With President George W. Bush and supporting senators’ recent endorsement of legislation that would grant illegal aliens and other foreign workers in the United States guest worker status, the topic of immigration has become hotly debated throughout the nation.
Phyllis Schlafly believes inviting foreigners to come to America as guest workers is “immoral.” Schlafly, president of the Eagle Forum, a national organization focused on public policy making and devoted to the conservative movement, delivered a controversial speech in McGraw Hall yesterday focusing on the current problems that the United States has in dealing with illegal immigrants, including amnesty.
Schlafly believes that illegal immigrants pose a risk to the well-being of American citizens. She said that illegal immigrants create an unsafe environment in states located by the border, particularly Arizona, where ranches are destroyed.
Besides acting as a threat to citizens on the border, Schlafly says that new diseases, which the United States had eliminated or reduced, are once again becoming prevalent. In one case, a Philippine nurse who had contracted tuberculosis exposed 1,500 people in a hospital and affected four babies.
She also claimed that illegal aliens may cause automobile accidents, citing an incident in Georgia where an illegal immigrant, who had been caught 17 previous times, killed a girl in a car crash.
“Illegal aliens for some reason drive hundreds of miles per hour, on the wrong side of the road and without headlights,” Schlafly said.
Schlafly proposed a number of solutions to these issues. Overall, she believes that the United States needs a better infrastructure and stronger manpower to protect the country. As a means of achieving the needed security, she suggests the construction of a fence between the United States and Mexico. This solution, however, struck a number of the audience members as problematic, as was evident in the question-answer session following the speech.
“The fence seems ridiculous and draws parallels to Palestine,” said attendee Wesley Hannah ’06.
Schlafly also suggested an increase in the number of border guards. According to her, once these two things have been established, a detention center where the illegal immigrants are held until they can be deported should be created.
Yet, beyond the current issues within illegal aliens, Schlafly considers a guest worker policy to be a great concern; she feels the policy would create a subordinate class of working people, as has happened in other countries, such as Germany and France, where guest worker policies have been instilled. According to Schlafly, a guest worker policy suggests that foreigners are only capable of menial jobs and ultimately become the equivalent of peasants.
“America is a country where we welcome immigrants who may take low-paying jobs at first but learn the language and are able to assimilate” Schlafly said.
A guest worker policy, however, would cause these immigrants not to identify themselves as American citizens, she said.
“I don’t agree with what she is saying but I though it was important to hear her view point,” Hannah said. “I think she is xenophobic.”
Megan Sweeney ’07, a member of College Republicans and the Cornell Review, on the other hand, supports Schlafly.
“I though it was great, especially the distinction between immigration and illegal immigration. From a national security standpoint, I think borders need to be examined more,” Sweeney said.
Archived article by Blair Robin
Sun Staff Writer