Friday, June 17, 2005

A Perfect (Immigration) Storm

Matt Towery writing at townhall.com, says "There is a storm brewing on America's horizon..." Any of you that have read my previous posts will know that I agree with Matt. Further, he says:

I'm talking about rampant, uncontrolled immigration. It's a problem that is coming to a head in this country. It will either be dealt with now with realistic assessments of its extent and levelheaded policies to solve it, or it will fundamentally change the nature of our society and political system.
There is currently a bipartisan bill before Congress that takes realistic aim at getting a grip on illegal immigration. Among other provisions, it would allow the issuance of three-year work visas to undocumented workers.

Opposition to the bill illustrates the problem in seeking a political solution. Those on the right don't want to grant any sort of legal status to immigrants who have broken the law to get here. But this proud position is no longer realistic. Their presumed answer, massive deportation, would trigger equally massive social unrest and political polarization.

Those on the left don't want to acknowledge that there is a problem at all. (Some for altruistic reasons, and some for political reasons -- they want more people voting Democratic.) They assign the label "racist" to anyone who so much as suggests a serious effort to limit immigration. This too is unrealistic.

As is nearly always the case, the force needed to break this political logjam is an angry majority of citizens. That day is coming, but not because of folks having to read Spanish billboards or fly to India for affordable health care.

It will come when the U.S. government, for security reasons, is forced to keep a tight administrative tab on every last one of us. Call it national ID cards or something else, it amounts to a guarantee of safety and security coming at the price of privacy. And when that seemingly inevitable day comes, Americans are not going to like it.

Their initial response will be resentment toward immigrants. Their eventual reaction will be to toss out their elected representatives for new ones. And those new ones might be extremists ready to exploit anger for votes.

Decision time is coming, one way or the other. President Bush and Congress need to make that time soon. If they don't, the eventual answer may be closed borders. Either that or -- in effect -- no borders at all.

I am assuming that Matt is referring to this bill that Senators McCain and Kennedy have introduced to allow those already here to remain while they apply for legal status, among many other provisions (discussion of the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 here, here, here, and here).

Samantha Levine at the Houston Chronicle says:
WASHINGTON - Immigration reform likely will jump to the front burner in July when President Bush unveils plans for border security, enforcement of immigration laws and a guest worker program, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said Monday.[...]
'Bout time, sez I.

Senator Cornyn's proposal supposedly would not allow illegals to stay. The Secure America legislation would encourage, I think, those that come here just to be able to send money out of the country, making the United States/Mexico relationship somewhat akin to the city/suburban bedroom community environment, writ large.

We need immigrants, not commuters. We need those commited to becoming Americans, adopting the American culture, and sinking roots here.

Matt worries that "[]Now many foreigners are getting advanced degrees in the United States and then taking their American-given knowledge back to their homelands." I don't think that this is a problem. Our educational institutes are well regarded internationally and domestically. Foreign nationals who come here for an education receive not only academics, but also an education in the American culture. If and when they return to their homelands, that serves the cause of spreading American culture. It is much better to have doctors, lawyers, engineers, and teachers as foreign proponents of our values than it is to depend solely on diplomatic and military means. Besides, many will remain here.

Whether we decide to allow illegal immigrants to remain, or not, is not really relevant at this time. But the issue of open or closed borders is important. As long as there remain cultures in this world willing to physically attack the United States, open borders will beckon to them. We must close the borders now! Our lives and safety depend on it.

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