Whom to Thank for My ‘Change’ on Immigration

“Why have you changed your views on immigration?” a guy asked me recently.

“On your radio show, you were more hardline than you are now.”

I’ve been asked that a lot the past few years. My response has been reflexive and certain: My views haven’t much changed.

I’m all for secure borders. Always have been. I stated this again a few months ago in this very space in a manner I thought was fairly clear. I wrote, “I’m all for secure borders.”

I still support knowing who has entered the country and knowing the precise identity of anyone booked into a jail. I recently ripped the ACLU for targeting Mecklenburg Sheriff Irwin Carmichael over his support of the 287g program.

I still believe we’re not going to deport 12 million people, and need a way for them to come out of the shadows — but not straight-up amnesty.

Those views have not changed since Charlotte’s Mi Gente newspaper labeled me a “brainless wet parrot” nearly 15 years ago. But a few things in the immigration debate are different.

I stopped citing tragedies like heinous crimes committed by “illegals,” which inflame disproportionately. I learned they are rarer than heinous crimes committed by legal citizens.

I stopped using select statistics that make it look like the undocumented are costing taxpayers mega-billions. I found more studies suggest they are not.

Most of all, I stopped blaming immigrants for grabbing the chance — even illegally — at the better lives dangled before them by American businesses and consumers who want crops picked, roofs shingled, and hotel rooms cleaned for less than it costs to get legal citizens to do the job.

Over time, I’ve seen the fallacy in advancing exceptions that distorted the rule, so I quit doing it. This is a favorite tactic of politicians, however, and I also saw Donald Trump had mastered it only a month into his presidential campaign.

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