How to deal with illegal immigration appears to be the question of the day. The Washington Post has an article about it, wherein the political tactics of both parties are analyzed, but the actual underlying issues are, in my opinion, given short shrift, like so:

As the Senate begins debate on revamping the nation’s immigration laws, the issue poses multiple challenges for both political parties, while offering no clearly expedient solution. Two huge electoral prizes, the Southwest and Florida, are potentially up for grabs, as are millions of Hispanic votes elsewhere. But also in play are the votes of angry residents in border states and beyond who feel overwhelmed by the rising tide of illegal immigration.

All of that is true, but I think the political prize will ultimately go to the party that articulates a clear statement of principle that leads to a workable solution, in this case, that anyone who wants to come to the US and play by the rules deserves a fair shot.

This principle would lead to expanding the number of legal immigrants we accept every year. By making it easier to immigrate legally, we would cut down tremendously on illegal immigration and its concomitant enforcement costs. Our border patrol could turn its attention to people who were actually up to no good without being distracted by many who just want a better job.

While the widening of legal immigration might draw criticism at first, it is a much more practical solution than creating second class citizens through a guest worker program, trying to deport every illegal we can find. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Open the doors, tell everyone they are welcome if they work hard and do right, and then enforce the laws zealously. It’s the best way I can see to fix this problem.

2 Replies to “Immigration”

  1. hi walrus…….

    Coming from a right winger…me…..This is all a dog and pony show dude. There have been laws on the books dealing with this since the first World War, and many added since then. Several million folks have taken advantage of them AND become citizens.

    As far as stopping illegals….without getting into the pros and cons of it…..there is already legislation on the books that require an employer to pay a 10,000 dollar fine for every illegal hired.

    Consider, the estimated number of illegals currently in the US is about 11 million. Number of employers fined for hiring any illegals last year was…..ZERO.

    I rest my case.



    My own take on this is that Country Club Republicans and Democrats want the cheap labor and easy votes.

  2. Paul, I think you are correct in your appraisal of the situation. There are strong laws but no enforcement, which represents an attempt to hedge by elected officials, but it is also a kind of deception. What good is it to pass laws that you don’t plan to enforce, or that you don’t believe there is a realistic chance of enforcing?

    That’s why I said that the Democrats ought to tell it like it is: many more people want to come to this country than currently allowed by law. These people work for less than citizens, so businesses want them, but they are also harder to track down and hold accountable for possible illegal actions, so private citizens, in some cases, do not want them. Not to mention that having these laws that aren’t enforced weakens respect for the law in general. Solution: let them come legally and become citizens. No guest worker programs, no mass criminalization.

    It would be messy, but I also think it would be the best of all available options. Thanks for reading!

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