Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We need to reform immigration law before we build a fence.

The GOP is flat out wrong about immigration.   Their official policy is to change the law to stop the illegal immigration, then create a policy to let more people in.  They leave the proposed policy up in the air on purpose.  It lets everyone read into it what they want, without committing to anything.

The problem with is four fold:

  1.  Ladders are cheaper than fences.  Cripes, even the tunnels the drug cartels use are cheaper than the long fences we would need.   It's not impossible to stop illegal immigration into the US, just prohibitively expensive. When times are good in the US, poor people from other countries spend thousands of dollars to get here for low end jobs.   We can't stop them with pocket change, it requires huge amounts of money.
  2. There are already 11 million people in the country - building a fence won't force them out.    The immigration laws focus more on prevention then on kicking people because as hard as it is to block them with a fence, it is even harder to hunt them down and kick them out.
  3. Their 'goalposts' are movable.    We can never totally stop all illegal immigration.  People can always fly in on a tourist visa and get work.  As such, even if we gave the GOP everything they wanted, they would say it wasn't enough.  We have already strengthened the laws against illegal immigration multiple times and they still won't let us change the policy.
  4. We NEED their cheap labor - and their money (source)  As Alabama has shown, without it, our food dies on the vine with no one to harvest it.  Millions of Americans will lose their livelihoods without illegals working for cheap pay and spending their money here. 

You want to stop illegals from entering this country?  Stop hiring them.  Accept either the much higher wages for low priced services such as farm labor, lawn care, maids, nannies, etc or go without those services.

Because the desire for cheap labor to fill those positions is not just the cause of the illegal immigration, it is a separate problem that is far more important than illegal immigration and the illegal immigration FIXES that problem.  If we get rid of illegal immigration we need to also fix that problem.   Look at what happened to Alabama.  It's not that horrible to have produce from one state spoil on the ground.  It is far worse to have it happen to ALL states.

The obvious solution is to create a solid guest worker program.  If we build it the right way, then the illegal immigration problem will go away.  Build the guest worker problem first and it gets RID of the need to deal with the illegal.

I've talked about this before (Arizona law about immigration).   With the right guest worker plan, we can legalize immigrants, get a solid identification of them (to prevent terrorists entering the country), raise money for the federal government (by charging for a green card), raise money for the states (via state income taxes that could be higher for the guest workers than American citizens).

Best of all, if we do it right, we can regulate the workers.  Among other things, we can revoke the right to be in the country for anyone 5 or more months pregnant.   No more anchor babies.

As for 'amnesty' for illegals, that argument is stupid.   What if during Prohibition some moron would to suggest that "we can't legalize alcohol unless we first arrest every single person that drunk alcohol during Prohibition."  No.  That's is not how laws work.   Legallizing something does not mean we have to arrest everyone that used to violate the law.

In fact, a major part of the reason we legalize something is that we recognize that the LAW was as much a problem as the people that broke the law.  If you don't think the law was a bad idea, then we wouldn't change it.  If the law was a bad idea than you can NOT demonize the people that broke it.

Yes, we should not give 'special benefits' to someone that is already in the country illegally.  But that does not mean we have to refuse to let them work here in the future - anymore than if we legallized pot we could then refuse to sell it to people that had previously been arrested for buying pot.

The solution is simple - whatever arrangements we make for the guest worker program should only be done in a US Embassy/Consulate or at the Borders (including ports and international airports).  

Complaints about letting people already in the US apply as a Guest worker should be laughed at just as we would have laughed at an idiot that insisted no one ever arrested for drinnking/bootlegging alcohol be allowed to drink it after prohibition.

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