Skip to comments.Get Immigration Right
Posted on 05/28/2007 12:50:06 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
As the Senate is mulling the details of a compromise immigration bill hammered together by the odd couple of Sens. Edward Kennedy and Jon Kyl, and as members of Congress hear from their constituents over the Memorial Day recess, it may be worthwhile to put the issue in historical context. For most of our history, the United States had no restrictions on immigration at all. I am told that my Canadian-born grandfather was a "nickel immigrant": He took the five-cent ferry from Windsor, Ontario, north to Detroit roundabout 1896. This situation resulted from America's strong demand for labor, coupled with its weakness at managing its borders. The government could screen and register immigrants arriving at large ports but couldn't patrol thousands of miles of border.
World War I enlarged and strengthened the federal government, and Congress voted for severe restrictions on immigration in 1921 and 1924. The labor market (and health inspectors) would no longer determine who came here; quotas were imposed on immigration from specific countries to reflect the ethnic composition of the nation in 1890. The apparatus of state was strong enough to enforce these restrictions, and, in any case, there was no market demand for immigrants during the depression of the 1930s and no way for them to come during World War II.
By the time immigration became an issue again, the political impetus for the immigration act of 1965 -- floor-managed by Edward Kennedy -- came from those who expected an influx from Italy, Greece and, if possible, the "captive nations" of Eastern Europe. Few seem to have expected a surge from Latin America or East Asia, although country quotas were applied to immigration from Latin America for the first time.
Why, then, have we had so many Latin immigrants, many of them illegal? Because the apparatus of state has proved weaker than market forces: The old Immigration and Naturalization Service (now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and the understaffed Border Patrol have been among our least competent federal bureaucracies. And because the family unification provisions of the 1965 act allowed legal immigrants to bring in not just young children but also other relatives ("chain migration"), and because the Fourteenth Amendment makes anyone born in the United States a citizen.
The Kennedy-Kyl bill is built on the assumption that the federal government can effectively channel the flow of immigration. It has country quotas and would admit fewer relatives and more high-skilled workers. It would set a limit on the number of guest workers and a time limit on their stay -- two years in, one year out. It allows for Z visas that would let current illegals remain if they pay certain fines (but not, astonishingly, back taxes), but provides that heads of household must return to their country of origin to be eligible for a green card and get on the path to citizenship.
Amnesty? The thing that is arousing so much fiery opposition to this bill -- embittered cries of "amnesty" -- is that we have tried something like this before and it didn't work. The immigration act of 1986, signed by Ronald Reagan, purported to strengthen the border and to sanction employers of illegal immigrants; in return it gave an amnesty to illegals already here. The amnesty worked, and the Clinton administration scurried to naturalize tens of thousands of immigrants in time for the 1996 election. But border security has not worked. And it turned out to be easy for illegals to buy forged identification papers and unfeasible to prosecute employers who accepted them in apparent good faith.
The advocates of this new bill must convince voters that their plan will work better. They have a decent case to make, such as their call for an identification card with biometric information. Technology has made this more feasible than it was 20 years ago, and the phobia against a national identification card has been weaker since 9/11. Advocates must now convince the critics that such a card would make sanctions against employers enforceable. They must also show that border security will improve: that the 700-mile fence mandated by Congress last fall will actually be built; that unmanned aerial vehicles will reduce illegal crossings; that the larger Border Patrol will be effective; and that the apparatus of state will prove strong enough to prevail against market forces.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that voters aren't dead set against legalizing current illegals. But they must be convinced first that this time, border security is for real.
Michael Barone is a senior writer with U.S. News & World Report and the principal co-author of The Almanac of American Politics, published by National Journal every two years. He is also author of Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan, The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again, the just-released Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Competition for the Nation's Future.
Patronage is the coin of the realm in machine politics.
The key here is the involvement of Ted Kennedy in the last two immigration reforms and his involvement in todays Senate fiasco. Kennedy was the Senate floor manager back in 1965 when the Immigration Reform Act was passed into law. Later, Fat Ted was the driving force behind the gutting of Reagan’s enforcement provisions in the IRCA of 1986. Both were actions of America’s preeminent liberal socialist.
Anyone who thinks this current liberal immigration proposal will turn out any better then the reforms of 1965 and 1986, are fools of the first order.
“Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that voters aren’t dead set against legalizing current illegals. But they must be convinced first that this time, border security is for real”
What is right...what is wrong with that atatement?
While it is true that Sennator Ted Kennedy and Senator Lindsey Graham amd Senator John McClain and a few other Amwericans are “voters (who) aren’t dead set against legalizing current illegals”, there are about 200,000,000 American citizen tax-payers who ARE dead set against legalizing current (and future) illegal aliens....
About convincing the 200,000,000 American citizen tax-payers that “border security is for real” (whatever THAT is suppose to mean), why are the borders not closed to illegal aliens anyway...whether or not the illegal aliens are granted AMNESTY...
Hey you never know...Maybe the 200,000,000 American citizen tax-payers will think that national and border security is important to the members of the Senate and the House...and that illegal aliens will finally be treated as such...illegal...
It won’t be done right. Business with Canada is being held up, because Christians and Jews are being detained in lines of 200-300 cars at the Canadian border checkpoints. ...just to avoid “profiling.” Most of the people in Canada by far are people of our own language and culture, therefore they are less expensive to live and work with. Canada has a pro-American government and is already our main trading partner for obvious reasons. Neighbors on both sides of our northern border have traditionally driven back and forth freely on small roads for visits, shopping and other common reasons.
Meanwhile, Canada has 50,000-120,000 illegals, while we have 12,000,000 or so. Do some math. Assume Canada has 100,000 illegals, and we have 12,000,000. We have 120 times more illegals but less than 10 times the population.
Such political correctness in equating Canada with Mexico is probably stifling efforts for security along the Mexican border.
Lol, you’ve got them working in unison now - which they are!!
“Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that voters aren’t dead set against legalizing current illegals.”
The illeglas already here should never be lealized!
Kill the bill and enforce current laws.
It's getting a little tiring to hear that this is an odd couple working together in a bipartisan way. That is such bunk. Kyl sold out for cheap labor so it makes no difference who the legislation is put together with and there's nothing bipartisan about it. If the GOP didn't support what Kennedy wants it wouldn't pass, period. People are not going to forget who's responsible for this shamnesty and that party begins with an R.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that voters aren't dead set against legalizing current illegals.
We're not? =o]
WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! TILL YOU RUN OUT OF INK IN YOUR PEN!
Bombard the Democrats as well, especially the ones that ran on an anti immigration plank and the ones in marginal districts who could be vulnerable. keep pounding on them.
And dissolving - under his eye, lol!
That may call for a new paint job!!
Sometimes I have to click their webform address more than once. Their auto-fill form usually works. I tab through it to double-check. A few times, I submitted my input and it would hang-up or tell me where to get their address. So I started over.
My advice is to write one letter suitable for all Senators. I think it’s best to keep a calm and respectful demeanor. I can hope that they will evaluate comments. But I’m more confident that they will add it to the talley of those opposed to the bill.
Barone is an idiot like most of the other FNC contributors if he believes that is a foundation of the bill. The bill does not try to stop anything, it is an attempt to convert present entitlement sucking illegals into legals, on the premise what is good for the social welfare state is good for the country, and if not the country at least their own political self-interests. Gubmint money is power, and this will allow our two party criminal class in D C to take more money from the people and to allocate a small portion of it to those whose votes can be bought very cheaply. It is about political power in the 21st century, and if you are patriotic, work hard, and play by the rules kind of American,then the clowns to the left of you and the jokers to the right of you are dumping on you big time, not to mention the self-important dufus who wrote this article.
I missed that under his eye(s)!!!
I think that may be my fault!
I cut both to about 35-38 colors from 200-256 colors to lower filesizes and speed up loading
These combined composites can get big fast sometimes
Yup Barone is for open borders.