Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Common Sense on Immigration Reform

Lou Dobbs has weighed in with the obvious on the illegal immigration issue. On, he writes:

This president desperately needs to be reminded that he is the president of all Americans and not just of corporate interests and socio-ethnocentric special interest groups.

In what other country would citizens be treated to the spectacle of the president and the Senate focusing on the desires of 12 million to 20 million people who had crossed the nation's borders illegally, committed document fraud, and in many cases identity theft, overstayed their visas and demanded, not asked, full forgiveness for their trespasses?

Illegal aliens and their advocates, both liberal and conservative, possess such an overwhelming sense of entitlement that they demand not only legal status, but also that the government leave the borders wide open so that other illegals could follow as well, while offering not so much as an "I'm sorry" or a "Thank you."
He then enumerates four steps for solving the problem. I listed the first two in an earlier post, and I included the third one in a broader call for a more generous immigration policy.
First, fully secure our borders and ports. Without that security, there can be no control of immigration and, therefore, no meaningful reform of immigration law.

Second, enforce existing immigration laws, and that includes the prosecution of the employers of illegal aliens. ...

Third, the government should fund, equip and hire the people necessary to man the Citizenship and Immigration Services. To do so will ensure that the agency is capable of fully executing and administering lawful immigration into the United States and eliminating the shameful backlog of millions of people who are seeking legal entry into this country. ...

At the same time, the president and Congress should order exhaustive studies of the economic, social and fiscal effects of the leading proposals to change immigration law, and foremost in their consideration should be the well-being of American workers and their families.
John Mueller of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in his newly published Redeeming Economics, notes a relationship between the legalization of abortion in 1973 and our current labor shortage. He writes, "Most immigrants are in their twenties, and the annual number of legal and illegal immigrants to the United States is now almost exactly equal to the number of abortions 20 to 25 years earlier: about 1.5 million."

In my June 7th post, I hesitated to add a fourth step to the solution simply because of its complexity, but prodded by Mueller's bold and illuminating book, I will re-enumerate my common sense steps to solving the illegal immigration problem, this time adding a critically important domestic policy change.

1. Secure the border

2. Enforce the immigration laws

3. Open the immigration spigot

4. Change the laws to at least discourage abortion (Rudy, can you do that?), and then to encourage families to have children and stay together. David Brooks broached this subject in his May 15th 2007 New York Times column, "A Human Capital Agenda," saying, "It means increasing child tax credits to reduce economic stress on young families. It means encouraging marriage, the best educational institution we have."

Recognizing the need for these measures and rallying the country and our legislators to support them is the work of a statesman and the measure of a successful presidential candidate in 2008.

1 comment:

angieg said...

I personally believe that immagration is a highly neglected issue in our nation today and i also think that a stricter control of immigration and attention to our borders is needed. Controling the borders may also prevent possible terrorisism which is a constant fear throughout our nation today. I believe that if people want to enjoy the freedoms that America has to offer than they should do it the legal way, as many of our families have done in the past.
However, I do see the difficulty that many face in going about the "legal way" now days and the process that makes it hard for them to start a life in a country with such economic damage. I am forced to examine the economic side of this issue (being a business majoy and having to face wage issues soon in the future. Studies have repeatedly shown that illegal aliens (making up around 5 percent of the labor force, according to National Public Radio in March of 2007) decrease the wages in the economy. With taxes being raised so much (to fund things such as more restrictions on immigration and border control) many small and medium owned businesses and companies (which in June of 2004 made up 7 out of 10 jobs and provided half of the output for the economy according to a white house press release) are struggling to keep their doors open. In Minnesota alone the minimum wage was increased from $5.15/hr in 2005 to $6.50/hr and from $6.50/hr to $7.50/hr this summer. Small businesses cannot compete with these sort of wages and constant inflation and without proper control of it the economy will suffer the loss of small businesses. I believe that, given these considerations, until a president is able to step into office and but a restriciton on increasing minimum wage and inflation to help small businesses, the only option for some form of control of wages may, regretably, be immigration. I do not like or appreciate illegal immigrants taking jobs away from Americans but examinging the changes that have occurred in the economy, even since President Bush took office, I realize that our options our limited. As someone who plans to take over a small business from my father I cannot see how the economy can thrive without the controls of cheap labor. I am anxious to see how presidental candidates approach this issue.