TCS Daily


Immigration Wisdom In the Senate

By Nathan Smith - June 2, 2006 12:00 AM

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, passed by the US Senate on May 25, if its key provisions become law, will be the most significant domestic legislation in the United States since welfare reform. Though flawed by elements of economic and cultural paternalism, it deserves praise for creating a path to legalization for undocumented workers, and it is a moment of resurrection for the Democratic Party.

It is also a reminder of why the framers of the Constitution were wise to establish a Senate in the first place. Mark Steyn lampoons senators like John McCain and Arlen Specter as "presidents-for-life of the one-party state of Incumbistan." But that was the point of the Senate all along. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Paper No. 62:

"The necessity of a senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions... [A] body which is to correct this infirmity ought itself to be free from it, and consequently ought to be less numerous. It ought, moreover, to possess great firmness, and consequently ought to hold its authority by a tenure of considerable duration."

A recent example of an "intemperate and pernicious resolution" motivated by "violent passions" is the Sensenbrenner bill, HR 4437, passed last December, which would build a big wall along the southern border and declare illegal immigrants "felons." Because senators are fewer, with more scope to deliberate -- and because they are elected less frequently and so are less vulnerable to the voters' knee-jerk reactions -- they disdained HR 4437 and instead passed the far wiser and more ethical Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act.

Cheer one: Earned legalization

CIRA is a welcome reality-check for those who want to reverse illegal immigration. People need to realize that the Founding Fathers just didn't bequeath to us a form of government ruthless and invasive enough to carry out the type of vast social engineering program that "enforcing the law" on immigration would constitute. Now, with 62 senators approving of a semi-amnesty, it's clear that a legislative consensus on expelling illegal immigrants en masse will not be forthcoming. But it's not just this Senate. The gap between law and reality on immigration has persisted for twenty years, through congresses and presidential administrations of both parties. It is time to accept that we passed laws we can't or won't enforce, and illegal immigrants called our bluff. It would be prudent to get over it. As with Prohibition in 1918-1932, it is the law, and not the facts on the ground, that will have to give way.

Expect culture protectionists on the right and labor protectionists on the left to go through something like the five stages of grief: denial and isolation; anger; bargaining; depression; and finally (some may not get this far) acceptance. Right now, they're moving from the denial phase to the anger phase. A stab-in-the-back meme is spreading. Illegal immigrants are "invaders." Supporters of earned legalization are the "treason lobby." The Senate is "inept and corrupt." John McCain "hates America." Bill Frist is a "no-guts traitor." A letter quoted at PowerLine describes CIRA as "the subversion of our democratically enacted immigration regime."

What is it that immigration opponents want? Hardly anyone, even among the fiercest critics of the president and the Senate, openly advocates mass deportation. It's a safe bet that many illegal immigrants would never "self-deport." So opponents of the Senate bill presumably prefer that they remain as a permanent illegal underclass. The best case for this position is that it's the status quo, and given that over the past 15 years America has enjoyed low unemployment, the fastest productivity growth in a generation, a fall by one-half in violent crime, reduced teenage pregnancies, and rising student achievement in elementary schools, the status quo is a benign one. But a permanent illegal underclass is at odds with America's tradition, celebrated by Alexis de Tocqueville, of social equality. It may also cause hit-and-run car accidents and other law-and-order problems.

So we need to form a social contract with these people who live among us. By taking to the streets last April, waving American flags in a display of proto-American patriotism, they showed that they are ready. Now it's our turn. The Senate showed wisdom and courage in rising to this challenge.

Cheer two: The resurrection of the Democrats

Congratulations to the Senate Democrats, who, voting in favor of CIRA by 38-4, may have turned around the fortunes of their party.

Not long ago, the Democrats were desperately defending the New Deal (a.k.a. the Old Ripoff) by scaring seniors, refusing to face up to the system's long-run crisis, and insisting that the most regressive of all American taxes keeps taking money from poor working families to subsidize America's relatively affluent elderly. When President Bush decided to push for Social Security reform, Democrats calculated that their best chance was to play on the raw fear of change. They forbade their members to offer any constructive solutions. Party unity was fiercely policed by the party machine and the netroots. They succeeded. With the Democrats as nothing but dead weight, Bush and the Republicans couldn't move reform forward.

But in the process, the party severed ties with the moral and intellectual heritage of their party. Democrats once stood for helping the poor. No longer. Now, Bush had proposed to ensure that no one should retire in poverty, and Democrats refused even to talk about it. Democrats once stood for sensible progressivity of the tax-and-transfer system. No longer. Bush had backed progressive indexation of benefits, and even hinted at a readiness to raise the cap above which earnings are exempt from payroll taxes. Democrats irresponsibly refused to discuss it. In the 1990s, a strong economy and a soaring stock market made Bill Clinton a symbol of capitalist prosperity, but now Democrats demonized the stock market as a crazy casino. Democrats like to think of themselves as pragmatic policy analysts who operate by negotiation and compromise. But on Social Security, Democrats were dogmatic, and disdained to propose policies or negotiate. Democrats had become suspicious of fresh thinking, innovation, and change. They were custodians of FDR's legacy, blindly obeisant to the past.

As Democrats made Social Security their cause celebre, so it became their symbol: they were old, semi-retired, ornery and nostalgic, talking mostly to themselves, convinced of their own superiority, scorned and ignored by others. Just as "Social Security" has become a euphemism -- the program is deeply anti-social, as it institutionalizes an inter-generational tug-of-war for social resources; and uncertainty about its long-run insolvency will be handled makes it a source of insecurity for working people of all ages -- so the "Democrats" were no longer the party of "the people," but that of coastal and urban elites, academics, journalists, and Hollywood starlets, limousine liberals like George Soros and John Kerry.

Eviscerated by their Pyrrhic victory, Democrats gained no ground even when scandals and squabbles, and the natural tendency for governments to wear out their welcome, weakened the Republicans. Old hands and loyalists expressed confusion about what the party stood for. Polls showed voters approving of "generic" Democrats, but not of the actual Democrats, who seemed to have lost their raison d'etre.

But how times change! Suddenly, there is a new Most Important Domestic Issue. Suddenly, the Democrats' version of the national narrative -- the expanding circle of freedom and opportunity, once restricted to property-owning white males, then expanding to include the poor, blacks, women, and so on, as privilege yields to legal and political advances and to moral suasion -- has relevance, even urgency. Senate Democrats' near-unity was not, this time, a result of tight policing by the party machine and the netroots. On the contrary, pundits like Matt Yglesias agitated once again for obstruction for obstruction's sake, but senators weren't listening. They did the right thing, even though it meant handing President Bush a major political victory.

Millions of libertarian and compassionate conservative Americans have a new reason to take a look at the Democratic Party.

(Memo to Democratic websites and bloggers: Over the next few weeks, you will be getting visits from people who had previously written you off, but who were impressed by Senate Democrats on immigration reform. Try to be hospitable. Clean up your language. Also, since House Republicans have now moved into what immigration foe Mark Krikorian calls "loyal opposition" to the White House, Bush-supporters may be the swing voters in 2006. So you might want to tone down the Bush-hatred a bit.)

Since the health of democracy is served by party competition, the resurrection of the Democrats is another reason to cheer the passage of CIRA.

The flaw: paternalism

Reasonably enough, CIRA establishes English as America's national language for the first time. This is not purely symbolic. The government must conduct its own business in some language, one is better than two, it's English, and that may as well be de jure rather than merely de facto. (The practical impact of the change is limited.)

But the Senate went further than that, making English a "common and unifying language" as well.

Now, frankly, it's none of the Senate's business whether English is a "common and unifying language" in the US or not. If we all woke up one morning and decided to speak Swahili, that's our affair, not the Senate's. Preserving the nation's cultural cohesion is a worthy cause. But it's a cause for civil society; for writers and pundits; for artists, musicians and filmmakers; for churches, colleges and corporations, not the state.

This libertarian common sense is becoming politically incorrect. The immigration debate is provoking many people to want the government to define what American culture is, and have the government step in to defend it. The trouble is any attempt to define a unified American culture is bound to be divisive, even among native-born Americans. For example, if we don't like seeing illegal immigrants celebrating Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May, a big Mexican national holiday), what about Mexican-American citizens? If Mexican-Americans shouldn't be celebrating Cinco de Mayo, should Irish-Americans be celebrating St. Patrick's Day? The blending of cultures from many different countries may seem like a strange lifestyle to a Georgian or an Oklahoman, while Californians and New Yorkers take it for granted. Whose American culture should the government endorse and defend?

It's ironic that American opinion-makers see threats to the integrity of our culture, at a time when American culture is a world-conquering juggernaut. Hardly any corner of the world is untouched by Coke, McDonalds, Hollywood, radio stations playing American music, English, the idea of liberal democracy, and other American cultural exports. But this is cold comfort to some conservatives who are ambivalent about contemporary American mass culture to begin with. Culture change is one of the constants of history, though its tempo varies. It has a tragic aspect. After the cultural revolution in the 1960s, many older Americans felt as if their own country had become a strange place. So there is a perennial urge to slow or stop culture change, which is now fuelling resistance to immigration, and which motivates the Senate's new emphasis on English. But the Senate should avoid trying to legislate culture.

A worse flaw of CIRA is its economic paternalism. For example, guest workers will have to be paid union wages, as set by the Davis-Bacon Act, and they cannot be fired without "just cause," unlike American workers whom employers can fire at will unless contracts stipulate otherwise. Also, formerly illegal immigrants will receive benefits based on the Social Security payroll taxes they paid while earning money here illegally. Social Security has been subsidized in recent years by illegal immigrants, whose contributions provided 10 percent of the Social Security surplus in 2004.

No doubt the Senate wants to help illegal immigrants out of mercy, because they are generally poorer than American citizens. But that can't be the basis for comparison. American citizens are a privileged group, virtually guaranteed, by birth, lives far more prosperous than most of the people of this world. We can't afford to extend those privileges wantonly. When immigrants become citizens, they will be the equals of American citizens, but until then, we should always bear in mind that they are a fortunate few, amidst a far larger number who would like to come and will never get to. Any help we give them only increases the inequity between those who are let in, and those who are kept out.

Democracy's Achilles Heel

One reason to be pessimistic about immigration reform is that while democracy has many virtues, it is very bad at coping with ethnic and border issues. Inherent in majoritarian systems is a temptation to resort to identity politics, to promote feelings of "us versus them," and to gain majority support by scapegoating isolated minorities. Majoritarian politics creates powerful incentives for unscrupulous politicians to stir up ethnic resentments.

The Sensenbrenner bill represents this approach to illegal immigration. Its "felon" clause would summarily criminalize 5 percent of the US resident population. Its domestic impact would likely echo Prohibition's empowerment of organized crime in the 1920s, as (some) desperate illegal immigrants would try any means available to support themselves and their families, and see it as self-defense. Internationally, the expulsion of millions of Mexicans and Central Americans from their (adopted) homes by the United States might well outrage and radicalize Latin America.

Fortunately, the framers of the Constitution, who understood that democracy had its dangers, established an upper house of the legislature to provide a check on such demagoguery. The Senate is playing its appointed role admirably.

Nathan Smith is a TCS contributing writer.

Categories:

110 Comments

Immigration
Simply preposterous from start to finish....easily as unhinged as any phrasing you can come up with from those opposing the Senate bill who attacked McCain and Frist.
Compassion??? Spend time driving around California and count the hospitals bankrupted by illegals....I spent 1 day (actually just 9 hours) at Stanford University Hospital last month having an angiogram and it cost well over $29,000.00.....and a KEY component of their costs comes from the staggering sums they cannot collect from illegal immigrants. They recover it from me and my insurer.
Charity and coercion are mutually exclusive and we are being coerced into spending ourselves into oblivion to make folks like you feel warm and fuzzy....and 'libertarian' and compassionate.
Spare me, please!

Tired of disagreeing with Mr. Smith - a few last comments and some questions for Mr. Smith
I am tired of disagreeing with Mr. Smith on the issue of ILLEGAL immigration (when he chooses to actually use the word illegal). Possibly he can write an article on what our LEGAL immigration policy should be in the future.

First a few questions for Mr. Smith if (and I suspect he probably does) reads the posts to his articles.

A) Forget about the current bill(s); what limits, if any, do you believe America should in the future place on immigration into our country??
B) In the future, should anybody who can physically get inside our borders be eligible for citizenship?

My reading of your articles is that you would favor a complete open border policy, but I don't want to put words in your mouth, so I would be interested to hear your thoughts on what the future immigration policy should be.

Now a few comments on this article.

1) Mr. Smith has in my opinion, consistently tried to blur the issue by mostly using the word "immigrant" alone. The MAIN issue for most Americans is the difference between ILLEGAL vs LEGAL immigration. We want illegal immigration to be drastically reduced and a national discussion to occur on how many Legal immigrants to allow into the country.

Most Americans welcome legal immigrants and have problems with illegal immigrants.

2) Mr. Smith states two objections to the Sensenbrenner bill. The wall on the southern border and that illegal aliens would be classified as felons. I believe that the House position has now been modified to delete the provision making illegal aliens felons. I agree with this change.


3) He is of course correct about the role the Senate is supposed to play vs the role of the House. However, that does not make the Senate view correct on every issue. On this issue, my opinion is that the Senate view is incorrect.

4) Mr. Smith states "that we passed laws we can't or won't enforce,..". I absolutely agree with him. Our difference is that I think we can enforce the laws but have not. I want the laws enforced.

5) He throws out some links from people being a bit over the top in their denunciation of the Senate bill and the main sponsors. This is a silly straw man tactic to try and discredit those who disagree with him. If I wanted to spend the time I could find quotes (some from the placards of the protests) stating that the Southwest belongs to Mexico, that the Senate bill is racist, etc.

6) I believe that many illegals would self-deport if we ENFORCED the law that did not allow for anyone here illegally to get a job.

7) Mr. Smith talks about a part of the Senate bill where it is stated that English is "a common and unifying language". He disagrees with this. I do not, and think that the bill did not go far enough on the language front.

Govt should at the very least NOT promote language issues that would balkanize us. Pres Clinton signed some sort of executive order mandating that people with limited English could get forms and translations done in their native language. This is ACTIVE move by the government to balkanize the US.

All govt forms, ballots, offices, schools (excluding foreign language classes), etc should use English and only English as the working language. If someone needs help, then let them pay for it.

Just as a note, any company/person that wants to advertise or set up tv stations or radio stations or magazines or whatever in a language other than English, then my opinion is of course, go for it. I am talking ONLY about language use for the government.

8) Mr. Smith also states that "the immigration debate is provoking many people to want the government to define what American culture is, and have the government step in to defend it". STRAW MAN again. Where are these MANY people demanding the govt explicitly define American culture???

American culture is an ever-changing thing and this (for the most part) is great. There are some constants to American culture and we certainly don't want to lose those.

9) Mexican-American citizens celebrating Cinco de Mayo vs Irish Americans celebrating St. Patrick's day. ANOTHER SILLY STRAW MAN. The mainstream does not give a rat's patoey about whether Mexican-Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo. More power to them.

10) Mr. Smith does point some of the troubling points of the Senate bill. I would like to add a couple more. Illegals only have to pay some of their back taxes. I want that deal as well. Most illegals, being non-white Americans would be eligible immediately for "affirmative action benefits".

If you got this far, thanks for taking the time to read my post.

WJ

Excellent post
Thanks for taking the time.

I've had enough
This does it for me: I'm finally unsubscribing from TCS Daily. There were other harebrained articles that appeared here in the past, but this one beats them all. Every time I warm up to libertarianism, along comes a person like Mr. Smith and gives me a powerful reality check that makes me turn away in disgust and go back to being a political orphan. Can there be a political movement that's based on common sense and not "false consciousness" i.e. ideology?
BTW, I am a LEGAL immigrant to this country - became a citizen 10 years ago - and went through my share of beraucratic red tape in order to fullfil that dream.
Proposals to offer illegal immigrants a shortcut offend my sense of fairness. I also think they are bad for the country, for reasons too numerous to list in this reply. Besides, "wjohnson" already described quite a few of them quite eloquently.
Bye, TCS.

History Repeats Itself?
TO: Nathan Smith
RE: Seems To Me....

...like the Senate has not paid much attention to the lessons of history.

Check out THIS report.

Enjoy...

Regards,

Chuck(le)

Blahst!
Your silly system doesn't like embedded links, eh?

So here it is the hard way...

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49669

Immigration
So Mr. Smith believes that "waving American flags proves that they are ready". I guess he means ready for citizenship. But "waving American flags". How sincere was that? They were told by their radio sponsors to ditch the Mexican flags (which indicated their true feelings) and to fly the American colors to cover their true feelings and pretend to favor America. How cynical can you get; and Mr. Nathan Smith is willing to take it at face value. There is a lot to be said for Mr. Smith's point of view but being that naive negates much of what he says.
Bill Switzer

Immigration
Proponents of allowing 12 million ILLEGAL ALIENS to remain ignore several factors.

1.Crime. With the illegals, comes crime, lots of it. About one third of the Federal Pens are inhabited by illegal aliens. About the same number occupy the jails of California. Try and find out how much drugs come over the border on the backs of illegals. Whats the cost, in dollars and suffering of the victims? There are currently 100 thousand gang members roaming our streets and creating havoc. Most if not all are here illegally! Here's some scary examples; 95 percent of murder warrants in LA County are issued for illegal aliens. Two thirds of births in LA County;illegal aliens, at taxpayer expense. Summary; illegal aliens currently cost the Federal government net, over $70 billion.

2.Infrastructure. Anyone visited an inner-city school lately? Does anyone in the Senate send their child to a public school, no less in a city? They're crime infested! If any of the Senators did deign to send their children; their perspective would change overnight.

3.Economics. Proponents tend to forget; jobs that provided our forefathers good wages and benefits are disappearing. They were way up the social scale to the middle class. Throw in ever increasing productivity as another factor. And the jobs that remain require education.

4.12 million, if allowed to become legal, may grow to 90 million, according to the Heritage Foundation. Now where do you educate them? What about health care? How do you transport an additional 90 million people? What are the effects on energy, in particular oil? How about something as basic as water out west? Where do you house an extra 90 million people?

For the country to survive; we need to make it difficult, make that impossible to get into the country. Next anyone caught employing an illegal, needs to understand he'll not only be fined but face a jail sentence for doing so.

Regards,

Bob M

break the law, remove the law?
So, if we have enough thieves, rapists, murderers and drug dealers, the laws against such actions must be unjust, just like the laws against ILLEGAL immigrants.

After all it's unlikely we have more than 10% of criminals in jail, so there are probably 20 million
criminals in this country, thats a higher percentage than we have of illegal aliens. So lets stop enforcing the law, it must be unjust because there are so many, right!!!

Lets fix up some of your terms:

undocumented immigrant =
illegal immigrant =
illegal alien =
illegally documented illegal alien

5 MAY
Great comments.

Repeal 17th Amendment
If Mr. Smith truly appreciates the deliberativeness of the US Senate as an institution, does he favor repeal of the 17 Amendment?
Senators appointed by State Legislatures would not be beholden to special interests for reelection and quite possibly the States might have a different take on illegal immigration than those who have purchased a senator. Especially those states on the border and those inundated with federally mandated education and health care programs that must accommodate illegal immigrants.

So, I’m all for returning the Senate to its deliberativeness. Are you Mr. Smith?

Target!
TO: tpbhome
RE: Exactly

That is the message being sent here. And, it's exactly the same message being taught in our schools as well.

Tests are too hard for you? Weeeeell...we'll fix that. We'll make the tests easier.

We're inviting disaster here. If one law is bad because it is 'inconvenient', why we'll just do away with it.

The people will just say, "Okay. Let's break some more laws. If enough of us do it, they'll repeal them as well." For exmaple, 'illegal' drugs. Or how about 'illegal' driving.

There certainly are some dumb laws that need to be revoked. But illegal immigration is not one of them.

I'm all FOR immigration. I'm all opposed to (1) illegal immigration and (2) changing the definition because the bozos in Congress aren't smart enough to manage a disaster of their own making.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Stupidity got us into this mess. Why can't it get us out?]

Senate Immigration legislation as seen from the Twilight zone
One has to wonder where the author works and who pays him. Seldom does one see such partisan reporting outside of the NY Times or the Guardian. I loved his line about the masses of illegal aliens demonstrating in the streets of the nation proving they were ready for citizenship.

Perhaps I missed something besides the Mexican flags, racist slogans about Aztlan, and the reconquista. Somehow this is not what parents did when they came to this country nor what I did wqhen I obtained citizenship.

I also loved the quote about a senate that no longer exists. Hamilton's senate was elected by state legislatures, not by direct vote.

I also love the way that the author tries to protray the wisdom of those democrats who have ignored the will of the people. I note that he doesn't indicate that a remarkable number of democrat citizens who voted against this proposal are up for re-election. Conincidence? I doubt it.

In short this was laughable, with lies, half truths, and distortions that I thought had become passe when Dan Rather left the scene. Apparently not.

Criminalizing 5% of the resident US population
The author states proposed legislation would criminilize these "residents." Lets get it straight, these people became felons by breaking the law, by trampling on the rights of millions of people who today obey and observe our laws by not sneaking into the country. These people are illegal aliens, not residents, guests, undocumented Americans. They are by the law criminals.

And people who seek to abet their crimes and absolve them are also law breakers, no less than those who would forgive rapists or child molesters.

Been There. Done That....
TO: capalm
RE: I Understand Because I've Been There

"Spend time driving around California and count the hospitals bankrupted by illegals....I spent 1 day (actually just 9 hours) at Stanford University Hospital last month having an angiogram and it cost well over $29,000.00.....and a KEY component of their costs comes from the staggering sums they cannot collect from illegal immigrants. They recover it from me and my insurer." -- capalm

...and all I've got to show for it is a scar on my chest and a $50,000 hole in my bank account.

And 90% of the money went to the hospital for a one-hour procedure and an overnight stay.

Never new a 1-liter back of simple physiological saline solution would cost several hundred dollars. They're worse then the Pentagon's hammers. At least hammers last more than one use.

Regards,

Chuck(le)

How do you describe someone who advocates not the law but the facts on the ground?
I do love someone who has neither the support nor will of the people to support his viewpoint and thereby resorts to the law, we don't need no law. I can see our renegade senators from Mexico dressed as banditos saying this when asked about the law instead quoting the facts on the ground as they see them. Hmm, exactly who is pandering now and to whom.

One has to question the wisdom of a senate that violates the Constitution by writing in provisions that the Senate is prohibited from doing and are properly and clearly the responsibility of the Congress.

By the way when will the senate propose all Americans can pay any three out of the last five year's taxes?

The author believes you should pay more for your health care
Since someone has to pay for the needs of another 100 million Mexicans.

Nice comment.

Where's the argument?
This article offers no persuasive reasoning. It simply an emotional appeal. In effect, the article stands for the proposition, that if enough people do it, then let's make it legal, so that these people will not have committed a crime.

In other words, let's reward massive law breaking, because its massive.

Sorry, no buyer here.

excellent post - Nathan Smith is indeed consistently misleading and demagogic
Excellent post - many good points.

Nathan Smith couches his arguments in terms of the "immigrants" here, but his real purpose is to ensure that there is no control at all over the rate of immigration.

Oh, and don't be surprised when he labels you a racist or an ethnic cleanser when you disagree with him. The funny thing, though ,is that he sees no problem with the fact that unlimited immigration of unskilled labor into the country most hurts the wages of the poorest among current U.S. citizens - those who are poorly educated and unskilled.

Culture
The writer confuses culture with vending. Our culture is the product of 10,000 years of Judaeo/Christian, Greco/Roman and Western European thought, the development of the concepts of liberty and freedom and the considerable wisdom of the fouding fathers.
This is not triumphant nor dominant. It is under attack practically everywhere and, tragically, unknown to many of our fellow citizens.
Changes were made to immigration law in 1965 and 1986 that, beyond the latter's amnesty that created today's mess, changed the mix of immigration from the educated and skilled Westerner to the poorly educated, unskilled Hispanic culture not only reluctant to assimilate (and encouraged in such by our miserable education system) but many of whom agitate to take back "their" land.

excellent post - Nathan Smith is indeed WRONG- can't TCS get an inforned writer?
Note his reference to the Senate as an "upper" house- it is not an upper house set up to check the whimsy of the lower house-legislation requires BOTH house's approval for passage and while the Senate has powers the house does not-the house has greater powers than the Senate when it comes to expenditures.

Moreover, I would propose that if the Senate is de facto becoming an "upper house" it is evidence that the framers were right in not providing for popular Senatorial election- to avoid the Senate become nothing but a millionaires club where McCain's Kennedy's, Clinton's and Corzines buy power when they've exhausted the ability to purchase other things. Here's an error to be reversed.

There is no 'wisdom' in the Senate - only self interest
1) President Bush is always using the 'War on Drugs' (WOD) as his rationale for the actions he takes in the War on Terror. Why don't we take the same page from his book and use the War on Drugs methods for immediate immigration enforcement. For example, apply immediate asset forfeiture to any business which is found (not convicted, just suspected - just like the WOD) employing or using illegals.

This may drive up the cost of fruit and vegetables for a while. But I am willing to pay double for my lettuce and tomatoes to get enforcement first.

If Bush and the Republicans in the Senate are intellectually honest (which I doubt) we can hoist them by their own petard by doing this. Use WOD tactics to get the situation under control, then implement their 'guest worker program'.

This also eliminates the false argument "you can't round up 11 million people and send them back", if the government would use local, national, and military policing forces to enforce the existing laws and SHUT DOWN the businesses that hire illegals, the illegals would have no reason to stay and would go home the same way they got here - at no cost to us.

Eliminate the demand for illegals and the supply will eliminate itself.

2) If the guest worker program is approved it will be nullified by the US Supreme Court because the affected workers were not allowed due process with regard to paying fines, being forced to learn English, and being sent to 'the back of the line'. The ACLU will have a field day with this. It will kill the 'guest worker' program and re-open the floodgates.

The Senate and Bush Fail America Again on Immigration
Well, once again the Senate and Bush offer empty words and half measures. Their words are meaningless because no actions follow that support their promises and solve the real problems - control of our borders and re-establishing American as a country that is ruled by laws, not the economic needs of Bush's and the Senator's business friends.

You cannot solve the problem of the Mexican invasion of the United States by turning a blind eye to those who choose to ignore our most basic precept, rule by law, and then granting them citizenship just because it's inconvenient not to do so.

As to the false argument "you can't round up 11 million people and send them back", if the government would use local, national, and military policing forces to enforce the existing laws and SHUT DOWN the businesses that hire illegals, the illegals would have no reason to stay and would go home the same way they got here - at no cost to us.

Eliminate the demand for illegals and the supply will eliminate itself.

We must control our borders FIRST, then we can implement a 'more humane' immigration policy - whatever 'more humane' means. The process must be sequential (i.e. control borders, rule of law, then worker program) not parallel (control borders, amnesty, worker program) since a parallel process will only result in no border control but millions of new illegals.

If we cannot control this invasion of the United States by Mexico in this fashion, then we must consider the following:

What is it when a country organizes an invasion of another country by its citizens and armed forces? What is it when that same country authorizes its military forces and its invading citizens to shoot and murder the residents of the country it is invading?

It's an act of war and should be treated as such.

By their actions, the government of Mexico has declared war against the United States. We must respond in kind, conquer Mexico, and then do as we did in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. I.e. we must replace (on a Mexican state-by-state basis) their corrupt Hispanic form of totalitarianism with real representative government and a real capitalist system that would allow the Mexican economy (and people) to flower and flourish.

No, No bill is better than any bill.
All of these bills to "reform" immigration legal or otherwise are complete flawed, based upon force, and either give away money to "disadvantaged groups" or spend money on silly projects like fences and military force to guard the border.

The best solution is to do nothing as usual. The immigration laws of the US are terrible and foolish and should not be followed. That does not mean that the current bozos in the senate or congress can concoct anything better.

I say the best solution is to do nothing and keep the same system that has been in place for 25 years instead of screwing it up worse.

Immigration Wisdom in the Senate
This piece by Nathan Smith is wrong in so many ways, but then so is the Senate bill on immigration reform. They both totally ignore the ramifications and costs associated with allowing 11 million unskilled people to remain here. Even the name of the legislation is wrong. The word reform connotes that something is wrong with the existing legislation that needs fixing. The legislation is fine; it is the total lack of enforcement that is the problem. Who really believes the new rules will be followed or enforced any better than the old ones. This country is basically orderly and safe because there is a general belief that if someone breaks a rule, there will be consequences. Amnesty for illegals tells them that they can break the law and there are no consequences. Let's enforce the existing laws and give them a chance to work instead of gutting the whole thing and starting over with a more complex and costly system. The Senate has not demonstrated wisdom, they have demonstrated pandering and cowardice. They need to do what is right, not what is easy.

Immigration Wisdom in the Senate
A really insightful and intelligent essay. It's a pity that those who are sending in comments are mainly reacting emotionally, rather than logically.

You are correct that building a fence to keep people out of America is crazy and completely against our principles.

You are correct to point out that the Senate Bill has numerous flaws, including providing increased benefits to people who enter America illegally.

You are correct that the laws we have passed in the last 20 years simply do not work and that making it a felony to be an illegal alien or to employ an illegal alien is a bad approach to solving the problem and that the Senate Bill, while too flawed to be enacted into law without changes to the entitlements portions, nonetheless is a better approach.

Your observations about the Republicans being on the right side of the Social Security debate and the Democrats being on the right side of the Immigration Debate are less obviously right, since neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to be right on Immigration. In my view , although the Senate bill is better than the abomination passed by the House, it has a long way to go before it is a good bill.

Your critics are correct that we have to find a way to ensure that people who come to this country all go through the same process to become citizens. It seems inherently wrong to set up a rigorous system that applies to those who are law-abiding and then have a separate system that rewards those who scoff at the law. But the correct action is not to criminalize millions of people who came to the US illegally when our immigration policy was clearly too restrictive. Instead, we should allow many more people to come to America legally and we should provide a way for any employer to verify that their employees have registered as foreign workers.

I expect a firestorm of criticism of this view. But it seems correct to me for two reasons:

1. America needs workers to do jobs many legal Americans do not want to do at wages that allow industries like agriculture, domestic services and restaurants of all kinds to offer prices that Americans can afford. Our current unemployment levels are the envy of the world, so it is clear that even with the very high level of illegal aliens, most American citizens can find jobs at wages that they will accept. The administrative cost to Americans of identifying and deporting these workers would be huge, but it would be small in comparison to the increased cost of goods and services that not having them would bring.

2. Populations are shrinking everywhere in the world, including in Mexico. And standards of living are increasing in Mexico and elsewhere. While today there are large numbers of Mexicans [and Poles and Asians and others] who stream into America to earn what we think of as an inadequate wage, this may not be true in the future. We know we have a problem with Social Security looming on the horizon, due to a decreasing ratio of active workers to those receiving social security and medicare benefits. That problem will be exacerbated if we either drastically reduce the number of new workers and/or deport existing workers.

Note: The Senate bill errs by giving immigrants the right to social security benefits. Only citizens should receive these benefits [and only citizens should pay social security taxes]. But all workers should pay income taxes and these revenues will help us pay for social security benefits for American citizens.

Many of your critics cite medical services for illegal aliens as being a major problem. But few cite statistics regarding this problem. If TCS would provide some information about this issue, it would be helpful for those of us who would like to think logically about this facet of the immigration issue.

Thank you for an informative and lucid article and kudos for TCS for being willing to publish it.




You give Smith too much credit by calling him naive
The marchers were indeed carrying American flags because their cynical organizers had recognized the mistake made when they first marched in support of Aztlan (with US Federally funded welfare and healthcare benefits).

The irony is that the vast majority of illegals are indeed straightforward Mexican working men and women who want to work and do not imagine demanding rights in a country that they illegally entered. Smith and his ilk don't want to legalize them to make them Americans but rather to make them certified life members of the victim class.

And as he legalizes the current illegals he wants to keep the border wide open to ensure a plentiful flow of new illegals and an unlimited flow of supposed temporary workers who will generate future calls for amnesties. Read his previous articles and his plan and intentions are plain.

A stunningly good point - Smith is a really conservative Democrat
He's a really conservative Democrat who wants to return to the days when the state legislators could send folks to the Senate for life. He yearns for the sort of Senate we had in back in the days of Jim Crow.

I wonder if he also favors poll taxes, separate drinking fountains and enforcement of the Alien & Sedition Laws.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that he favors unlimited importation of cheap labor which reduces the wages of the lowest earning citizens and legal permanent residents in the country while providing the rich with a plentiful supply of respectful gardeners and maids.

cageychi
How can you claim that the laws passed 20 years ago do not work? They haven't been enforced for years!

This is a very emotional issue for most of us. It might surprise you to know that some of the most agitated are naturalized citizens. They are really upset that 11 million people might be able to jump the line. Some of my friends are former Canadians, Hungarians, and Costa Ricans, and they are even more emotional about this issue than I am. They followed the rules, waited their turn, and are contributing the to economy and culture of the United States. Did I mention they are college educated? They are not putting pressure on the welfare system, or the healthcare system.

Did you know that we need one new grade school a day to keep up with the inflow if illegals? One a DAY! Who pays for this? Certainly not the parents. The cost to the country is significant and growing every day. When the economy falters and low-wage earners can't find work, do you think they will go home? Of course not, they are better off staying here than they would be in Mexico, thus putting even more strain on our systems.

The situation in the rest of the world that drives people to emigrate to the US should not be our problem but it is. It is because we don't have the courage to enforce our own laws.

A Digression
TO: SullyA
RE: Repealing the 17th Amendment

"He's a really conservative Democrat who wants to return to the days when the state legislators could send folks to the Senate for life. He yearns for the sort of Senate we had in back in the days of Jim Crow." -- SullyA

The 17th Amendment took away a LOT of authority from the state-level of government.

In light of how little the federal government seems to care about states, and as a matter of course, the people who live in them, it would be a very good idea to re-evaluate this decision. As we re-evaluated that stupidity about prohibition.

Regards,

Chuck(le)

Yeah....Right...
TO: cageychi
RE: All Emotional, R US

"It's a pity that those who are sending in comments are mainly reacting emotionally, rather than logically." -- cageychi

Please show me where I'm being all 'emotional' and not 'logical'.

RE: The Fence

"You are correct that building a fence to keep people out of America is crazy and completely against our principles." -- cageychi

And again....Yeah....Right....

That's why we've got all these fences around various facilities we're trying to protect. Fences, as a means of protection are obviously unAmerican, by their very nature.

Nobody else on Earth uses fences in any way, shape or form. But if they do, they are completely ineffective.

And where did YOU go to public school?

Regards,

Chuck(le)

P.S....
...was there a 'fence' anywhere in the area?

Cageychi - crazy is as crazy does
You wrote "You are correct that building a fence to keep people out of America is crazy and completely against our principles."

If it is "crazy and completely against our principles to build a fence at the border of America" then it is surely crazy and against our principles for you to use a door and lcks to control entrance to your apartment or home while there are people in the world who do not have as pleasant a place to live as you do.

And if you come home tomorrow and find an undocumented resident sleeping in your bed, sitting in your arm chair and sipping one of your beers I imagine you will advocate that breaking and entering be made legal.

Don't quote Alexander Hamilton...
Don't quote Alexander Hamilton if you're trying to appeal to libertarians. To most of us, his final meeting with Aaron Burr was too long over due.

When our representatives in goverment are unwilling to enforce a law that protects our boarders and the well being of its citizens, the problem is our representatives, not the law.

Try to quote something from my homeboy Thomas Jefferson next time.

No Subject
"...Millions of libertarian and compassionate conservative Americans have a new reason to take a look at the Democratic Party..."

And then you woke up, and realized it was only a dream, as the conservatives you know wouldn't vote Democrat unless they were ready for gay marriage, Barbra Streisand as cabinet adviser, and all that stuff you people think is so great. Oh, and Stephen Colbert. I just adore that fellow.

Cinco last year vs. this
Last year I thought the Cinco de Mayo fest was lovely and fun. People got to celebrate their roots.

This year, no. It was more like, "Look what we can get away with and nobody stomps on us like back home--let's push for all of Mexico to be here--they won't stop us!"

See?
Both parties are for crap now. Peggy Noonan was right. Time to shift out of these two gears, R and D.

Too True
TO: LisaAA
RE: Recent Events

I recall a gathering at the park a few blocks from my place.

I distinctly heard someone shout over the PA, "VIVA LA RAZA!!!!"

Can you say, "Racist"?

I knew you could....

Regards,

Chuck(le)

See! See!
TO: LisaAA
RE: Not Quite

"Time to shift out of these two gears, R and D." -- LisaAA

We're working it from the 'inside'.

It's easier to re-work an existing infra-structure than it is to create a new one. All you need to do is get more people to agree with you than agree with the current team 'leadership'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)

Nonsense
Democracy's Achilles Heel is not the "temptation to resort to identity politics, to promote feelings of 'us versus them,' and to gain majority support by scapegoating isolated minorities. Majoritarian politics creates powerful incentives for unscrupulous politicians to stir up ethnic resentments."

Nonsense! Nazi Germany, Serbia, and a host of other non-democracies have the same problem, because it is not a flaw of democracy but one of human nature (called "sin" in the Bible).

"The Sensenbrenner bill represents this approach to illegal immigration. Its 'felon' clause would summarily criminalize 5 percent of the US resident population."

While overstaying a visa might not be a felony, crossing a border by bypassing checkpoints is a felony in most countries of the world.

But the real nonsense is the desire to pass new laws rather than enforce existing ones.

I am in favor of very liberal immigration through border checkpoints, but "shoot first, ask questions later" everywhere else.

It is a contradiction....
to use wisdom and the senate in the same sentence.

Hamilton, even though a promoter of centralized government and no friend to libertarians, based his comment (quoted in the article) on the assumption that the men and (now) women in the senate were moral, incorrupt and not prone to party bickering and vote whoring. In that he has been proven wrong over and over again which renders his honey coated words false.

Are you really President Bush?
Or perhaps a member of Congress?

Good for you, Nathan!
By my count, it's 39-1 here against Nathan's analysis, but before I posted, it was 39-0. He hits the important points. (1) The rest of you want to criminalize 5% of our population, (2) 10% of Mexico's population is here, (3) they are a net gain to our economy, (4) y'all wanna legislate American culture, (5) how we treat these people will pretty much determine how things go in our geographic sphere of influence over the next half century.

We've got 18 million (give or take) Mexican citizens here illegally. They have hijacked a total of 0 commercial jetliners and run them into a total of 0 buildings. Any chance you people can focus on real dangers?

As for the guy with the $29K angiogram... Read Kling's _Crisis of Abundance_. The cost component there is not the illegal aliens, despite what you claim. You might as well blame them for the price of gasoline.

Its not often we see someone lauding law breakers
So what other laws should we ignore? I mean aren't those people who obey our laws really idiots?

The Law Don Mean Squat
TO: BoscoH
RE: So...

...that's what you mean, eh?

Interesting perspective, that. Sounds like anarchy to me.

Regards,

Chuck(le)

P.S.
Additionally, when you say they have not hijacked any planes and flown them into buildings just yet....

...what about all those interesting names I read in the paper so often in the CRIME BEAT section of my paper.

Admittedly, they do not specify whether or not they are illegal immigrants. But I'm beginning to wonder about that. And I think I'll ask the editor to start indicating such information.

It might be useful.

Thanks for bringing it to mind.

I Guess So....
....according to Bosco's lights.

Only bozos obey the law. So, do what you want....rape, murder, rob, burn, etc., etc.

I guess Bosco is really an anarchist. Therefore, anything goes, with him; as far as we can tell from his posts here.

Someone might put a price on his head and call it some new and exciting form of "Reality Television". It would probably rock in the next sweeps week.

That is if there are no laws that should be observed.

P.S.....
....personally, I think Bosco is rather ignorant of what holds society and civilization together. I think it's probably a result of his lack of education. And, if he grew up in the vaunted American public education system, after I got through it, that would go far to explain his situation.

Furthermore, I think Bosco should live in a place where anarchy REALLY holds sway. That would teach him some interesting lessons....should he survive.

Hear about Busby?
She's a democrat running in a special election to replace Cunningham in San Diego. Well she apparently is like bozo here because she called upon illegals to vote for her. No BS.

She actually said "you don't need papers to vote."


First the Democrats resurrected the dead; then they recruited felons in prisons. Now they will have Mexicans voting in our elections, imagine Vicente Fox next president of the USA!

Actually he''s just another raving moonbat
The rules are only made to be applied to the inferior and of course he is one of the annointed. So very Lefty of him.

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