ELIZABETH: Studio City, California (joined in progress): I really called because I’m kind of, I guess disappointed in your boasting of the Minuteman Project and not the president’s guest worker program. I really am disappointed in that. He’s right about Iraq; he was right about Social Security, and he’s right about his immigration program, and I don’t understand why you don’t have senators on there committing to support the president’s guest worker program and why you are perpetuating this idea that if you put more, you know, security on the borders they’ll stop coming. When these are people who are wiling to die to come here.
RUSH: Whoa, whoa! I didn’t do anything of the sort.
CALLER: Well sure you did, Rush. Yesterday you did.
RUSH: I did not. I never said this is going to have a long term impact. I said, “What they’re doing now is working. There are fewer immigrants crossing.”
CALLER: It’s going to work for, what, two weeks? These are people who are willing to die crossing that desert. They are going to find a way to get past them.
RUSH: Well, no, they’re not willing to die. That’s why they’re not coming. They think they’re going to die, and the Mexican government is telling them they’re going to die because these wacko Minutemen are going to shoot ’em so they’re not coming. It’s the exact opposite, but I’m not suggesting that as a policy, don’t misunderstand, and the Minutemen don’t shoot anybody. I’m just saying here that all of a sudden attention has been focused on this — and guess what? The Mexican government is trying to sabotage it by finding alternate routes but they’re not trying to cross where there are monitors to observe it happening. They’re willing to die by accident, they’re willing to die by, you know, asphyxiation in the back of a cheap van or whatever, but they don’t want to get shot.
CALLER: Even though, Rush, the Border Patrol now is focusing on Jose Mexican who just wants to come here to get a job and not the war to terror and drug smugglers. If they were allowed to come here in a orderly fashion or legally, if much more of them were allowed to come here legally, the Border Patrol could focus it’s resources on terrorists illegally trying to cross and drug smugglers.
RUSH: Elizabeth, I don’t disagree. That’s so much pie-in-the-sky. Of course nobody opposes legal immigration. I don’t oppose legal immigration. I don’t oppose people that want to improve their lives moving here whatsoever. I’m in total support of battening down the hatches when it comes to finding terrorists and bad guys — who, by the way, probably think Mexico is the safest route — probably safer than JFK these days. But I still think that the word here that bothers everybody is illegal, and as more illegals come in the US government keeps throwing up its hands and saying, “We can’t do anything about this.”
CALLER: Well, why do they have to come here illegally? Why can’t they just come legally?
RUSH: We’ve always had limits on it, Elizabeth. We’ve always have limits.
CALLER: Why do we have to have that limit? There’s a demand. We have to meet the realities of the demand for those workers.
RUSH: Now, see, I used to buy into that argument at one point, but I’ve had my mind — no, I did. I’ve had my mind-set straight on this. Any time you are advocating something that supports and maintains low wages, you’re ultimately hurting the American worker as well.
CALLER: Oh, really? How’s that?
RUSH: This is no different than a minimum wage. When you establish an artificially low wage, what you do is grant businesses the opportunity to only pay that much.
CALLER: That’s not what’s happening now. Businesses have so much in taxes, and here in California, the minimum wage is $7 an hour, $7.25. It’s going up to $7.50 next month.
RUSH: Why not ten?
CALLER: Exactly, so why finish high school when you make ten dollars an hour working at Wal-Mart?
RUSH: Why are you bringing Wal-Mart into this?
CALLER: Well, that’s what I’m saying. Wal-Mart, you know, baggers whoever, whatever these immigrants are doing at Wal-Mart or a construction job or what have you are making minimum wage.
RUSH: One of the problems is we’re not weeding out the people you’re talking about. We’re not weeding out the people that want to come here and genuinely improve their lives. What’s happening is that way too many are coming here because they’re being drawn by the magnet of our social welfare safety net or for whatever other reasons and they’re not acculturating and they’re not learning the language and they’re not following the American path to success.
RUSH: We have a couple of Minuteman stories here from AP. The first one’s out of Tucson. “Three volunteers patrolling the border for illegal immigrants were being investigated after a man told authorities he was held against his will and forced to pose for a picture holding a T-shirt with a mocking slogan. The volunteers said they were members of the Minuteman Project ? a month-long effort… Carol Capas, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman, said the 26-year-old Mexican man told agents he was physically restrained and forced to hold a shirt while his picture was taken and he was videotaped. The shirt read: ‘Bryan Barton caught an illegal alien and all I got was this T-shirt.’ Barton is one of the three volunteers. He told agents that they waved the man over to them, offered him food and water, and gave him the T-shirt and money before the Border Patrol arrived.” Gave him money. How about that? “Meanwhile, Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal immigrants have dropped notably in the Naco area since civilian volunteers began gathering there. Agency spokesmen credit an increased presence by Mexican authorities south of the border and say it’s too soon to tell whether the volunteers are having an impact.”
Apprehensions are down. The only change is the Minutemen show up because the Minutemen caused the Mexican army to mass on the other side. Whatever. Like Reagan said: Doesn’t matter who gets credit as long as good things happen. Another, just to back the story AP: “The number of Mexican migrants trying to sneak into the United States through the Arizona border has dropped by half since hundreds of…” these vigilante right-wing hit squads. You know they’re being called a “military militia” now by Reuters? Reuters calls them a right-wing militia, is what the Minutemen are. “The number of Mexican migrants trying to sneak into the United States…” Sneak. Sneak! We’re not talking legal here, trying to sneak in. Now that doesn’t mean the migrants have given up though. “Most remain determined to cross and say they’ll simply avoid the area where the Minutemen are. Grupo Beta, a Mexican government sponsored organization that tries to discourage people from crossing illegally and aids those stranded in the desert, began patrolling the area along with state police officers on Sunday when Minutemen anti-immigrant activists began showing up, and in Mexico, the volunteers are seen as hunters of illegals and racists.” In Mexico and Central America the Minutemen are being called racists — and here’s Reuters, “right-wing militia patrolling the Mexican border,” blah, blah, blah. Right-wing militia now. Next thing, you know, they’re all going to be from Michigan. Yeah, and Reuters cannot use the word “terrorists.” Reuters reporters are not allowed to use the word terrorists in describing terrorists but they can call these guys a right-wing militia.
RUSH: Macy in Los Angeles, I’m glad you called. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Now, look, Rush, I can’t even believe what I’m hearing out of you about this illegal immigration. They’re not assimilating and stuff. You need to go read Thomas Sowell’s study, Cultures and Migration [sic], you hear? Because what you just told that girl is wrong. They said the same thing about the Germans; they said the same thing about the Irish in the 1800s and the 1900s, and those people and their families still here today, and they just fine in America, they assimilated just fine, and they were criticized for the same thing, and the other thing you told that lady —
CALLER: — they artificially, they had low wages. That bull. Now, you know that’s bull.
RUSH: I love you. I really do. Let’s take the first of your two points. In fact, let me take a commercial break. Can you hang on throughout commercial break and we can talk further?
CALLER: Yeah, I’ll wait.
RUSH: Thanks. I’m looking forward to it.
RUSH: Anyway back to Macy now in Los Angeles. Macy, your first pint about assimilation, acculturation and how long this debate has been going on and Dr. Sowell. Can I tell you a little story about my grandfather? My grandfather who was born in the early 1890s. I remember one time I was home when he was still alive back in the early nineties and I was talking to him about it. He said, “What’s really hot and bothered and getting a lot of discussion on your program today?” I said, “Well, people seem to be bothered by immigration.” He said, “You know what my high school debate topic was back in 1908?” I said, “No, what?” “Should we limit, or eliminate immigration by all southern Europeans because they stink. They’re filthy,” blah, blah, blah. Dr. Sowell is exactly right. These debates have gone on for I don’t know how long, but those debates were about legal immigration. Nobody is saying that legal immigrants coming here, that are, you know, following the steps necessary, are not acculturating. It’s the people that are not legal. That’s all anybody is worried about here. Look at how many places now we have to have signs posted in multiple languages here. That’s not acculturation. You know, America has a definite pathway to success, and one of the things you have to do to really succeed in this country is learn to speak the language and those who don’t do that are acculturating.
CALLER: The more successful they are, the more they assimilate into society, the more incentive they have to — when they legally here, they have incentive to further their education here and further their skills here. That’s what you don’t seem to understand.
RUSH: No, I think it’s the other way around. I think those who come here with those attitudes are the ones that get successful. I don’t think it’s success that breeds the latter, I think it’s the previous that breeds success.
RUSH: They come here with the right attitude. They want to acculturate. That’s what gets them on the road to success. I’m not opposed to any of that. I love that. I know we’re a nation of immigrants. There’s so much hypocrisy out there though. Where you live in LA a bunch of people are all for illegal immigrants because they’re drivers and they’re nannies and they don’t have to pay them very much.
CALLER: No, they got to — yeah, they all for illegal — businesses are for illegal immigrants. But the people are not. The people don’t like it at all, and it’s mostly because of ignorance, because they don’t understand things that Thomas Sowell has talked about and the things that many other economic scholars have talked about, and that’s why I can’t even believe what I’m hearing out of you, Rush Limbaugh, because you are very much a competition and pro-economic guy, and what you seem to be forgetting is that menial labor often produces the startup capital necessary for the successive generations to attain economic mobility.
RUSH: Macy, wait a minute. You’re not hearing me, now. I’m talking about one classification of immigrant, and that’s illegal.
CALLER: You’re talking about illegals, but they’re illegals just like (unintelligible) said because they can’t get here legally.
RUSH: Well, get in line. Now, we can’t let everybody in the country that wants to come here. We just can’t.
CALLER: If you did you would create a —
RUSH: You have to stagger the entrants. We can’t flood the market even if they’re legal. We can’t flood the market. It’s gotta happen according to a policy, and the policy should not be based on any kind of discrimination. It just ought to be, “Okay, here’s some rules. You want to come to America this is what you have to do.” Nobody opposes that. But I get calls sometimes on this issue from people in the agriculture business, and they tell me, “If you succeed in this, if you succeed in getting rid of these illegals and so forth, why your food price is going to skyrocket,” and I said, “My taxes are already sky high because I’m having to pay health care benefits for these people.” You know, we all pay no matter where you start the calculation. Food may be cheap; taxes are going to be higher to accommodate it one way or another. I guarantee you in California as they come out with more cars that get greater gas mileage, guess what? The gasoline taxes are going to produce less revenues so they’re going to have to find a way to replace that so even whatever you save by driving one of these super swanky new hybrids is going to cost you in the end because the government is not going to allow you to pay less. You know, Dr. Sowell is one of my idols. I can imagine why you’re surprised, but you’ve got to be surprised because you’re not understanding me.
I’ll tell you what: In the spirit of reconciliation, I will tell you that I probably have not communicated this well enough today. That’s what I’m hearing from you, if you don’t understand it. I thought I had made it plain that we’re discussing illegals here, and I’m not denying that some illegals, you know, rise to prominence at some point and get legal. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s not the proscribed manner. Nobody wants to shut down the borders to all immigrants, at least I don’t. That’s not what I’m talking about.