Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bush’s Immigration Reform: Good start, but falls short.

This is a link to my column which appeared in Wednesday's Potomac News opinion page.

Titled: Bush’s Immigration Reform: Good start, but falls short., it details what I liked and disliked about Bush's plan. Go read it.

I'm not with the conservative base on this, but I'm not near the Senate centrists either. I don't want illegal immigrants to be felons. I want the border secured before we start granting favors, although I also don't want to start widespread deportments until we have a guest worker program in place.

I don't want to let all the current illegals stay, but I don't want to kick them all out. There's the unsettled illegals which could go, but families with roots in our country who are assimilated already shouldn't be cast out simply for being illegal, IF we are going to allow them to apply for citizenship eventually.

And the one thing I absolutely agreed with the President about -- you need to learn english to assimilate and reach your potential in our country.

I didn't use the obvious joke in my column: President Bush is the exception to that rule.


Greg L said...

If we try to have a half-a-loaf approach to enforcement, we're going to replicate our failure to deal with this in the 1980's. If the law is broken, the penalty is imposed. Period. Trying to ferret out the appropriate means of selective enforcement isn't worth the exercize.

We plug the holes in this boat first, and then start bailing water. To me, that means we deport all illegals as they are encountered along with strong encouragement for them to voluntarily self-deport and to not enter illegally in the first place.

If it is impractical to deport so many people because it is "too expensive", then how practical is it to allow them to indefinitely remain and consume government resources? In California alone the cost is $10 billion annually. Sending 10 million illegals back across the border would cost a lot of money -- perhaps even more than the annual cost -- but only once, as long as the border is secure and they don't come back in.

Charles said...

I've struggled with this issue. I agree we need strong enforcement. We need to shut down the borders. We need to make the employers pay for their crimes.

The mexican government needs a good slapping around as well.

But I can't blame their poor and indigent for the sins of their government. Put the drug-runners in prison, next do the people that know better, the human smugglers who trade in lives and money.

But, and this is going to sound so "feeling", a poor man with no future will cross the desert for a chance at something better. You can't let them go, but you can't really punish them -- just send them back.

But there are these illegal immigrants, who aren't the guys living 12 to a house and hanging out at the home depot. These are people who slipped in during an administration that fell short on processing legal requests while turning a blind eye to those who came over illegally.

They came with their families, with forged documents. Many got real social security cards using false birth certificates. They learned english, they bought houses, they ran businesses.

They are our neighbors, our friends, even if we don't know their status. Their "crime" hurt no one directly (except in the eyes of those who believe that the number of jobs is static -- in which case my good job is at the expense of someone else as well). Sure, they are here illegally, and they shouldn't be "rewarded" by just making them citizens.

But if we ARE going to increase legal immigration (and we should, because we've kept it artificially low because of the illegals), we WANT immigrants who we KNOW will assimilate.

In other words, these people living here now are exactly the people who we would WANT to be here, if we were choosing.

So why punish ourselves? If we interview the family, and they are productive members of society, with roots in the community, why NOT pick them, give them visas, and let them get in the back of the line for citizenship (NOT THE FRONT, THE BACK).

12 million are here now. If we stop the influx, and we leave 8 million of the 12 million here (2 million in guest worker, 6 million on path to citizenship), that's 4 million LESS than we have now.

Charles said...

BTW, I'm not winning the argument with conservatives on this issue. I believe there are other conservatively-minded people who agree with me in principle, but are afraid to trust government (with good reason).

But others simply believe that people who break the law should not be rewarded.

But people benefit all the time from their illegal behavior, even if they get caught. Speeders pay fines, but we don't make them turn around and start over.

If I thought we didn't need 12 million workers, and I thought these people were bad people who meant to harm our country, I would probably feel differently.

The Senate bill is terrible, opening the flood gates for mexico to move to New York. I frankly can't figure out what they are thinking, it might be something in the water, or maybe the believe the hype of being the demi-gods of our political system.