March 27, 2006

A New Consensus on Immigration?

It's way too early to say that a new consensus is emerging on immigration, but I am wondering whether the outlines of such might not be coming visible. One of the signs that this may be the case is Glenn Reynolds' new column on the topic. Glenn has tended to be rather relaxed about the issue in the past. However, he had the same reaction to the demonstrations over the past weekend as have many others (such as Mickey Kaus, whose reactions are linked in Glenn's column.) There is a good deal of sympathy with the idea that Mexicans and others should be welcome to come here, as have other immigrants throughout our history, and join the American community. It's quite another for them to demand that they have a right to do so regardless of the wishes of the citizenry, or that they should not have to learn English or adopt the broad framwork of laws and assumptions that make America. It's not even a matter of assumptions of superiority: there's no implied superiority or moral imperative that, for example, favors driving on the right or the left side of the road, but it is vitally important that everybody keep to the same side. (I am waiting for the multiculturalist argument to the contrary.)

If there are outlines of an emerging consensus, I think they are taking the following form:

1. The mass smuggling of people across the southern border, organized and controlled by gangsters, has gotten way out of hand. It needs to be shut down, and a substantially greater amount of resources may need to be devoted to doing so. A security fence across much greater portions of the border is not absurd, and it is unquestionably in our right to construct such.

2. The nature of immigration needs to be based primarily on the needs of the country. A Canadian or Australian system by which applicants are scored on points, and the points heavily related to existing command of English, useful skills, and unlikelihood of becoming a welfare burden, would be a big improvement over the current system. Extended family ties are given way too much weight currently.

3. I understand the conservative aversion to yet another amnesty proposal, however disguised, but I think it is unrealistic to expect a mass deportation of people who have created no offense aside from being out of status. If the rest of the program in the consensus is adopted, a regularization of existing law-abiding immigrants is probably going to be part of it. It will take quite enough political capital and governmental resources merely to deport all the MS-13 gangsters and other criminal elements among the illegal immigrant population, and that is a task that should be accelerated.

4. The "jobs Americans won't take" argument is close to dead. It is pretty clear that the premium to get Americans (or legal immigrants on track to become Americans) to do such jobs isn't all that great; whatever general price rise that accompanies it will probably be offset by reduction in welfare and unemployment expenses for the Americans who go back to work at the slightly higher pay.

5. Immigration will continue, and in relatively high numbers. The people pushing for an "immigration pause" are, I think, highly unrealistic. It will take all the political capital the immigration-reform constituency can muster merely to accomplish the agenda outlined here. We are at a sort of critical tipping point, and I think the first side that persists in maintaining an untenable position will lose. The Mechistas who siezed control of the anti-reform rallies have gone a long way toward losing the issue; only a kamikaze-like focus on severe restriction could balance out those mistakes.

6. Assimilation, assimilation, assimilation. A focus on English languge, American rather than Mexican flags, and a return to an honest and even-sided teaching of American history in the school system and immigration education classes are starts. We must mine the historical record of the great assimilationist effort of 1880-1914 to see what further methods can be adapted to modern conditions. The more we see of Eurabia, the more we understand why assimilation is beneficial and essential. I believe there will actually be a side-effect of a wider understanding of exactly how big the Eurabian mess is, which is a realization that the assimilation of Latin Americans into the community of the USA is a much easier task in comparison (and in fact, the Arab-American communities are much better assimilated than the Eurabians.) Only a big Mechista push could blow this advantage.

We are close to a tipping point. Assimilation is going with the grain of American culture and history, and must be the focal-point of any attempt to address the problem. Securing the borders is a close second. Whatever the position of the major parties, I think the popular demand for reform is so strong that some politician will emerge to ride that horse.

Posted by James C. Bennett at March 27, 2006 06:32 PM
Comments

I think there should be an accomodation offered to illegals that are here. Come forward and register. If you have a job, no criminal record, and you are willing to pay taxes then you can have a guest worker status for two years, but then you have to go back to Mexico and will be at the head of the line for legal immigration or becoming a regular guest worker.

Those who don't have jobs or have criminal records should be deported and not allowed back in.

All this supposes that the border is brought under control. Barring that, little can be done about the illegals already here.

Posted by: Jimmy J at March 27, 2006 07:12 PM

Considering the 12,000,000-figure, it's unreasonable to insist on their eventual return to Mexico, Central America, or elsewehere. The issue should be framed in the context of flushing-out every single, possible illegal and regularizing their status...then sort-out who can stay for eventual citizenship or "resident-status"...and who should be permanently booted-out. There should be two, twin goals...finding out who's actually here...and deciding if they can stay and under what circumstances. Get the list first; then weed-out the "undesirables" with criminal records. The best way to encourage those who actually wish to go home, even part-time, is to eliminate the "gotchas" and the risks of being barred "after" they voluntarily go home.

That the borders with Mexico and Canada will be "porous" is a fact we have to live with. For "security" purposes, it makes more sense to concentrate jointly on the Canadian and Mexican entreports to the rest of the world. If we are concerns about Islamofascist terrorists, stop them wherever they might set-foot in North or Central American soil...not the thousands of miles of American frontier. The Islamofascists can't walk on water, they have to fly into an airport's international terminal, or enter via ship's gangplank.

Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) at March 27, 2006 09:11 PM

I am surprised that this blog would not point out one of the benefits of a more rational guest worker policy: if it included common sense points for skills and English proficiency, we would probably see a lot more Indians, Chinese and Phillipinos replacing the current tidal wave of Mexican/Latinos. This would give the Hispanics a breathing spell that every other immigrant group has had to assimilate throughout our history,

Posted by: wks at March 27, 2006 09:30 PM

I forgot to mention, one of the great motivations for immigration in the near future will probably be the gender imbalance in India and China - five men for every woman will leave a lot of guys frustrated and horny.

Posted by: wks at March 27, 2006 09:33 PM

"The essence of American immigration is that 'they' become 'us'. There is a word for this process: "Americanization", the process of becoming an American. That word was hijacked by racists and xenophobes 70 years ago. But it is our word, and we're taking it back." -- Barbara Jordan, 1995

Posted by: theAmericanist at March 28, 2006 05:49 AM

Considering the 12,000,000-figure, it's unreasonable to insist on their eventual return to Mexico, Central America, or elsewehere.


Why? The law was written a certain way for a certain reason, and it's a good reason.


The issue should be framed in the context of flushing-out every single, possible illegal and regularizing their status...


When are the well-intentioned types like yourself going to realize that people outside the country read 'amnesty' where you write 'regularization', and what happens is that they bust ass trying to get here to make the deadline?


then sort-out who can stay for eventual citizenship or "resident-status"...and who should be permanently booted-out.


...nevermind that what this would do is reward people for breaking the law, which spells out a process by which someone can immigrate legally.

When are people going to realize that rewarding people for breaking the law is a really bad idea?


There should be two, twin goals...finding out who's actually here...and deciding if they can stay and under what circumstances.


They can stay if they go home and apply via the legal immigration procedure. That's it.


Get the list first; then weed-out the "undesirables" with criminal records. The best way to encourage those who actually wish to go home, even part-time, is to eliminate the "gotchas" and the risks of being barred "after" they voluntarily go home.


How about making anyone convicted of being in the country illegally permanently ineligible for legal residency and citizenship?

Posted by: rosignol at March 28, 2006 06:01 AM

I agree with the consensus you posit except your point three: there should be no amnesty for those here illegally. We tried an amnesty once before, during the Reagan administration, and it manifestly did not work, as our current situation evidences.

It might be disruptive in the short run, but the best thing we could do to regain control over our immigration and border situation would be to first construct good fences on the borders, both Mexican and Canadian, and then have a national round up of illegal aliens. Gather every single one of them up, and ship them home, wherever that may be.

Only by showing that we will enforce the law as it now stands, which is certainly reasonable enough, will anyone ever respect the law.

I am a native Californian, and have been hearing the irredentist and radical Mexican reconquista drivel since 1969. I knew many of the leaders of MeCha in Santa Barbara during those years. Those people mean it, don't be naiive. They are not about to assimilate, and if we don't send them home, we will have the Mexican government continuing to interfere in our affairs. Mexico is one of those places that the better one comes to know it, the less one respects its government and culture. I am all in favor of admitting people to the US from Mexico who will unabashedly adopt American values and English, but I strenuously oppose any regularization of the existing mass of illegal Mexican aliens who seek to retain their culture and values and allegience to Mexico.

Posted by: CatoRenasci at March 28, 2006 06:47 AM

Thanks, James, for your calm, thoughtful proposals.

Watching the public and political discussion of this issue has been frustrating. There's no reason why we can't continue our tradition of welcoming immigrants (my wife is a green cardholder and, soon, a citizen; all of my grandparents emigrated, legally), but require new arrivals come through the front door. We've done it before during periods of mass immigration.

Why is it, in so many areas (education, for instance), that we can't seem to muster the will to do what our parent and grandparent could do?

Posted by: cosmo at March 28, 2006 07:02 AM

One way to get a handle on who's here would be to require employers to send a file of all employees who are not citizens to the INS on a monthly basis. Just name and Social Security number. At least you'd know the approximate locations of all non-citizens and could begin to deal with the problem. I'm not a big fan of ideas like this, but the political reality demands some action.

Posted by: David Aitken at March 28, 2006 07:34 AM

The question is - why do we let law breakers (illegal aliens) to the head of the line for citizenship. Rewardling lawlesness only brings on more of the same. Citizenshop should not be an issue until the borders are controlled.

Posted by: Daedalus at March 28, 2006 07:58 AM

I concur but I would move your point 6 to first place.

Posted by: DBL at March 28, 2006 07:59 AM

"and in fact, the Arab-American communities are much better assimilated than the Eurabians"

That's not at all surprising, and is not necessarily attributable to America's supposedly greater ability to assimilate immigrants. Compared to their counterparts in Europe, Arab immigrants in the United States: (1) include a higher proportion of Christians; (2) tend to come from a higher socioeconomic background; (3) are more dispersed rather than being concentrated in a relatively few urban areas; and (4) account for only a small percentage of the total immigrant population. Better assimilation is just what you'd expect under these circumstances.

Posted by: Peter at March 28, 2006 08:00 AM

If they are here illegally, they should be arrested and deported. Our southern boarder should have a double fence topped with razor wire and run between with attack dogs.

Lamont

Posted by: Lamont at March 28, 2006 08:10 AM

The economics of immigration are immutable. It will continue. We need to have a process whereby illegal immigrants who have been here for 7 years or so, who are working and who have avoided legal trouble in that time can be legalized. The commenters who say that the 1986 law failed don't realize that there was no way it could have done otherwise. We do need to control the borders, with a fence probably, and we need to radically enlarge the current quotas for legal immigrants. A point system should be part of it.

A major problem that I have seen addressed only in Victor Davis Hanson's book "Mexifornia" is the subject of workers compensation claims (which I work with) and the medical consequences of years of heavy labor on middle aged men. We now have millions of 50 year old Mexican men who are worn out. What are we going to do with them ?

Posted by: Mike K at March 28, 2006 08:15 AM

Great post.

One point about amnesty - the mere discussion of amnesty encourages illegals to violate our border. The problem is more with the momentum of illegal immigration than with illegal immigrants already here. It's not about now, it's about the future. And the past - we are where we are because of past amnesty.

Mexicans don't respect our border because we don't. This must change for there to be a lasting solution that will benefit everyone.

Posted by: Amphipolis at March 28, 2006 08:32 AM

Hmmm.

So the politicians let this mess fester and now the answer is yet another amnesty?

No thanks.

If the choice is this, then my choice is to never vote Republican again.

Posted by: ed at March 28, 2006 08:49 AM

"A major problem that I have seen addressed only in Victor Davis Hanson's book "Mexifornia" is the subject of workers compensation claims (which I work with) and the medical consequences of years of heavy labor on middle aged men. We now have millions of 50 year old Mexican men who are worn out. What are we going to do with them ?"

The people we have to worry about, in terms of health care costs, are not middle aged Mexican men who've done hard physical labor for decades. The people we have to worry about are middle aged white men who sit at desks shuffling paper all day, whose idea of "physical activity" consists of clicking the TV remote with an occasional round of cartball.

Posted by: Peter at March 28, 2006 08:55 AM

A couple people above have expressed their demand for the roundup and deportation of all illegal aliens.

Since that is a matter they've no doubt thought deeply about I would be interested to hear about the mechanisms they suggest for rounding up, processing, and deporting an estimated 10 or 12 million people.

What problems do you anticipate and what is your suggestion for dealing with those problems? Just to pick one example, suppose 500,000, roughly 5% of those illegals who are rounded up have minor children born in the US and are, therefore, legal citizens, what do you propose doing with them?

Just to toss out some comparisons for the purpose of scope and scale...

There are approximately 7 million people in the US criminal justice/penal system (incarcerated, paroled, etc.). Rounding up, processing, and deporting 10-12 million would, presumably and for however short a time it might take, require a similar - if not 50% or even 100% larger - number of people to do the investigating, tracking, rounding up, processing, and transporting. Where are those people going to come from and what qualifications will they need.

As another example of large "roundups", the US put some 13.5 million people into uniform throughout the years of WWII. So clearly it is possible to roundup and manage huge numbers of people but just as clearly it represents an effort of, ummm..., historic proportions.

I'm also curious to hear from people about what sorts of social and economic disruptions we might reasonably expect during this roundup of 10 or 12 million people. Presumably not all of the 10 millions would go quietly and presumably some portion of Americans would be against their nationa and government participating in one of histories most massive roundups and forced population movements. How much civil disobedience and even somewhat violent unrest might we expect?

What mechanisms, if any, should we put in place to mitigate the economic disruption, if any, of taking 3-5% of the workforce off the job over whatever time period the roundup would require while, at the same time, increasing the various government workforces by whatever number would be necessary to conduct the roundup? It is probably no big deal if some large portion or our lawns and landscaping go untended but it seems reasonably obvious that these illegals do other work.

What impact would removing 10 million people from the nation have on our economy? Some seem to think it would be minimal. I find that hard to believe. The estimates of the numbers of illegals represent approx. 3-4% of the people in the United States. Is it really possible that rounding up and deporting 3-4% of the human beings in the nation would have minimal impact upon our economy?

Posted by: Knucklehead at March 28, 2006 09:08 AM

I read Mexifornia and find the whole question troublesome. However, had these millions of 50 years old Mexican men remained in Mexico, their labor their would have been no less hard (or they would not have come here) and their care would be Mexico's problem. I am inclined to say it should remain Mexico's problem: that's just the price of coming here illegally, one has no claim on the public resources of this country.

I am very deeply troubled by the arguments for amnesty, which essentially amount to we didn't take care of this when the problem was smaller, and now it's really really big and bad. Taking care of it now would be hard, expensive and disruptive, so let's sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn't exist. And, we'll try real hard next time to do better, really we will. Sorry, no sale. Amnesty will only attract more illegals and essentially punishes those who waited in line abroad and played by our reasonable rules that we have every right to make. Nope. Send them all home.

Posted by: CatoRenasci at March 28, 2006 09:10 AM

Knucklehead asks I would be interested to hear about the mechanisms they suggest for rounding up, processing, and deporting an estimated 10 or 12 million people.

A fair question, even if he meant it only to show that it's impossible.

In the first place, assuming good border fencing was in place, I would provide for voluntary registration and repatriation that would offer those who left voluntarily a preference in subsequent legal immigration. I would even consider permitting those who could find US citizen sponsors who would guarantee they would not become a burden on the public (i.e. no welfare or medicare) a chance to remain. (Those who did become a public charge would be deported, however)

Those who did not so register and leave voluntarily, would be subject to immediate deportation upon being caught - next available transportation out. They would also be permanently barred from reentry.

Those with citizen children would have a choice: repatriate with their children (who would get US passports) with a higher preference to come legally, or go home without the children. The children have a right to remain. The parents don't.

Provide rewards for citizens who turn illegal aliens in to the authorities.

Posted by: CatoRenasci at March 28, 2006 09:22 AM

As for Victor Davis Hanson, I've never read any of his works, but the War Nerd's take on him is an absolute gem.

Posted by: Peter at March 28, 2006 09:29 AM

The root cause is that there is a demand for them here. If there was no work and this wasn't a safe place for them, they wouldn't emmigrate as they do.

IMO, we need to do two things;
- Enforce the hiring laws that have been in place since 1986 - employees need to be documented.
- Deport the illegals.
That's the law - simply enforce it.

in terms of economics and health / education / taxes, consider these numbers:

a) Assume an estimated 10,000,000 illegal immigrants
b) Assume all 10,000,000 are employed in non-tax paying jobs
c) Assume average wage of non-tax paying jobs is $5 per hour
d) Given that companies pay at least 10% of an employee's pay in payroll taxes
e) Given that employees pay at least 20% of their income in payroll taxes
f) Assume that each employee will work 2,000 hours per year

If you do all that math, it works out to something like $30,000,000,000 that isn't going into the National Treasury to pay for things like Education, Health Care, and Social Security.

That's a pretty big chunk of cash.

Posted by: _Jon at March 28, 2006 09:42 AM

Whatever we do, it must involve making legal entry easier and more rewarding plus making illegal presence way more uncomfortable. If we can stack it that way, the problem will solve itself gradually over the next generation. If we merely sweep the present problem under the carpet with amnesty, the next generation's problem may grow to be insurmountable without considerable violence.

We need to broaden immigration and enforcement simultaneously.

Posted by: Amphipolis at March 28, 2006 09:59 AM

"A major problem that I have seen addressed only in Victor Davis Hanson's book "Mexifornia" is the subject of workers compensation claims (which I work with) and the medical consequences of years of heavy labor on middle aged men. We now have millions of 50 year old Mexican men who are worn out. What are we going to do with them ?"

Send them back to Mexico.

Hopefully, the youngsters will look at them and decide that maybe going to the US as an illegal is not the best choice they could make.

If you want the benefits of being a law-abiding citizen... be a law-abiding citizen.

Posted by: rosignol at March 28, 2006 10:05 AM

Knuckelhead:


What problems do you anticipate and what is your suggestion for dealing with those problems? Just to pick one example, suppose 500,000, roughly 5% of those illegals who are rounded up have minor children born in the US and are, therefore, legal citizens, what do you propose doing with them?

To answer this one specific question, the way the law works today is:
1) The children born on US soil are citizens. They have a right to stay. The parents, as illegals, don't.
2) The parents are deported. They have a choice to take their US citizen children with them back to their home country (which doesn't alter the children's US citizenship). The children can come back at any time, including after 18.
3) Or the children can be left with relatives who live in the US.

Happens every day.

Posted by: Kevin P. at March 28, 2006 10:11 AM

Knucklehead asks: I would be interested to hear about the mechanisms they suggest for rounding up, processing, and deporting an estimated 10 or 12 million people.

Almost no one who is oppposed to illegal immigration is seriously suggesting a mass round up of illegal aliens. Rather, the focus is on self-deportation of illegals if they cannot find work nor receive welfare. This is why there is such emphasis on employer sanctions for hiring illegals.

It only takes a quick phone call for an employer to verfiy whether a social security number and the accompanying name is valid. They choose not to call.

According to the Pew Hispanic Study, most illegals were employed in their home countries prior to entering the US. That their pay is low at home, and for those who cannot find work, is a result of the policies of their home countries.

All the money and energy that is going into the illegal alien marches in the US would be better spent in their home countries demanding that their governments alter their policies to provide more economic opportunity for their own people, rather than demanding to be citizens of the US.

The Mexican separatist movement is more serious and entrenched than you realize.

Posted by: pat at March 28, 2006 10:12 AM

Bringing up mass deportations is no more than a straw man: no one's calling for it and everyone realizes it would be very difficult.

So, why even mention it?

Rather than choosing between amnesty or mass deportations, how about the rarely-mentioned idea of simply starting to enforce the laws (something which is not done now). That way over time many will leave and many fewer will come.

Those who propose various amnesty or "guest" worker schemes imply that they'll enforce those laws. However, why aren't they enforcing the current laws?

Since they aren't enforcing the current laws, can we trust them to enforce the new laws? Or, will the same thing happen: political donations will cause them to look the other way.

Any time that you give in, things only get much worse. Any form of amnesty now will not only bring millions more illegal aliens here, it will also greatly embolden the government of Mexico and those U.S. forces that support massive immigration, legal or illegal.

And, "guest" worker plans won't work because our "guests" will have U.S. citizen children and all those forces that argue for amnesty now will trot out the same arguments and use them on behalf of our "guests".

Our "guests" will never go home, and anyone who calls their plan a "guest worker plan" is lying to you.

Posted by: TLB at March 28, 2006 10:32 AM

1) Significantly increase the fine against employers for hiring an illegal. Right now the fine is $2000. Make it $20,000, or perhaps a year's salary.

2) Allow for private enforcement - like the "Whistleblower" lawsuits in fraudulent government contracting. An individual could sue the employer on behalf of the government, and keep half of the award. The other half goes to deporting illegals and border enforcement.

3) Let the illegal aliens themselves file the private enforcement suits. If an employer hires an illegal, the illegal has a choice - do the work and wait for a check for $500, or call a contingency lawyer and get a check for $5,000.

That way employers will be absolutely certain about an applicants status before hiring them. Private companies will spring up to verify employability and indemnify employers who use their service.

Don't look at it as a problem. Look at it as a revenue source.

Without employment, of course, most will repatriate voluntarily.

Posted by: Richard R at March 28, 2006 10:35 AM

Let a Canuck remind you of something - I think the United States should secure its borders as it sees fit, but, just for the record, there aren't thousands of illegals flocking across your Northern border every day.
And the 9/11 terrorists did not come from Canada.
That said, tighten your borders as necessary.

Posted by: gerhard trombley at March 28, 2006 10:48 AM

Some points:

1. A substantial percentage, probably a majority, (there are various estimates, all disputed) of illegals have fake papers and work at jobs where their taxes are withheld. When I was running companies with substantial payrolls we had to file an I-9 for all new hires, and our ability to verify the ID was effectively nil. It's not particularly easy for private employers to validate citizenship, and the last thing we need is a new set of criminal penalties for business-owners that will undoubtedly be selectively enforced by grandstanding DAs looking to enhance their political careers;

2. I'm not all that enamored of the voluntary repatriation idea; those who would volunteer are probably the one we are more likely to want to keep. However, we have an incentive mechanism readily available -- allow voluntary deportees to collect whatever Social Security they have earned (via payroll deductions) back in their home countries. Right now that's just a windfall to the program, but if we allowed them to collect it we would probably enjoy a net gain (from escaping other burdens on the public systems).

3. Although Arab-Americans are widely scattered, there are also some big concentrations, such as Dearborn, Michigan, with which I am quite familiar. Assimilation has worked pretty well there, too.

4. I don't think I have been underestimating the Mechista issue. That is why I continue to stress assimilation, which includes fighting the acceptance of irredentist arguments in the public sphere. Legal status, whether green card or citizenship, must include a Contract of Assimilation. Part of that must include an explicit acceptance of the USA's borders and an acceptance of the obligation to defend them. Subsequent evidence of insincerity would be grounds for revocation deportation. I notice that several European foreign ministers have recently met and discussed the need for a contract of assimilation for immigrants to Europe. Way late, dudes!

Posted by: Jim Bennett at March 28, 2006 11:11 AM

Bravo to the commenter that first mentioned self-deportation. That mechanism already exists and the sweetener for it alreayd exists - self-deportees are allowed back in (legally) sooner, becaue of the savings to the government involved.

As for the Mechangos - they are indeed serious and they are very marginal. The few (Mexican-American)people who have heard of them dismiss them as idiots. Mexican assimilation is proceeding much faster than Irish assimilation did in its time - decades rather than generations. So far there is no Mexican equivalent of the Amish country.

Something that tends ot get left out of the discussion is the vulnerabilities that illegality imposes on the migrants themselves, and how any move to resist better enforcement benefits smugglers and employees more than the migrants. And legal entry for migrnats starts foisrt with the Mexican government - people have a very hard tiome getting passports from their own government, so visas of any sort from our government are moot. Of course, that's Mexico's problem in life; treating Indians and poor people like citizens.

Posted by: Jim at March 28, 2006 11:17 AM

The important point here is that we are seeing something that only comes along once in a great while -- a genuine, bottom-up, nationwide issue which can no longer be fudged, finessed and finagled by the establishment in Washington. Many millions of ordinary Americans are sick of what they are seeing and want it stopped. The law should be enforced, and it isn't. 500,000 people take to the streets and demand as a RIGHT to be allowed to enter this country illegally and stay here. I am not the only person who is extremely angry at that sight.

The politicians are having a nightmare over this. They just want this issue to go away. The Republicans get money from businesses that benefit from illegal labor. They do not want to change anything. The Democrats see Mexican illegals as clients for government programs and as likely voters. They don't want to change anything.

The plain fact is we could secure the border for a fraction of what we spent in Iraq so far, and with a fraction of the manpower we have running around in Iraq right now. We need to fund enforcement in a big way. Significant physical barriers along the border. The Israelis can do it we can do it, with large commitments of manpower to patrol it. There is no doubt we can afford this. Cut other things, like a bunch of the useless Cold War-era weapons we are buying that will never have any use for anything. That will pay for it.

The only way to offset the economic advantage that the agribusiness and manufacturing interests get from hiring illegals is to hit them hard in the wallet. Hard and repeatedly and consistently. This is a mature and well-established market that exists for using illegal labor with deep roots in how many many people conduct their business. These deep rooted practices need to be dug up and terminated, which will be very expensive and disruptive. Tough. If you have been profitable breaking the law, figure out a way to make money legally or go to the poor house. The person who called for very major fines is on the right track. Also, rewards paid to anyone who turns in someone hiring an illegal. Six months of hard enforcement and a bunch of business owners being financially ruined, and there would be no need to deport anybody. There would no longer be a market for this labor. There would be bus caravans to the border for people who had to go home or starve here. As to children who are born here who are citizens, they can go home with their parents and seek readmission later. If necessary change the law.

The political will has been absent but the rising and increasingly angry and focused demand of many millions of Americans may yet win the day on this issue.

Posted by: Lex at March 28, 2006 11:22 AM

here, read this petition and do something instead of talking…..

http://www.weneedafence.com/

all these articles, position papers etc are all big circle jerks. i’ve been reading these essays for thirty years. we all know the solution. we are just to pc to do it.

1. build a double wide 15 foot fence with razor wire down the middle. access road with line of sight cameras. thank you east germany.

2. after the fence is completed green cards for all illegals. 5-10 years to citizenship. any arrest, for even spitting on the sidewalk, and over the fence you go. no family members allowed to immigrate here during the green card period.

everybody will be happy that there won’t be very many gang bangers left in site. the police will be very happy that their arrests count. the new immigrants will be model residents or else and the current citizens will be forced to face today’s existing reality.

sure folks will be upset that breaking the law is being rewarded. so what. hey moronski, if you leave the border unattended people are going to cross it. let congress feel like they are doing something by shaking down the illegals for a one time citizenship fee. whatever.

all this other talk is just ‘jib jab’……….

and finally the best result—with no outlet for its people mexico will finally have the economic/social revolution its been avoiding for over a 100 years.

some further thoughts..........

without a fence there is no enforcement of any kind short of gestapo tactics against small business operators. when you find yourself in a hole stop digging. a complete fence stops the inflow. that is a must. after that you then face the reality of the 10/15 million illegals that are here–they are staying and they are becoming citizens. get over it. during that time frame if they break the law above a misdemeanor they are gone for being two time losers. the first time was when they broke the law coming here. the fence keeps them out permanently. now they just walk back in.

this is not a complicated issue. your common sense tells you that. occam’s razor………..

in an answer to racial bias.........

the fence has nothing to do with the war on terror or any such nonsense that its opponents want to attach to it. the "fence" sole purpose for existence is to secure the border from illegal immigration from primarily latin america. the fact that latin america is hispanic is strictly a coincidence. if canada was a third world country i would propose the same fence. for two hundred years we controlled immigration with quotas per immigrant group. i believe jimmy carter was the moron who changed this. the chief reason for quotas was for assimilation purposes--language, culture etc.... as stated earlier mexico encourages illegal immigration as an outlet so as to avoid the hard choices that it should be making to rectify a pathetic economic model it inherited from the spanish. there is a reason that english speaking colonies/nations have done better than spanish or french. every time you seduce a young hispanic to flee his country you further enslave the tens of millions they leave behind.

there are no good choices only hard choices. however we do know that good fences make good neighbors.

http://www.weneedafence.com/

in answer to today's enforcement debate...

go after the companies that employ the illegals? send the illegals back?

you are all dreaming. i have lived in california for 30 years.

thousands, and i mean thousands, of small businesses hire and use millions of illegals everyday. trust me, short of a new black booted gestapo, they are staying employed. any law passed to enforce some sort of penalty will never make it out of the court system. think prop 187 etc. so stop pulling your own chain thinking some legislation out of washington is going to change anything on the ground.

send them back? assuming you could get the authority to do it (this to will sit in the courts until we are the new new mexico) we have to have a fence from san diego to brownsville so that they don't just walk back in led by their favorite coyote for $3,000.

10-15 million well organized people-and they are very organized are staying--so get over it. part of the solution is to stop adding to the size of the group. we have to build a fence before we contemplate any other measures. don't listen to anyone that says fences don't work. they have other agendas they are not willing to discuss.

15 million illegals are easy to assimilate over twenty years or so--and guess what, despite the headlines, they want to be assimilated. but it can only work if no more are added to the mix......

again addressing the folks that are here....

you folks are starting to slip back into delusional space. the 15 million illegals are not going anywhere. we let them in and now they are here for good. there are no laws, past, current or in the future that are going to change that. no doubt there will be folks who get on soapboxes and pretend to write new legislation to solve the problem. the sooner we all act like adults and realists the sooner this diversive issue can be put behind us. do any of you actually think that the illegals are going to be rounded up and sent back to mexico etc? do you think funding is going to be cut to cities? you have to be kidding. the bong smoke is clouding your vision.

the absolute best that we can accomplish within current law is to build a fence so the problem doesn't get any bigger. a fence is cheaper and more efficient than salaried border patrols in the long run.

http://www.weneedafence.com/images/Fence_Idea.jpg

after that then we can deport the bad guys during a 5-10 years green card period on the way to their citizenship. that's right, their citizenship. 15 million people are not going to continue to live here as second class illegals forever without bringing the whole country down. why? because as certain as the sun comes up in the morning 15 million will be 30 million in 25 years. you need to get your arms around these kinds of numbers. we need to seal the border and make them citizens just like the irish, italians, germans, jews etc who came before them. the fact that they got here illegally is irrelevant. they are here, get over it.

the fence again...

apparently the simplicity of the fence is too complex for some to understand. a fence

http://www.weneedafence.com/images/Fence_Idea.jpg

of this kind is necessary so that any solutions proposed can be enacted. i personally recommend citizenship after a 5-10 year green card period. why? because as i have previously stated the 15 million illegals are not leaving and no amount of stupid legislation is going to change that. that's why i call anyone who thinks otherwise delusional. what will be possible is the deportation of all law breakers during the green card period--for whatever reasons--crime, IRS etc.... with the fence i mentioned, the folks would have no possibility of return. any children born during this time would not be automatic citizens. so if the parents were deported so would the children.

there are no good choices just hard ones. but again, to repeat, the illegals are not going anywhere. the protest march is just the beginning. 15 million organized people are not going to leave because you tell them to. you are right about the current legislation being proposed--they won't sign up as expected. why? because its just more BS. however they will sign up for a clear path to citizenship because, despite the flags you saw, that is what they want. they are no different than previous legal immigrants. if the irish etc could have walked across the border they would have. so stop pissing and moaning. the federal government and states left the border wide open and millions walked across it. duh!

i'll make a prediction. if a secure fence is not erected at this time we will have this cicrle jerk again in twenty years and the number then will be 30 million along with 25 million children who will be citizens. then the problem will be this

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4786/105/1600/Aztlan.jpg

not because of some dark conspiracy but because of differing birthrates. we need to start seeing the world as it is not as we hope it would be.


Posted by: patrick neid at March 28, 2006 11:43 AM

Jim says: Mexican assimilation is proceeding much faster than Irish assimilation did in its time - decades rather than generations.

Jim , you need to pay a visit to Santa Ana, CA where the primary language spoken is Spanish and then tell me how well assimilation is going. I was in a small shop in Panarama City(Los Angeles county)and up at the cash registar was a sign that said "If you don't speak Spanish, that's not our problem".

Jim, it's hard to believe your statement when I see as many Mexican flags being waved as American, when there are voter ballots in several different languages, when bilingual education is outlawed in my state but only casually being enforced.
If you are serious about assimilation, the basic minimum should be the ability to speak and read the primary language of this country.

Posted by: Vic at March 28, 2006 12:17 PM

"As for Victor Davis Hanson, I've never read any of his works, but the War Nerd's take on him is an absolute gem."

Yes, that fellow sounds like a reliable source. Sheesh!

The fact is that they will not go home. They own homes here, many of them, they have American citizen kids and they are working and paying taxes. There is, however, a serious law enforcement problem which is why an amnesty has to be selective.

Assimilation is also critical. Many Hispanic citizens voted for Prop 187 when it was passed with about 65% approval. In Hispanic neighborhoods the yes vote was around 35%.

The 50 year old man who is an obese desk worker has insurance and a support system. The 50 year old Mexican laborer needs knee replacements and will not get them. They are a real problem. I see a lot of workers compensation claims. I would estimate that 75% have Hispanic surnames. Many have no private insurance so the only medical care they get comes from workers comp or emergency rooms. I've spent long nights operating on them for free. It's a huge drain on the healthcare system. Two thirds of the babies born at LA County are born to illegal alien mothers.

There has to be a real solution and mass deportation isn't it. I do think enforcement with a fence is going to be needed and an amnesty does incentivize more to come. Still our birth rate, while not as low as Europe's, is too low and the Mexican immigrants make up the difference. Better the Christian Mexican immigrant than the Muslims that France cannot assimilate (not all their fault).

Posted by: Mike K at March 28, 2006 12:21 PM

CatoRenasci,

Thank you for responding to my request.

A fair question, even if he meant it only to show that it's impossible.

It is not impossible to round up 10 million people and toss them over a border. There are three chances of that happening in 21st Century America: slim, fat, and none.

So demanding it happen like some petulant child is preposterous. Someone above said they'd never vote for another Republican if it doesn't. Well, they're never going to vote for another Republican because it isn't going to happen. Vote for Democrats and see if that leads to a solution. Yeah, and Swedish Bikini Team is here to give me my sponge bath and message.

So what we're left with is how to deal with a problem that, as someone else rightly pointed out has festered for many years and has grown from a problem that was once potentially manageable into one that is a outright nightmare.

Once the basement is flooded it doesn't do much good to huff and puff about how it should have been waterproofed long ago. And it doesn't do a bit of good to scream and stamp feet demanding that the basement be drained NOW, THIS VERY MINUTE AND IT BETTER BE DRY AS A BONE BY THE TIME I GET BACK FROM 7-11!

The first thing that has to be done is to stop the flow of water into the basement. We need, and we have every right to demand, that our border be secured and the flow of additional illegal immigrants be stanched as far as humanly possible.

Now, how do we go about dealing with the water already in the darned basement?

In the first place, assuming good border fencing was in place,

The first thing that has to be accomplished. It doesn't do much good to pump the water out of the basement if it is just going to flow right back in.

And now we get down to figuring out how to go about converting illegals into legals. This is somewhat like the old joke about the guy who asks a woman if she'd sleep with him for $1,000,000. She says yes, she would. He then asks if she would sleep with him for $10 and she yells, "What do you think I am, a whore?" To which her replies, "We've already established that, now we're just negotiating the price."

In the case of the millions of illegal aliens here now, we have no choice - not in any real sense of what can feasibly be accomplished - but to admit that we are whores and get down to negotiating the price - the cost of dealing with these 10 or 12 or however many millions of people.

This problem started when I was a child, I don't like it, but that doesn't change the fact that it has to be dealt with and I'd prefer we deal with it without designing cures worse than the disease.

I would provide for voluntary registration

It seems to me any plan would have to have a voluntary aspect. We're talking about huge numbers of Mexicans here and it would be advisable to get whatever portion of them we can to behave voluntarily. That means carrot and stick. Make the carry too small or make grabbing it too difficult or too far into the future and they won't chose the carrot.

and repatriation that would offer those who left voluntarily a preference in subsequent legal immigration.

A voluntary compliance plan would have to attract some large proportion of the illegals to be worth even bothering with. If it were attractive to only a few tens of thousands and left us with what amounted to the same problem we started with, we haven't solved anything.

So whatever plan, or combination of plans, is devised we'd want it to be something that north of 50% would comply with. Only a fool, and there's no good reason to believe the illegal Mexicans are fools (they were intelligent enough to leave there!), would put their name on a list of millions for "preferential treatment" at some indeterminate future date.

Rather than give up their job and whatever home they've established and bear the cost of returning to Mexico with all the lack of prospects that made them leave in the first place, vs. wait it out until somebody finally comes along and rounds you up and deports you.... well, that's not likely to put much of a dent in the number of illegals. I think it would leave us right where we are.

Why not just levy a fine and set out the terms and conditions required to remain?

I'm just tossing out some numbers; no doubt there are people who could run some economic analysis and discover what the numbers should be set at to drive maximum voluntary compliance.

Set the fine at $1000 per person, $2000 for a nuclear family (legal spouse and children). Require they demonstrate with the Mexican (or other) government verifying, that they are who they say they are and that the spouse and children are legal. Require that they prove they have a place to live and a job. Set the employer's fine at $500 to get out from under the threat of prosecution. Inform them, and have them sign the papers just like every legal immigrant, that they are not entitled to receive any federally funded welfare assistance and inelligible to vote in federal elections. They also pay some processing fee ($100 or whatever it needs to be).

At this point they have paid a fine and agreed to everything a legal resident alien has agreed to but they receive a temporary resident alien card with an expiration date and, perhaps, further terms and conditions regarding potential cancellation for criminal activity or whatever. At the expiration date they can apply for citizenship or permanent status and like every other legal resident alien they would be responsible to pay their taxes.

So, what might this accomplish? It would pull some large number of illegals AND their employers out of illegal status without wrecking their lives while also collecting revenue to help pay for the program. If it converted our 10-12 million illegals problem into a matter of even 5-6 million legalized tax payers while at the same time reducing the illegals problem to what would probably be the least desirable half, we're on our way to bringing this down to something that might be manageable.

If there are concerns about a mad dash across the border to get in ahead of the deadline that concern can be dealt with by 1) securing the freakin' border already! and 2) requiring proof of residence in the US for some period that exceeds whatever the period between passage and implementation is.

I have no way to know what the maximum voluntary compliance would be for a well-constructed plan would be. I suspect (for no good reason) that it would be in the 60% range. Dealing with a 4-5 million illegals problem won't be a picnic but it would be a whole lot better than dealing with a 10-12 million people problem and a reasonably constructed plan would go a long way to gaining the support (and possibly the cooperation) of not only the most desirable of the former illegals but some portion of the pissing and moaning US citizens.

I would even consider permitting those who could find US citizen sponsors who would guarantee they would not become a burden on the public (i.e. no welfare or medicare) a chance to remain.

In the sketch I've laid out above this would be the thousands upon thousands of small business who employ these people. The expense of prosecution would threaten driving them out of business so finding a reasonably inexpensive way back to legality would be attractive.

(Those who did become a public charge would be deported, however)

This is always a threat (or at least was not all that long ago) for those attaining legal resident status. It is a necessary threat but an empty one. It is empty because the people who have legal alien status are generally no different than anyone else. They hold jobs and they don't go on welfare. They convert themselves to citizens or eventually go back where they came from. I've never seen (and if anyone has please point to it) any evidence that legal resident aliens represent any measurable burden upon federal or state budgets. And who knows, in 30 or 40 years maybe Mexico will somehow develop to the point of not driving 15-20% of her population away as economic refugees.

Those who did not so register and leave voluntarily, would be subject to immediate deportation upon being caught - next available transportation out. They would also be permanently barred from reentry.

Other than the "leave" part, the sort of plan I think would be workable still leaves us with a portion of the problem and quite possibly the nastiest part of the problem.

Let's say we're left with 4 million illegals. Since we've provided a reasonable way for the others to convert to legal status it would probably be much more politically viable to pass federal legislation requiring state and local law enforcement to turn in to DHS/INS anyone that enters the standard law enforcement (or even schools and hospitals, etc). If the borders are closed this problem slowly but surely scrubs itself out. If they go home for whatever reason they can't get back in.

Those with citizen children would have a choice: repatriate with their children (who would get US passports) with a higher preference to come legally, or go home without the children. The children have a right to remain. The parents don't.

I seriously doubt this would ever get through the US court system. If you have a minor child who is a perfectly legal citizen then there is no difference between deporting the parents and deporting the child. And there's no legal standing to deport the child so you'll never get the parents deported. At best this would convert a large number of children to wards of the federal government and at worst it would drive many thousands, if not millions, into even worse status.

Provide rewards for citizens who turn illegal aliens in to the authorities.

That's got a nice, Stalinist ring to it. By what method does an ordinary citizen know whether or not the Mexicans they run into are legal or not?

Posted by: Knucklehead at March 28, 2006 12:35 PM

Vic,

I know what you are talking about, but remember, we are still in the forst two, three decades of this.

People that put up signs that chase off their customers tends to go out of business. So most of their customers speak Spanish - for now....that won't last forever. Anyway, you are talikng about Santa Ana. That's in Orange County. That place has been awash in immigrants, mostly from the Midwest, for most of the century, and they haven't become real Californians yet. So much for assimilation. And yet somehow that's not a disaster.

Ballots in various languages - see how long that lasts. In the whole history of the country only two groups, the English and a very few Germans, have managed to maintain their languages into the third generation. The bilingual ed law was struck down in a voter's initiative that was passed with many, many votes from Mexican immigrant parents. We live in a time when English is spreading like a virus in India and West Africa as the only way to get ahead in life, and you are worried about some Mexicans clinging to someone else's language?

"but again, to repeat, the illegals are not going anywhere."

Not so. A large percentage of them basically commute back and forth to Mexico every year. The deportation rates go up around Chrsitmas because people turn themsleves in to get the free ride back home. If you want citations to support this, they are not available to the public.

OTOH I absolutely do agree with you that language competence is the bare minimum requirement for assimilation. I just think 1) it takes time, in a working person's life and 2) it's inevitable.

"Better the Christian Mexican immigrant than the Muslims that France cannot assimilate (not all their fault)."

As far as assimilation goes, it will take a lot to convince me that Islam is any more inimical to a democratic system of government than Catholicism is. We get by because so many American Catholics have a Calvinist worldview.

Posted by: Jim at March 28, 2006 12:53 PM

"Provide rewards for citizens who turn illegal aliens in to the authorities.
That's got a nice, Stalinist ring to it. By what method does an ordinary citizen know whether or not the Mexicans they run into are legal or not?"

Same thing as any tip the police receive. They decide how meritorious it sounds and act on it or not. Sounds more like regular old law enforcement to me, actually. There is this law, you know, about how it is illegal to come here and work if you don't belong here, or to hire someone who isn't supposed to be here. So, enforce it. Anyway, it won't happen. People make too much money hiring illegals and they are organized and Congress won't authorize it.

(If I get a few drinks in me I'll tell you my truly Stalinist sounding solution to this problem. No one would probably get killed or anything, but it would not be pretty. But we are not at the point where we need something like that yet.)

One thing I notice everybody says:

Physically secure the border.

Fence, razor wire, walls, ditches. A real barrier from sea to shining sea, or Gulf. Cut off the problem at the source.

That is an issue everyone can understand. It is simple, it will work. That should be the focus.

We can then worry about what to do with the millions and millions of people who are already here.

(Someone will say -- "ship containers!" OK, but it won't be nearly the volume of people. We'll deal with that as it happens.)

But notice that actual physical control of our border is the one thing our Congress, composed of our so-called representatives, doesn't want to do? Because they know they will pass some bogus law, declare victory, hope the public loses interest, and the status quo will soon be resumed, which is what all the lobbyists want.

Posted by: Lex at March 28, 2006 01:06 PM

Catholicism has managed to avoid turning the country over to the Pope for 200 years so far. I think we're probably safe.

OTOH a Muslim limousine driver in Orange County drove himself to LAX one day a couple of years ago and began shooting at the El Al ticket counter. He killed a few before they wrestled him down. Now it's your turn. When was the last time a Catholic radical attacked the British Airways ticket counter ?

Here is a post from the Corner at NRO that includes a story about the realities of illegal immigration. Facts are stubborn things, the man said.

" Jonah,
I’ve long been in favor of enforcing our borders and have been opposed to any amnesty program on the grounds that rewarding unlawful behavior is never a good idea. In short, my immigration views have not been very “nuanced”. However, I gained a new perspective yesterday after spending the day on an unrelated legal matter with a client who owns runs a construction company. It’s not a big company but it has locations all over the US, which gives my client a pretty broad based understanding of the practical realities for an industry that typically employs a lot of illegal aliens. Here’s what I learned or, in some instances, already knew:

The company requires facially valid ID documents, so it complies with its obligations under the current immigration laws even though, as a practical matter, most of the work force is made up of illegal aliens. In fact, the EEOC and the INS (or whatever that agency is called today) have consistently [held] the position that an employer who questions or overly scrutinizes facially valid documents is probably engaged in unlawful discrimination because they wouldn’t do the same for an Anglo applicant/employee.

The company pays very well and withholds taxes. Nearly all of the laborer employees make over $30,000 and most make between $50,000 and $70,000 per year for 8 months of work. Most of them go back to Mexico for the winter months and return to the job in early spring. The job requires long hours and hard physical labor, so the employees certainly earn their pay.

The company has hired numerous Anglos and other native born US citizens over the years and has had very little success in retaining them. Most quit after a couple of weeks, citing the demands of the job as the sole reason.

If the illegal immigrant work force is suddenly shut down, the building trades would, for the most part, grind to an immediate halt.

The U.S. has an employment rate that is so low it’s approaching full employment. If we suddenly eliminate 10+ million workers from the workforce, where are the replacements going to come from?

At the end of the day and despite the inflammatory rhetoric from both parties on this issue, the practical realities of our current workforce must be addressed.

Sorry for tapering off at the end, but I don’t have any great insight into how to resolve these problems. I just wanted to say that they exist and we ignore them at our economic peril."

Posted by: Mike K at March 28, 2006 01:10 PM

Just to make the point again -- the 6 points I listed above in my post were not what I think the ideal solution would be, but what I think the emerging consensus might look like, and therefore what I think might just possibly be achievable in this world. And of these the two points that really come across in all the comments are 1. the desirability of assimilation; and 2. broad-based support for an effective, serious physical border. So these items are what reformers should be concentrating on. The border fence is something Americans are good at -- logistics and engineering. And it has a built-in, universally-verifiable success metric; i.e., everybody can see whether it gets built or not. It'll probably have to run literally from the Pacific to the Gulf, without gaps -- the coyotes are too good at exploiting gaps. yeah, people will try other tactics, but the whole point is to raise the transaction costs of illegal crossing over and above the benefits of being here illegally.

Actually, another way of approaching it might be to just sell guestworker green cards for, say, $50,000, and to take the fee as a deduction out of the legitimate paychecks. If the employers really need them so badly they can pay the fees themselves.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at March 28, 2006 02:04 PM

That's got a nice, Stalinist ring to it. By what method does an ordinary citizen know whether or not the Mexicans they run into are legal or not?

Ad hominem attacks are not going to advance this debate. We're not talking about thought crimes here, we're talking about people suspecting that others are not legal residents of the country. That's no different from telling the police you suspect your neighbor (if in fact you have some ground to do so) is the local cat burglar.

It is indeed a difficult problem that will not admit of any solution that is not a bad one. You would err on the side of not disrupting the economy -- which I regard as a short term perspective -- and I would err on the side of insisting that those who have broken the law are not rewarded for it -- which I regard as a long term perspective in that any other solution destroys the force of the law.

Even if there is some sort of path for those here to remain, I suspect you may be correct that we will have 2-4 million hard cases to deal with. And, unless we simply cave and let them remain, that will be an ugly ugly situation. But, letting them remain would be worse, I think.

Perhaps a compromise would be to require registration first. Anyone who had not registered by a date certain would be deported whenever caught - again by first available transportation.

Those who register -- which I think would include all who want to become citizens -- would be permitted to remain during a 10 year probationary period with the following requirements: 1) no criminal behavior - get arrested and you're out of the country on the first available transportation. 2) become fluent in English within a reasonable time frame, say 3 years. If you can't speak, read and write English at at least a 6th grade level by then, out you go. 3) no welfare or other public assistance (including medical care) - you must be self supporting and not a drain on the public treasury. 4) citizen ship - if you wish to remain after the probationary period, you must become a citizen by the usual procedures and you must clearly renounce all prior citizenships - no dual citizenship - under penalty of being stripped of your American citizenship if you engage in any act consistent with being a citizen of the foreign power (e.g. vote in their election, serve in their military, retain their passport, use their consular services, etc.)

Even RINO Arnold Schwarzenegger says amesty would be lunacy!

Posted by: CatoRenasci at March 28, 2006 02:30 PM

Round up the protestors, don't check ID's and put them all on a raft out to sea.

Posted by: annieangel at March 28, 2006 02:43 PM

Round up the protestors, don't check ID's and put them all on a raft out to sea.

Posted by: annie angel at March 28, 2006 02:44 PM

catorenasci,

the moment you start passing laws, amendments etc the process is doomed---doomed in the sense that nothing will get done. we have to use existing laws on the books that have already been vetted. this will prevent the thousands of lawsuits that would flourish vs new laws. the current green card laws can handle everything.

people will get over the "amnesty thing" once their emotions calm down. knowing that the problem is not getting any larger do to the fence i suggested will help ease the pain. secondly, knowing that all future immigration will be tightly controlled, in some cases none for many years will also temper angers. over the course of the green card term most of the criminals etc will be deported. trust me, bad people will do bad things over 10 years and they will be caught and deported. the police will be thrilled to have laws and borders that have teeth. the prison population will shrink accordingly.

of course arnie is against amnesty--he's a politician. when the wind on the finger he is holding up changes direction he will come to understand the green card solution/direct citizenship route.

occam's razor.

the fence can be paid for with a nominal $1000 green card fee. but no matter what convoluted hair brained scheme they come up with the fence has to be built first. otherwise our chains are being pulled again.

http://www.weneedafence.com/images/Fence_Idea.jpg

Posted by: patrick neid at March 28, 2006 03:09 PM

Hi all:
Since I'm the 'token' foreigner, my take on the illegal immigration is political cowardice on the part of the American politicians to tell the Latin American regimes to reform or suffer consquences.
I'm really disappointd that Canada hasn't played a more active role to encourage reforms within Latin America and hope the new government wil take greater interest in Latin America
I think both the Canadians and American negotiatiors of NAFTA made a mistake, they didn't link access to the septroninal markets with serious fundamental reforms in Mexico. Had the Mexican negotiators faced an unequivocal choice, they would've grudgingly implemented the much needed reforms.
In any case, how can we Canadians and Americans pressure Mexicao and the rest of the Americas to implement reforms.

Jim:
I'm deeply skeptical of implementing neoassimilationist policies. There's always been an element of coercion that's always bothered me. Now I completely agree that the immigrants must learn English and be law abiding But don't expect the Hispanic immigrants to genuflect everytime someone mentions the U.S. constitution or swoon over the Bill of rights.
xavier

Posted by: xavier at March 28, 2006 03:27 PM

The problem is border security. That problem needs to be fixed.

The vast majority of current illegals are hard working and would be a great addition to our citizenry. These people are not the problem.

Regarding point #3) You don't have to deport anyone if you make it impossible for illegals to work. If they can't get work, they'll go somewhere else.

It is absolutely important not to corrupt the rule of law. But it isn't the illegals who are doing that - it is the business owners who knowingly hire them. The illegals are mostly just trying earn a living - the most extenuating of circumstances - and they don't want to run afoul of the law because they don't want to get deported. It's the business owners who are exploiting the vulnerable and corrupting law enforcement for the sake of lucre.

The sad thing is that the US is near full employment and we can't figure out that these people are already assimilated. Most are from our own hemisphere and except for some aboribinal tribes in the amazon such people already share western values and traditions. There is really nothing to "assimilate to" except the language and we seem to be surviving okay as a partially bilingual country already.

Our illegals are the solution to our labor needs yet we're reacting as if they were some kind of problem. The problem is our own obsession with their "legality". This is distracting us from the real problem of border security.

We need to resolve the border security issue and legitimize our laborers.

Posted by: Posted by at March 28 at March 28, 2006 03:36 PM

Lex said:

Same thing as any tip the police receive. They decide how meritorious it sounds and act on it or not. Sounds more like regular old law enforcement to me, actually. There is this law, you know, about how it is illegal to come here and work if you don't belong here, or to hire someone who isn't supposed to be here.

Oh, is giving the police tips about possible "illegal immigrants" really the same as any other tip one might provide the police about any other potentially criminal activity?

Just like, for example, stepping outside with the trash, hearing what sounds like glass breaking across the street, and then seeing what looks like a flashlight in the otherwise dark home of your neighbor? What is it about an illegal immigrant that makes them look suspicious and engaged in a crime? They look Mexican? They speak Spanish? "Heh, Mr. Policeman! I've been working late the last few nights and those people who show up to clean the office building... I think they're illegal immigrants. They look Mexican as hell and they always speak Spanish! You should do something about them!"

Or maybe the police will put up pictures of known illegal immigrants on the local 10 o'clock news and ask for folks to call in and give tips.

Or maybe folks just decide they want to set up an office building cleaning business, or a landscaping business, but all the contracts are taken, so just phone in a "tip" to the police and maybe get the competition busted and the contract made available. Heck, how hard can it be to find 4 or 5 or 6 legal 'murricans to show up night after night, week after week, reliable as clockwork, to work for sufficiently low wages to make it possible to make a living running a little office cleaning business?

And as you mentioned, Congress apparently has no will, and never has had any will, for securing the border. So the solution for that is to "reward" Americans for dropping dimes on possible illegal immigrants? And who gets these tips from these "rewarded" anti-illegal-immigrant vigilantes running aorund dropping dimes on anyone who looks Mexican?

In case you haven't noticed, local law enforcement, for the most part, wants no part of being the nation's enforcement arm for immigration. They don't want their officers spending their days rounding up illegal immigrants. They don't want them in their little local lockups. They don't want to feed them. They don't want their courts filled with them, they don't want their officers spending all their time testifying in courts, they don't want to rent busses and run shuttles of illegal immigrants to the county lockups, the counties don't want any of this burden... and ya know what? When you local government comes to you and says they need to raise your local taxes by 20%, or more, to cover the additional costs associated with playing INS at the local level, you're not going to want any of it very much either. More cops, more jails, more judges, more cars, more pensions, more vacations...

CatoRenasci said:

Ad hominem attacks are not going to advance this debate.

Ummm... perhaps you'd like to rethink the "ad hominem attack" bit. Nice try, no cigar.

We're not talking about thought crimes here, we're talking about people suspecting that others are not legal residents of the country.

And, as I asked, other than seeing someone scurry across the border what possible identifying action or characteristic would any ordinary American citizen have to latch on to in order to suspect that certain people are possible illegal immigrants?

"They hang out by the train station looking for day labor jobs, Officer!" You don't think Officer already knows that?

"They pile six and seven of them into a rickety old car and drive off somewhere every evening, officer!" Once again, I think the local police spot them here and there and from time to time.

"They RIDE BICYCLES TO WORK, Officer!"

There is nothing about illegal immigrants that your local law enforcment doesn't already see. They don't need your tips. Illegal immigrants aren't living in your neighbor's house while he's on vacation. There's a reason local law enforcement doesn't round them up. They don't have the resources to arrest, incarcerate, feed, and provide witness against them!

There's TEN or TWELVE FREAKING MILLION OF THEM! That is half again, and then some, of all the convicts in US jails and on parole. There aren't enough police and local police are not the least bit interested in arresting people who's crime was crossing a border a thousand miles away. They don't want to do it and they aren't going to do it and when call them with your tips they are going to hang up.

That's no different from telling the police you suspect your neighbor (if in fact you have some ground to do so) is the local cat burglar.

No different than suspecting your neighbor is the local cat burlar? How ridiculous. Try again.

Posted by: Knucklehead at March 28, 2006 04:28 PM

Xavier:

You say 'm deeply skeptical of implementing neo-assimilationist policies. There's always been an element of coercion that's always bothered me.. Well, a condition of contract isn't coercion: if somebody doesn't want to accept a set of conditions to stay in America, they do have the option of not coming. Besides, most immigrants already have a practical appreciation of our constitutionalism -- everyone knows enough to ask for a jury trial. is it unreasonable that they should understand and accept the constitution that gives them such protections? Extending the English framwork that produced the exit to a wide variety of incomers from pre-Exit cultures was a bold and liberal experiment, and it has worked. I think it worked because we helped each incomer to make it through their own personal Exit -- and if we are to keep taking such people in we must continue to help them.

And besides -- you Catalans didn't get your Spanish-speaking immigrants to assimilate, and look where that got you:)

Posted by: Jim Bennett at March 28, 2006 04:31 PM

Dispatcher: "9-1-1! What's your emergency?"
Caller: "I stayed at the Best Western there of US 9 in Anytown last night. And I'm just callin' in to say that those two cleaning women with those carts... they looked like illegals!"
Dispatcher: "SWAT Team is on it's way, Sir! Thanks for calling."

Desk Officer: "Localtown Police Department, can I help you?"
Caller: "I'm just calling in... do I have to give my name to get the reward?"
DO: "What reward is that, sir?"
Caller: "The one for turning in illegal immigrants!"
DO: "Well, yes sir, you do. Otherwise how would we know who to give the reward to? Would you like to report an illegal?"
Caller: "Well, OK. Yes, I would. Today I was driving down Maple St, between 5th and Eisenhower, and there was a guy running a riding mower and he might as well have been wearing a 'Kiss Me, I'm Mexican' hat instead of that NY Yankees cap he had on!"
DO: "I'll get a cruiser over there immediately! Hang on just a minute and I'll get your info so we can send you the reward."

Posted by: Knucklehead at March 28, 2006 04:51 PM

Jim, your reply only makes partial sense. The people who relocated from the midwest to California were American citizens relocating to another American state, not immigrants coming from another country. Maybe not all were citizens, but the vast majority were. When I moved to Florida for a few years, I was not asked to show proof of a California passport, I did not need a visa or greencard and I did not need to enroll in ESL classes.
As for your comment on midwesterners not assimilating, you must mean they refuse to see the benefits of creaping socialism, piss poor public education, a very high cost of living and a state that devalues American culture and citizenship.
Back to the main point of this site though, you need to penalize the employeer if you want to see results. I have been in the construction industry for 20 years and have seen first hand some of the dishonesty that goes on. Some of these illegals get paid off the books, others who work overtime get paid under the table. Others who got caught with a bad SSN are told to get another and come back to work as soon as they do. I remember a superviser getting upset because one of his guys went to the emergency room and told them he got hurt on the job, which he did. The superviser thought he should have lied and that he was being disloyal to the company that went out on a limb to hire him. They fired him 2 weeks later. So people, don't tell me how honest these companys are because they know all the tricks and they take advantage of them, and why not, there are no repercussions.

Posted by: Vic at March 28, 2006 04:58 PM

In the last few days I've noticed many media reports with people (all Hispanics) saying they are supporting amnesty because they were once illegals themselves. Similarly those millions who benefit from the proposed virtual amnesty this time, not to mention their children and grandchildren, will be advocating another amnesty two decades from now. The astonishing increase in the Hispanic proprtion of the overall US population will solidify support for affirmative action, quotas, Chicano studies departments, and the anti-assimilationist view for generations, indeed for as long as the US exists. This is not like the finite 19th century Irish population, this is for keeps. I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the US as we've known it.

Posted by: Matra at March 28, 2006 05:29 PM

You know, the Mechistas have never had to deal with angry, mobilized Jacksonians. Their idea of mainstream Americans is the kind of whiney, placating multiculturalist flak-catchers that they typicially get coming around to apologise to them. They are now upping the ante as the Jacksonians become mobilized on this issue. And they are like, so September 10th. I think they have some surprises coming.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at March 28, 2006 06:12 PM

The demand for illegals is distorted because states pick up the social costs, subsidizing employers. If there were a charge to employers for each immigrant they hire (which could be paid to the states, demand would go down, jobs would be reduced, and immigrants wouldn't be as anxious to come.
The distortion also discourages finding technological ways of doing drudge rather than humans in near slave conditions

Posted by: Frank Baxter at March 28, 2006 06:15 PM

Vic,

...you need to penalize the employeer if you want to see results. I have been in the construction industry for 20 years and have seen first hand some of the dishonesty that goes on. Some of these illegals get paid off the books, others who work overtime get paid under the table.

This is not unique to the construction industry or illegal immigrants. There is an enormous "cash economy" in the US - and it has always been there. Large companies don't typically operate on the "cash economy" but small ones frequently do.

When hiring most anyone to do any small job, and large companies don't do small jobs, it is common - nearly ubiquitous - for people to either ask for or be offered a "discount for cash". People, including perfectly legal Americans of every imaginable ethnic stripe, are paid "off the books".

Is it more prevalent among illegals? Of course - they're illegal. Make them legal and some portion of this will go away.

This is purely anecdotal but I got in line to checkout at a bookstore a couple years ago. A perfectly ordinary (American) guy was in front of me and he had a couple "Learn Spanish" books in his hand. Just for idle conversation (long line) I said something like, "We're reaching the point where everyone has to learn Spanish anymore, aren't we."

The guy proceeded to tell me how he'd spent like 10 years building up a construction subcontracting business for framing houses and that he needed to learn Spanish because Mexicans were the only people he could find to hire and without workers he was out of business and it just made sense to be able to communicate with the people he hired as best he could.

This is a consistent refrain among every small business person I know - and I know more than a few. They invariably claim that they cannot run their business without Mexican laborers - without Mexican laborers they have NO laborers. And the next thing they invariably say is that the Mexican laborers they hire are the hardest working and most reliable laborers they have ever had. They like hiring Mexicans because they get work for the wages and nobody else comes looking for the work.

My own experience in my little slice of the universe is that I am encountering more and more Mexicans in the ordinary conduct of life and they are slowly but surely moving "upstream" economically - they aren't just laborers anymore. The ones moving upstream aren't thinking in terms of reconquista and speaking Spanish forever. They can't get what they have living in Mexico and they know it. They send their kids to school and check their homework.

Others who got caught with a bad SSN are told to get another and come back to work as soon as they do.

Once again, this isn't something that is the fault of the immigrants. This is shady Americans, not scumbag illegals.

I remember a superviser getting upset because one of his guys went to the emergency room and told them he got hurt on the job, which he did. The superviser thought he should have lied and that he was being disloyal to the company that went out on a limb to hire him. They fired him 2 weeks later.

Once again, this is shadey Americans taking advantage of the illegal status of some Mexicans. Cracking down on Mexicans doesn't solve this problem. Nor does making life hell for every small business in the country.

So people, don't tell me how honest these companys are because they know all the tricks and they take advantage of them, and why not, there are no repercussions.

I haven't read every word in this thread but I didn't notice anyone making any claim that everyone in the US who runs a business is a paragon of honesty or that all illegal immigrants are saints. Unfortunately every possible solution is like dragnet fishing - it will tear up a bunch of stuff best left alone to get at the fish you want caught.

People need to stop thinking like dummies about this and start thinking like people who want to solve problems. As somebody else said above, there's way too much hangup about the "illegal" part and not enough attention to trying to figure out how to make anything better.

For those who haven't noticed, there's so many freakin' laws about every damned thing in life anymore that we're all illegal in some way or other. You can't hardly throw away a lightbulb or battery anymore without violating state or federal law. Get over the petty "illegal" issue and figure out how to deal with the problem.

Step 1 is securing the danged border. Step 2 is converting the illegals that are useful to "legal" status. Step 3 is getting rid of the illegals that do worse things than walk across a line in the sand.

Posted by: Knucklehead at March 28, 2006 06:59 PM

The disconnect between media elites and average people is astonishing on this topic. The Washington Post, for example, just ran one moderate, sane, anti-illegal immigration op-ed by Robert Samuelson, but has now sandwiched it between dozens of essentially pro-illegal op-eds that have no sustainable theses; they're just full of platitudes and phrases in Spanish. It's so weird.

Build the damn wall already, I've had enough.

Posted by: Ergon Freely at March 28, 2006 07:42 PM

You know, the Mechistas have never had to deal with angry, mobilized Jacksonians. Their idea of mainstream Americans is the kind of whiney, placating multiculturalist flak-catchers that they typicially get coming around to apologise to them.


ITYM 'California Democrats'.

Hate to break it to them, but the rest of the country is not like Cali.


They are now upping the ante as the Jacksonians become mobilized on this issue. And they are like, so September 10th. I think they have some surprises coming.


Yup.

There are huge difficulties associated with solving this problem, and good reasons why ~80% of the illegals are good people who would be a net benefit to the country as citizens.

Doesn't matter. The jacksonians have been getting more and more pissed off about this issue for years, and they don't do nuance.

The laws are already on the books. Enforce them.

Posted by: rosignol at March 29, 2006 01:26 AM

"The jacksonians have been getting more and more pissed off about this issue for years, and they don't do nuance."

Right on. The big demos were 100% the wrong message.

I think we will see a law passed and no enforcement, yet again. But the issue won't go away, and the non-nuanced public is going to get angrier and angrier. Maybe in time for 2008.

Posted by: Lex at March 29, 2006 06:08 AM

Want to stop this problem tonight?
Start laying land mines across the southern border
Radical?
Sure
But effective

Another option - make hiring illegals a capital offense. Sentence a few big wigs to death, and voila, no more jobs.

OK - so this is way out there. But solutions exist that can solve the illegal immigration problem. The real problem is no one wants to solve it. For example, as was opined elsewhere in the blogosphere:

Businesses. Includes manufacturers, growers, banks, and their advocacy groups. - Cheap non-English speaking labor. CAn you spell "s-l-a-v-e-s"?

The Democratic Party. The Democratic leadership apparently sees illegal immigrants as a massive future voting bloc, and in addition that party is built on playing racial politics. Individual Democratic supporters may base their support on psychological factors, such as a fear of being called names or guilt. Democratic leaders and others play on those fears. Others may do so out of petty corrupt grounds, such as those who employ illegal domestic labor.

The Republican Party. While the GOP leadership will say that they support "immigration" in order to get the "Hispanic vote", the bottom line appears to be... the bottom line. Companies that profit off illegal labor donate to Republican politicians, and those politicians tend to do what is in the best interests of those companies.

The media. Almost all newspapers and their reporters support illegal immigration. They do that through editorials and frequently by publishing false or biased news reports. The reasons appear to be based in part on leftwing ideology and in part due to business reasons. For instance, in some small towns the local newspaper may support illegal immigration because the town bosses profit off the practice. Larger newspapers may do something similar. Many bloggers also support illegal immigration.

Racial and leftwing groups. Includes groups such as the National Council of La Raza ("The Race"), MALDEF, the National Immigration Forum, and countless others. Many of those are funded by leftwing foundations and are not grassroots groups. For instance, the Ford Foundation has given MALDEF over $25 million since the latter's founding.

Ideologues. Very few people support massive immigration out of mostly ideological reasons. However, some libertarians fall into this camp. This group could be ignored except for the fact that they are much more influential than just their numbers would indicate.

Extremists. There are various people and groups who support and oppose massive immigration largely on racial grounds. All white supremacist groups oppose immigration or illegal immigration because of the race of those immigrating. On the other hand, various Hispanic or Chicano groups support massive illegal for the same reason.

* The Catholic Church. They want new parishioners, and they also seem unable to figure out that illegal immigration leads directly to worker abuse.

* The not-yet-informed. Unfortunately, a large number of Americans aren't as familiar with this subject as they could be. They're easily swayed by false arguments, such as those who claim that "guest" workers would in fact be "guests".

Posted by: mitch at March 29, 2006 07:16 AM

Here's my proposed compromise:

1) Make Americanization -- assimiliation -- the key. Let the illegals here become legal and become citizens so long as they assimilate in the Anglo culture: learn English, stay out of trouble with the law, stay off welfare, pay their taxes, learn something about American history and, last but certainly not least, pay a substantial fine - I would suggest at least $10,000 per person. Since immigrating illegally is a civil, and not a criminal offense, a fine seems like the appropriate way to punish it, and it ought to be a significant amount of money. Many illegals pay thousands of dollars to smugglers; if they can do that, they can find the way to pay a large fine to the US Treasury.

2) I would dramatically increase immigation quotas, especially for immigrants with education and skills, but also for peasants with strong backs. I'd suggest 1-2 million immigration visas/year, or more. That would eliminate some of the unfairness to those who've been waiting in line for so long and would strengthen the American economy.

3) I'd build a fence on the Mexican border and police it night and day. The cost would be offset by the fines collected in Point 1 above.

That's it. This should satisfy everyone.

Posted by: DBL at March 29, 2006 08:23 AM

Another option - make hiring illegals a capital offense. Sentence a few big wigs to death, and voila, no more jobs.


All that would accomplish is create an instant 'high-quality forged ID' industry so the businesses could claim "we thought they were legal" and cover their butts.

Big fines are a better way to go, but actually enforcing the laws on the books would be a start.

Posted by: rosignol at March 29, 2006 09:42 AM

If a properly secured border is not substantially under way by 2008, there is an excellent opportunity for a Perot-type third party candidate to run on that issue. This would kill the GOP red-state strategy for that year and put Hillary or whoever in the white house. The GOP strategists should not discount that possibility.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at March 29, 2006 09:50 AM

"Perot-type third party candidate"

That is extremely likely in 2008, if the right person shows up. He runs on (1) reduced spending, smaller government, (2) a border fence, (3) no more nation-building, our military exists to defend America not build nursery schools in foreign countries that don't want us there, (4) protection of American jobs from outsourcing and foreign cheap labor.

That would be very popular and would absolutely kill the GOP. They no longer have credibility with their core constituency due to spending and immigration. Iraq and anti-free trade could be spun as populist issues that would go right to the Jacksonian heartland. I would not like (4) at all, but that would probably be part of the package.

Posted by: Lex at March 29, 2006 10:01 AM

I couldn't resist getting in on this one....how infurtiating is it to watch on TV thousands of illegals demanding the rights of American citizens!!!! While flying the Mexican flag??? What am I missing here? And of course, our politicians are going to be influenced by this disgusting display. The people who will be hurt most will be the middles class taxpayer....we have to pay for the services that they use when they come here, we have to accept lower paying jobs because they will work for less. Don't give me this BS that, "they take jobs Americans won't do". The real truth is they take the jobs at a lower pay than Americans can or should. After all, they come here and live three, four, five...you name it....families in one house or apartment. Americans don't do that. I could go on but I won't. As I see it...illegal immigrants should not be given any sort of path to citizenship. They should be weeded out and registered so that we know where they are and how many there are in any given community. They should be fingerprinted and assesed to see if they have a criminal record here or where ever they came from. If they check out okay, they can get a green, blue, pink, pokadot,(who cares) card which will allow them to work for a given period of time and then they have to go home and apply for citizenship and wait in line like everyone else who wants to come here legally. And as far as our borders are concerned. We will never keep them out with a fence. We have to work out some arrangement with the government of Mexico. If that means giving them money to develop programs in their country than so be it. In the long run it will cost us less to do that than to feed, cloth, educate their children, give them social security, medicaid, welfare and all the other benefits they demand illegally when they come here. Well I'm out of breath. I guess you know where I stand.

Posted by: Laurie Curtis at March 29, 2006 10:41 AM

Jim:
Thanks again for your comments. With respect to the Spanish speaking Catalans (els altres catalans as Fransec Candal calls them) we can't forget that this was a deliberate policy to destroy Catalan identity in all its forms during the 50-60s. Thus, the Catalans couldn't inculcate them with the traditional Catalan cultural values.
The situation is far more dire in Valencia where we have absurd political theatre with respect to the Valencia dialect and the new Estatut which effectively bars the Valencian nationalist partis from ever having forming the government.
At least the Americans have choices and teh freedom to implement them.

I fully endorse the policy that immigrants must respect the laws to settle in America and that the government has a duty to obey the laws it's legislated. However, neither Canadian nor American politicos are addressing the root problem: the necessary structural reforms in Latin America that'll open opportunities for some meritocracy and real advancement no matter what background.
The Latin American need to feel some pain from us. Not out of arrogance but out of necessity.

Posted by: xavier at March 29, 2006 10:56 AM

Dick Morris has it about right: the key thing the GOP base wants is a fence. We want the border secured and people coming in here in a law-abiding way. Get that in place, and working out the rest of the details is secondary.

Posted by: Lex at March 29, 2006 11:01 AM

Xavier is dead on the money - Latin America has to get its house in order one way or another. The huge level of remittances and their importance in those economies is the one real bargaining chip we have.

Who knows what getting its house in order will look like? Not like anything we are seeing now with a new generation of populist caudillos just like the old generation....

Various comments saying that we need enforcement of laws penalizing employers are good as far as they go, but they need to go further and ask why that doesn't happen. I can tell you - Congressinonal interference with enforcement actions. Every employer has a whore in Congress who can make trouble for a too-enthusiastic SAC or District Director. Three-four years ago the INS Portland District Director was canned for treating arriving passengers from China like they were probably illegal - which they probably were. Well, so what - business leaders in Portland didn't want to hear that part of the story. Message received, loud and clear.

The Jacksonian response is already underway. It's called the Minuteman Movement. It makes enforcement more difficult because you have gaggles of pudgy civilians getting in the Border Patrol's way. OTOH they have already saved lives - of illegal migrants stranded in the desert in August.

Posted by: Jim at March 29, 2006 12:19 PM

Mike K

"We now have millions of 50 year old Mexican men who are worn out. What are we going to do with them ?"

Why do "we" have millions of 50 year old Mexican men?

Why do "we" have to do anything with them, other then send them back to Mexico?

Posted by: flenser at March 29, 2006 03:11 PM

Doesn't anyone remember what happened in 1986. We had the same problem then only at that time the problem was much smaller. There were only an estimated 4 million illegal immigrants in the U.S at that time. There was a long period of wrangling with a great deal opposition to any type of amnesty from many people. After a lot of debate, a lot of promises were made. Those promises were made in the form of provisions in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Employeer sanctions were to be the "cornerstone" of the Act. The provisions were to impose fines to employers hiring illegal immigrants that would be so expensive and so certain that those businesses could no longer contine to simply consider these fines a cost of doing business. What can we say about employer sanctions today? If those sanctions had been imposed we probably would not have this this problem today. Would this system for verifying employee status have been expensive? Yes, it would have been but so is a 3,000 mile fence.
Hundreds of thousands of fraudlent applications were also submitted as a result of that Act and the INS had no choice but to approve them because they had neither manpowr nor money to investigate individual cases. I am afraid it is almost too late to solve this problem unless we remain firm that there will be no amnesty program in any form. Many ask what about the children of illegal immigrants born here and are therefore citizens. That has been a mistake. To allow children of illegal immigrants born in the U.S. to automatically become Americans citizens has been a big mistake. That portion of the consitution must be ammended. Now even if by some miracle we would pass some some type of legislation that would encourage all the illegal immigrants to return to their home countries with their anchor babies/children, only a temporary respite would occur. Once these anchor children reach the age of 18, they will have a right to return to the U.S. 1986 and 2006. Is the next amnesty program to be in 2026? Enforcement before amnesty. Remember 1986.
Ralph

Posted by: Ralph Kelly at March 29, 2006 05:51 PM

Although I came to US during the 1990s, I know what happened during 1986. Providing amnesty for the illegals will make people like me shameful when we have to stand in line for 5 years to get the same legalization. Is there a solution to the problem ? Yes !, but not amnesty. I see there is more politics than the real solution to the problem. You should have checked the legal immigration, the last time I saw was 4 years to get a legal GreenCard with all the hardships. If political leaders are so keen on giving the low-skilled jobs away for free citizenship, then what about the law-abiding high skilled workers who toil day and night to get the same legalization.

Posted by: Nyte at March 29, 2006 07:53 PM

My biggest problem with the 'send them home' argument is the method of determining who's legal and who isnt. Is it DUI checkpoint-style roadblocks in East LA, Phoenix,etc? When illegals are found are they going to be branded with a red 'I' so they can be identified if they sneak back in? We cant even think about arresting them and further overloading our local jails. I dont see any way around some form of amnesty AFTER we've sealed the borders to the best of our abilities.

Posted by: james at April 2, 2006 09:34 AM

just for giggles, let's pretend that someone snuck into your home, decided they liked it there and offered to do all your chores cheaply. and because these people are mostly law abiding and such, you allow them to stay. suppose further, they decide to have a couple babies and you are responsible for the medical bills and care for said children and because you pay for them, they are yours legally now. forever. and because your home is better, they invite other family members to move in. since your own family is quickly being outnumbered, you must learn to speak a new language to appease the strangers.

would you really allow this? could you afford this? would your existing family go without so the new family does not? would you bow to most of their demands so they are not offended?

now multiply that by 11 million. that is the united states now.

if this was your home, what would you do? would you buy new locks for your doors and windows?? most of us would have booted them out at the get go via the cops and secured our home better. but anyway...

we ask the following basic rules of our loved ones (i know my mom has said them to me years ago and I to my son) yet we are loathe to be so politically incorrect to people who have broken into our home (america) and taken over our lives.

1 - shut the door/secure the border. NO MORE.
2 - abide by ALL our 'house rules' ie laws, morals, language. period. no ifs and or buts. they have used up their 'guest' privileges.
3 - no more privileges until you are abiding by our rules.
4- it's fine if you don't abide by them...but you won't do it here. get out.

as far as children being american, there is this thing called birth control...there are even ways approved by the Catholic church. having a baby on american soil shouldn't be an automatic right for the parent to stay. (you don't think they might do this on purpose?)

i realize i have simplified this to an extreme and things won't be solved that easily. but its time to stop the flow into this country while we enforce the existing laws and get this under control. perhaps if there were consequences to their actions, the flow would cease or at least drop to a trickle. why shouldn't they come here? we have jobs...we have welfare...we have lax gov't agencies that make it easy to stay under cover...we are too politically correct to say anything to offend them while they stay here illegally and the best reason...BECAUSE WE LET THEM.

or maybe, we could pull a 'castro' of sorts. for the 11 million illegals that are here, we'll send mexico 11 million of our citizens who are incarcerated. might make mexico care that their citizens are leaving in droves. (that might make the crime rate go down here if criminals knew they'd be shipped out of the country instead of getting 3 hots and a cot courtesy of their state. haha and that people is sarcasm....dont flame me for that.)

shut the damn door. thats step one. then we can figure out who's illegal, who's not, who can stay who has to go or whatever we need to do. but we cannot do it if we are allowing more n more people in every day...as evidenced by the past, it just spirals out of control.

Posted by: chris at April 3, 2006 04:17 AM

We HAVE to get on top of the assimilation question.

For perspective, here's a list of the populations for the seven most populous U.S. states:

California - 35,484,453
Texas - 22,118,509
New York - 19,190,115
Florida - 17,019,068
Illinois - 12,653,544
Pennsylvania - 12,365,455
Ohio - 11,435,798
(source: http://geography.about.com/cs/censuspopulation1/a/2003estimates.htm)

In other words, the number of illegal immigrants, put all together, would make up at least the seventh or eighth largest state in the union. That's if the 11,000,000 is accurate, and it probably isn't.

Were the U.S. to adopt the Senate's recent bill, which proposes allowing illegals already in the country the opportunity to "earn" citizenship--while doing next to nothing to stop more from coming in--we would in effect be admitting a 51st state, one larger than at least 43 existing states, into the U.S.

And this new state would be made up entirely of people who began their lives in the U.S. by flouting its laws, and many of whom refuse to assimilate. How much longer until something is done to curb illegal immigration? How many more Ohio's do we want to add?

Posted by: dangerbull at April 3, 2006 10:21 AM

As all of the post have read,we must control the borders. I have no problem with immigration but I damn sure have a problem with a bunch of illegal protesters waving their stupid flag around. Take that crap back to Mexico where it belongs. THis is America not Mexico. I just wander how in the world these people thought this flag waving crap was going to help thier cause. IF the average person was fired up about illegal immigration before they sure are now. As far as voting goes. I used to consider myself a firm democrat that couldn't be swayed but now I am just not sure who to listen to anymore about anything. Both parties are a joke. No one is going to do anything about any of this. There will be a lot of grandstanding with this one and that one claiming some kind of credit for really doing nothing. And I say that because there is already laws on the books to prevent this from happening and they are as worthless as the paper it is written on so why should we believe any new laws will be enforced?
The democrats see votes,the republicans see votes. I am just seeing RED!

Posted by: Carla at April 4, 2006 12:47 PM

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Posted by: vmgjydna at September 23, 2007 03:06 AM
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