a lot of us) and globalization. But that doesn’t mean we will surrender our national sovereignty or the very concept of the nation and citizenship. A nation embodies certain cherished values and principles. Why would we want to dilute that? Let immigrants come in a legal and orderly fashion, but they should become Americans.

    Yes, things may be a bit more blurry and some cases more difficult than others. But that is no reason to just let things happen. We conservatives love the free market, but the market is dependent on the orderly political framework of govt. To let the market destroy the very framework that gives it vitality is suicide. Conservatives will not let the market destroy the very concept of the nation.
    It is very clever of liberals (and some neoconservatives and libertarians) to try and use the market as a justification for ignoring illegal immigration. But there is no sound economics without sound politics. Economic considerations that declare the end of the nation-state are futile.

    I think that past McCain Kennedy bill failure proves that the vast majority of Americans do not welcome illegal immigrants. But again, I think there is some reform of the legal path to citizenship and naturalization that could be done.

    Whatever the actual numbers, I think there is little doubt that there is too much uncompensated public services due to illegals, especially the low-skilled (which most are). I have no doubt that many illegals pay some taxes, especially indirect/built-in ones, but they are still a net loss fiscally. And that negative would very likely grow with an amnesty that turned illegals into legals.
    http://www.heritage.org/Research/Immigration/bg1936.cfm#_ftn59
    http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscal.html

    All public services and documents should be transacted in English. What is the incentive to learn English if everything is bilingual?

    That is my point: liberals want “fair” trade, not free trade. Liberals are, on the whole, protectionist. There are only negative consequences for the less competitive. Sure, liberals don’t want to kill the golden goose, but they are willing to strangle it and make it less productive.

    International laws and international organizations (the idealist dream of liberals, not a product of globalization) infringe on American sovereignty. We are not going to (and should not) bind ourselves to an international law or organization that likely intends to redistribute wealth or heavily regulate our economy and way of life.
    Other nations may be willing to give up their freedom and sovereignty to international laws and orgs. They will be merely examples of what we will not do. That is why we reject the jurisdiction of the ICJ over the US. We have already had a radical tyrannous SCOTUS; why should we want another in the form of the ICJ but this time w/o even a good constitution?!
    These internationalist nightmares and impossibilities should be rejected.

  8. mrcfunds said

    AMEN TO THAT I posted something simular on my website blog. I wrote this song.

    Take Back Our Country Song

    Hi,

    Can you please place a link on your website / or blog; to this Take Back Our Country Song it’s a patriotic song that is very inspiring, and truthful. I wrote this song after being fed up with what I see happening in my neighborhood and to our country daily on the news.

    I am just an ordinary citizen that went away to serve at age 19. And I am sick and tired of the lies and chaos our ELECTED SELLOUT OFFICIALS has put this country into. So I wanted to do my part, as a soldier of the USANG, I wrote this song and put it on this video.

    My state Louisiana was hit hard by hurricane Katrina and hundreds of illegal aliens moved into our community took away jobs that we Americans were ready to do, and now crime has gone thru the roof. I am sick and tired of these people in my neighborhood and hanging out on our street corners. WE MUST DO SOMETHING TO PUT A STOP TO THIS!

    Please check out my video Take Back Our Country Song on YouTube.com here’s the link. And FORWARD it to everyone on your email list. This is my way of fighting back and giving back to my country.

    Please, I served my country in the US Army National Guards, and I hate what’s happening to our country. We must do all we can to Take Her Back!

    Thank you,
    Richie Collins
    http://FalseArguments.net

    Take Back Our Country

  9. Brett said

    Bottom line… The government shouldn’t have to conform around any illegal alien, Hispanic or not. We as US citizens have financial problems of our own and don’t need any illegal aliens leaching off of the government we put our own hard working money into.
    White, black, pink, green… I don’t care what color, race or heritage you are. If you come to the United States, don’t expect free money or free support. I’m already pissed about how people can live off of government funding in apartments I’m “over qualified” for while they drive around in their $60,000 Cadillac Escalade wearing enough jewelry to sink a Nimitz Class Carrier. How can they qualify for food stamps with all that “bling”?
    Government funding for anybody needs to either stop or be severely limited to pure citizens who truly need help. At this pace it would more beneficial to about 75% of the US population to just stop working and live on government funding like everybody else. But seeing that we can’t have it that way, it’s only available to people who don’t contribute back into our system (illegal aliens and another “minority” group I won’t name off in fear of being called racist).
    If you can’t support yourself, live in poverty like the rest of the worlds wannabe leaches.

  10. Joe G said

    An excellent analogy. Illegal invaders should be dealt with just as if they had broken into your home. If they refuse to leave, killing them is appropriate. Of course, try other courses first. But if the police won’t respond, and the intruders are stealing your food and money from your bank account, and are starting to insinuate that you stole the house from their ancestors, and that you have no right to live there, then it’s a matter of survival.

  11. Celeste said

    Hi,
    I really appreciate the nice things folks had to say about the piece I wrote called “An Interesting Analogy”. I have written a longer and updated version which I will post here in a week or so (when I get my regular computer back from being repaired) in case anyone wants to pass it along. I’ve seen several different versions of my original post from really short to very long and I am really happy it provides a different perspective on illegal immigration.
    CelesteJak
    CelesteJaq

  12. Celeste said

    An Interesting Analogy

    Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the possibility that Congress may finally address the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the United States might protect its own borders, making it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely. Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.
    Let’s say I break into your house. Let’s say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, “I’ve made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors. I’ve done all the things you don’t like to do. I’m hard-working and honest…(except for when I broke into your house). My husband has done all of your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest…(except for that breaking-in part)”.
    According to the protesters:
    You are required to let me stay in your house. You are required to add me to your family’s insurance plan. You are required to educate my kids in my native language. You are required to provide a retirement program for my old age. You are required to subsidize the cost of college for my children. You are required to provide these and many other benefits to me and to my extended family (who will be arriving any day now).
    If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there.
    It’s only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I’m just trying to better myself. I’m a hard-working and honest person, except for well, you know, I did break into your house. And what a deal it is for me!!! I get to continue to live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is NOTHING you can do about it without being accused of cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior.
    Oh yeah, just one thing…I DEMAND that you learn MY LANGUAGE!!! so you can communicate with me.

    Why can’t people see how ridiculous this is?! Only in America.”

  13. Celeste said

    An Interesting Analogy
    The Complete Version

    Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the possibility that Congress may finally address the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the
    United States might protect its own borders, making it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely. Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests and put it into terms even the protesters can understand:

    Let’s say I break into your house. Let’s say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, “I’ve made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors. I’ve done all the things you don’t like to do. I’m hard-working and honest…(except for when I broke into your house). My husband has done all of your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest…(except for that illegal breaking-in part)”.
    According to the protesters:
    You are required to let me stay in your house. You are required to add me to your family’s insurance plan. You are required to educate my kids in my native language. You are required to provide a retirement program for my old age. You are required to subsidize the cost of college for my children. You are required to provide these and many other benefits to me and to my extended family (who will be arriving any day now). Of course I expect to be allowed to become a legal resident of your home with the same rights over the property you have. This means I will be allowed to vote…after all, I am affected by the laws that are enacted, and I need a driver’s license so I can get around. Just by sneaking into your home and taking up residency (albeit, illegally, I admit), I am protected by the same Constitution and Bill of Rights as you ‘legal’ residents are. Now keep in mind that my nephew, who is really a good boy at heart, is a member of a gang and drug cartel but it isn’t his fault. He was led astray at a young age so he deserves to live here as well. Like I said, he is really a good boy deep down inside, despite the twenty page arrest record he’s accummulated in his twenty-four years. He deserves a twenty-first chance to turn his life around and you are obligated to give it to him. If we are willing to forgive his crimes certainly you should be as well.
    Just bear in mind though that if you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there.
    It’s only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I’m just trying to better myself. I’m a hard-working and honest person, except for that little issue about breaking into your house. And what a deal it is for me!!! I get to continue to live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, bringing my extended family…some of whom are criminals but really gentle souls deep down, and there is NOTHING you can do about it without being accused of cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior.
    Oh yeah, just one thing…I DEMAND that you use MY LANGUAGE in your home, schools, workplaces, stores and government!!! so you can communicate with me.
    What about those people who did all the paperwork and waited ten years or more to get into the country legally, you ask. Fools…they were fools. Why in the world would you enter the country legally, go through all that hassle when all you have to do is just COME ON IN. The government in this country, along with those protesters out there are laughing at you folks who do things the RIGHT WAY, the LEGAL WAY. The only ones who respect you and admire you are us poor saps who came home one day and found someone we didn’t want living in our house. We want you to come in legally and welcome you with open arms. Thank you. You proved by your patience and adherence to our laws that you deserve to be Americans because you love this country enough to respect its laws and its legal citizens. Thank you.

    Why can’t people see how ridiculous this is?! Only in America.”

  14. Nick said

    Exactly what you did to Native Americans!

    • Tony Listi said

      Exactly what who did? I’ve never done anything to a Native American. Neither did my ancestors who immigrated to the USA much later.

      Now I will certainly agree with you that many Native Americans were treated unjustly many times in the past, but since everyone involved is now dead, what bearing exactly does that piece of history have on current US immigration policy? Please elaborate.

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