Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mistatement of immigration law.

A post over at GBK says:

Current immigration laws prevent most former illegal immigrants from reentering the US.
That is wrong. The first time someone is caught and deported, they are not barred from applying for legal status. They are identified, and if they are caught AGAIN they may well be barred from re-entry. Sometimes exclusion periods apply, there are 3 and 10-year exclusions. Committing crimes while here can get you barred.

Since "amnesty" is defined as allowing someone to violate the law without punishment, it is hardly "amnesty" to apply the law as written, as the post suggests:

Amnesty is when you forgive someone their crimes. Illegal immigration is a crime. If illegals are allowed back into the USA legally then those illegals have received amnesty.
Further, the poster missed a critical part of Gill's reasonable statement, repeated here:

"They'll go away and come back how everybody else is supposed to do - legally."

Note the highlighted portion. Gill is not talking about illegals who are CAUGHT and deported, he is talking about illegals who leave on their own. For those, there is no record of their entry. So while they did commit a crime, there is no legal punishment for those who are not caught and convicted.

The post also misrepresents the Senate immigration bill to try to make his point:

Actually, that is what the Bush-Kennedy-McCain ill-fated amnesty bill would have required--that the illegals leave the USA and return legally.
You would think that intelligent voters would see that going away and coming back legally was precisely what the failed Bush-Kennedy-McCain immigration plan proposed. It was called amnesty.
Actually, intelligent, informed voters know better. The "touch-back" provisions of the bill were a sham, since they only required the head of household to go, were only to fill out paperwork, NOT to wait for legal approval, and only applied if the illegal wanted permanent status. The Senate bill gave immediate legal status to all illegals, allowing them to stay IN the country, without leaving or waiting their turn.

Serious discussion of immigration policy is going to require us to speak the truth and not mis-use it for baseless personal attacks. The real question the poster should be answering is, if he doesn't think encouraging illegals to leave and apply legally to enter, how DOES he plan to get rid of 20 million illegals in the country already?

Paul Nichols, Gill's opponent, also took the opportunity of the press release to attack his opponent rather than seriously discuss the issue. He says the current law is working, and that we don't need stricter laws, but 20 million illegals says he's wrong. We ARE catching and prosecuting employers who hire illegals, but that has NOT deterred others from continuing the practice. The costs of discovery are too low, and the rewards to high, to be a deterrent.

Meanwhile, as Fred Thompson and many others have noted, including strong advocates for border security and opponents of amnesty, we really CAN'T round up and deport 12-20 million people. Usually the next line is "but we won't have to", precisely because they support actions which will prevent illegals from getting in, AND encourage those here to leave.

If the poster doesn't support encouraging illegals to leave on their own, how DOES he suggest we convince them to go back home? A common sense approach is to provide some carrot and stick approach. The Senate bill went way too far, suggesting the only way to get illegals to report their presence was to give them permission to stay indefinitely. But given the state of things in their own countries, fines and even imprisonment threats (the stick) aren't enough to convince most of these people to leave.

But if we undercut their source of money, and leave the door open for them to come back if they simply get in the back of the line, wait in their own country, and come back legally, we could well convince most of the illegals to take that deal. And since the anti-illegal crowd says they aren't against legal immigration, just against people here without permission, everybody should be happy.

BTW, my opinion is part of immigration reform should change the law so that being caught ONE time will remove you from consideration for re-entry, after a 6-month grace period. That's another of MY incentives for currently illegal people to leave. But that still wouldn't preclude those who left LATER from coming back, so long as we didn't have to waste OUR time and effort catching them and deporting them.

As I said, it would be great if the poster would participate in a serious discussion of the issues of illegal immigration. There are a lot of good ideas, and some bad ones, but the discussion is so politicized that it's hard to even TALK about alternative proposals, because as soon as you do either one side says you are for amnesty, or the other side says you are racist.

Or the partisan hacks simply twist whatever is said into an attack on a candidate.

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