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What Now On Immigration and the Border?

Once again, the Senate has killed the unpopular bill which would, judging from the vitriol hurled around in the past month, have surrendered the United States to a hated foreign power, replaced all happiness and joy with dismal angst, banished the sun and the laughter of children from our lives, and subjected the nation to the maniacal designs of the denizens of hell. Of course, the actual bill did none of those things, but the hatred against it took on a dark identity of its own, and rational debate was one of its first victims. There was a palpable rage in many circles, many of whom took it upon themselves to declare that they spoke for America. This basilisk of political correctness prowls the halls in both parties, always hungry, never forgiving. Consequently, I am not optimistic that we will now move forward towards a functional decision.

The problem here, is that while the bill is once again entombed in that most formidable of mausoleums, the United States Senate, whose Majority Leader so reminds one of funerals and loss, the issues which initially gave energy to the conception of that well-meaning but poorly-built legislative spawn are still corroding the security and commonwealth of the nation. People of goodwill are now morally compelled to consider the next step, which will be difficult regardless of its author. One unfortunate hallmark of this bill's presence, was the common use of character assassination. Many unfortunate statements made no attempt at all to address the issue, but instead attacked proponents and opponents personally, and even many influential individuals who have profited from their association with certain leaders, did not hesitate to lie about their statements, the context, or their motives. The public now regards the entire federal government, across the board, as dishonest and of no integrity, as well as both major parties. The cost of this season of spite is high, indeed. The worst may yet be still to come, as well. The nation is not well-served by narcissism on such a scale, but we were not consulted, either by the legislators, nor by those famous mandarins in the old and new media, and so we must hang on as best we can, and hope that God brings a miracle. He's done that before, but at other times He has delivered us the leaders we asked for, a torment devoutly to be feared.

But to the issues. The whole mess is not one issue, as I have said over and over again, but a set of issues, and part of the problem is that the people working on the Hill have bollixed up even explaining what they are trying to do. And that thought gave me the starting point for trying to unravel this mess. You see, Americans have some ideas about what they want, and the Congress, strange as they have been acting, may be said in general to want the right things. The problem is that the bills they have put up for consideration are just not dealing with things effectively. I have remarked, when someone says to just do "X", that he is presenting a goal, rather than a plan to accomplish that goal. And it occurs to me, that they are right, in that Congress is not being clear about its goals, and until they do that much, they are bound to get the plans wrong for making those goals happen.

The goals Congress is pursuing are not clear. They say they don't want "Amnesty", but some opponents say that's where the bill leads, while other opponents demand a clear vote for amnesty. Congress says they want to secure the border, but won't state specifics on how they plan to make that happen. Congress says they will punish employers who hire illegals, but not how they will avoid hurting legitimate businesses with undue bureaucracy, or how they will make the charges stick. But worse than that, Congress did an amazingly-poor job of bringing supporters on board. They did not invite comments or suggestions, they did not have regular debates in public on key provisions, they did not pay attention to the flood of emails and letters from their constituents, and they failed to make sure they included professionals in their discussions, like INS and Border Patrol agents, people who actually worked the front lines and who could have supplied critical credibility for their decisions. Even those Americans who saw good things in the bill, found it uncomfortable that the bill seemed to be forced on America. Good managers should not rush decisions, especially when those decisions are controversial, and yet there is no evidence that even a single Senator warned off his colleagues from the way they approached this bill. I'm not saying the bill is good - early on, I said I did not like it because it no effective enforcement provisions, but if you're going to reprise the delivery of the 10 Commandments, you'd better be able to sell yourself as Charlton Heston.

I have mid-terms coming up, so I don't have the time to put together a decent argument for what I would like to see done, but for now, I would like to see us all try the following:

1. Let go of the insults and the anger of the last month - it will do no good to dwell on it, if you're honest you will probably have to admit you said a few things you should not, and in any case old feuds is something for hillbillies and Sicilian crime families, not rational adults;
2. Chill for a few days, enjoy the coming holiday;
3. Remember that a politician is just a politician; and
4. Come back later with the attitude that something constructive can be built. If someone wants to act like a rabid dog, you don't have to join him.

Just a thought ...


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Comments (27)

DJ, I agree with you on the... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

DJ, I agree with you on the namecalling. I see this as watershed moment for the conservative base, where we finally got enough attention to shut down what we thought was horrible policy. This was, in a way, a triumph of democracy over elitism.

I believe that those who supported this fiasco will pay a political price. They have to see that the seat they occupy is not a fiefdom or entitlement, but a a part of representative government.

The problem starts and e... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The problem starts and ends with employers. There are some farm related business that may not survive the absence of illegals, but I would rather pay more for oranges grown in South America than pay more taxes to care for and school illegals. As for service jobs, including construction, the idea that we need illegals is a lie. What do you think, some hotel is not going to clean their rooms if they can't get cheap labor, or some building isn't going to get built because they can't get cheap labor? Nonsense, these employers will have to pay market wages for such work. There are lots of high school dropouts that would be happy with a $12/hr. cleaning job or a $20/hr. construction job. They won't do these jobs for minimum wage like illegals do, and they shouldn't have to.

The answer is to privatize enforcement as I have laid out many times before. The plan would allow illegals to turn-in other illegals and get a reward, all paid for by the employer in the form of fines. If the law is aimed at employers there would be no need to deport illegals. When the jobs dry up they will leave on their own. With that kind of enforcement we could be magnanimous toward illegals who have been in the U.S. for a long time, or have families where the spouse or some of the kids are citizens.

If conservatives who want to control illegal immigration band together with liberals who what to show compassion on illegals we might be able to overcome the business lobby in their efforts to secure cheap labor. Also, there would be no general guest worker program and the current program would be greatly cut back.

DJ, this was a long and ver... (Below threshold)

DJ, this was a long and very emotional road for most. I have said it many times, this bill just wasn't handled right. I agree. Everyone should go away and relax from this issue. Now the senate knows what they have to do. ww

There's a lot that could be... (Below threshold)

There's a lot that could be done about the issue, all within the scope of existing laws. It's a titanic pity that there is zero political will for doing any of it.

Once again, we've shown to the world that despite our massive wealth and resources, we haven't the stones to solve a fairly simple problem. Heaven help us when our collective butts are really on the line.

The first question to answe... (Below threshold)

The first question to answer is: "Do we WANT to solve the problem?"

Only a comprehensive solution can do that. Enforcement MUST be a part of it, including border and visa security measures instituted at the start - but also it must provide some means of normalization for the illegal workers already here, and a reasonable regimen for future immigrants that recognizes reality.

Sorry, Mac, but the concept that the government can pass along the enforcement of laws it cannot enforce itself (with all its resources) to private businesses and individuals, with draconian penalties for failure to do what the government cannot, is positively Kafka-esque.

In fact, that's one of the main reasons for the utter failure of Simpson-Mazzoli from 1986. The "I-9" forms were to ensure proper ID for workers. Every business had to submit one for every new hire, and they did. The government simply could not process them, and neither the businesses nor the government could distinguish between legitimate and falsified IDs - drivers' licenses, birth certificates, etc. It just did not work.

Since no new law is needed,... (Below threshold)

Since no new law is needed, it looks like we will see how good the promises were to enforce the law. Start with the secure Fence Act of 2006 and go from there. Move next to the only slightly worn, never used, 1986 AMNESTY law and pick what parts you want to start enforcing.

To do otherwise will show exactly what AMNESTY was all about, an endless flow of low skilled under market wage workers who live in the cash only no tax twilight zone.

Speaking for myself, it was... (Below threshold)

Speaking for myself, it was not the bill itself that made me mad. It was the fact that the Senate was not listening. They acted arrogantly, there really is no other way to describe it. The bill was not necessary. The alternative is simple: enforce the current laws. As to how to do that, I'm sure the Border Patrol can give you chapter and verse. And maybe the Justice Department can chime in on bringing charges against employers who hire illegal aliens.

The fury came not so much from the bill as from being insulted and ignored.

I served on submarines and ... (Below threshold)

I served on submarines and the first priority when there is flooding is to stop the flooding. You can address the seawater that is in the boat after the flooding is stopped.

The immigration bill should have been simplified to secure the borders, provide proactive enforcement of existing immigration laws and add more border guards first. That is a big undertaking on its on. Then try to pass some kind of amnesty bill. Of course it wouldn't pass on its own. It was only palatable to most because of the border security promises.

Remember the bill to fund the troops in Iraq? Bush didn't permit a bunch of pork or timetables being added to the bill to fund the troops. The same should have been applied to the immigration bill.

Stop the flood. Then deal with seawater.

Republicans filibustering R... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Republicans filibustering Republicans...
There will be no action until maybe 2009...Bush and Kennedy were willing to compromise..and of course a compromise is where both sides give...
Was this acceptable?....Noooooo

Before the 2006 elections was immigration a problem? Before 2006 where was the President.. Republican Senate and House on this issue?
The reason things will stay as they are is a direct failure by the Republican Party..Where was the DeMint Immigration Bill? Where was a Tancredo Bill in the House?
Does anyone here realistically believe 2008 elections will bring back 2004?

"No, you can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
And if you try sometime you find
You get what you need"

I agree with DJ 100% except... (Below threshold)

I agree with DJ 100% except for one thing. Instead of taking a few (days) take at least a few weeks. This was a hard fought emotional battle.
I think a lot of people here on Wizbang have some great ideas and plans. (WE) can come up with a decent plan, and MAYBE just MAYBE use some effort to get it working.

(WE) played DEFENSE to this (FAST) bill, after some well deserved rest, lets have some rational debates and come up with a comprehensive plan, then lets play OFFENSE.

*Cheers* to a cold one everybody..

Jim Addison,<blockquo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Jim Addison,

Sorry, Mac, but the concept that the government can pass along the enforcement of laws it cannot enforce itself (with all its resources) to private businesses and individuals, with draconian penalties for failure to do what the government cannot, is positively Kafka-esque.

Sorry Jim, but you are about 10 years too late with that argument as the ADA contains private enforcement provisions. Also, there's no need for the plan to be draconian either to illegal's or employers. It's simply a reward system paid for by employers who hire illegals.

Yes, we need to establish a database of every person in the U.S. legally who wants to work and that database would include biometric data such as fingerprints. Fingerprinting law-abiding citizens is nothing new as every person who goes into the military since before WW2 has been fingerprinted, including all those who were compelled into the military by the draft.

Here's how it works. You want a job you apply as you do now and provide the employer your Social Security Number (SSN) once you are hired. The change is that your employer must now fingerprint you (maybe just one finger). The technology already exists and is used in some stores to allow you to pay for goods just by pressing your finger on a scanner. That info is transmitted to some central location where the fingerprint is compared with what's on file for that SSN and a confirmation number is sent back to the employer. This can all be done automatically and in a short amount of time. Fake documents are not going to work anymore as illgals will need fake fingers. Once the employer has the confirmation number that proves they went through the proper process they are immune to what comes next. Places like Kinkos can provide this service to anyone who doesn't have the equipment themselves. Also, an employer doesn't need to do the fingerprinting at all if they are sure the employee is in the country legally (like hiring your brother or daughter).

Anyone (citizen or illegal) who can establish probable cause (like they hired me and I'm illegal) can challenge the employer. If the employer is found to have hired illegals and doesn't have the confirmation numbers then they pay a fine for each illegal. Part of the money goes to the person who brought the challenge and part to pay for the system. The illegals would not be deported, only fired.

If an illegal can show that an employer knowingly gamed the system, like submitting someone else's fingerprint rather than that of the person applying for the job, then the reward is ten times higher and the offending person goes to jail.

The beauty of this system is that we get the illegals working against employers who hire illegals. As jobs dry up illegals will go home. As word gets out that illegals can't get jobs they won't come here in the first place.

The private enforcement would be so effective that we could show lots of compassion on illegals who have been in the U.S. a long time and/or have a spouse or kid who is a citizen. We could just give them green cards and a welcome to America basket. I and many conservatives only oppose amnesty because there's no effective enforcement to prevent more and more illegals from coming. Solve that, and 12 million hard workers already here would be welcome to stay.

You could have a guest worker program to help businesses that have a genuine need of immigrant workers and are not just using them to suppress wages.

Law enforcement would only need to guard the boarder against drug dealers and terrorists, and thus, would be much more effective at doing that.

Enforcement effort won't come and go with the change in who's President.

What are your objection to this simple plan?

1. Secure the borders. No... (Below threshold)
molon labe:

1. Secure the borders. Now. Seriously. Figure out how you are going to deal with the drug gangs, coyotes and others who invade at will.

2. Fix the immigration bureaucracy. And by 'fix' I *don't* mean create another DHS.

3. Regularize those we wish to accept who are here illegally. *Without* reference to their extended families.

4. Then and only then consider our wider immigration policy.

I have lived through 2 previous farces that were labelled 'immigration reform'. I will not tolerate a 3rd.

It failed simply because th... (Below threshold)

It failed simply because the American people as a whole saw it for what it was, a mass pardon of 12-20 million criminals, not a secure the country nor an amnesty bill. If they or you want to pardon criminals how about starting with those in American prisons. I know most deserve to be there but a citizen should at least count for more than a criminal that slipped into the country.
How about a president (who I supported up to this debacle) that won't pardon an employee that is going to prison for comitting a crime when there was no basis for him to be questioned dozens of times in an "I gotta ya' situation by another example of 'Nifonging' someone for political purposes.

you are generalizing as if ... (Below threshold)

you are generalizing as if everyone was mean and back biting. this is wrong. i believe that 99% of the american people who cared anough about this horrible bill to call / fax / write or email did it in an adult, civil manner and THAT is what forced the senate to it's knees. it is NOT our fault that our leaders are for the most part incompetent bufoons. ted kennedy, harry ried, and in this case president bush are all to BLAME for this, and WE SMALL AMERICANS have had enough.

Well one important step has... (Below threshold)

Well one important step has been taken in holding Sanctuary Cities accountable for their actions. There are clear steps to be taken cited and they are given the tools and funds they need to achieve a goal of fostering cooperation between feds and local governments in regards to illegal immigrants and punitive actions clearly stated should their responsibilities be flouted.

Whether or not the federal government actually adheres to these measures and follows through with punitive actions for non-compliance is another issue.

If not, it will just be another glaring example of lip service from our Congress.

And that, DJ, is what we talk about when we say enforce the existing laws. Enforcement means to actually dispatch prescribed punishments when the rules are broken. We do it with speeders, burglars, and all manner of lawbreakers as a means to bring order and structure to society. So I can't quite figure out what you mean when you keep demanding that we explain how to enforce the existing laws. There ARE prescribed punishments. USE them.

The current bill's idea of enforcement is merely, "Okay, give us some money and wait in line." And if they don't give us some money and get in a line, what are we going to do with them when they get caught? [Hint: tag and release ain't it] We already have laws that state what's supposed to happen to them. And they're not doing it.

NoGo:Your definiti... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:


Your definition of compromise is when one side (not yours) moves toward the other. Kennedy has no principles, so he didn't have any to compromise. Compromise in and of itself is not necessarily a virtue.

This bill was flawed, Serio... (Below threshold)
Colorado KnightOwl:

This bill was flawed, Seriously flawed. Jim Demint said it best, "The American people are at war with their government".
6 years after 9-11 and the border is still not secured. Shameful. Last year the congress passed a law requiring 700 miles of border fencing. We've built 12 miles..Twelve in a year. This bill cut that to 370 miles of fence. These "leaders" do not want to build a fence and they aren't serious about border security. GWB said "that anybody that crosses the Rio Grand we want". Kennedy said that he "didn't want the border patrol chasing landscapers that crossed the border". Not only is that racist but it misses the fundamental point. If a landscaper can cross the border at will then ANYBODY can.
We last passed an amnesty in 1986, did that slow or stop illegal immigration? No! The CBO said this bill would only slow illegal immigration 13%, so instead of 12 million illegal aliens we only get another 8.9 million illegal aliens...That is some fix!
People like me (and there a few of us) have lost faith in our government. They can't issue a passport to an American citizen with documentation in 3 months, but this bill Mandated that background checks on undocumented aliens be done in 24 hours. Absurd.
This bill also granted all the 12 million people here illegally the right to bring in their immediate family. That could be another 40 to 60 million people.

We want the government to demonstrate that it means what it says.

BUILD the Fence!
Enforce existing law.

When it demonstrates that, then and only then we can talk amnesty for those here already.

One more point. We have an army of 150,000 in Iraq. The border patrol stops approximately 150,000 people each and every month trying to cross that border. That is an invasion, short and simple.

Please I am waiting for som... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Please I am waiting for someone..anyone...please defend why a patriot like Dewine or a patrioit like like Tancredo did not push immigration prior to 2006 elections....Can the moderators of Wizbang bring up where challenges to immigration were raised in 2003..2994..2005? Can all you outraged people demonstrate where your concerns were on immagration during this time?
Let me get this straight...the problem with immigration started in November 2006?

Ya know...you can whine about the Dems..you can give your Rush simpleton responses to moonbats like me...but where was you passion for immagrtion in the past? Where was this outrage?...Where your your ideas for border security 2004?
Talk to us about Dem losers?

I just want one of you to stand up ..and write up
that the folks You elected in 2000...2002 and 2004...did Anything to address this issue?
I hear this claptrap about the failure of "amnesty" Where the demands of change by any of you? Where was the attempt of change by a Republican controlled congress?

Scrapiron...you still visit? Jay...Lorie...DJ..
call me anything you want..but ya know..you folks get all excited..and who could have done something about it and did not....where was your concern and outrage in 2005?

The only simpleton is the o... (Below threshold)

The only simpleton is the one who types incoherent, grammatically challenged and incorrectly spelled rants. Really, little nogo, upgrade your browser, look for all the little red lines under the words in your post, right click the mouse over it, and select the correct spelling. Also get one of those simple little grammar books. You don't capitalize "You" in the middle of a sentence, "your" is not the same as "are", yadda, yadda, yadda...

You just have to be an illegal who dropped out of an inner city school system in LA with one of those bilingual language programs where you learn English and Spanish poorly. I guess you get what you pay for, nothing for nothing.

This horrific bit of tripe ... (Below threshold)
BJ Book:

This horrific bit of tripe was never meant to "fix" illegal immigration. It was a welfare plan for the Democratic party, pure and simple. Import 40-60 million ignorant, illiterate and unskilled potential welfare recipients and groom them to become democrat voters. That was the whole purpose. Thank God it was defeated.

Jay Tea said: The bill was ... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea said: The bill was not necessary.

Wrong, we need to do something about illegal immigration. We need to secure our borders number one.

Secondly, we need a guest worker program because a growing economy needs a supply of fresh labor. It's difficult to complain that illegals are taking the jobs that Americans would take when we have an unemployment rate of 4.8%.

There should have been no path to citizenship for the 12 million already here but they should have all been grandfathered into the guest worker program. Then, they should have all been given 10 years to be guest workers after which they would have to return to their home countries to apply for a new visa.

We need and should have a comprehensive immigration reform. The problem is that our leadership, both Bush and Reid/Pelosi, are so out of touch they don't understand where the people are at on this.

It is symptomatic of the dysfunctional nature of our political system that they could not hammer out a compromise that could get 60% support in the Senate. This shouldn't be that hard. It's obvious that we need to do something. The politicians are asleep at the wheel.

Secondly, we need ... (Below threshold)
John in CA:
Secondly, we need a guest worker program because a growing economy needs a supply of fresh labor.

Just imagine supply of fresh labor we'd have, had the Burger Court not decided it was a Constitutional Right to stick a shop vac into a woman's womb and vacuum out a potential American worker. We've lost at least thirty million of those potential fresh laborers in that manner.

xray: It's hard to spell an... (Below threshold)
John in CA:

xray: It's hard to spell and form coherent thoughts when you're pounding your keyboard with your fists.

nogo: Senator DeWine was defeated by Sherrod Brown in November 2006. Consequently, DeWine is not currently in the Senate.

Thank you so much for the c... (Below threshold)

Thank you so much for the calm, reasoned, logical words that are a
soothing tonic to the raw nerve inflammed by our reaction to our Leaders attempts to heal our festering immigration prooablam.

May i just add f*&% those honky wh&(*$ that nearly sold our country for "bread and a stew of lentils"

I heard the perfect solutio... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

I heard the perfect solution on the Dennis Prager radio show the other day. A caller suggested a law making it illegal for persons who are here without documentation to send money out of the country. Second, make it unlawful to rent or sell shelter to those who have no documentation indicating legal status. Penalty would be confiscation of said property. If you were out of work, and you needed money. Would that be justification for breaking into your local bank. Doing some Mox Nix work around the place and taking money for your efforts? I think you would still be charged with breaking and entering. Circumstances not withstanding. The bill Bush wanted was not the bill that was produced in the senate. Democrats saw to it that the enforcement of the law part was removed. Anything Kennedy is attached to is corrupt. He should be hung for what he did to Mary Jo.

Larkin, I agree with you al... (Below threshold)

Larkin, I agree with you almost entirely. We do not need a bill for guest workers though. We already have 6 guest worker programs and if more is needed, a law could stand alone. The main thing is border security. The government has to prove to us they are serious about this by securing the border. When they demonstrate they can in a year or two, then we can talk about other plans. The political leaders and the talking heads are missing the point of all this, we US citizens work hard, pay our taxes and obey the laws. We also know that is we were to break a federal law, the full weight of the justice system would come down on us. But this same justice system is so eager to just forget about 12 million people who have broken the law. There is no equity in that. This is one of those very rare times when the citizens joined together regardless of party affiliation, and said "STOP THIS MADNESS." We are always lectured by these same leaders that we are a nation of laws and the always should follow the rule of law. That is what we expect to be done in this case.

If I knew someone who worked hard and raises a family, goes to church, volunteers his time, but it was discovered he has been stealing drugs from drug stores for years, no matter what his ties to the community are, or his church activities, or his family, he will be prosecuted, and rightly so. Well, illegals are the same way. I know that most work hard, raise families, go to church, but they know they should not be hear. They know they might get caught. They know they are risking everything. If they get caught, although I would feel sorry for the family, I know and more importantly, HE knows this day might get here.

All we are asking is for our government to do their job. ww

nogo postal: Where was the... (Below threshold)

nogo postal: Where was the outrage in 2005? Seems there was indeed a bit of concern in 2005 and 2004.

And that's just at Wizbang. Feel free to Google other's feelings about it elsewhere.

If you're too lacking in recognizing "why" the absolute outrage now, I'll explain it to you. It's because of the absolute crap they've come up with as a finalized version of the bill and tried to shove down our throats.

That's why the outrage. No one is angry that they actually tried to tackle the issue. It's the result of what they've come up with. And at a time when Democrats hold the majority and STILL can't get it passed it should tell you a whole lot more. But I'm not counting on the fact that you'll get it.






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