Thursday, June 7, 2007

Immigration Bill Serves Washington, Not America

Reagan AG, Edwin Meese III, gives us the definitive word on the Immigration Bill that is now before Congress ("Invasive and Ineffective," WSJ June7, 2007, p.A21). Essentially, the bill smooths the way for illegals who are now in the country and places onerous administrative burdens on both US citizens and legal immigrants (of which I am one), and without a serious effort to secure the border.

What do I conclude from this? What does anyone conclude who has even the most basic understanding of economics and of human behavior in general? In effect, as soon as the bill is passed, twelve million other people will immediately understand that, when they make it across the border, they themselves can become Z-visa holders just 24 hours after securing a forged bank statement, lease, telephone bill et cetera. If our present situation is overwhelming, the one it will produce will be literally hopeless. No government bureaucracy, not even one dreamed up and funded by the glassy-eyed liberals driving Washington these days, could follow up on the tens of millions of "probationary" Z-visa holders that would need to become permanent after a more thorough investigation. DHS is already considerably backlogged with proper applicants. Translate: home free and legal.

In addition, once these illegals are legalized, half of them will lose their jobs. I have a friend in the construction industry. (No, not a rich construction company owner. He does bathrooms. But he knows lots of guys in the business.) As soon as your illegals become legal, your labor costs go up by 50% because of workman's compensation and other government mandated contributions. Regardless of what one thinks of those, a sudden and sharp increase in labor costs will mean layoffs and higher prices, which in turn will mean lower demand which in turn will mean more layoffs. Millions of unemployed foreign nationals on our soil. Problem.

If the problems with this legislation are so obvious, why are 535 legislators and a President seriously considering it? One reason is that very few people in political office understand anything about economics and human behavior. (If this were not so, we would never have had AFDC.) The Democrats want the law because they expect that most of the legalized illegals will eventually become Democrat voters, locking the Republicans out of power for the foreseeable future. Even if they understand the unemployment that will result, even among citizens, that's good too because unemployed people vote Democrat, even if the Democrats are the ones who caused it. The President wants it because the reason that he was elected in 2004 was the significant increase in Hispanic voting for the Republican ticket. He too imagines that these legalized illegals will eventually vote for his party, though he is less justified in believing that. The Republicans in Congress are dithering between principle and pipe dreams.

So, people who carp and criticize should cough up their own solutions. Again, it is obvious.

Number one: secure the border. We are being invaded -- not by a hostile army -- but nonetheless invaded. Put up a fence and regulate traffic through the open bits. If we can drop Shock and Awe on Iraq, surely we can face down Mexico with a fence. Get it done, and fast.

Second: start identifying who is here illegally and start putting them gently on the other side of the fence. Twelve million people are a lot of people. No problem. Take twenty years to do it, if necessary. In the end you may be repatriating someone who has been here for thirty years. He can thank the Lord that he has had thirty years in America. I hope that he is saving. What if these people have children born here? Those children are American citizens. Fine. They are repatriated with their parents and when they turn 18 they can come back to the land of their birth, America. If you let parents stay because of their American-born babies, guess what? (Follow the logic of predictable human behavior.) People sneaking into the country will secure their permanent residency by having babies here. What if an illegal marries an American? Will we split up families? If you marry someone who is illegally in the country, you have implicitly agreed to follow your beloved to his or her country of origin if need be or live potentially very separate lives. Otherwise, people will sneak into the country and secure their permanent residency by marrying the first gullible Americans they can dupe into wedlock. Can't have that. (Remember AFDC?) It's tough love.

Third: open the immigration spigot much wider than it is and employ enough people at DHS to process them in a timely manner. That's growing the government. That's something we do well. There is surely a majority in Congress for that.

Thank you Mr Meese. You continue to serve your country ably and faithfully.


Poorhouse Dad said...

Congratulations, Professor! Welcome to the ranks of the weberati.

You point out that illegal immigration equates to an invasion. I agree. It is not a military invasion, but rather a demographic invasion that already displaces American culture. The resulting division may eventually cause the breakup of the nation. Indeed, some members of the invading forces have openly declared a goal of reconquering the Southwest. Here in Californixa, the "white" population decline, combined with other populations increasing, makes El Republica del Norte de Aztlan not a matter of conspiracy theory, but of simple extrapolation.

Your comments on deportation approached but did not mention denying citizenship to children of parents here illegally. Such a step would render deportation less complicated, would remove the motive for many illegal entries, and would remove the justification for many legal-but-undeserving entries.

Regarding the proposition that illegals take jobs that Americans won't perform, I would counter that American laborers have sufficient numbers to fill the need. What lacks, rather, is a system for connecting those laborers (mostly from inner cities) to the agricultural regions where the jobs exist. Such a system exists for "undocumented migrants;" it should easily convert for Americans who want work. I grew up in an agricultural area and would happily have spent my summers working fields if the hiring system hadn't excluded white, middle-class teens.

I think a discussion about dealing with this problem requires that we also acknowledge the boundaries of our position. For example, the idea that strangers dwelling within our land should have the same access to justice or welfare, I'm afraid, is not just a Supreme Court legislation, but is also a Biblical mandate. Moreover, I think it possible that, since American Christians have failed to evangelize their neighbors, God may have decided to give us one more chance by bringing our neighbors here. In other words, as Christians, perhaps we should rejoice that God has brought the mission field to us!

D.C. Innes said...

Thanks for the comment, Poorhouse Dad. I especially appreciated your closing biblical reflections. I do not, however, think that we are biblically required to extend public welfare benefits to those who are here illegally.

(1) The Bible does not require that we extend such benefits to anyone. Biblically, as well as rationally, it is no business of the government at any level.

(2) It is illogical. If you have identified an illegal in need of welfare benefits, you have identified an illegal for deportation. Skip the benfits.

(3) Charity requires wisdom in order to be charity in effect and not just in affection. If kindness toward one person results in harm toward several others, it is not charity. It is well intentioned mischief. Public welfare for illegals would be just that.

However, private giving by churches and para-church organization is another matter. In fact, that could be the beginning of a wider system of relief that could one day ease our transition out of our socially and spiritually crippling entitlement situation that we have made for ourselves. -- DCInnes

Ayla said...

Keep up the good work.

David C. Innes said...

Thank you for the encouraging word, Ayla. And on my very first post from almost 18 months ago!