Vote for America's future. Vote Green.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Immigration Reform

I have been silent about this issue, as I much prefer to think before I share my thoughts. The more difficult the issue, the more thought I put into it, and the longer I am silent. I suppose this makes me the last person in the blogosphere to comment on this issue among those who will do so. So be it.

Some people have viewed this issue, mistakenly, as an issue of race. Others have wrongly used this issue to further their own racist and/or xenophobic agendas. To both groups, I say with all that I am, all that I believe, and all that I love, GO FUCK YOURSELVES.

The issue in question is, of course, illegal immigration, as distinguished from legal immigration, a lengthy, expensive, and difficult process. However, like anything else worth doing, this is worth doing right, and some of the most ardent opponents of illegal immigration are those who underwent this difficult process. I will agree with those who say that the immigration process should be made easier. I will even go so far as to say it is unnecessarily complicated at this point. However, it is currently the law of the land, and those who are here illegally are in violation of the law. This is not a matter for debate, nor is this a matter for a few mindless demagogues to score points with their constituencies. This is a matter of fact.

The issue, then, becomes what would be the most proper way to handle immigration. I realize there is huge amount of debate over the issues that are of primary importance with immigration, but I have my own thoughts about this. The primary questions are those of national security and the ability of each immigrant to function in our society. To those who wish to enter this nation in peace and to be productive members of our society, I have no problem with you. I wish you well, and I wish you happiness and success. What you are doing is difficult and requires either a courage and/or a desperation I cannot even begin to comprehend. If, however, you lack even a rudimentary understanding of the English language, many, if not most, paths will be closed to you, in much the same way that many roads to success would be closed to me if I were to move to Japan without first understanding their language and gaining at least a rudimentary understanding of their culture. This isn't an issue of race, or of ability, or of anything else aside from a cold, hard look at the facts. It would be nice if this weren't the case, in much the same way that it would be nice if lions could sleep next to lambs instead of dining on them. One possibility would be to grant conditional residency and have either fluency or instruction in English a condition for remaining in the United States, while also keeping the current exemptions to allow refugees and other special cases to remain. Further expansions to the humanitarian exemptions would be an issue to be addressed on a case by case basis. I am unaware of whether this is currently the law or not, but I would also grant automatic citizenship to any infant or young child adopted from a foreign nation.

All that said, I also believe that stiffer penalties are needed for violating immigration law, both for those who immigrate illegally and for those who knowingly employ them in violation of our laws. Mexican President Fox complains about the proposed changes in our laws, yet in Mexico, illegal immigration is punishable by deportation, fines, and/or a felony conviction and prison time of up to ten years. More information can be found here. This policy is in line in spirit, if differing in some specifics, with the laws of several European nations, and, in fact, a good number of nations around the world.

The protests were a mistake on two levels. First, the protests were a result of a willfully mistaken belief that this was an issue of race, when this is an issue that affects illegal immigrants of all origins, be they Latin American, European, or other. Secondly, the protests only succeeded in drawing the ire of those whose sympathies they were attempting to gain. The tactics of the leaders of these protests were not dissimilar from those of Roy Moore, George Wallace, and other demagogues, with the main differences being that they had far friendlier press and better organization. I believe the proper terms for the protests are "organized expressions of racism," "shooting themselves in the foot," and my personal favorite, "bullshit." But that's just my tuppence.


Snave said...

There are no easy solutions to this issue, and the ideas you offer? I don't see why it couldn't work. I would also like to see people come to America to participate in our system, and I believe being allowed to participate should be the result of doing things the right way. With more vigilance and enforcement of current laws, more of the immigrants might be inclined to do things the right way.

As for all those illegal immigrants who are currently in the U.S., I'm not sure where to begin with that issue...

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I think the only fair and just thing to do would be to enforce the laws that are currently on the books, but, again, allow for humanitarian exemptions on a case-by-case basis. We've tried the amnesty tactic during the Reagan administration, and we've seen how successful that was.

1138 said...

I think the problem is too large to address simply by applying current law.
Agressive custody (arrest without incarceration) and prosecution would exceed the cost of the Iraq debacle - and shut down the federal court system (much to the joy of the anti network neutrality telco's and cable companys).
No it's a larger fish than you can fit in a bass boat.