Skip to comments.Why This Is Not 1986 : Reagan tried this already, But it may indeed be different this time.
Posted on 01/31/2013 6:39:08 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Yesterday, as Barack Obama called for a bipartisan immigration bill in Las Vegas and Senator Marco Rubio called for one on Rush Limbaughs program, the chances for passage looked surprisingly good.
But from some quarters mostly from the right, but also from liberals such as blogger Mickey Kaus comes a complaint that deserves to be addressed.
We tried this once already, they say, in the 1986 immigration act. We were told that in return for the legalization of illegal immigrants we would get tough border control and strict enforcement against employers who hired illegals.
We got the amnesty, these folks say, but we didnt get effective border control or workplace enforcement. We got instead a huge flow of illegals, who number 11 million now.
Why should anything be different this time? Its a reasonable question, and I think there are reasonable answers. And lets not charge anyone with racism here. After all, illegal immigrants have, by definition, done something illegal. And legalization involves some element of forgiveness.
The argument for granting legal status is that we as a nation have been complicit in tolerating a situation in which its easy and profitable to violate the law. The price of changing that is granting legal status to otherwise unobjectionable illegals, since we cant deport 11 million people.
So what are the reasons to think such legislation would produce different results from those of the 1986 law?
* Border enforcement. Its clear that weve been doing better and can do better still. Fences at some portions of the border have stopped illegal crossings, and we have unmanned aerial vehicles that were unavailable 25 years ago.
The eight senators framework called for an entry-exit system that tracks whether all persons entering the United States on temporary visas via airports and seaports have left the country as required by law.
That suggests something feasible now that wasnt back then: an identity card linked to a database with biometric identification. India is now creating such a system for its 1.2 billion people. Why cant we do that for many fewer immigrants and visa holders?
* High-skill immigration. The 1986 law left intact a system with more slots for collateral relatives such as siblings than for high-skill graduates. Today, theres a big demand for the latter.
The senators framework calls for green cards for those with U.S. advanced science, math, and tech degrees. Why keep these people out? Why tie them to one employer?
* Employment verification. The 1986 law didnt prevent illegals from getting fake identification. Americans on both left and right hated the idea of anything like a national identity card.
Americans today feel differently. Most of us seem content to carry cell phones that enable others to track our whereabouts at any time.
And we have the E-Verify system for employers to check the legal status of job applicants. Its working well after initial glitches, and in states with high E-Verify usage, such as Arizona, illegal numbers have declined.
It could be even more effective to require identity cards with biometric links. Making it hard for illegals to get jobs would hugely reduce the incentive for illegal immigration.
* Source of illegal immigrants. Nearly 60 percent of illegal immigrants come from Mexico, with which we share a 2,000-mile border. But net migration from Mexico appears to have been zero since the housing bubble burst in 2007.
We dont know whether it will resume again. But we do know (as we didnt in the decade after our free-trade agreement) that Mexicos economy can grow faster than ours, as it is now.
Mexico is becoming a majority-middle-class country, which reduces incentives to emigrate. I predict well never again see Mexican immigration of the magnitude we saw between 1982 and 2007.
If thats right, it means we wont see a wave of illegals, as we saw after the 1986 law.
There were potentially significant differences between what Obama and Rubio said yesterday.
Obama wants a faster path to citizenship for illegals. Rubio insists that legalization only be triggered when enforcement is strengthened.
Putting together a comprehensive bill requires tradeoffs and compromises. Obamas 2007 Senate votes for what John McCain and Edward Kennedy called killer amendments helped defeat an immigration bill when the political stars seemed more in alignment than they do today.
Obama now could demand provisions Republicans wont accept and blame them for killing reform. It depends on whether he wants a political issue or a law.
Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner. © 2013 The Washington Examiner
Deja vu all over again............
One, it wasn't our lack of capability to control the flow of illegals over the border, it was our lack of political will. With the growth of the hispanic population here there appears to be LESS of that will now.
Two, entitlements. There're more benefits available to illegals now and they're easier to get. As long as thats true the flow will continue.
So its true things have changed since 86 - if solving the problem is the goal there's less reason to offer amnesty now.
so....we’ve been offered a false choice between open borders and a biometric national ID card?
Politicians are silly. There are 200 million people living in cesspools with little or no economic opportunity in Mexico, Central and South America. When the economy in the US improves and there is a demand for low skilled labor, they will come regardless of US law.
Put “dead and buried” next to the Repulsican Party’s grave should they actually bend over and get Obama’d on this.
Big government never makes things better for the good of the nation or resets itself that would risk giving up power, especially when the temptation of a huge "new" voting block of teat suckers stand at the ready to bolster that power.
It ain’t 1986 because circumstances and people change
This will end up the same as the the other SHAMnesties. The illegals become legal and the enforcement promises are never lived up to. Not by Democrats not by Republicans. Why would Obama/Democrats enforce the border when their aim is to bring in more Democrat dependent voters since the anchor babies can vote (eventualy) and the new crowd of illegal aliens will get their own SHAMnesty in say 2023
“It Ain’t Over ‘Til the Alien Wins” —— Michelle Malkin
Once bitten, twice shy
The 1996 US-VISIT ACT already addresses this problem. It was passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton, but it was never fully implemented.
I have challenged Barone face to face on some of his arguments a number of years ago. He was and is an amnesty supporter. What really needs to be done is to change our legal immigration policies. Basically we need to go to a merit based system like Canada and Australia have vice the kinship system we have now and we need to reduce significantly the number of legal immigrants from 1. 2 million a year to around 300,000.
Punishment for disobedience to God’s Law
43 The foreigners who reside among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. 44 They will lend to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, but you will be the tail.
What's the difference between that, and now? Where have you been?
The GOP led House will narrowly approve Amnesty after worthless “guarantees” are written into the law.
Rush had no fire, no passion.
Conservatives have lost their last national leader on this issue.
Conservatives are literally assisting in their own political suicide.
Yep. When it passes we’ll be back to Bob Michel minority status for at least a generation or two. Rush is 62 and at this point is likely getting tired of the whole thing and looking to cruise into comfortable retirement on his tea income.
Absolutely we should do the same as Canada & Australia. Only problem is we have large internal 3rd world populations who clamor for family reunification immigration (not skills & English proficiency based) getting more of their friends and family to get in any way they can. If they come in illegally then to get them a Marco Rubio style amnesty. We have a black president. This simply would not happen in the Canada or Australia of today with their 90% white demographics
Rush is tired and resigned these days. He reads from the UK Daily Mail showbiz sections. He wants an exit strategy to get out of his contract but who knows when he will do it. He often talks about his trips to New Zealand and their beautiful golf courses...this is one place he would move
I posted about the same...just above you. At this point our immigration policies are being driven by our internal 3rd world populations (who want more of their own in here) and the white liberals who align with them
With all due respect to Michael Barone who I usually agree with he is wrong on this subject.
Our problem is that the failed Narco state of Mexico has and is asking us to absorb their entire underclass. No nation can do that.
The border is still poruous and illegals cross at will along with the drug cartel. The border is not secure and nobody at the top level of our govt has any intenion of securing the border for the reason listed above. They have an agrement with Mexico. If we shut off the money that the illegals here send home to Mexico the Mexican GDP would decline by 40%.
No legislator will mention that we already have at least 4 guest worker programs in place to allow people to come in the US work and then go home. These programs have been in place for decades.
No legislator will tell you that approx 75% of the people who pick our crops are already US citizens.
No legislator will tell you that previous polls have shown only about 20% of the illegals are interested in coming out of the shadows and becoming US citizens. An amnesty will not bring the majority of illegals forward.
We need to vigorously enforce the immigration laws on the books and encourage as many illegals as possible to self deport while we increase the border security. At some point we may have to let a few of them stay but not 11 million or 20 million. Nobody knows the number for certain and we likely never will.