April 03, 2006

The Face of the 08 Elections?

Speculation is now rampant in the blogosphere over the possibility of a Perot-type independent US Presidential candidacy focusing on the topic of immigration and the security of the Mexican border. If that is the case, and particlarly if such a candidate also has Perot's pocketbook, we have to assume that something like the following photographs, or equivalent video, will appear frequently, nay, incessantly, in the television advertisements for that candidate, whoever he (or she) may be. This would be the Republican National Committee's nightmare, because it wouldn't have to gather too many votes to guarantee a Republican loss throughout their electoral heartland. In fact, it might gather many votes, maybe even enough to throw the election into the House of Representatives for resolution.

At this point, merely symbolic gestures by the Administration, or by the Republicans in Congress, would not satisfy the bulk of this constituency. One of several substantive measures would have to be taken to avoid a large-scale desertion of the Jacksonian element of the GOP. I think the best of these options would be a border barrier, which could take the form of a fence or even a wall on the model of the Israeli security barrier. In fact, I think that none of the other measures could even be debated intelligently until such a barrier had been constructued. There are several reasons why this is so.

Consider. The barrier has, far more than any other proposed action, a finite and visible metric -- the wall is done when the wall is, well, done. This is not the case with any other proposed action, such as a criminalization of employment of illegals. Congress and the Executive tend to have a bad case of confusing passage of a law with actually making anything happen, as can be seen from the history of the Homeland Security Department. Passing a law criminalizing hiring of illegals, although widely advocated, is very far from guaranteeing that even one actually guilty employer will be convicted and punished. Whereas we can all see when the barrier has been constructed.

Consider that effective enforcement would have to create a means of permitting employers to verify the eligibility of a job candidate, which means either a genuinely forgery-proof national ID card and/or an effective, accurate data base of all eligible US nationals (and everybody, even the blondest guëro, would have to present verification). As currently proposed, this would be done by the Department of Homeland Security. Presumably, implementation would be provided by the Effective Government Fairy.

Uh, this is the agency that can't maintain a much smaller No-Fly List database without keeping Ted Kennedy off of it (and consider the urgent public interest in keeping the Senator from behind the wheel of a car any more than absolutely necessary), or to amalgamate the data bases of its various agencies, or even amalgamate the data bases within any of its agencies. And of course the idea of a national ID card assumes that we are going to somehow detect all the errors and forgeries that the current local ID documents contain when they are used to verify IDs for the national card -- when in reality a national card would tend to validate and preserve forever unquestioned the errors that have already exist in current IDs.

If we are going to ask the government to do something, we are wisest when we pick tasks that governments tend to do well, and avoid the tasks governments tend to do poorly. Piling rocks on top of each other is a job governments have been doing splendidly since the days of the Pyramids. Enforcing a ban on hiring illegals within the US, on the other hand, is, in technical law enforcement terms, a victimless crime -- that is to say, an act which, although illegal, leaves neither a complaining victim, nor a body. (Don't bother commenting about all the harm that victimless crimes cause -- the term has to do with the technical fact of how the act comes to the attention of the police, not with the moral status of the action.) This means that the crime can be uncovered only through the use of informers, or the massive review of the actions of a generally innocent public.

Either of these methods are very open to abuse and constitute a substantial intrusion of government into the everyday lives of people -- something I find objectionable as well as degrading to civil society. In actual fact, criminalizing hiring of illegals would probably only provide a handful of high-profile cases for somebdy like Elliot Spitzer to use as a platform for electoral grandstanding -- and we have far too much criminalization of routine business activity as it is. And if the enforcement did start to be effective, its primary result would be to drive a substantial number of small employers futher into the grey-market world of under-the-table cash transactions, something which again erodes civil society.

Enforcement at the border, on the other hand, especially with a barrier that cannot be crossed quickly, is the one point at which the action can be apprehended directly and without much ambiguity. Therefore it makes sense to concentrate government resources at this point. To the extent that enablers are penalized, this enforcement can concentrate on the coyote rather than the employer. For example, a useful tactic might be to give a green card to one, and only one, of a group of apprehended illegals in return for actions leading to the conviction of the coyote, thus making the "prisoner's dilemma" work in our favor. (The one case where I would support active prosecution of employers would be where the employer has knowingly colluded with the border-crosser, for instance by paying the coyote's fees. Turning in such people could also earn a reward, either for the border-crosser, or for the coyote himself.)

Without an effectively secured border, none of the other measures are likely to work well, even if we decide that we can stand them. Particularly programs that require a large force of government agents to be effective day in and day out in the face of a substantial segment of the public that does not want them to succeeed. Without a barrier, we cannot even consider any other form of regularization, and say "but this time we mean it". With a barrier, however, we have a much wider range of options. Of course a barrier won't be cheap, won't be quick, and will never be 100% effective. But it will be cheaper in the long term than a new, massive internal police force, and it doesn't need to be 100% effective -- it just needs to make things substantially more difficult than they are today.

Many people also point out that any amnesty program today would only be an invitation for many more new illegals to come in, in the expectation that this amnesty would not be the last. As things are today, this is true. With a barrier, it would be possible to start discussing seriously the terms and conditions of regularization, increased legal quotas, conditions of entry and residence, and other issues. Since I do not have any objection to immigrants per se, and since I also think that the total number of immigrants the US admits could be quite high, given an active assimilation culture, I would support a generous offer on all counts. But it doesn't make sense to start talking about it when one side of the discussion has no intent to wait before acting, and the other side has no means of preventing it.

If the current administration cannot grasp these simple facts, then it will suffer in 08 and before for it.

UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer examines the same data and comes to the same conclusion, as does Hugh Hewitt (who has written a chapter on the idea in his latest book). And the more I watch the way the current immigration legislation is playing out in the US Congress, the more I see that the problems with other solutions are rising to the surface. Employer sanctions are like tax cuts -- they can be dialed up or dialed down by political pressures once public attention has turned elsewhere. A barrier is a (excuse the expression) concrete fact. Once built, it's there.

Posted by James C. Bennett at April 3, 2006 05:11 PM
Comments

While I agree that piling rocks is a task that the Government's up-to; the actual logistics of actually fortifying the entire Mexican and Canadian borders is staggering...and what do you do about riverine barriers like the Rio Grande and St. Lawrence? And there's the open waters of the four Great Lakes with plenty of recreational and commercial watercraft. You can't "barrier" the American frontiers unless you willing to summon the damned-shades of Walter Ulbricht and Erich Honecker to build them and recruit American Stasi-tropps willing to shoot-to-kill women and children attempting to cross. My family hasn't fought America's wars since Louisbourg to have that happen.
Nor to conduct the larget man-hunt since the SS were turned-loose to root-out Europe's Jews, socialists and undesireables. There are over 12,000,000 people illegally in this country...that's about twice the number of European Jews that died as a result...and about the total population killed in the camps. Do you have the stomach to order and enforce the "round-up and detention" 12,000,000 people on American soil? Are you prepared to order house-to-house armed searches, and condon sanitaires? If so, you had better start ordering barbed-wire and cattle cars.... Remember, that's four-times the number in all our Federal, state and county prison-facilities.
The only practical, logical approach is to make it as easy and painless as possible to get every illegal to register...and to create a process for advanced "blue-carding" on future guest-workers that can be scanned efficiently-enough that the "legal traffic" will return to the controlled entre-ports and close-down the illegal trails and tunnels for human-trafficking. Don't drive the illegals farther underground with punitive fines and load threats of deporting teir entire families...including the US-born, US Citizen children. Intice them to register...get them to get their taxes caught-up, and get them on either a guest-worker program or on the citizenship-track. Now, I can support saying that they will have to wait longer that those with proper documentation; say increasing the waiting-period to 10-years. But don't spring gatcha's and insist they return home and wait...they'll just dig deeper underground.
If the issue is National Security, then we need to be worrying about the Islamofascist; and they have to fly here, or sail to the New World. Concentrate on the airports and ports through North and Central America. Stop them at the airports, a'board ship...they can't walk on water to get here.
If the issue is Xenophobia, it's a few hundred years too-late to worry about that; you can't keep them out, it's a hydraulic-inevitability. You can only manage the process from a practical-perspective and take steps to ensure their eventual trans-generational assimulation.

Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) at April 4, 2006 12:34 AM

The real answer is to both secure the boarder via a better wall and lower the incentives for illigal entry by making it much easyer to enter legally. See my post at Anglosphere union now!

http://anglosphereunionnow.blogspot.com/2006/04/modest-proposal.html

Posted by: Adams (steph) at April 4, 2006 08:10 AM

Before getting too worked up over immigration, just ask yourself who's going to be paying for your retirement.

Posted by: Peter at April 4, 2006 08:21 AM

I think build some kind of fence in order to silence the immigration restrictionists, while implementing guest worker and earned legalization programs. Tie the implementation of the guest worker program to the completion of some portion of the fence in order to provide a metric. For instance, say the guest worker program will not be put into effect until all of the population centers along the US-Mexico border are fenced off. Placate the restrictionists by making the punishment for anyone caught crossing the border over this period very harsh (detention until the fence is completed, denial of entry into the country for several decades)and couple this with a four-fold increase in the number of legal immigrants allowed in to our nation under the current quotas. Implement this once the fence is completed. Regardless, anything like this needs to be tied to an assimilation program.

Posted by: Colin at April 4, 2006 08:29 AM

Ted B. : Calm down and read my post again -- if I don't favor criminalization of illegals in the workplace, I'm hardly arguing for deportation. And I'm not arguing for a Canadian fence -- in fact the logic of the situation is driving for a customs and frontier union with Canada, which would also free up all the border agents on the northern line to be used in the south. Illegal border-crossers are poor people who can just afford a bus ticket to the border, and the coyote's fee; they're not about to be buying plane tickets to Canada and talking their way though Canada Customs.

And there's no particular reason to shoot border-crossers unless they are armed and shoot first -- a barrier just needs to prevent people from crossing.

Colin is right -- the long-term answer will be some mix of control and regularization that encourages the assimilation of those who stay in the US. But as long as it's feasible to just walk across the border none of the other solutions are gooing to get anywhere. And a barrier iss the least-intrusive way of meeting the problem.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at April 4, 2006 09:01 AM

If enforcement against employers is so distateful, even though they are the major draw, how about simply collapsing the pay differential between illegal workers and everyone else and collapsing the market for illegals? Encourage the unions to organize the workers, legal, illegal, whatever, so that equal work gets equal pay. Take the profit out of hiring illegals and it will stop and the flow of illegals will stop or decrease soon after that. Let simple labor justice fix the problem.

Secondly, we wouldn't even be having this discussion if Mexico weren't such a mess. It's gain for us if the Mexicans come here, and gain for them if they come legally and get paid equally, but it's more gain for them if they get tomstay honme and have a decent life.

Posted by: Jim at April 4, 2006 10:18 AM

Ted B. can relax about the northern border. We Canadians are quite happy here, and anyone that needs a job can go to Alberta (where the labour shortage is turning tradesmen into millionaires.)

There are border issues – marijuana flowing south and handguns heading north. These, however, are largely conventional law enforcement problems that don’t require extraordinary measures.

With regard to security, it’s worth remembering that the 9/11 gang were legally admitted directly into the United States. Though few Americans would be aware of it, Canada routinely uses security certificates that permit terrorist suspects to be detained indefinitely. Moreover, there is absolutely no public outcry about this measure.

Despite the illusions of citizens on both sides of the border, the differences between Canadians and Americans are trivial. We are each others’ greatest trading partners, natural allies and inheritors of essentially the same cultural traditions. Both countries should make every effort to strengthen this relationship rather than erect unnecessary and futile barriers.

Posted by: Jim V at April 4, 2006 10:43 AM

Let's not confuse the Canadian and Mexican borders. While both are susceptible to security threats (terrorists, weapons or drug smuggling, etc.) only one border is the area of cultural and transnational concern, under the guise of MASS permanent immigration. It ain't Canada.

Posted by: Interested Conservative at April 4, 2006 11:49 AM

Right on, James. The only problem with the notion of an "active assimilation culture" is that it doesn't weigh in the fact that an ever-expanding population changes the quality of life which America presently enjoys. What does that mean? Just ask China, or Hong Kong, where you can't find an acre of residential land. And if you did, it would cost roughly 15 million USD. (I know this from an investor who just purchased such a property)

Anyway, it's a major debate and one of the most important issues of our time. We've been actively following immigration (link below) and feel free to give any feedback.

http://www.californiaconservative.org/?cat=22

Posted by: California Conservative at April 4, 2006 11:49 AM

What about overstayers? i.e., folks who come in legally with tourist or student visas and then just blend themselves in for a permanent stay?

Maybe your view is that a wall at least keeps out the people who can't get themselves in with a visa?

Posted by: David at April 4, 2006 11:52 AM

Where do we start? I'd rather vote for "none of the above" than a do-nothing member of the GOP. They are just utterly pathetic.

Posted by: Diane at April 4, 2006 12:00 PM

There are border issues – marijuana flowing south and handguns heading north. These, however, are largely conventional law enforcement problems that don’t require extraordinary measures.

More victimless crimes, easily dealt with by simply doing away with the respective neo-Prohibitionist regimes.

Posted by: R C Dean at April 4, 2006 12:06 PM

A wall would cost billions. I have a better idea that costs infinitely less and solves several other problems as well. Put the "Crips" and "Bloods" to work doing, well, what they do best. Offer a bounty of $50 for every alive and uninjured "undocumented worker" (criminal illegal alien) that's turned in to the Border Patrol. Watch our "Disenfranchised" citizens suddenly become productive tax-paying law-enforcing "members of society". Folks, at $50/per it would only cost $60 million to round up 12 million of these insects. That's how many are in the country. Time to ante' up, and saddle up, boys! Shit, i'll run for President on that plank in my platform and I guarantee i'll win.

Posted by: Nostradamus at April 4, 2006 12:19 PM

Jim-

Where does Ted B. seem to be not calm?

It's simple-if it's a matter of natonal security the Canadian border is just as porous. If that is truly your concern then you would be in favor of both.

Tancredo proposes both does he need to "calm down"?

David-

Overstays are-

33% of illegal immigrants

INS Report {-a fence isn't the answer.}

Posted by: Rachel at April 4, 2006 12:26 PM

Peter sez: >Before getting too worked up over immigration, just ask yourself who's going to be paying for your retirement.

Posted by: H. Blix at April 4, 2006 12:26 PM

Dick Lamm

Posted by: Robert R. at April 4, 2006 12:27 PM

Take 11 milliopn and issue guest worker permits. Tell them they must sign up for it. If not, and found out, they get deported. If signed up, they can work 3 years at minimum wage. After 3 years, they become citizens by serving in the US military (if between 18-35) for two years to show love of our country. If they choose not to serve, then no renewal of guest permit and they must leave. This way we get something in return for the mess they have (with our help) created.

Posted by: nathan zuckerman at April 4, 2006 12:31 PM

[i]Before getting too worked up over immigration, just ask
yourself who's going to be paying for your retirement.[/i]

I'll offer no source, which may be a clue that I'm possibly
quite wrong, but it's my understanding that average illegal
is a net economic loss to american society, not a gain. Thus
the more illegals the less money there will be to pay for
your retirement.

Children cost money to the society at large, retirees cost
money, prisoners cost money, the unemployed cost money,
and even people that have a job but make too little money are
a net cost to the society at large.

Children are a bit different than the other groups above
in that although a present loss they represent a future gain.
Unfortunately the children of illegals are disproportionately
failing to learn to read and write and do math. Although
it's possible for an illiterate person to be economically
successfull, the odds are against it.

Posted by: Mark Amerman at April 4, 2006 12:38 PM

The illegal immigrants are here because of the money. If you want them to go home, make it hard for them to keep that money. When the Feds get somebody for selling illegal drugs they seize their assets, the idea being that there is a strong likelihood that they were purchased with money made from their illegal activities. Why not do the same to illegal immigrants? I would go a step further and set up a program that would reward people with a percentage of the money seized ( say 50%) if they were to give information which led to the apprehension of such people, and I would extend the eligibility to illegal aliens and their employers as well.

Just imagine the situations at places that have large numbers of illegal immigrants on their payrolls. Each one of them has to contend with the idea that one of their number might opt to turn the others in in order to collect a rather generous amount of money, maybe more money than he could otherwise make in a year. The first one to rat out the others wins, and the rest all lose. The logical thing to do then is to do unto others before they do unto you. And I bet they would.

And it would be one powerful disincentive for anyone else who is contemplating an illegal entry into the US.

Posted by: tcobb at April 4, 2006 12:38 PM

Rachel:

If overstayers are 33% of the problem then illegal crossers are 67%. If a fence fixes 67% of the problem then it sounds like a good answer to me.

Posted by: Kyle at April 4, 2006 12:42 PM

I am drawn to the Employment side of the equation. Effective enforcement of employment has the attractive benefit of addressing not only the national security aspects of the problem but also deals with the issue of current illegal immigrants. Without a job the current illegal will self deport and the pressure at the border would be minimal. A side benefit would be a response to the growing ID theft problem.

We now have in place an on-line Social Security data base that provides employers the means to verify that each prospective employee has a valid name/number. That alone could have a big impact. Invalid numbers would be immediate spotted and someone using a valid but stolen ID could be detected by the multiple filings. Any efforts spent to tighten the ID theft issue would also have collateral benefits.

Posted by: jls at April 4, 2006 12:42 PM

Offer citizenship to anyone who'll sign up for five years in The American Foreign Legion, a low-quality military organization (five divisions of light infantry) we can send out as shock troops; if they get knocked off, "Nightline" won't be interested in reading their names.

Posted by: Sanssoucy at April 4, 2006 12:54 PM

The highest priority is to cut off the flow. Anyone whose basement has been flooded by a burst pipe knows this.

As for those who are already here I favor a policy of benign neglect. You can stay as long as you don't make trouble. Any illegal arrested for any crime should do jail time and then be sent back to their home country. Also illegals are not elegible for citizenship. If they want it, they need to return to their home country and apply through proper and legal means.

Posted by: Kyle at April 4, 2006 12:58 PM

Targeting the employment side sounds great, but the politcal pressure is tremendous not to enforce those laws against employers. I think the statistic is that a total of 3 employers have been targetd in recent years. I remember a few raids on employers several years back that were quickly halted after flack from Congress Reps.

What's wrong with building a wall? While other appraches might work or complement a real border, what damage is done by having a barrier?

Re: Illegals paying for retirement. The vast majority don't even have a high school education. Uneducated workers are a drain on gov't revneues, so more aren't going to help. Check out the NR editorial today.

Posted by: Clark at April 4, 2006 01:00 PM

Hiring illegals is not actually a victimless crime. Victims include legal immigration applicants who cannot get a visa because they cannot demonstrate a demand for their services -- a demand which manifestly exists and is being met by the illegal.

Posted by: Ken B at April 4, 2006 01:04 PM

The problem with building a wall is that it won't keep them out. I live in San Diego and see illegal climbing the walls we have every day. They climb over, dig under, swim around or fly over. A wall can push the traffic from one place to another but it will have little impact on the net arrivals.

I appreciate the concern with the political pressures surrounding the "targeting the employment side". Two thoughts about that. First, times have changed and the GWOT has raised the stakes over border security. I believe it is clear to everyone we cannot long endure an unsecured border. Even the employers understand the need for change. Second, a guest worker program and allowing a transition period will provide the opportunity for the employers to adapt.

Targeting employment and providing a realistic option for employers to adjust looks like the road to travel.

Posted by: jls at April 4, 2006 01:18 PM

Build the wall, including two (and no more) "Ellis Crossing" stations. Weed out the felons and communicable disease carriers, everyone else gets a copy of the want ads, a list of charities providing immigrant aid, a Spanish-English dictionary, and a hearty welcome to the United States.

Oh, and dismantle the welfare state. That'll pay for any number of walls, and replace the perverse incentives for immigration with positive incentives (economic opportunity brought about by lower taxes and decreased market distortion.

I go with Julian Simon: human ingenuity is the most important resource, so let's get some more humans. Make legal immigration easier, get hold of border security, and remove perverse incentives for immigration. My program may be overly simplistic, but focusing on the objectives I outline here ought to lead to a workable solution.

As far as who's gonna pay for my retirement: Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, I hope and plan to work until I don't wake up one fine morning.

Posted by: Oldsmoblogger at April 4, 2006 01:22 PM

Recent polls indicate 60% of Mexicans have some desire to move to the US. Mexico is poor because of bad government. Mexico is tacitly invading the US. The solution is easy, invade and move the border South.

Just kidding, mostly.

Posted by: rjschwarz at April 4, 2006 01:50 PM

Canadian borders are pourous, that's no secret. And as soon as my paisanos realize that flying to Canada is sometimes cheaper than paying a Coyote... well, you figure it out.

Posted by: marvin d at April 4, 2006 01:51 PM

No amnesty - we did that in 86 and 20 years later we have four times as many. Who wants 48 million illegals in 2026? There can be no reward for their illegal presence!

We can't evict them but we can't reward them either. Let them remain illegal and any felony conviction or tax evasion gets them deported - only after we print them and have DNA samples. If they return, ten years hard time, no plea bargains.

Posted by: FastNed at April 4, 2006 01:58 PM

"Canadian borders are pourous, that's no secret. And as soon as my paisanos realize that flying to Canada is sometimes cheaper than paying a Coyote... well, you figure it out."

Marvin, so the Canadians will allow planeload after planeload of illegal Mexicans to land at their airports, deplane, go through their airports unhindered, then make their merry way to America?

Sound like you've got all figured out.


Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 02:33 PM

The only things that will be effective are a serious, multi-fence barrier along critical parts (or all if neccessary) of the border, combined with punishing employer fines and penalties. Good walls and fences work, and once employers see other employers fined and penalized severely, they'll begin cleaning up the act.

The problem won't be solved quickly, but those two tactics will greatly reduce it over time.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 02:39 PM

After 3 years, they become citizens by serving in the US military (if between 18-35) for two years to show love of our country.

The US military service currently requires that all enlistees have an IQ of 92 or more, as measured by the AFQT test.

Posted by: David Davenport at April 4, 2006 02:40 PM

Peter sez:

"Before getting too worked up over immigration, just ask yourself who's going to be paying for your retirement."

A good illustration of immigration debate, 99% hot air, 1% facts.

From www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry200604040747.asp and the same data can be easily found:

-------------------
The National Research Council reports that an immigrant to the U.S. without a high-school diploma — whether legal or illegal — consumes $89,000 more in governmental services than he pays in taxes during his lifetime. An immigrant with only a high-school diploma is a net cost of $31,000. Eighty percent of illegal immigrants have no more than a high-school degree, and 60 percent have less than a high-school degree.

Steve Camarota of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies estimates that illegal immigrants cost the federal government $10 billion a year. State and local governments lose even more. Illegals pay some taxes, but not enough to cover governmental expenses like Medicaid and treatment for the uninsured.

According to Camarota, if illegal immigrants were legalized, their net annual cost to the federal government would only increase, tripling to $30 billion a year. Immigrant workers don't earn enough to pay much in taxes, while they qualify for all sorts of governmental assistance. As they become legal, they will get even more assistance — the benefits that they get from the Earned Income Tax Credit, for instance, would increase by a factor of 10.

Whatever benefit illegals provide to the economy in general must be minuscule. All workers without a high-school education — illegal and otherwise — account for only 3 percent of economic output.

------------------


Back to blowing hot air.


Posted by: Mik at April 4, 2006 02:46 PM

"A wall can push the traffic from one place to another but it will have little impact on the net arrivals"

Kindly explain the impact Israel fence had on self-explodies getting through.

Your average self-exploding terrorist is more motivated than mexican peasant. Why don't they get through?

Back to blowing hot air.

Posted by: Mik at April 4, 2006 02:53 PM

I take it that all herein who oppose building a wall on the US-Mex border also oppose Israel's West Bank wall?

... a West Bank wall which DOES seem to be doing the job of keeping undesirables out, by the way.

Posted by: David Davenport at April 4, 2006 02:54 PM

OK, 30 comments later and I haven't heard any real objection to a barrier other than 1. it'll cost a lot to build a real one; 2. border-crossers can evade the present wall in San Diego (i.e., the current one isn't tall enough.) Plus various enthusiasms for workplace criminalization that don't take into account the objections I listed above -- basically, that you have to envision how a proposed program would work in the real world. Employers already have to file an I-9 with the social security number on it. Illegals can buy high-quality fake Green Cards and Social Security cards for trivial sums in any big city of the US. Whatever "forgery-proof" ID DHS created would be on sale within a week in the same spots. The FBI spent at least three billion dollars trying to amalgamate several of their computer systems and finally gave up in frustration -- that would pay for three-quarters of a barrier. The kind of enforcement effort that would be required for workplace criminalization would far outstrip the costs of a barrier, and be much less likely to be effectively implemented. As for data theft, centralizing all that key ID data in a single national database would in fact create an enormous fat target for identity theives.

If all we had to worry about were the border-crossers able to swim several miles of ocean, or who could afford to fly to Canada and talk their way past Canada Customs, we would be way ahead of the game from where we are today. (And a customs union with Canada would close that door, while freeing up thousands of Border Patrol agents.) As the gross numbers of border-crossers fall, the resources available to deal with visa-overstayers would increase proportionately. (And think about the failure to track visa-overstayers -- that's another data collection failure again, once again from a far smaller data base than an employment database would be.)

And Ted B. needs to calm down becuase I had not advocated the sort of mass deportation he was dramatically describing. (Nobody, even the hard-core restrictionists like Krikorian, is advocating a mass deportation.)

What I'm saying is that building a comprehensive barrier on the souther border is not only the most logical course of action, it's probably the only realistic one that can be taken.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at April 4, 2006 02:58 PM

Remember the high tech "McNamara Wall" along the DMZ in Vietnam? That one failed, even with the unhindered assistance of the US Air Force, Army and Marines.

In the debate in Congress, many are against a real wall because they know it will work. They are in favor of a "virtual" high tech wall because they know it won't work.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 03:00 PM

"The kind of enforcement effort that would be required for workplace criminalization would far outstrip the costs of a barrier, and be much less likely to be effectively implemented. As for data theft, centralizing all that key ID data in a single national database would in fact create an enormous fat target for identity theives."

Nonsense. Once severe penalties are enforced against a small number of employers, and the enforcement proceeds, the "decriminalization" of the workplace by removing illegal workers will motivate others hiring illegals to clean-up their act.

We can already identify many illegals, and we do. We can certainly find umpteen employers will illegals on the payroll. Easily.

We have to have a serious physical barrier and workplace enforcement.

You're demanding perfection when the good will largely get the job done.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 03:09 PM

Good question about the Israel fence. The main differences I see between there and here are in quantity and quality. Where Israel has a relatively few "self-exploding" to interdict we truly have a massive number of people on the move. Our border patrol picks up and returns thousands each day but their efforts are swamped by the river of people. Second, the people coming here are not evil and intend no harm. Our border patrol treat them accordingly and simply send them back. There is no punishment and they can keep trying until they succeed.

A fence won't change the equation but reducing employment opportunity will.

Posted by: jls at April 4, 2006 03:19 PM

Will, the big corporations will spend a great deal of lawyers' fees proving that they had in fact adequately reviewed prospective employees' documentation, and that the government hadn't proven that they had knowingly hired illegals or had been negligent in reviewing IDs. Wal-Mart and the like will require whatever ID the government requires, and the employees will show it -- or something that can't readily be told apart from it.

But the bulk of illegals are employed by small employers, and much of that is informal, paid under the table in cash -- which means it's already illegal. Workplace criminalization will just drive many borderline small employers over the line into the grey market, which will make it harder to find them, and also keep them more on the margins of civil society.

Why is workplace criminalization going to work any better than any of the government's other no-complaining-victim crime enforcement efforts? I don't think the Effective Government Fairy is going to help out on this one either.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at April 4, 2006 03:22 PM

I once ran the numbers, and an Israeli style border wall, impossible to climb without getting caught, would cost a couple percent of one year's defense budget.

As for internal enforcement, nobody is in a better position to rat on employers of illegal aliens than the illegal aliens themselves. Offer a substantial bounty to any illegal alien who turns their employer in, and it will just become too dangerous to hire them.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore at April 4, 2006 03:41 PM

Jim,

I don't disagree with most of what you say, but you seem to be going with a notion that drives me nuts in this debate: if we can't have perfect enforcement, then let's have no enforcement at all. And no enforcement at all is what many of the "perfectionists" seem to want to me.

If we applied that same thinking to other areas, we'd stop all law enforcement because we'll never catch all the criminals, let alone prevent all the crimes. And we'll never be able to arrest all the real criminals, or convict all the guilty who're actually indicted. So, let's just abandon all those efforts since we'll never achieve perfection.

That's precisely the "logic" some use to thwart any real efforts at immigration law enforement. I think they just don't won't the laws enforced at all. They especially don't want a serious physical barrier because they know they work to a great degree, but not perfection. So use the lack of perfection to oppose what they don't want at all.


Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 03:43 PM

"Wal-Mart and the like will require whatever ID the government requires, and the employees will show it -- or something that can't readily be told apart from it."

I agree that verification has been a problem and not easy to resolve. My suggestion is to use the Social Security system. You can't get a job without a number. The link below is to a currently available web site for verifying Social numbers on-line and in real time: http://www.ssa.gov/employer/ssnv.htm

No excuse to hire someone without a valid name/number.

Posted by: jls at April 4, 2006 03:48 PM

"Why is workplace criminalization going to work any better than any of the government's other no-complaining-victim crime enforcement efforts? I don't think the Effective Government Fairy is going to help out on this one either."

The workplace is already "criminalized" because it's illgal to hire illegal aliens. I've already said, start enforceing the laws with stiff fines and other penalities and most employers will start obeying the law to avoid the punishments. Sort of like how people slow down on the highway when the highway patrol is sitting alongside and ticketing some speeders, or when the oncoming cars flash their lights to indicate that a patrolman is somewhere ahead.

It ain't complicated. Start seriously enforcing a law, and most start obeying the law. The reality is those who benefit from this lawbreaking don't want the laws enforced, and they have many politicians to cover for them. The voters will have to scare the pols enough to change their ways, or else they won't.


Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 03:57 PM

"But the bulk of illegals are employed by small employers, and much of that is informal, paid under the table in cash"

My observation is that statement was true a few years ago but in the past ten years illegals have penetrated deep into the labor pool. At one time they were the farm worker and the manual laborer but today they dominate some large industries like restaurants and construction and perform at the highest skill levels.

I don't have the data but I am interested in learning what percentage of the illegals could sustain themselves if they could only get employment in the "under the table" cash economy.

Posted by: jls at April 4, 2006 04:02 PM

One senator said on the floor yesterday that tens of thousands of people are using the SSN of 000 00 0000, and get away with it. That shows how serious our government is about enforcing immingration law.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 04:06 PM

One senator said on the floor yesterday that tens of thousands of people are using the SSN of 000 00 0000, and get away with it. That shows how serious our government is about enforcing immigration law.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 04:06 PM

There's already a law on the books that requires employers to verify and record an employee's elegibility to work in the USA before hiring. My wife and I own a small company (almost 9 years now) and have comleted the I-9 form (yes, INS no longer exists but it's still called an I-9), "Employment Eligibility Verification". Don't know what the penalty is for not verifying elegibility, and don't intend to find out the hard way. If employers would just do what the law now requires, much of the illegal immigration problem would go away. Since they won't, the border barrier is the obvious place to start.

Posted by: Doug at April 4, 2006 04:15 PM

Ted B: Finally I hear somebody using his head on the immigration issue.
I am a legal immigrant and I also think that it is unfair for someone that didn´t respect the rules to get a pass that I didn´t get. But from there to deport 5% of the US population (12 to 15 Million people (as you point out some US citizens will need to be deported as well or putted in foster homes since they are kids) Plus sending to jail several hundred thousand employers or charity workers is so ridiculous that I can´t believe that it is even said.
The mantra “which part of illegal don´t you understand” is a fallacy. It is obvious that there are degrees of illegality. Not every trespass deserves the maximum penalty. I always wander if these people never had a speed ticket.
If securing the border would REALLY be the purpose, it is better to concentrate the resources chasing terrorists and gangsters, not Guatemalan nannies. And since they are easier to catch, it would probably all that the border patrol would do.
Penalty for law brakers? Sure. But it should be proportionate and possible take into account how long they have been here as it has been lately said.
But if you want really to solve the problem for the future, create an immigration system that takes into account the laws of he market. This is the same thing as price controls. When they come around they automatically produce a black market. NOTHING stops that. Not even Hitler could stop it with Treblinka at his disposal.
I was listening to a radio talk show today and he said that his grand father was a national hero because he had came here LEGALLY. But the point is that at that time there WAS a legal way to come. Nowadays is really extremely difficult (I can testify to that).

Posted by: Isidro Beccar Varela at April 4, 2006 04:17 PM

OK. The Israeli Wall analogy is hyperbole.

Mexicans are not coming over to bomb America.

Terrorists have that objective.

Terrorists can "afford" Canada, and actually would probably prefer to enter from The Great White Nord.
{By the very fact that because illegal immigrants are entering via the southern border, therefore more border patrols, equals greater chance of getting caught.}

Also Canada does not prosecute known terrorists worth a damn take the time to review the Air India case Canada practically put out the welcome mat.

Now how are you going to "guard" the fence? How are you going to recruit for this lovely job? Ask the folks at military personnel- how easy it is to get people to sit on the DMZ. {It's not.}

Then there are the political costs of the fence. Escalating tensions with Mexico and what Ted. B. delineates is readily imaginable.

Finally name a fence that has worked. The fences of the Irish clans, the Great Wall of China, The Hindenburg Line, the Maginot Line, the Berlin Wall all essentially longterm military failures.

Not to mention the fact that the Berlin Wall was to keep people in not out and the ultimate fact that we are not at war with Mexico.

The bloody Berlin Wall was for ONE city and the Israeli fence has not withstood the test of time and isn't 2,000 miles long.

Cripes sake the way Conservatives are talking about it and reacting to it-they might just get a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Yes there are "other" costs to the fence and it is political, and manpower recruiting from the same ever smaller growing pool of volunteers for the military.

{Speaking of which who is going to man the fence? Are you going to re-write the Constitution to have a uniform force or are you going to do it with some hodge podge conglomeration of National Guardsmen and how are you going to fund it? Texas and New Mexico, and California pay or do we all pay?}

Essentially you want to take America's limited resources of guys willing to volunteer to serve their country and devote that precious resource to what you could provoke-a third confrontation.

The Pentagon only plans for two.


So walls are dead. Thinking outside the box as others have done in five years you could begin an ID system at points of purchase or at points of governmental services, and at voting booths which is too Orwellian for me, but it seems to me something along those lines would be better answers than "Fortress America". Resources devoted to that aren't high on my list of priorities when the military needs to keep up with the likes of India, China and Iran.

Hell build a Dome while your at it if it is really the pre-imminent national security issue you claim it to be.

Now that's hyperbole but Michelle Malkin -Joan of Sn'Arc's crapola never seems to bother the Conservative male, ;-).


Posted by: Rachel at April 4, 2006 04:18 PM

As I recall it, the Berlin wall was a might success...it kept people in, no? Success stories for crossing it were remarkable because it was not something that was easily accomplished. Whether it was morally reprehensible to keep people locked up in such a fashion can be argued, but I daresay that it accomplished its intended function quite well.

Further, the DMZ on the Korean peninsula seems to accomplish the same thing rather well also. This is why tales of reunions between families split between North and South are also remarkable -they are extraordinary events.

Let's make illegal border crossings extraordinary events as well. If that 33% figure is accurate, then stopping the other 67% will make it that much easier to catch those who've overstayed their visas. Simple economics.

I also favor the policy of benign neglect for those who are here after the wall is constructed. Applications for citizenship can be filed from their home country...or not. I honestly don't care as long as folks assimilate and think of themselves as AMERICANS first.

As to who will pay for my retirement: I believe that it is MY responsibility to pay for MY retirement (personal responsibility...who'da thunk?). In the event that I develop Alzheimer's, it will fall to my wife and/or 4 children to take up the slack. Though I daresay it will be 6 children by that time :)

Posted by: bdog57 at April 4, 2006 04:40 PM

"Finally name a fence that has worked. The fences of the Irish clans, the Great Wall of China, The Hindenburg Line, the Maginot Line, the Berlin Wall all essentially longterm military failures."

Walls do work. The Great Wall of China worked for long periods of time. The Berlin Wall worked spectacularly well until the East German government collapsed and the people tore the wall down.

Whether Mexicans come here to bomb us is irrelevant. Are we a sovereign nation or not, with borders intended to let in who we choose to let in, and keep out whom we choose to keep out?

The real crime is the Mexican government, which has a policy of sending it's excess population north so their nation can survive economically, while the elite tax themselves at only 12% of GDP as opposed to 24% in the US. It's amazing how many are willing to do the bidding of the corrupt, racist, largely European ruling elite of Mexico. Do you support all corrupt, exploiting racists around the world?

It's past time Mexico instituted drastic reforms, or even had a revolution to force those reforms. But as long as their corrupt, racists elites are willingly subsidized by Americans hoping to save a few dollars by hiring an illegal, then this problem will never be even addressed, let along solved.

We've been the pressure valve, or willing subsidizer for the corrupt racists in Mexico for many decades. You might as well just come out and advocate open borders honestly, because with any immigration rules, the US will have to say NO to many who want to come here. We can never take all those who want to come, and Mexico is just one nation, and far from the largest or poorest. All the individual sob stories in the world don't change that fact.

The long term solution is for the corrupt elite of many nations to be overthrown, and for real reforms and improvements to be instituted.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 04:40 PM

California Conservative is right. Immigration doesn't just effect the economy, it effects population growth. Hispanic immigrants have higher birthrates than native born Americans. Isn't California crowded enough?
What we should do is cut off the flow of foreign workers, encourage the settlement of the Great Basin and Great Plains (pipe in water if we have to) and relieve some of the high population density in the northeast and southern California.

Posted by: RueHaxo at April 4, 2006 04:50 PM

Rachel:

You know how, when you come through customs at an airport, they have walls so you just don't walk around the customs booth? If they just had little velvet ropes and people were stepping over them and disappearing into the airport crowds, and somebody suggested building full walls so that people could no longer step over them, would everybody start talking about how fascistic it would be to have those walls? How is a border barrier any different? Either we control who comes in and keep out those who are not allowed in, or we are pretty much getting out of the nation-state business. How big and how extensive should the barrier be? Whatever is needed. It's not that big of a deal for the nation that built the Interstate Highway System or the transcontinental railroad.

As for who mans it, well, probably the Border Patrol. They are not competing with the military for recruits -- they are a domestic, civil-service job where people work shifts and live at home with their families. Their qualifications can be substantially relaxed over those of the military -- in fact, it would be a good job for people coming out of the military. And, except for a handful of armed coyotes, they do not shoot people in their day-to-day work. It's less dangerous than being a street cop and certainly less dangerous than being a taxi driver.

A controlled border is a definable, measurable task well within the competency of existing government organizations. Every scheme for workplace enforcement has a large host of unresolved issues, and the idea most resembles the other tasks at which the government is failing miserably, but which impinges on the day-to-day lives of a large number off citizens.

If counting on the illegal to turn in his employer is such an effective tactic, why haven't drug users turned in their dealers (for which there is a reward) and shut down the black market in drugs?

And the Maginot Line did exactly what is was supposed to (force invading armies to take a long time to blast through) for the length it was built -- the problem was the French never built it all the way across their frontier, and lost their nerve once the fighting actually began. Not that military defensivve lines are a very relevant analogy to border control measures. I don't think the coyotes are going to come in with tanks and ground-attack aircraft.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at April 4, 2006 04:53 PM

Doug,

Perhaps you can enlighten me about the I-9 requirements " "Employment Eligibility Verification". I assume all that is required is to verify that the candidate has a form or document that appears legitimate. Assuming you do that you have no liability. You aren't held accountable if the candidate presents a fake Social Security card...Correct?

Is there any obligation to do more that record what is presented?

Posted by: jls at April 4, 2006 04:54 PM

Mr. Bennett,

You mentioned how a barrier between Mexico and the United States "is not only the most logical course of action, it's probably the only realistic one that can be taken." I am unsure if it is the most logical course of action. On the other hand, there is at least one other realistic course of action neither discussed nor debated: asking the various states of Mexico, and perhaps Mexico itself, to become part of the United States.

As I see things, Mexico and the United States are tending in this direction anyway. With Hispanics wanting to live in the US, with Americans wanting to live in Mexico (there are quite a few), with Mexico and the US tightening their relationship with NAFTA, with an increasingly shared culture between the two nations, with the Mexican government wanting to enjoy the prosperity of the US and with the US wanting to spread liberty and opportunity everywhere, what better time than now to join the two countries into one greater United States?

There will be no need for a wall. Nor a waste of taxpayer monies. Instead, by bringing the two nations together as one, we will be rid of the majority of illegal immigrants, businesses will have a greater pool of unskilled labor, the US will have access to greater resources (especially oil), and Mexicans will get the opportunities they have been clamoring for. A wall may be more economically feasible in the short run, but in the long run, is a wall really more logical?

Posted by: stephen at April 4, 2006 04:57 PM

Cost for the latest nuclear aircraft carrier, CVN-77, just for the vessel: $5.2B And that is before fuelling it, buying aircraft and stores, etc. That is just the *ship*.

Cost of a segmented wall along border: $2.2B

Cost of a multilayer passive/active system with sensor web and automated firecontrol, and signing off to make the area from border to wall a military firing range under NORTHCOM: my guess is in the $5B range. Which would include all riverine and out to see systems, although the Coast Guard might want to throw in a radar system or two.

Why do this? Well, it is actually the last step in a multi-step process.

The first is to cease the protective 'Sanctuary Cities' from stopping the enforcement of Federal Law. In doing so they are abrogating 6 Articles of the Constitution plus a few Amendments and enforcing a low cost labor zone on illegal aliens. The proper term for threatening action against someone when they want to leave your area, either through implicit or explicit means is: slavery. The act of abrogating the Constitution is: secession. I would truly like these cities back in the Union and stop them from trafficking in human labor.

Similarly any business doing so is trafficking in human labor through implicit or explicit coercion. They must not be given a slap on the wrist but shut down for using slave labor.

Next, all agricultural subsidies for all parts of agriculture must end. Along with that water subsidies for arid land farming. The low cost of these products are coming at a high cost of taxation, inefficient industries, harming the global food market and encouraging illegal behavior to make a buck.

Once all of that has started, anyone in the US illegally that is caught will be either put to work building the wall for 2 years or given 5 years of turning boulders into sand and gravel, which properly graded gets a few bucks per ton. THEN they are deported. Children born in the US with proper proof of same to illegal aliens will be thoroughly documented. If the parent or parents wish to take the child back with them, DNA samples will be taken so that a proof positive ID can be made if that child ever seeks to come back to the US as a Citizen. The child may also be left as a ward of the state for adoption.

The entire border wall with active and passive enplacements, plus secured entry/exit points will then be under NORTHCOM for building, manning and maintenance. Use deep pilings for the inner and actual wall. Cleared fire zones for close-in defense positions. By using remote systems, UCAVs and possible full automation reaction capability, manpower necessary to keep the defenses up are limited. Digging under it will require deep excavation and mining, plus be susceptible to geophones and seismic surveys.

This should dissuade the weekly forays by Mexican Federal Police and Military into the US. Narcotraffickers will need to find some other way in that is not overland, underground or via nearshore waters.

Far, far cheaper than the price tag for rebuildiing New Orleans, which is sinking. And that is before adding in a Cat 5 hurricane resistant system, which will cost at least $20B if not more.

I, personally, do not care for people breaking the law to make a living, no matter how poor they are or their point of origin. Encouraging people to exploit them at a cost to businesses that are ethical and will not do so is disgusting.

This is not about economics.
This is not about cheap labor.
This is not about cheap food.
This is not about compassion.

This *is* about National sovereignty, remaining a nation where the compact called the Constitution is respected and enforced, and about understanding that individual activities have consequences to society as a whole.

I am all FOR legal immigration since those are people who *want* to be Citizens and participate in the building of the Republic. We should encourage it from those countries recently freed from tyrrany so that they can send their experiences back home to help build free societies.

But, of course, I have strange ideas about wanting the Republic to remain whole.

Posted by: ajacksonian at April 4, 2006 05:28 PM

"If counting on the illegal to turn in his employer is such an effective tactic, why haven't drug users turned in their dealers (for which there is a reward) and shut down the black market in drugs?"

I don't know why anyone would count on an illegal employee to turn in his illegal employer. You discover illegal employees by audits of personnel records, or unannounced immigration agency visits. It's done now. There was recently a "raid" at a Tyson plant where I live. A few Hispanic employees fled over the fences. The mechanism is already there to check whether employees are legal or not, though more agents would be needed.

But, again, we could greatly diminish the employment of illegals by simply enforcing the laws with tough financial fines and other penalties for repeat offenders. When the law's strictly enforced, most will abide by it.

I think you simply oppose any enforcement at the employer level?

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 05:40 PM

why haven't drug users turned in their dealers (for which there is a reward) and shut down the black market in drugs?

Because they don't want to get shot in the head.

I doubt most employers are willing to go to the same lengths to protect themselves as your major drug cartels.

Posted by: R C Dean at April 4, 2006 06:07 PM

Look you could probably patrol the border a lot more efficiently using UPV's without a physical barrier.

Walls are antiquated old technology that worked in a different environment. The first rule is- the rules change. Clausewitz.

The DMZ zone would not work for long without the American presence to act as a checkmate. Plus the comparison- the Korean war was fifty years ago-when was the last war between Mexico and the United States? Relatively there is a significant difference in the time span.

Also even though Mexico may from time to time demonstrate socialist tendencies they pale in comparison to Kim Jung's Korea-give me a break.

Mexican workers are not persuaded to move here because they want to invade America, in fact given the proper economic conditions who wants to leave their known homeland for the unknown.

I know Jim is not advocating deportation but many of the basest of the base of the party are. I implore you to go investigate some of the repulsive comments of readers over at Polipundit from last week when they were reacting to the marches.

That reaction has me fearful for the future of the Republican party.

Jim's title of his article suggests a third party candidate running on these immigration issues-to what end?

Yet again a President Bush is defeated in an election and yet again we have to pull out of Iraq too early. Don't tell me that won't lead to us having yet again to go in there and end up with what would essentially be Gulf War III.

Just what the heck are our National Security priorities?

Usually I think working from worst case scenario down is the way to go about it.

Seriously build Fortress America, ignore SDI/BMD and have Ronald Reagan roll over in his grave. Military technology is essential we are not going to be able to maintain a ground force style war for any longer than three years. That is what the Republican base of the President's own party is telegraphing to the rest of the world. We are not going to have the numbers to fight off anybody for much longer and the only way to bridge that gap is technological which costs big bucks.

Worse, divide the Republican party all the more, and have Hillary in Chief confur with her Secretary of Defense-Cindy Sheehan as to when it would be prudent to defend America.

Most likely when Charlie Sheen believes it.



Posted by: Rachel at April 4, 2006 06:09 PM

A couple of last thoughts.

Jim Gilchrist founder of the Minutemen ran in a heavily Republican area in a special election which usually does not favor a heavy turnout by moderate voters, and would supposedly favor a candidate of the "base". He ran in an area heavily affected by this immigration issue-

He lost.

Gilmore the Republican candidate for Governor of Virgina decided to make it a plank of his campaign.

He lost.


Michelle Malkin, hero maker of the Minutemen, wrote a book.

It bombed.

Posted by: Rachel at April 4, 2006 06:24 PM

"Jim Gilchrist founder of the Minutemen ran in a heavily Republican area in a special election which usually does not favor a heavy turnout by moderate voters, and would supposedly favor a candidate of the "base". He ran in an area heavily affected by this immigration issue-"

Single issue candidates always lose, and they should. Virginia has had more Democratic governors recently than Republican, and people don't vote for governor on that issue because it's a federal responsiblity.

But for the twenty years I've noticed the polls on this, 70% plus of Americans want immigration laws enforced and they want legal immigration reduced. It's a question of when we reach a tipping point and Americans begin to vote to federal office holders based on immigration policy. We might be almost at that point.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 06:34 PM

I'm with Kyle, a wall is the first step then benign neglect. This problem has developed over 50 years of poor policy and hypocritical goverance - we can't expect to solve it overnight.

A stretch goal is a 95% reduction in the physical flow in illegals within 2 years. These people are poor and literally raising the barriers to entry will deter many of them.

As to employers, one sound notion is putting the proof of legality of workers on the employers for TAX PURPOSES - no business expense deductions for wages paid to "undocumented workers". Let the IRS be one of our tools - increased tax revenues motivated liberals too and removes some of the stigma of criminalization and physical custody. Besides piling rocks, collecting taxes is something else governments do well.

For those here illegally, assuming they keep their noses clean, we won't hunt them down. Over time, they will either find a way to become legal, return, or die. We can talk about ways for the good ones to become legal when the tide turns.

As to guest worker programs, show me one that has worked! That is, no abuses, workers returned, no native salary reductions. Here in Silicon Valley, stories are plentiful of the abuses of the H1B program and the people involved.

Posted by: Whitehall at April 4, 2006 06:44 PM

Before getting too worked up over your retirement, just ask yourself who's going to be paying for the immigrants...and their kids.....and their kids.

Here's a hint,minimum wage mexicans aren't going to fund either.
In the next few years 3 very large groups will be targeting the same resourses for redistribution to themselves.

I'll leave it to you smart people to do the math.

Posted by: fghj at April 4, 2006 07:52 PM

You mentioned how a barrier between Mexico and the United States "is not only the most logical course of action, it's probably the only realistic one that can be taken." I am unsure if it is the most logical course of action. On the other hand, there is at least one other realistic course of action neither discussed nor debated: asking the various states of Mexico, and perhaps Mexico itself, to become part of the United States.

Oh, that brings up another possible scenario: since Mexico doesn't respect the Mex-US bordcr, why should Anglo Americans pay any attention to the so-called border? After all, post-modern big thinkers keep telling us that national borders are obsolete.

Maybe post modern 21st century Americans ought to emulate the early modern Americans who took Tejas away from the the so-called government in Mexico City. There is some desirable real estate in Mexico today along the sea coasts. Anglo Americans can establish new towns down there, communities where American law and customs prevail.

If the Mexicans object, the Anglo settlers can explain ot them that national borders are an obsolete concept. If "Mexicans" -- an archaic, out of date verbal construct, since we're all citizens of the world now-- continue to object, Anglo American settlers can do as their ancestors did, and defend themselves by whatever means nececssary.

Mexico needs more diversity!

Posted by: David Davenport at April 4, 2006 09:12 PM

The various plans above are certainly entertaining, but as of where I stopped reading no one had indicated the real problems that enable illegal immigration.

Let me put it this way: they might agree to build the wall, but that doesn't mean they're going to keep it staffed. Or, some of the cameras or drones won't work or won't have people monitoring them. Or, there won't be enough beds in detention centers for those who make it through.

Now, why do you think I'd say that?

Because most of our national politicians are more or less corrupt. They'll get donations from those companies that profit off illegal immigration, and then they're refuse to fund something or other or somehow monkey wrench the whole thing.

That problem has to be dealt with before any other solutions will be effective.

IllegalImmigrationNews

Posted by: TLB at April 4, 2006 09:14 PM

"Before getting too worked up over your retirement, just ask yourself who's going to be paying for the immigrants...and their kids.....and their kids."

Great question, and also before anyone actually believes illegal immigrants, or any low wage earners, are going to pay for anyone's retirement, keep in mind that the Democrats frequently talk about exempting lower wage earners from even paying Social Security (FICA) tax. And should they regain control of Congress and the presidency, you could expect them to do just that.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 10:39 PM

"Because most of our national politicians are more or less corrupt. They'll get donations from those companies that profit off illegal immigration, and then they're refuse to fund something or other or somehow monkey wrench the whole thing."

Yep, they have a way of authorizing many new border patrol officers, then not funding it. They've done that during W's years in office, and I heard Senator Sessions of Alabama say yesterday that many of the enforcement provisions of the 1986 Amnesty/Reform act were never funded.

A little trick our fine politicians seems to really enjoy putting over on the voters.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2006 10:42 PM

The immigrants are willing to pay to get here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/kwiatkowski/kwiatkowski148.html. So the US government could charge them the same amount, say $3000 for entry. At 500,000 illegals per year, that's $1.5 billion each year to give every immigrant a medical exam and background check probably build a wall, too.

Posted by: David Aitken at April 4, 2006 10:43 PM

There is actually some chance of a wall being built this year, but I doubt that it will really happen.

In any event, there is an alternative to a government wall. After all, are we not conservatives? Why are we waiting for the government to do something that private individuals can probably do better.

Back in the 1970s the artist Christo built an artwork he called "Running Fence" through California.

http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/rf.html

I suggest that we do something similar, except instead of light weight aluminum poles and nylon we use chain link fence and razor wire.

Establish an organization that will put donors in and land ownerw within 100 miles of the border in touch with each other. If a rancher would like to replace his fence made of four strands of barbed wire with a chain link fence topped with razor wire, he can register with the organization and contributions will be collected until there is enough to build that fence. If that rancher's neighbor would like to extend the fence, contributions are collected to make the fence that much longer.

The fence will not be impregnible nor will it be everywhere, but it will tend to channel illegal migrants into the gaps where the Border patrol can be more effective.

Posted by: Mark in Texas at April 4, 2006 10:46 PM

Fence is ok. Best single measure is fines and jail for employers, a toll free tip line for citizens who could get a % of the fine. Employers in orange jumpsuits on the evening news would work wonders. Without jobs illegals will deport themselves.

BUT...Current laws aren't enforced, new ones won't be either until we get a President who honors his oath of office.

Posted by: Rick at April 5, 2006 12:40 AM

The hatred of mexicans that some commenting here display is disturbing. I doubt I'm the only one
to be repelled by it.

Posted by: Mark Amerman at April 5, 2006 04:59 AM

I don't have hate for them, only contempt.

People who allow themselves to be ruled by a corrupt elite and government deserve every bit of suffering they, their families, and their children are going to get.

That, of course, goes for a lot of other countries in the world too.

Posted by: The Wobbly Guy at April 5, 2006 05:20 AM

The immigrants are willing to pay to get here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/kwiatkowski/kwiatkowski148.html. So the US government could charge them the same amount, say $3000 for entry. At 500,000 illegals per year, that's $1.5 billion each year to give every immigrant a medical exam and background check probably build a wall, too.

That is so naive. Please tell me how many campesinos actually have $3K per family member before entering the US?

I get it -- the next step is a gubment loan program to help guest workers pay their entry fee, the loan to be deducted from paychecks in the same manner as Social Security.

Hmm, that has possibilities, provided that the fee is automatically deducted from payhecks. And make it sufficiently expensive, perhaps $30K or $300K instead of $3,000 per precious gastarbeiter soul.

Why, we could make the pay-to-guest-work program more efficient. Cut the government bureaucrats out of the loop and have individual private employers advance the entry fee for their guest workers.

Didn't they have a name for that kind of program back in the old days? Indentured servitude, wasn't it? How very post modern.

Posted by: David Davenport at April 5, 2006 06:37 AM

In today's http://www.isteve.com/, Steve Sailer says:

"...Speaking of bizarre religious obsessions, the "debate" over immigration has been notable for the lack of debate as the arguments put forward by immigration restrictionists are ignored and their proponents demonized as "angry" "rabble-rousing" "haters.". The pro-illegal immigration supporters, on the other hand, are driven largely by a wholly emotional irrationality.

From whence does this hatred of facts and logic about immigration spring? When reading economist Paul Krugman's 3/27 NYT column "North of the Board," an admirable mea culpa on his part for all the hatred he has spewed at immigration restrictionists over the years, one of the prime answers became clear. Krugman wrote:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," wrote Emma Lazarus, in a poem that still puts a lump in my throat. I'm proud of America's immigrant history, and grateful that the door was open when my grandparents fled Russia.

In other words, I'm instinctively, emotionally pro-immigration. But a review of serious, nonpartisan research reveals some uncomfortable facts about the economics of modern immigration, and immigration from Mexico in particular. If people like me are going to respond effectively to anti-immigrant demagogues, we have to acknowledge those facts.

First, the net benefits to the U.S. economy from immigration, aside from the large gains to the immigrants themselves, are small.... Second, while immigration may have raised overall income slightly, many of the worst-off native-born Americans are hurt by immigration — especially immigration from Mexico.

From my experience of dealing with Krugman via email, he's a nasty son-of-a-gun, but I have to compliment him on finally developing the intellectual honesty to admit that his overwhelming urge to vomit abuse at immigration restrictionists has little basis in facts.

So, where, does this mindless passion that has been so prevalent in the media over the last week originate?

To be frank, much of what we see in the press appear to be examples of Jewish-American ancestor worship, a bizarre religious urge to make Ellis Island into a sacred site. Other groups, such as the Italian and Irish, share this to some extent, but Jews with their vast talent at nostalgic myth-making seem much more taken in by their own concoction than are Catholic ethnics, who are, sensibly, more focused on the future than the past. On the right, the main cheerleaders among journalists for massive immigration have been Jewish neocons like William Kristol, John Podhoretz, Tamar Jacoby, and Michael Barone.

Will unchecked immigration be good for the Jews in the future? Of course not. It will bring in more anti-Semites and terrorists, like Egyptian immigrant Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, who murdered two Jews at the Israeli El Al Airline counter of LAX on the July 4, 2002. Nor does it make sense for America to hold open the gates to the whole world just in case anything happened, God forbid, to Israel. If it did, Israeli Jews would immediately get a special deal as refugees, like Cubans did. Granted, Jews suffer less from economic competitionwith illegal immigrants than any other ethnic group due to their high average IQs and educational levels, but, rationally, security concerns should be high on their priority list.

No, the ferocious resistance of so many Jews in the media to thinking sensibly about immigration (there are, of course, numerous honorable exceptions such as Robert Samuelson, Dan Stein, and Steven Steinlight) is rooted in nostalgia.

Now, nostalgia is a pleasant luxury, but can Jews, even in America, really afford to give up thinking "Is it good for the Jews?" in favor of "Was it good for the Jews?" ..."

Source: http://www.isteve.com/

Posted by: David Davenport at April 5, 2006 09:30 AM

There is no point in waiting for the 08 election. Why would you want to do that?

"Waiting" is the strategy of the crowd that is against immigration reform a/k/a true control. Waiting until the problem becomes absolutely unmanageable, as it has in Europe. Waiting until despairing voters give up and roll over.

"Waiting" for 2008 means it will be another three years until we have a new president. By which time, we will also have another 3 or 4 million new 'guest workers' (uh, aren't guests people you invite?) Whatever one's view of Bush's policies, the big problem here is the antiquated echo chamber known as the Senate.

These people are hopeless on every issue known to the human race, from tax to energy to immigration reform. Too many of them delude themselves that they're going to be president, so they spend all their time pandering and preening for the cameras (Hello, John McCain). But 15 face election this year: http://www.fecinfo.com/2006senate.htm.

These are the people who need to be put under immediate, unrelenting pressure. They need to be opposed by third party candidates THIS YEAR, not sometime in the future. Delaying is what the no-reform crowd wants to do. If candidates this year can be defeated, even one or two, that will focus the minds of those who will run in 2008 -- for president or anything else. I see they're mostly Republicans. I don't care. If they can't act like Republicans, we might as well have Democrats. Or a third-party candidate who understands that the constituents sent them to DC for representation. That's the job. If they won't do it, fire them. If there is still time to get candidates on the ballot in their states, time to go for it.

http://www.ballot-access.org/

Posted by: Diane at April 5, 2006 10:32 AM

The point is that fear of a third party run in 2008 might get the Administration to take some meaningful action before then. Right now the White House takes the Jacksonian vote for granted and is primarily focused on the Latino vote. In my estimation the Jacksonians will have, provided they make such a threat credible, the equivalent of a single bullet -- they cannot get infinite political capital from such a threat, so they need to target that shot carefully and with forethought. It will take a while before circumstances might give them another shot. Third-party single-issue movements are like wasps; they sting once, then die. The next time the Jacksonians mobilize it will be on another issue.

If they can only wring one concession from the system, that concession should be a meaningful border barrier. All other proposed remedies (especially employer ciminalization) have big implementation problems and even if a bill is passed, will either not be implemented or will be quickly eroded once passed. This is extremely true of anything to do with the criminal justice system. You can pretty much count on the fact that the handful of guys wearing the orange jump suits will be some poor schmuck contractors who got worn down by the threat of a long sentence into a plea bargain, and who are going to jail for the crime of not being expert document-forgery checkers. Nobody from Tyson Farms will ever do a day, or if they do, it will be some expendable fall guy.

A barrier is the single best thing that might be achieved. It just might possibly reduce the flow enough that further remedies might then be implemented.

Yeah, ultimately, Mexico must reform itself. But this is a long, hard process. Believe it or not, Vicente Fox was probably the best shot at reform you'll see for at least twenty years. But he didn't have control of his legislature and he couldn't get very far. The social-political problems of Mexico are very deeply entrenched in the fibre of everyday life. Most corrupt officials don't even think they're doing anything wrong; they're just looking out for their families, which they see as a moral obligation. Argentina tried to implement much more thoroughgoing reforms int he 90s, with a much broader political consensus for reform, and far fewer problems (Argentina was a First World nation that had driven itself into the ground; Mexico is a Third World nation that is having problems breaking out of the cycle of poverty.) It made some progress with mecroeconomic reforms, but never unchained its engine of entrepreneurial job creation. This ultimately short-circuited its reform process. Mexico has bigger problems.

You've got one shot. Use it on a border barrier. And its best-used-by date is 2008.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at April 5, 2006 11:14 AM

Another point re: new immigrants supporting our social security system. A legal (or legalized illegal) immigrant can bring in family members, including retirement age parents. And, yes, those retirement age parents can draw social security once in the US. So what if they never paid a penny into the system, or never even held a job in the US.

Posted by: Will at April 5, 2006 12:51 PM

"Nobody from Tyson Farms will ever do a day, or if they do, it will be some expendable fall guy."

So, pass laws that would fine Tyson or whichever big corporation amounts that would truly motivate them to end their criminal behavior. You keep throwing in "criminalize the workplace." It's already criminalized by the criminal employers hiring lawbreaking illegal aliens, illegal aliens who crossed our border illegally, probably carrying false IDs and other false documents. How criminal does it have to get before you consider it "crminalized." I think when you say "criminalize" you mean actually enforcing the law. If we never enforced laws concerning murder and rape, we could "decriminalize" those areas, according to your "logic."

People who oppose a serious physical barrier on the border oppose it because they know it will work.

People who oppose enforcement at the workplace oppose it because they know it will work, also.

Posted by: Will at April 5, 2006 01:07 PM

The easiest way, without tearing up families or fitting yourself for jackboots, to discourage illegal immigration is so simple that it is laughable.
1. Make it illegal to wire money out of the country without proof of legal presence. The "self-deportation" that noone thinks will happen would start the day after such a law were enacted. A vast majority of illegal immigrants are here because they are supporting families in their home countries. They will leave if that becomes impossible.

2. Have Homeland Security conduct randomly chosen "sting" operations to find employers that are actively recruiting illegals. Maybe seed an agent or two among groups of day-laborers. Seize the business property of these employers. Yes, seize it. After the first time someone loses their business because they couldn't be bothered to follow the law, hiring illegals will drop dramatically.

3. Make government service providers use English as the sole standard language. Anyone can request an alternate-language process...and will be required to show proof of legal residency before it is provided.

Simple, effective, and no chance in hell that anyone's going to consider implementing it.

Posted by: Matt Florio at April 5, 2006 01:13 PM

The point is that fear of a third party run in 2008 ... Right now the White House takes the Jacksonian vote for granted and is primarily focused on the Latino vote. In my estimation the Jacksonians will have, provided they make such a threat credible, the equivalent of a single bullet -- they cannot get infinite political capital from such a threat ... Third-party single-issue movements are like wasps; they sting once, then die. The next time the Jacksonians mobilize it will be on another issue

Instead of another futile, 3td party Ross Perot/Bull Moose campaign, why shouldn't "Jacksonians" try to take over the Republican Party? Start locally, red state by red state ...

Mr. Bennett, do you think that the globalist plutocrats behind the Republican facade are too strong, stronger than than patriotic Jacksonian Americans?

... All other proposed remedies (especially employer ciminalization) have big implementation problems ...

Why is that? The Fed. Gov. has been putting white collar criminals in jail since the 1920's. Just ask the late Al Capone.

Sorry Mr. Bennett, but your suggestions seem like counsels-of-despair.

Posted by: David Davenport at April 5, 2006 01:19 PM

The easiest way, without tearing up families or fitting yourself for jackboots, to discourage illegal immigration ...


Don't label opposition to illegal immigration as "jackbooted."

Be bold enough to say that you oppose illegal immigration because ... it's illegal.

Posted by: David Davenport at April 5, 2006 01:27 PM

"Instead of another futile, 3td party Ross Perot/Bull Moose campaign, why shouldn't "Jacksonians" try to take over the Republican Party? Start locally, red state by red state ..."

A third party might be the only tactic left. For years 70%+ of Americans have wanted illegal immigration stopped, and even legal immigration reduced. Our politicians know this and consistently choose to ignore it because they've always gotten away with ignoring it, to the extent of not even funding the stricter enforcement provisions they passed into law previously.

Too many politicians are bought and paid for by the business interests that want an unending supply of cheap labor, and others are beholden to the immigrant "rights" groups. And they're all intimidated by political correctness and the false charges the PC minions always level at anyone who thinks immigration laws should be enforced.

I think the "Jacksonians" have already taken over the Republican party, but the party's elected officials (Bush most of all) choose to ignore (on the immigration issue) those who put them in office. Some form of self-destruction, then a rebirth with different elected officials might be the only tactic that'll work.

That's what I've been thinking for some time now.

Posted by: Will at April 5, 2006 02:17 PM

Instead of another futile, 3td party Ross Perot/Bull Moose campaign, why shouldn't "Jacksonians" try to take over the Republican Party? Start locally, red state by red state ...

Jacksonans are only part of America. America can't function unless all of the threads in the fabric contribute, and if you contribute, you get a say in things. A pure Jacksonian party does not command a majority -- they must work in coalition with others. And this means compromise on goals. A pure Jacksonian party can function as a one-time, single-issue party, which as I said is sort of a single-bullet sort of situation. Then the question is, what do you want to spend the bullet on?

... All other proposed remedies (especially employer ciminalization) have big implementation problems ...

Why is that? The Fed. Gov. has been putting white collar criminals in jail since the 1920's. Just ask the late Al Capone.

Yeah, that sure stopped bootlegging, didn't it? Hell, prohibition is where we got into this ridiculous situation of confusing passing a law aginst something with actually stopping something.

Sorry Mr. Bennett, but your suggestions seem like counsels-of-despair.

Well, if you look at what I actually said, I am trying to identify the worthwhile target on which that silver bullet can be spent. Of all the various remedies discussed, a proper border barrier is the action that is a natural outgrowth of an existing, proper function of government and is in the nature of things (i.e., pouring concrete) that the government has proven it can do well. Workplace enforcement has all the earmarks of those things the government has done poorly, ineffectively, and with much collateral damage. You call it despair, I call it optimism. There is actually a chance that the goverment can be made to do something that might work. That sounds optimistic to me.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at April 5, 2006 02:41 PM

Jeb Bush said that many of the remarks made during the immigration debate had been "hurtful". No specics were given in the short report I heard, but with a Mexican wife, and finding this debate "hurtful", Jeb would probably be weaker on immigration law enforcement that W, if that's even possible.

I don't see a future Jeb Bush presidency because of this one issue.

Posted by: Will at April 5, 2006 04:08 PM

Diane said "no point waiting for '08 election"

We have no choice. Understand;

It is ALREADY illegal to sneak into the USA,live here, work here without approval.

It is already a crime to hire or otherwise assist the continued illegal behavior.

The Senate has nothing to do with it. It is the job of the President, the executive branch, to enforce the law. He flatly refuses to do so.

Pass all the laws you wish. He'll refuse to enforce those also. We don't need new laws, we need a new President.

Posted by: Rick at April 5, 2006 09:10 PM

More from Steve Sailer's www.isteve.com:

"Allan Wall: "Gringo Meddlers Expelled from Mexico:" Back in 2002 in VDARE.com, our man in Mexico, Allan Wall, wrote about an incident that offers a pointed contrast to last week's massive street demonstrations by illegal immigrants in American cities that so intimidated the United States Senate:

On May 2nd, the Instituto Nacional de Migración (Mexican INS) expelled 18 Americans from Mexico. These expelled Americans had violated the terms of their Mexican visas by getting involved, albeit in a minor fashion, in Mexican politics – a definite no-no for foreigners in Mexico.

The Americans’ offense was to participate in May Day marches in Mexico City and Guadalajara. The ones in Mexico City were college students, visiting with their professor from Washington State. They had joined a group protesting the expropriation of land near Mexico City for a new airport and were waving machetes with the other protestors. They might have gotten away with it, except that some of them were heard on the TV news shouting protest slogans in broken Spanish, which in turn caused Mexican journalists to express outrage.

The INM wasted no time. The offenses were committed on May 1st, and by the evening of May 2nd, the offending gringos were on their way back to the U.S.A., their Mexican visas revoked.

According to Javier Moctezuma, Mexican subsecretary of Population, Migration and Religious Affairs (part of the Interior Department), the Americans were kicked out because “they violated article 43 of the General Population Law......article 43 has been violated and the standard must be applied.”

Article 43 of the General Law of Population (Ley General de Población) states that:

“The admission to the country of a foreigner obliges him to strictly comply with the conditions established for him in the immigration permit and the dispositions established by the respective laws.”

As an El Universal article puts it, “as any foreigner, they should not meddle in national affairs.” [More]

That's from the VDARE.com blog, which is also pounding out up-to-the-minute coverage of the Senate debate on immigration. Thanks for this item to James Fulford and his unbelievable memory for old VDARE.com articles."

source: www.isteve.com

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