Skip to comments.On ‘Self-Deportation’ — The Wall Street Journal vs. Romney
Posted on 11/09/2012 9:22:57 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Ive elsewhere addressed other shortcomings in this mornings Wall Street Journal editorial urging Republicans to reassess what is portrayed, in the wake of strong Hispanic electoral support for President Obama, as their hostility to immigration. Here, Id like to focus on the editors swipe at Mitt Romney's endorsement of "self-deportation":
" Mr. Romney ... often pandered to his party's nativist wing (especially after Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the primaries), even endorsing what he called 'self-deportation.' That may have endeared him to one or two radio talk show hosts, but it proved a disaster on Tuesday.
This is an unworthy rebuke, as is the Journal's tired demagoguery that portrays any law-and-order argument on illegal immigration as both 'nativist' and a call for 'mass deportation” (see, e.g., today: "But the right response isn't mass deportationas politically infeasible as it is morally repulsive").
Nobody on the right is calling for mass deportation, any more than we are calling for a mass round-up of, say, cocaine users. Illegal immigration is not terrorism. Yes, it is against the law. But when a problem is merely illegal, as opposed to a threat to national security, the task of law-enforcement is to manage it in a manner commensurate with its relative seriousness, not attempt to extinguish it. To extinguish it would amount to punishment that does not fit the crime and a prohibitive expenditure of resources better allocated elsewhere.
That is why a well-ordered, just society is based on prosecutorial and sentencing discretion. We don’t require every crime to be prosecuted and every sentence to be harsh and definite. We try to put people of sound judgment in prosecutors’ offices and on the bench. We then trust them to make good decisions about whom to prosecute (going after cocaine importers and distributors instead of addicts, for example) and how to punish them within a broad range (selling a small amount of marijuana may merit a probation sentence even though the statute makes it punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment).
“Self-deportation,” so derided by the Journal, is exactly this sort of prudent, humane law-enforcement. The idea is to resist harassing those illegal immigrants who are not serious criminals with arrest, prosecution, imprisonment and deportation. Since enforcement resources are finite, you deport only the serious criminals (i.e., the illegal immigrants who violate laws besides the immigration laws) and you target enforcement resources at the businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants, since employment is the magnet for illegal immigration. This is to be pro-law and order, not anti-business or anti-immigrant: If businesses need the ability to hire foreign workers, you enact immigration laws that satisfy those needs. The idea is to promote legal immigration to the extent it helps our society. If employment prospects for illegal aliens are slim because employers are severely discouraged from illegal hiring, many illegal immigrants will self-deport — i.e., they will decide on their own that it is in their interest to go back home.
I find illegal immigration to be a vexing problem. Like most problems, it has been exacerbated by federalization. As I’ve previously argued (see, e.g., here), the framers left law-enforcement (including the expulsion of trespassers) to the states; the central government’s role was to set the qualifications for citizenship and protect the states from foreign invasion. If we went back to that, states could make their own immigration enforcement policies. Some would be hostile to non-citizens, some would be embracing, most would be in-between, and it would be much easier to adjust policies based on local employment and social conditions. This would be infinitely better than what we have now — for the states, the immigrants, and our public discourse.
But since both the Left and the Right seem determined to continue under a one-size-fits-all federal regime, self-deportation is the best of the available array of unsavory choices. It is the only realistic policy that stands a chance of gradually and humanely reducing the population of illegal immigrants to a manageable amount, for which we could then reasonably discuss some form of legalization — under circumstances where you would not be opening the floodgates and undermining the rule of law, because the government would have established its seriousness about discouraging illegality and securing the borders.
I understand the Journal‘s contrary view. I think the editors are wrong to promote legalization — I’ll avoid the counterproductive word “amnesty” — prematurely. First, the illegal-immigrant population must be materially reduced and a climate promoting assimilation and lawfulness must be established, and that will take some time. Yet I fully sympathize with the editors’ goal of embracing and welcoming hard-working, self-reliant, and often gifted people into our society. I also have no doubt that this is precisely the goal Mitt Romney and other supporters of “self-deportation” are trying to achieve, in a way that, while being sensitive, is responsible. I get why the Journal editors disagree, but I don’t understand why they always have to be so disagreeable in doing so. They’re too smart not to know that we’re not all nativists and that we don’t want mass-deportation.
Ereassess = Cave
Reassess = Cave
“Nobody on the right is calling for mass deportation, any more than we are calling for a mass round-up of, say, cocaine users. Illegal immigration is not terrorism. Yes, it is against the law. But when a problem is merely illegal, as opposed to a threat to national security, the task of law-enforcement is to manage it in a manner commensurate with its relative seriousness, not attempt to extinguish it. To extinguish it would amount to punishment that does not fit the crime and a prohibitive expenditure of resources better allocated elsewhere.” - Andy McCarthy.
Andy - you just don’t get it, do you? Illegal immigration IS a national security issue: it’s a drain on the economy and an invasion by a group of people who are doing all they can to make this country look like theirs - regardless of where they come from.
If this is their goal then their heads are further up their *sses than I first thought, as only a small minority in the current mob of illegals fit this description.
Most are simply poor, illiterate people attracted by our generous social safety net with no desire to assimilate.
For example, the unemployment rate in Mexico is about 4.9%, yet they still come here where the unemployment rate is 8%.
Hard to believe responsible, otherwise intelligent people can be so naive.
What is wrong with “nativism”?
When Obama says he will punish corporations that expert “American Jobs”, isn’t that “nativist”?
When Obama says that he is tough on China’s trade practices, isn’t that “nativist”?
Why is it a sin to believe that American policy ought further the interests of Americans?
No one is against immigration. My grand parents were immigrants, pioneers, homesteaders, learned English and the American way to fit into the new world where they wanted to work hard in order to be successful, and they were very successful.
Illegal immigrants are not only illegal, but could give a rats ass about fitting. That’s what they don’t get, the illegal part!!
Nothing per se.
The charge only works on members of the party of angry, middle aged white men.
The WSJ has ALWAYS been for amnesty for illegal immigrants, just like, almost, all elitist Republicans, including Malcolm Steve Forbes, are for amnesty for illegal immigrants for cheap labor purposes. This is nothing new from the WSJ!
We are NOT against LEGAL IMMIGRATION!! What is wrong with people NOT BREAKING THE LAW?!? - This is unfair to those who in past centuries came here legally, according to the laws of this land, and sincerely tried to be law-abiding CITIZENS of this country!
Mass deportation of illegal immigrants hasn’t, even, been tried to the best of human abilities, so how is it that so many people are so sure that it won’t work? Also, how is all illegal immigration activities, from day one of all illegal immigration activities in total U.S. history, NOT terroristic activities, since it all does have a connection to national security issues? THIS WSJ ARTICLE DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!
They WILL self deport when Obama crashes the economy...and they won’t be voting in the next election.
The only way out of this is to let the Dems have complete control for 4 years. It will be painful, but it’s the only way.
Meh, the WSJ editors want to keep their cheap maids, nannies, garden workers, etc...
but if only they could speak more english...
oh well, Thurston Howell III is learning spanish at Phillips-Exeter,...HE can talk to them.
Yes, mass deportations have occurred in the past. President Eisenhower had Operation Wetback, which used to be in Wikipedia but has now disappeared.
How cute. The pajama-clad commie is inviting me to join his fascist party.
I see what you’re saying, about the importance of the distinction between legal and illegal immigration.
But a conservative should oppose mass legal immigration. The pro-Democrat demographic effects of immigration are the same if it’s legal or illegal.
Exactly. The WSJ is the paper of record supporting the problems we are now dealing with vis a vis illegals. They can kiss my a**.
This is the REAL Mitt Romney on illegals.
My jaw dropped when I saw Mitt denying his illegals in the 2007 debate, and was not surprised what came of it a week later (well, surprised but not totally shocked).
Governor Mitt and wife Ann, were interacting with the Guatemalan illegals at their private home for 10 years. The landscaper that the illegals worked for, was a naturalized Colombian himself, personally chosen by Mitt, (A naturalized Colombian, Guatemalan illegals, and a sitting Governor during 4 years of that period), IDs better have been checked.
In December of 2006, the republican Governor was exposed, and suffered national embarrassment for using illegals for 10 years.
In December of 2007, in a national debate, Rudy Giuliani accused Mitt Romney of having run a Sanctuary Mansion. On national TV, Mitt Romney indignantly denied the claim.
A few days after the debate, the Boston Globe decided to look again at Mitts house, and guess what, they found Guatemalan illegals, they were working for the same Colombian, MITT HAD NEVER FIRED THEM!
Ten years and a national scandal, turned into 11 years, and into a second national scandal, with all the same players, the same contractor, Guatemalan illegals, and the same Mitt Romney and his wife interacting with them at their home during the week.
The “Romneysia” meme was another thing that killed his chances.
Yeah all those illegals that grew up with Che Guevara posters on their bedroom walls are suddenly going to have an epiphany and vote republican because Boner and the RINOs caves in and grant them amnesty. Right. [rollseyes]