Sunday, April 02, 2006

Immigration Follies

Vox Baby: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

I start from the basic premise that a nation needs to define its borders and establish the rules for who is a citizen and who is not. Once those borders and rules are set, some people can be identified as being in the country illegally. In order to discourage illegal immigration, the nation's laws must promise severe punishment for those who are so identified. But here's the rub. Once an illegal immigrant has become an otherwise law-abiding resident, the nation should provide as much support to that person as possible. And once the illegal immigrant has a child in this country, all bets are off. Say what you want about the woman in the photo, the kid poking her in the eye is innocent in all of this and we do such children no favors by deporting or jailing their parents.

I am convinced from having worked on this briefly toward the end of my time at the CEA and from the President's remarks that the administration has its heart in the right place on this and is trying to make some progress on a very challenging issue. There are two parts of the President's rhetoric that I continue to dislike. The first is embodied in this statement from the radio address:

Finally, comprehensive immigration reform requires a temporary worker program that will relieve pressure on our borders. This program would create a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill jobs that Americans will not do. [Emphasis added.]

That last phrase is a decidedly non-economic statement. Americans will not do these jobs at the prevailing wages. The appropriate response is to let the wages rise, so that the market clears without resorting to workers from abroad. That means that more Americans will do them at the higher wage and that fewer employers will demand the services. That's the way we deal with other markets--I see no reason why we should systematically undermine the wages of low-skilled workers in urban and border areas by refusing to enforce immigration laws. So I disagree with the assertion that reform should involve a guest worker program specifically to allow such jobs to be filled in some exceptional way.

Bingo! I thought in a "Free Market" system if there is an insufficient supply of a needed commodity (in this case labor for nasty jobs) that prices (i.e. wages) rise until demand and supply meet. Of course most of the "Small Government" types aren't against government at all when they can pull the levers to fatten their wallets. Brings to mind another post by my favorite new blog discovery: Dyspeptic Mutterings
Sure, the leadership talks a lot about "family values," but when it comes down to crunch time, the business wing crushes the "social conservatives." Period.

There was an anecdote in a recent Christianity Today where one of the evangelicals responsible for forming the global warming initiative discussed the icy reception the initiative received from the leadership of the GOP. A questioner asked if it was just another example of where there is a conflict between the corporate wing and the SoCons, the business interests usually win.

The evangelical leader paused, then said: "It is not the case that where there's a conflict, the business interests 'usually' win.

They always win."

Of course the Wall Street Republicans are trying to paint immigration enforcement as an electoral loser. William Kristol in the Weekly Standard writes

THE HOUSE CAUCUS TO RETURN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO MINORITY STATUS--also known as the House Immigration Reform Caucus--held a press conference Thursday. The GOP solons were upset. The Senate Judiciary Committee had not followed the lead of the House in adopting an "enforcement only" immigration bill.
The American people are worried about immigration. In a Pew Survey released last week, 52 percent of Americans saw immigration as a burden, while 41 percent said it strengthened the country; 53 percent support sending illegals home, while 40 percent endorsed a path to citizenship.

Interestingly enough the piece was titled "Y is for Yahoo: Turning the GOP into an anti-immigration party could dash Republican hopes of becoming a long-term governing party." Takes some real chutzpah to point out a majority of the public opposes your position and the declare your position the key to maintaining majority status. May I humbly suggest a more accurate title "M is for Moron: my recipe for eliminating the working class from the Republican party ranks" Hey maybe he can get a job with the DLC.

Apparently we have 10 million illegal aliens in the US now. Our estimable leaders having failed to secure the borders now propose to declare defeat and and issue the amnesty that dares not speak its name to these lawbreakers. The logic is we can't deport them all. Well, hell, we've spent four years playing "Where's Osama?" So are we going to declare that one too hard too? As long as we keep giving out amnesties every few years "one last time" folks are going to keep crossing the border and playing Amnesty lotto (heck of a lot better odds than the Powerball tickets we gringos buy).

One last bit of Joy. A Reuters story quoting the President of Mexico on how he deals with his Southern border.

He said Mexico was doing its part to crack down on human smugglers along the U.S.-Mexican border and trying to halt the flow of Central American migrants coming across Mexico's southern border.

"With all due respect to the dignity of these people, respecting their human rights, they are stopped, they remain on temporary basis in the stations. We offer them services with dignity. And then we send them back to their communities of origin," Fox said.

I support following Mexico's leadership on this issue!

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