Thursday, November 29, 2007

Immigration Policy

I suppose that we should get around to taking a look at the different approaches proposed by each candidate.

Fred Thompson

Comprehensive, detailed and logical. The problem didn't happen overnight and it won't be fixed overnight.

Rudy Giuliani

Doesn't seem to feel it's an issue. That or he hides it in a place I can't find.

Mitt Romney

The man has a really firm grasp of the principles of platitude construction. Promises strong employer sanctions and a "cut back" on federal funding to sanctuary cities. Doesn't mention whether it would be 1.1% or 1.2%. Doesn't explain exactly how he'll get the illegals to show up for their biometrically-enabled and tamperproof card nor does he explain why they shouldn't be deported when they do show up. The proposal can me read as a mandate to make all visitors get that biometrically-enabled and tamperproof card prior to entry. We had over 33 million foreign vistors last year. Should be a piece of cake.

John McCain

Open borders

Mike Huckabee

I urge you to read this one completely. It's not bad conceptually but the presentation lacks anything approaching the quality that one might expect from a serious contender. He makes some decent points but at a remarkably low skill level.

IMO - Thompson's proposal has the edge. Huckabee is too confrontational/combative. Romney - very, very malleable. He's going to be a hard one to corner.


Knucklehead said...

I sure hope this discussion gets some traction and remains civil.

And thanks, Rick, for gathering the links and making them available. Perhaps the Yarbians at Flares can look at the policieis of the leading Dem candidates and the, umm..., outliers such as Kuchini.. (whatever) and Paul. I'll try to do my part over the weekend.

I've started at the top with Fred. It does, indeed, seem pretty comprehensive and easy for me to agree with and like with a couple of key areas of, if not disagreement, then issues.

The first it "amnesty". According to Fred:

No Amnesty. Do not provide legal status to illegal aliens. Amnesty undermines U.S. law and policy, rewards bad behavior, and is unfair to the millions of immigrants who follow the law and are awaiting legal entry into the United States. In some cases, those law-abiding and aspiring immigrants have been waiting for several years.

As y'all know, I'm no legal (or any other sort of) scholar. But I try to pay some attention to some things and I just flat out fundamentally disagree with that statement. Amnesties have been used by US federal and state governments in the past. Used, IMHO, both wisely and stupidly. I'm too lazy to ge dredge up examples at the moment, but consider the Civil War amnesty for confederate (rebellious) citizens. Not a hugely appropriate comparison but bear with me a moment.

Ignore for a moment the vile taste that the mere word "amnesty" seems to conjure for most people. It probably did for many, perhaps even most, Americans back in the Civil War era.

The point of amnesty, however, is to find a way to deal with something that has no good resolution. There is some social situation by which some significant number of people have become "outlaws". If you don't find some way to convert their status from "illegal" to "legal" they will remain outlaws and their "illegal" status either ignored or dealt with.

In the cases of both the civil war confederate citizens and today's illegal aliens we have, IMO, a vast number of people who feel they have committed no crime. Clearly they violated laws but to to them their situation made the law impossible to obey. They don't view themselves as criminals.

Some large portion of the large number of illegal immigrants are decent people who are, outside of the necessities of their immigration status, law abiding people. They've built decent lives typically through hard work and thrift. Yeah, some are criminals and political loons and welfare saps and all such things. Those are different (although admittedly related) problems.

The point of the amnesty is to find a way to deal with a BIG problem without jailing and/or deporting and/or wrecking the lives of large numbers of decent people. The point of it is not to undermine law but to find some way to recover a situation where the law has either failed us or we've failed the law without doing things even uglier and more destructive than have already been done. It is a method for realigning with the law when things have gotten too far out of whack. It should be used sparingly and with great care but to just reject it as an option is a mistake. The details of an amnesty can be designed to reduce the impact on those who have behaved legally. Or sometimes you just have to tell such people (and I have MANY friends who are "such people") that life ain't always fair and the reasons for behaving legally go far beyond "rewards" for "good behavior".

The next thing I have trouble with, and I can't call out specific language from Fred's position paper but the notion is clearly evident, is the idea that we should (or even can) deal very harshly with the employers of illegals.

This notion is always positioned as if it is "Big Business" that is employing these millions upon millions of illegals. I got news for My Fellow Citizens. It ain't Big Bidness, it is our neighbors, sometimes even our friends. Take their workers away, shut them down, fine them through the nose, bankrupt them and watch our economy fall off a cliff. And then listen the whining and gnashing of teeth about all the suffering "good, decent 'murricans" are being put through by a scumbag gummint.

Otherwise I like the depth and tone of Fred's position. It ain't gonna be an easy problem to solve and nobody is going to like all the bits and pieces of the solution. But either start solving it or shut up about it. Right now I think most folks just want to vent their spleens and are too lazy to actually ponder the issues.

Rick Ballard said...


"Amnesty" is a mob trigger. I understand Thompson's political use of the term as being a reflection of the base desires of the mob. If we were dealing with the pristine "informed electorate", then I believe that your position could be effectively promoted.

Unfortunately, the Hegelians and Gramscians have succeeded (far beyond their very, very limited imaginations) in destroying the 'melting pot' while pushing 'tolerance' and 'diversity' to their logical outcomes. If all concepts of what constitutes a civil society are simply equally valid and if we are to closely identify individuals on the basis of their 'otherness' then their is no logical reason not to use 'otherness' based upon a legal formulation as a rationale for exclusion and condemnation.

If we consider the concept of the 'melting pot' as a centripetal force then I would submit that the celebration of tolerance and diversity is a centrifugal force with American losing its identity unless preceded by a hyphen and 'undocumented' or 'illegal' denoting 'fair game'.

I don't care for the 'no amnesty' part but I recognize that manipulation of the mob is necessary - check out Huckabee for some real demogoguery on the issue.

Knucklehead said...

I found this href="">On The Issues site. I can't vouch for it and haven't spent a single moment checking it out other than getting to the portion about Rudy on immigration.

There's not much there there. Rudy thinks illegals should be able to report crime and put their children in school. He treated NYC like a sanctuary city but never specifically declared it as such. He thinks deportations have been a completely insignificant drop in the bucket and, apparently, not worth the effort. He seems to think most federal legislative efforts re: immigration have been so much hogwash.

He's correct about the hogwash. He's correct about the insignificance or deportations (as conducted to date).

The reporting crimes thing... well, OK. Put their kids in school? Are they paying school taxes or tuition?

He's for tamper proof IDs and some form of immigrant data base.

I'm up wit dat.

Just one man's assessment of Rudy's "stand" on immigration but I'd say he's learned (well, maybe at least a little) to pick his battles and this ain't one he's willing to fight. (Can't say I blame him.)

His take on the topic must, I would imagine, be strongly colored by the NYC experience which, illegal or otherwise, is so tightly wrapped up with immigration both historically and today that anyone who thinks even a moment about immigration realizes there'd be no NYC without immigrants.

Not much of a position if one excludes painful reality. Kind of cynical NYC metro area attitude something along the lines of, "You gotta be kiddin' me. Nobody's nevah gonna do nuttin' about dis so whattaya bustin' MY balls about it for? I live heah. Try whatevah you tink'll work in your town and lemme know how it turns out. Then maybe we'll talk about it."