Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Great Immigration Debate

The Big Immigration Reform Debate continues to roll on in Washington. By most estimates there are something like 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States and because we have what is effectively an open border that number continues to rise. The debate over what to do breaks down into three major areas:

  1. What do we do about closing the border;

  2. What do we do about the illegals that are already here and;

  3. How do we allow for orderly legal immigration in the future

Closing the border will take two things. Physically preventing illegal border crossing is one, but not necessarily the first or only step to take. I would submit that the first thing we have to do is dry up the source of jobs that is attracting illegals in the first place and that means cracking down on the employers that are hiring them. We have laws to deal with this already. We need to get serious about enforcing them. If there are no jobs to come for, we will have removed an incentive for people to risk their lives crossing the desert on foot. The second, or actually concurrent step is to build a border fence and beef up the Border Patrol. to interdict the illegal crossers. There are also some very good reasons to do this from a national security point of view. It isn't just poor Mexicans that might use this route to get into the country. There are people from further afield that don't especially like us and have stated that they would like to do us harm.

Now to the part of the debate revolves around what to do about those that are already here. For one faction in the debate the gut reaction is "round'em up and deport them." The other extreme says that's impractical so we should just give up and hand them citizenship. It's true that neither extreme is practical, but why does the solution have to be either/or? We should make it known that if a person is here illegally, they will be deported and then we have to follow through. This may make a person who is here illegally a trifle nervous. If we have accomplished our first step of drying up jobs and are working on closing the border some number of people, maybe a few, maybe a lot, may just opt to go home on their own. The bottom line is that we don't have to set out with the stated goal of rounding up 12 million people and showing them the door. Without jobs to support themselves and the knowledge that they are certain to get sent home anyway if caught a lot will leave and a lot will be deterred from trying to get here in the first place.

[Update May 27, 2007: Even as I am in the middle of writing this, Mark Steyn's weekly column makes much the same point:

OK. But whatever happened to non-mass deportation? Not long after Sept. 11 I chanced to be heading north on I-87 between Plattsburgh and Montreal. At the border crossing from Champlain, N.Y., to Lacolle, Quebec, I noticed that what appeared to be a mini-refugee camp had sprung up. It's not often that you see teeming hordes lining up to get into Canada, so I asked the immigration officer what was going on. He rolled his eyes and did a bit of boy-those-crazy-Yanks stuff and then explained that most of the guys waiting to get in were from Pakistan. In the wake of 9/11, the authorities had rounded up various persons of interest in the New York City area. Whether or not they were terrorists, they'd certainly violated immigration law, overstaying visas and so forth. And as a result, many other illegal immigrants from Muslim countries had concluded it was time to liquidate their assets and break for the border. In other words, the roundup of a relatively small number of persons sent thousands more fleeing to Canada. As that Missouri grandma would say, don't look on it as losing a Pakistani illegal but as gaining a Canadian neighbor. (empahsis mine: JB) ]

The final question is how do we fix the legal system of immigration? We need to do this not just for those that want to get here but because we need them. The system as it stands now is completely overwhelmed. For those who want to do it the right way, the process can take a decade or more. That is not an insignificant chunk of a person's life. We need their energy and their talent. This means raising the number of legal immigrants we allow into the country and and overhaul of the immigration bureaucracy, including increased staffing, to handle the volume of applications. Reducing the wait time will also reduce incentives to try to come here illegally. I need to give more thought to how to accomplish this and perhaps I should save it for another post. One thing I am sure of is that I am not in favor of rewarding the people who came here illegally by granting them any sort of legal status. They can leave or continue to "live in the shadows." My bet is that if living here illegally becomes difficult enough they'll do the former.
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Friday, May 25, 2007

Another Government School Success Story

It's the morning after graduation night in the East Valley. It looks like someone needs to give his or her diploma back......

I took this with my phone on the way to work this morning (please pardon the bug splat). If you're having difficulty reading it, it says "Trasporting a 2007 Graduate"
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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Where My Blog Got It's Name......

If any of you (of the very few who read this) have ever wondered what the hell I was thinking when I named my blog, a bit of explanation may be in order. I'm a great fan of absurdist humor and Douglas Adams was a master of the genre. He was really a satirist writing under the guise of science fiction and he was a keen observer of politics and politicians.

I pride myself on having voted in every election I've been eligible to vote in since I was old enough to vote. I do it not because I feel it really does any good but because I feel that if I don't at least try to affect the outcome, I have no right to complain about it. I complain a lot these days.

When I chose my blog name I had in mind a particular passage in Douglas Adams' book, "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish," the fourth book in "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" series, the begining of Chapter 36 to be specific:

[A spaceship carrying a 100 foot tall silver robot had just landed in, or more accurately, on, a rather expensive chunk of London real estate, specifically Knightsbridge and more particularly, Harrod’s:...]

"I come in peace," it said, adding after a long moment of further
grinding, "take me to your Lizard."

Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said Ford. "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard
might get in. Got any gin?"

And that pretty accurately sums up the state of our democracy (or should I say Democratic Republic) nowadays. Thanks to the fact that our political class gets to draw the boundaries of voting districts ( better known as gerrymandering) they also get to choose the voters that put and keep them in office, not the other way around. Couple with that the fact that we have a mainstream media ( the old MSM again) that is, at worst, more or less completely in the tank for one side or else, at best, too damned lazy to check facts and just fully report them without bias, the average voter is too poorly informed to make rational choices. And they vote anyway. Bill Whittle described the way it works best in his essay "Magic." What results from the creation of lies from truth he describes is what he further describes in "Seeing the Unseen" Part 1 and Part 2, a people that will believe nearly anything. I still hold out hope that my fellow citizens will figure it out ( I have to to remain sane) but time is getting short for them to do it without dire consequences.

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The Open Borders/Amnesty Crowd Should Read This...

Mark Steyn's weekly column in the Chicago Sun Times is particulary on point this week. It's about the practical consequences of not doing anything about our porous borders. The Democrats see illegal immigrants as a source of future votes, businesses as cheap labor and the politicians of both parties want to pander to both. But now we have a case of three Kosovar Albanian brothers, smuggled into the country as young children, brought up in America, turned jihadi and now they've been arrested for plotting to attack soldiers at Fort Dix, NJ along with three other radical(ized) muslims.

We were lucky (again) this time. How many cases like this will it take before we get a clue and get serious about locking down our borders? I fear that once again, fear of being labled a racist stops too many from getting serious about this. It is not racist to want to control your borders and know who you are letting in. Quite the contrary, when you are dealing with people whose professed aim is to kill as many of us non-believers as they possibly can, we'd better damn well know who and where they are.
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