Ugh! Can you stand it? I am compelled to post again about this divisive subject (divisive to the 20% of Americans who support this bill--I actually think the "divisive" meme is put forth by those few who want this bill to make it seem like more people actually support it). Victor Davis Hansen says it better than I ever could in his post "Who's Illiberal on Immigration?" Go read the whole thing. He says:
So, what is the truth on illegal immigration?Amen.
Simple. Millions of fair-minded white, African-, Mexican- and Asian-Americans fear that we are not assimilating millions of aliens from south of the border as fast as they are crossing illegally from Mexico.
In the frontline American Southwest, entire apartheid communities and enclaves within cities have sprung up whose distinct language, culture and routines are beginning to resemble more the tense divides in the Balkans or Middle East than the traditional melting pot of multiracial America.
Concern over this inevitable slowdown in integration and assimilation is neither racist nor nativist. It grows out of real worry that when millions of impoverished arrive in mass without legality, education and the ability to speak English, costly social problems follow that will not be offset by the transitory economic benefits cheap wages may provide.
Those fretting about delays in sealing the border along with proposed fast-track visas, millions of new guest workers and neglect of existing immigration law are neither illiberal nor cynical.
But their self-righteous critics may well be both.
UPDATE: In "The 'Popular' Immigration Bill", Debra Saunders notes how the press push forward a favored point of view, conviently avoiding the facts:
That fact gets in the way of the pet media narrative: Popular pro-immigrant bill torpedoed by what the Los Angeles Times called a "vocal minority." A Sunday New York Times story explained how grassroots conservatives toppled the measure, even though: "Public opinion polls, including a New York Times-CBS News Poll conducted last month, showed broad support among Americans for the bill's major provisions."Gah! I'm not one of those people favoring rounding up and deportation (except for criminals), but it is interesting to note that I would be considered moderate on the immigration issue if you go by numbers. Still, I and those like me, am being painted, using John McCain's words, as "irrational and emotional." Who is name-calling, again?
What a crock. If this bill were popular, then Washington would have passed it in a heartbeat. If the bill were popular among Democrats, as bill supporters suggest, then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would be pushing for another vote, instead of daring President Bush to champion the measure.
And here's something the New York Times story forgot to mention: Its poll also found that 69 percent of Americans think illegal immigrants should be prosecuted and deported.
At this point, I'm anything but emotional about illegal immigration. Time and civilized debate have clarified my position. Reading the guts of the legislation made my stance easier to commit to.
The government just can't seem to solve things by making them easier. It's always more convoluted, more complicated, and more difficult. This bill has a couple benefits--for them.
- People can't possibly comply with the law, so there's another way to hang daggers over the populace (employers, illegals, regular citizens) to be dropped at will.
- People can't possibly equitably enforce the law, so the immigration officials, police, and other "enforcers" lean to a laissez-faire attitude. Enforcement gets them into too much potential trouble, plus there are more dangersous criminals to apprehended. Dealing with illegal criminals will be avoided because they cause more trouble for the enforcers. Society gets less safe.
And the voters say "no". Overwhelmingly, they say "no". Enforce the border, then we'll talk. Congress and the Executive branch have a credibility problem: no one believes they will do what they say they will do. So, dear leaders, prove us wrong. Enforce the border. It will change the debate to your favor. Charles Krauthammer says:
Why am I so suspicious about the fealty of the reformers to real border control? In part because of the ridiculous debate over the building of a fence. Despite the success of the border barrier in the San Diego area, it appears to be very important that this success not be repeated. The current Senate bill provides for the fencing of no more than one-fifth of the border and the placing of vehicle barriers in no more than one-ninth.Letting this bill go and enforcing current law and building a fence means having faith in the American people. If that's too big a pill to swallow, maybe elected officials can have faith in this: the American people remember at election time.
Instead, we are promised all kinds of fancy, high-tech substitutes -- sensors, cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles -- and lots more armed chaps on the ground to go chasing those who get through.
Why? A barrier is a very simple thing to do. The technology is well tested. The Chinese had success with it, as did Hadrian. In our time, the barrier Israel has built has been so effective in keeping out intruders that suicide attacks are down over 90 percent.
Fences work. That's why people have them around their houses -- not because homeowners are unwelcoming, but because they insist that those who wish to come into their domain knock at the front door.