March 28, 2006

Immigration Legislation

Dafydd at Big Lizards makes a compelling case for the current Immigration Reform bill that just cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee as a "reasonable beginning" that still "needs work". I agree with his sentiments:

"I am both pro-immigration and also pro-border control. I have written about this many times before (for example, here and here). I truly and actually believe in the American ideal; but my ideological creed must be tempered by the forge of reality: we obviously cannot simply open the borders and let a firehose of immigration spray across. I try to keep at least two of my feet on the ground.

But those who insist we can just "seal the borders" and "deport all the illegals" are making the same ethereal, other-worldly mistake. It is not physically possible to round 'em up and ship 'em out; there are twelve million illegals here right now, for heaven's sake. Any immigration reform plan must come to grips with this 800-lb gorilla.

As odd as I feel saying it, the McCain-Kennedy bill is the only one to come out of either body that tries to find a solution to that King Kong of dilemmas, what to do with the 12,000,000. I don't particularly like Sen. John McCain (R-Gadfly) and I despise Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Margaritaville). But their bill at least makes an attempt to resolve that problem.

And strangely, it's also the closest to the bill President Bush proposed. At least the J-Com bill includes a guest-worker program with a path to citizenship -- and that is another huge point in its favor, since at the moment, there is no defined path to citizenship... and that is nine-tenths of the problem: since we don't make any provision to let even the most deserving come in the front door (it's entirely random -- when it isn't being race-based), those desperate for freedom come squirming in through the window.

What do you expect? Even the most decent people will take desperate measures to feed their families and let their children grow up in freedom, not tyranny. [author's emphasis]"

Six in ten Americans say they are against allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. That's a great hypothetical - crossing your arms, doing an "I Dream Of Jeannie" blink and making all the illegals disappear and reappear south of the border. But many of those same people would recoil in horror at the sight of people being rounded up and families torn apart because of a lack of paperwork. I understand the intensity of opposition from many on the Right but if we are ever going to make any progress in the way of immigration reform, any solution must be grounded in reality.

Posted by: Gary at 09:56 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 I wholeheartedly agree! We have to deal with immigration in a rational manner. In my opinion, it will have to be a mutifaceted approach...1: deal with those here (help them to become legal or get out...I do feel we need to be firm about this...if you do not want to be a citizen/legal visitor here, then you do not need to be here on a permanent basis), 2: we need to address the problems with our current border issues (we can't just have an open border---unfortunately, we can't just let everyone who wants to come in do so), 3: we need to enforce whatever reformed immigration laws that we impose (right now, we tend to pity illegal aliens...if they were murderers, would we feel the same? Law breaking is law breaking...we need to enforce US law) Also, on a side tangent: the US is (to my knowledge...correct me if I'm wrong) the only country that still allows blanket citizenship to children born here if the parents are not nationals - born in US = citizen of US - we may need to reevaluate this practice as many other countries have.

Posted by: Chris at March 28, 2006 11:41 AM (PxX2b)

2 I think the President and the Congressional leadership needs to hold a press conference and say "look, we've really screwed up here. For years we've had immigration laws on the books that we haven't been enforcing. We take responsibility for that. But since 9/11 we live in a different world. If you're illegal and you're here we'll give you an opportunity for citizenship if you come forward but you're have to earn it on our terms. If you continue to evade, you're subject to arrest and deportation on a case by case basis. And going forward, we're not going to look the other way anymore. We're going to enact several measures to protect our borders as best as we can - which includes stopping as many people entering the country as we can and sending them back to their country of origin. Maybe I sound as naive as those who want to "round 'em up" but it makes a hell of a lot more sense to me. I think it would to most Americans.

Posted by: Gary at March 28, 2006 12:45 PM (QoxB+)

3 I'm on board with you (I usually am, on issues that split conservatives), Gary. Conservative pundits I have appreciated for their rational approach on illegal immigration are Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved. We have to temper our anger with finding realistic solutions and come up with enforceable laws. A wall to control the borders is a start; turn off the faucet, as well as trying to mop up; find some sort of compromise on the ones who are here now. Many have such strong roots with natural borns, having been here for years, that it's just not feasible to uproot and deport in a black-and-white manner.

Posted by: Wordsmith at March 28, 2006 04:04 PM (nrGCx)

4 This can only work with sincere bipartisan cooperation. Both sides need to put partisan bullshit aside and work together otherwise all the bickering and posturing will undermine the effort. That being said, I'm not very optimistic here. :-(

Posted by: Gary at March 28, 2006 04:39 PM (QoxB+)

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