Skip to comments.Bush Offers Migrant Plan Conservatives Can Support
Posted on 01/17/2004 6:54:51 PM PST by Reaganwuzthebest
President Bush's immigration initiative has sparked a great deal of discussion across the country. Perhaps the most interesting debate centers on whether the president, in announcing the initiative, has embraced conservative principles or abandoned them. I believe a temporary worker program is consistent with conservative principles, and here's why.
First, conservatives value national security, and the status quo encourages anything but national security. The presence of 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens within the confines of our borders should prompt the type of reform the president has suggested.
President Bush's proposal will ensure smarter border enforcement by redirecting resources for border security and the war on terrorism away from the dishwashers and landscapers who are trying to cross the border illegally and toward the smugglers and terrorists who are attempting to cross the border for purposes far more nefarious than filling jobs that American workers are not taking.
We can try to tighten up border enforcement even more than we already have (we've already increased spending on border enforcement six-fold over the past 20 years), but as long as the United States offers foreign workers more opportunity for work than their home countries do, people will risk their lives to cross the border.
According to Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, "A real effort to control the border with Mexico would require perhaps 20,000 agents and the development of a system of formidable fences and other barriers along those parts of the border used for illegal crossings."
It should also be noted that some 40 percent of those illegally in the United States first entered the country legally and then overstayed their visas. Even if we did manage to seal the border from illegal crossings, the problem would still be with us. Clearly, we can't solve this problem through border enforcement alone.
A temporary worker program, coupled with serious workplace enforcement, would bring those who are in the shadows out into the open. Temporary workers would be registered. We would finally know who they are, how long they've been here, and when they must return to their home country or change their status.
Again, the "carrot" of a temporary worker program must be coupled with the "stick" of workplace enforcement. With a reasonable legal avenue available, workers should have no excuse for not utilizing it and employers should have no excuse for hiring those who do not.
The latter point is important. Conservatives respect the law. Our current immigration laws, everyone will agree, are so convoluted and out of touch with how people actually organize their lives that it does not foster respect for the law. If we want the law to be enforced, we need to have a law that can realistically be enforced given our labor needs. Which brings me to another point.
Conservatives recognize that America has a need for labor that Americans are unable or unwilling to fill. This is the case today, and will increasingly be the case in years to come as our workforce becomes older and better educated. Now, some will dispute this, noting that "there are some 10 million unemployed in this country, and some 10 million illegal aliens - do the math!"
This math adds up only if you accept that it is the federal government's role, for example, to persuade an unemployed fisherman in Maine to take a job as a landscaper in Phoenix. Or to move an unemployed schoolteacher in Indiana to the lettuce fields in Yuma. The former Soviet Union tried and failed with this type of economic planning for decades. Cuba is still trying. Neither are examples that conservatives should seek to emulate.
Third, conservatives are compassionate, despite what liberals will tell you. The fact that hundreds of illegal aliens, many of whom are women and children, die in the desert each year should compel us to action. Because a temporary worker program would allow workers to enter and exit the country through border checkpoints, the incentive to risk one's life in the desert would be diminished considerably. Under the current situation, those illegally crossing the border in search of work must make the calculation of whether to endure long periods, even years, without seeing their families, or to attempt to bring their families with them. The latter choice often leads to deadly consequences.
Finally, we conservatives are called conservatives because we want to "conserve" practices and principles that have withstood the test of time. There is little about the status quo in immigration policy that is worth conserving. Bush recognizes this. We conservatives, whether we agree with every detail of his plan or not, should applaud him for it.
yea, I have heard that before (86). Start enforcing the laws right freaking now and then maybe I might believe it.
Of course Tancredo wants to stop Bush's proposal dead on its tracks, he'd be out of a job if the immigration issue was ever brought under control.
Right now, Tantrum Tom earns a fat living feeding the unswerving political suicide wishes of the reality challenged, who continually support his proposals without paying the most minuscule bit of attention to the fact that no single piece of immigration legislation he's ever proposed, has achieved anything beyond getting him re elected...even after he swore he would not seek that re-election.
Tantrum Tom is one of my two favorite fiction authors, the other one being Stephen King, and at least he's not trying to pass his stuff off as serious literature.
Like your 3 weeks at Free Repubic makes you an expect on "these people". What gall.
How do we know what's proposed is so much better than the "status quo" when we can't get the current code enforced? The "status quo" already has a provision of severe penalties for violators and is quite detailed in spelling them out; the sorry lawmakers, mangey trial lawyers, and leftist liberal judges say we can't enforce them.
Instead of spending $40 billion a year on Illegaliens who shouldn't be here in the first place, let's try allocating $20 billion in one year so USCIS can reinforce and enforce the laws we have. Let's heavily fine trial lawyers and anyone else who obstructs USCIS from doing their job, under penalties of RICO. Bush's plan does nothing to strengthen our Immigration code - only to weaken it.
Personnally, when the USCS hears the case(s) over indefinitely held detainees, I hope they force Bush's Admin to either enforce the entire code or nullify it completely, which would be essentially forcing the release of those detained after 9/11. Maybe then Bush will see that our Immigration code is law for a reason, and that we need it reinforced and enforced - all of it.
Let's give our Border Patrol and Marshals as much support as we give our Armed Services personnel, our most critical battleline is here at home.
How about we enforce the laws already on the books? Just once I'd like to see it tried.
The Fed IS enforcing the laws but the problem overwhelms the resources. If the states do not line up in support of enforcing the laws then it can't be done. You have no idea how much a lot of states economic health is tied up in this issue.
Simple suggestion: why not prosecute the employers?
This is complete fiction. The federal tax was supposed to be temporary too!
The Gore Tax was supposed to be temporary.
How many bridges have we paid for and are still being asked to pay a toll just to cross over it?
Nope, this is just pure Bush touchy feely propaganda. Why would anyone who has tasted freedom and opportunity in America want to go back home to poverty and corruption? Why are so many trying to come in all the time?
And, if they don't have the political will to enforce our immigration laws as they are why should we believe the government authorities will enforce this 3 year limit?
Makes me think laws are for suckers and law-abiding hard working citizens are the suckers.
Well I can't speak for other states. I know in my part of the world there are few illegals and we get along fine. And we have large tourist attractions that need service industry type labor. Granted there's a lot of legal immigrants around, but it's still overwhelmingly the native population here.
Immigration definitely needs reforming, I just don't think this is the answer.
That's the best solution I can think of. Put a few employers in jail and see how fast they stop hiring illegals.
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