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Immigration: Slow down, take a deep breath, and then get into the details of this bill
Posted by: McQ on Monday, May 21, 2007

That's what a lot of people are saying about the Immigration Bill which Congress is endeavoring to fast track and pass. John Fund hits the high points:
It's understandable that the White House and its Senate negotiating partners want to rush through the compromise immigration bill they agreed to Thursday. Supporters acknowledge that the delicately balanced legislation could collapse if a single destructive amendment is attached to it. Its sponsors admit they want to minimize the political debate. "We all know this issue can be caught up in extracurricular politics unless we move forward as quickly as possible," says Sen. John McCain , a key architect of the bill.

But this is no way to debate the most sweeping change to our nation's immigration laws in two decades—especially since the last comprehensive attempt, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, failed so spectacularly. The new bill is set to pass with much less analysis in the Senate than the 1986 law, known as Simpson-Mazzoli, had. Senators did not even receive the bill draft until midnight Saturday. After a test vote scheduled for today, Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning a final vote on the bill this Thursday, only one week after the compromise was struck. Shouldn't senators have time to actually read the bill they're being asked to vote on?

Even a key supporter of the bill, Sen. Jon Kyl or Arizona, admitted to radio host Hugh Hewitt that "we don't have to rush the bill through the Senate in a week. . . . Hopefully, the majority leader would allow it to carry over beyond the Memorial Day recess so we could complete it."
The sentence in bold is the key to the political reasoning behind rushing the bill. If there is no debate, if they vote immediately on cloture, the possibility of show-stopper amendments is minimized.

But that, as Fund points out, is no way to pass complex and sweeping legislative changes in one of the most important issues of our time. In essence, it is politics, and not necessarily what is best for the country, driving the process. Mark Steyn weighs in about this rush to pass the legislation:
But, as John McCain declared, "This is what the legislative process is all about" — and in the sense that it's a sloppily drafted bottomless pit of unintended consequences on a potentially cosmic scale whose sweeping "reforms" will inevitably require even more sweeping reforms of the reforms in a year or two's time, he's quite right. Also, as Senator McCain says, "This is what bipartisanship is all about."

I'm not a fan of "bipartisanship" for its own sake. This is a very divided political culture in which bipartisanship is all but nonexistent on everything else, starting with war and national security. So, when the political class is in lockstep bipartisan mode, that's sufficiently unusual all by itself. When it's in bipartisan mode on an issue on which the public is diametrically opposed, that looks less like bipartisanship and more like the lockstep myopia of an out-of-touch one-party state.
Those two emphasized points are critical. The potential for a horrendous visit by the law of unintended consequences is huge when legislation this sweeping and imposing such large changes in immigration and national security issues is passed without examining the details. And that is precisely what Congress is being asked to do by the architects of this bill. For six years they've sat on their hands and done nothing and now, suddenly, it is vitally important that we pass this legislation in a rush and virtually without reading it.

And that brings us to Steyn's second point. How out of step are these guys? Well again, it appears to be pretty fair to say "very". Most people recognize that our immigration system is broken. Badly broken. And most people also understand that our borders are just as badly broken. Both systems need to be fixed. But that doesn't mean they must be fixed at the same time (nor that the fix must be rushed into action after 6 years of no action).

Border security shouldn't depend on immigration reform. But immigration reform can't work without border security. What most people want is to see border security given the priority and the attention it needs and deserves. It is not only important to solving the immigration problem, but critical to our national security. We have avowed enemies who've already used our weakness in that area to kill 3000 Americans. So this isn't some political game to most of us. We recognize the reality of our poor border security and we also realize it is only a matter of time before what happened on 9/11 happens again, perhaps on an even larger scale. If there is any rush to be put on legislation, it should be that which helps better secure the border.

However when such legislation was passed by the last Congress, it was never fully implemented. 2 miles of 700+ miles of fence have been built, and funding for the increase of the size of the Border Patrol has yet to materialize.

Given that why would the public support the probability of more lip service to security in this bill when past experience has shown that's pretty much what they can expect? And while I appreciate Senator Isakson's inclusion of trigger events which must be completed prior to other parts of this bill being advanced, I, along with everyone else, have watched as administration after administration have promised those types of reforms and then never lived up to those promises. The biggest question the likes of McCain, Reid, Kennedy and Pelosi have to answer is "why should we believe you now?"

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts on this. Naturally, as a libertarian I take heat from my fellow libertarians who belong to the open borders crowd. Well let me just say that in a perfect world where people aren't trying to kill me because of how I identify myself, I'd be for open borders too. And in a perfect world where we weren't living in a welfare state where government is, by the threat of force, reaching into my wallet to pay for the services offered by such a state, I'd again be all for open borders. But we do live in a welfare state and are threatened with death for being "Americans", and, consequently, my passion for open borders is somewhat diminished.

Last, but not least, let me point you to NZ Bear's post about the bill. He's taken the bill apart and, as he says, "parsed it into a format that allows for easy browsing on line".

This obviously won't be my last post on the bill or the issue, but its a good start. Your comments are solicited.
 
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This morning on Paul Harvey, he quipped that it is best that none of the reps read the full document, lest it seem familiar.

Since it’s nearly identicle to the stuff they passed in the 80’s.

"A new piece of paper changes nothing."

Are we sure Mr Harvey won’t run? He’d get my vote...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Well, 2000 miles of border isn’t easy to patrol or to fence. The border runs thru the worst of the terrains for us to control it. You might say that deploy more border patrol agents along the more ’popular’ crossings, but the illegals would just open up another route. Border control is not gonna work...

It is not possible for an illegal immigrant to remain in this country without work. So, hit them where it hurts:

1. Start a website listing all businesses that employ legal employees only in your area
2. Patronize only those businesses even if it costs a bunch of dollars more
3. Boycott businesses that employ illegals

Border control does not work if there is market for cheap labor (so cheap that it needs illegal labor) right in your neighbourhood...
 
Written By: Ivan
URL: http://
Well, 2000 miles of border isn’t easy to patrol or to fence. The border runs thru the worst of the terrains for us to control it. You might say that deploy more border patrol agents along the more ’popular’ crossings, but the illegals would just open up another route. Border control is not gonna work...
Technologically there are many ways to monitor a border and exert a level of control. No one said it would be easy, but then no one said we shouldn’t at at least try. Any level of monitoring would be better than that we now have ... and that’s the point.
It is not possible for an illegal immigrant to remain in this country without work. So, hit them where it hurts:

1. Start a website listing all businesses that employ legal employees only in your area
2. Patronize only those businesses even if it costs a bunch of dollars more
3. Boycott businesses that employ illegals
I support your points, and agree, but then what are we having our tax dollars taken for if the federal government, which is constitutionally charged with controlling the borders, doesn’t do its part in what you see as a priority? Do you really believe that enough people will do such a thing, independently (and do the work necessary to make the determinations necessary to figure out which businesses are employing illegals?) to actually have an adverse impact on such employers?

Yeah, me neither.
Border control does not work if there is market for cheap labor (so cheap that it needs illegal labor) right in your neighbourhood...
I agree and your point is well taken. But as mentioned, this isn’t just about "illegal immigration", it’s also about national security.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Ivan,

Can I paraphrase your remarks as "Let’s come up with a way to do the government’s job, because it won’t?"

The Declaration of Independence put it another way: "whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
Please read the following article in the Christian Science Monitor (h/t Polipundit):

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0706/p09s01-coop.htm

It explains how Eisenhower successfully tackled the identical illegal immigration problems in the 1950s. Why wouldn’t the same techniques work today? Oh, right, that pesky "political will" stuff.
 
Written By: pa
URL: http://
As I sit here this morning listening to right wing radio (local talk show hosts – whom I know personally) (I listen to NPR on the weekends, so un-jerk that knee) reading QandO about the Immigration bill, the radio announces that an illegal immigrant was arrested with two pounds of methamphetamine which he had brought here to market. Sigh. Every day I drive by the bulletin board of the largest local employer (Harry and David – Bear Creek Orchards) announcing the latest job availabilities – in Spanish only, I kid you not.
Two summers ago I took a week’s temporary work for Bear Creek in one of their local orchards. I was on a crew picking up tree trimmings and of course the supervisor was Hispanic. I had to get one of the other (friendly) crew members to translate his orders which were given in Spanish which I didn’t always understand. Should I have been a serious ambitious employee I would clearly have had to learn Spanish in order to advance.

My bank of some thirty years (Bank of America) has announced that it will offer full services, including credit cards to illegal aliens (dial “1” for English when you call them). My state issues driver’s licenses to illegal aliens (Democratic governor, natch).

My point?

We got trouble, right here in River City. It starts with “I” and it rhymes with “beagle” and if we don’t act right now your children and grandchildren are going to be culturally deprived by having non-Hispanic parents. Politicians are loathe to give up the presumably block-voting Hispanic vote due to their numbers.

We have been invaded and we are about to lose the war. Oh, and the professional war-losers (liberals)? We know where they will be on this. Sigh.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
"We all know this issue can be caught up in extracurricular politics unless we move forward as quickly as possible," says Sen. John McCain , a key architect of the bill"

"extracurricular
adj 1: outside the regular academic curriculum; "sports and drama
are popular extracurricular activities"
2: outside the regular duties of your job or profession
3: characterized by adultery; "an adulterous relationship";
"extramarital affairs"; "the extracurricular activities of
a philandering husband" syn: adulterous, extramarital"

One would think from his words that it is somehow unnecessary, undesireable, and/or illegitimate that those outside of Congress, we the people, be involved in the governing of the country. Surely I err.

"Border control is not gonna work..."

Depends on your definition of work. Yours is evidently that it must be 100% airtight. If that is your critereia, we can save the billions we waste on law enforcement, since that obviously doesn’t work.


 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Start a website listing all businesses that employ legal employees only in your area."
This suggestion is ridiculous. How is a private citizen supposed to do this? As others have said, this is what we ostensibly pay the government to do.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
"Start a website listing all businesses that employ legal employees only in your area."

This suggestion is ridiculous. How is a private citizen supposed to do this? As others have said, this is what we ostensibly pay the government to do.
Well, they aren’t doing it (in fact, it seems that they are enabling the reverse: not prosecuting companies hiring illegals)
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
I really like your site it is probably the coolest ever.
 
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