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Immigration: the problem has NOT left the building

Since the failure of the McCain-Kennedy Immigration bill earlier this year, the controversies over the issue have taken a back seat. The problem itself, however, has not only not gone away as the spotlight shifted elsewhere, it continues to get worse every day, and will until something is done.

I support a comprehensive plan to address the issue, but I define the word according to the dictionary:

com·pre·hen·sive -adjective

1. of large scope; covering or involving much; inclusive: a comprehensive study of world affairs.

Source. Unfortunately, most of the so-called "comprehensive" approaches suggested fail to deal with several critical areas of policy and enforcement - the original Bush proposal and the two versions of McCain-Kennedy being prime examples - or proposed insufficient remedies, some to follow at unspecified future dates.

Truly comprehensive reform must deal with all the important areas, virtually simultaneously, and soon.

The reasons only such a plan can work begin with the essential, and well-earned, mistrust between the proponents of "normalization first" (falsely labeled "comprehensive" in the grand tradition of American legislation) and those of "enforcement first." Neither side believes the other, if granted its demands for primacy of the issues it advances, wouldn't subsequently renege on any commitment to deal with the remaining issues.

They have ample reason for this mistrust. While there may not even be a majority of "amnesty only" advocates on the one side or "enforcement only" advocates on the other, there surely exist sizable enough minorities holding such views on each side to derail any reforms put off until "later." Therefore, the concerns of both sides must be addressed directly and with similar priority in order to forge any political deal. And that's not a bad thing, since the concerns of both sides are quite legitimate, and failing to deal with all of them only allows the problem to grow unabated.

I do find it odd that neither side even attempts to deal with the issues they prioritize in a truly meaningful way. The "normalization first" folks don't address the laughably low quotas for legal immigration, or the absurd excuse for "standards" in screening prospective immigrants. The "enforcement first" people seem only concerned with the Mexican border, when hundreds of radical mosques in Canada are fomenting jihad with the tacit approval of their government, and crossing into the United States is mere routine, or the fact that we have no effective means of tracking those who simply overstay their visas (a huge problem, almost completely ignored), nor do they propose to deal differently with visas and other entries from countries with active jihadist networks.

I will bring more specifics to the floor in upcoming posts (WARNING: some mathematics and economics will be involved). For now, I put forth the proposition that (a) the problem must be dealt with, (b) it can only be resolved by a comprehensive approach, and (c) a "comprehensive" approach should engage ALL the problems, not just those with the loudest constituencies.


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Comments (8)

It has not only not left th... (Below threshold)

It has not only not left the building, it is beginning to tag the dancers at the masqued ball. Believe it or not, I think we have not yet begun to demagogue this issue, which has so much such potential. It is getting worse, not the masses of people, but our inability to talk about it.

I agree with Kim. But on th... (Below threshold)

I agree with Kim. But on the issue of comprehensive immigration, most if not all of the enforecement first people (I am one) wants a demonstration that our government can and will enforce the border. Say after a year or two, with many examples of illegals not getting in, we would then be comfortable talking about other issues. To approach immigration reform without demonstration is an insult to any thinking person. ww

If our gov't would enforce ... (Below threshold)

If our gov't would enforce the laws that are on the books right now, this problem would be solved. And WW is correct, secure the border first.

The "enforcement f... (Below threshold)
The "enforcement first" people seem only concerned with the Mexican border, when hundreds of radical mosques in Canada are fomenting jihad with the tacit approval of their government

I'll say most people want this stopped too. But criticizing the legal immigration is much trickier and if any figure, politician or pundits did, they would really be on the hot seat.

And The problem isn't just security. Most People do not want to see the US Balkanized!

Because of the large population from essentially a single source, the Mexicans pose the greatest risk on that front.

See, here's the problem wit... (Below threshold)

See, here's the problem with "comprehensive" reform. Let's say you put together a program that combined something like:

1. Actual border security improvements (fence, more agents, etc.)
2. A zero tolerance policy for those convicted of felonies and violent misdemeanors. One strike, you're deported.
3. Elimination of all federal dollars for sanctuary cities.
4. A two track program for normalization - one track as a guest worker program for those who want to work here for a few years but don't want to become permanent residents, and another for those that do, having strict english-proficiency requirements for the second track.

I could get on board with something like that, and I think a lot of the people who are lumped into the 'restrictionist' camp could. But I know exactly what will happen if such is proposed in the senate. The Democrats will counter-offer with 'How about we just do #4 now', and the Republican Senate leadership will say 'sounds good to us!'.

And then the base explodes again, and the Republican brand is damaged even more. So that's why we're like parents screaming at their kids to keep away from the stove, because we want them to not get burned. And sure, they might cook a gourmet meal, but it's just not worth the risk.

They are putting forth the ... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

They are putting forth the NEW WORLD ORDER and the NORTH AMERICAN UNION all the plans of the sinsster CFR

Jim:For now, I ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:


For now, I put forth the proposition that (a) the problem must be dealt with, (b) it can only be resolved by a comprehensive approach, and (c) a "comprehensive" approach should engage ALL the problems, not just those with the loudest constituencies.

I completely agree with what you're saying here Jim. And I think you make a good point in noting that we do not just have one "border"; the same considerations need to be applied to our northern border.

I also agree with Kim when she says that this issue is getting more and more difficult for people to even talk about. Bring the subject up, and minutes later the conversation/debate devolves into polemic nonsense. We all need to find a way around that.

One thing that I wish some folks could get past is the fear of people who come not only from Mexico, but from nations to the south of them. Framing them all as criminals who are trying to destroy our nation, or rob us of public funds, isn't going to get us anywhere. Many of them are just people going to a place where they can make a living.

There are definitely massive problems with our immigration system. We do not want people coming into the USA by illegal, covert means, since that's dangerous for everyone involved. We also don't want people who are living here under the radar--for numerous reasons. Many immigrants who come here to work do all they can to avoid any of our police or other officials...what this does is create a situation in which that population is not only not enforced, but also not PROTECTED by our legal system. It's double sided in that regard.

Hence the reason why these people are often treated as if they have no rights.

So yes, a lot needs to be done. And the 'enforcement' crowd certainly has its valid contentions. This is not about simply allowing people to keep coming in here without any restrictions--that's not the answer in my opinion. Through all this though, I hope that most of us can keep in mind the fact that most of these people are just that--other people who are trying to find a way to survive any way they can.

Read a little about the recent histories of places like Guatemala, El Salvador, Oaxaca, and Chiapas, and you'll have a better idea of WHY people are coming up here. Maybe some people don't really care about that aspect, but I do.

The beauty of the enforceme... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

The beauty of the enforcement first approach is that if it is truly implemented, it negates the need to ever get to the amnesty side later. After all, once we have cracked down on employers employ the illegals, as well as eliminating government provided services to the "undocumented community", most otherwise law-abiding illegals will leave on their own. As far as those who turn to crime, we treat them like any other criminals; and after they have served their sentence, we deport their ass. In either case, no amnesty is required.






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