Skip to comments.Bush’s Bait - The president on immigration.
Posted on 11/30/2005 3:00:33 AM PST by dennisw
The late Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called it "boob bait for bubba" tough-sounding rhetoric designed to placate conservative voters. Moynihan applied the phrase to Bill Clinton's 1992 pledge to "end welfare as we know it," which it later became clear that he had no intention of following through on when he became president (eventually, Republicans pressured him into it). President Bush is offering his own "boob bait" in the form of speechifying at the border about a crackdown on illegal immigration.
It's not that Bush doesn't intend to use better technology to police the border and end the "catch and release" policy that waves illegals into the country, as he is now saying. But these steps are primarily meant to diminish opposition to a new guest-worker program and what would effectively be an amnesty for illegal aliens. It's a crackdown as prelude to a letup; in other words, Rove bait for red-staters.
A Republican close to the White House has told Time how Bush wants to lull his conservative supporters into swallowing some sort of amnesty and a guest-worker program, i.e., a "comprehensive" approach: "Bush decided to give these guys their rhetorical pound of flesh. In return, he wants a comprehensive bill, which is what he has always wanted. He's just going to lead with a lot of noise about border security."
The idea is that the House, where conservatives have the most sway, will pass a bill with new enforcement measures, only to see the Senate pass a different bill with an amnesty and guest-worker program, which will be shoved down the throats of the House on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Supporters of tougher enforcement will have gotten their "noise," and Bush and the business lobby will have gotten their policy. Unfortunately for this strategy, conservatives aren't nearly as stupid as the White House political shop apparently thinks they are.
If the policy debate plays out the way the White House wants, we will have another iteration of a bizarre dynamic of American politics. Every time there is agitation about out-of-control levels of immigration, Washington acts to preserve or increase current levels of immigration. As Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies notes, this is what happened in 1986, 1990, and 1996. The White House and the Senate want 2006 to be Act IV in the farce. Senator Arlen Specter's version of "reform" doubles legal immigration.
The enforcement measures Bush is advocating are welcome and he finally seems to get the public's dismay about the lawlessness of our immigration system. But the border itself is in some ways beside the point. We can put as many agents as the Minutemen could possibly want on the border and still have an illegal-immigration problem. Forty percent of illegals overstay their visas, meaning the border isn't an issue for them. Bush and fellow supporters of a guest-worker program are right about one thing: As long as there are jobs here for illegals, they will come.
The only way to address that is through interior enforcement, which Bush made a nod toward yesterday. The natural place to start is enforcing laws already on the books. Rosemary Jenks of the group NumbersUSA has compiled a partial list of currently unenforced laws that runs to four pages. The Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service have it within their power to inform employers when they have hired illegal workers, but don't. In 2002, the Social Security Administration sent out roughly a million "no match" letters to employers telling them workers had bogus or duplicate Social Security numbers, but business groups complained and the practice stopped.
Supporters of amnesty always ask the rhetorical question: "What are you going to do with the 11 million illegal immigrants already here deport them all?" That is obviously impractical, but requiring employers to verify that their workers are legal would prompt many illegals to leave voluntarily and staunch the flow of new arrivals. Only after our immigration system is under better control should we discuss Bush's proposed guest-worker program and any kind of amnesty for those illegals who are entrenched in our society. Until then, don't take Bush's bait.
I love how Lowry is now using another anymonous source from Time magazine to bolster his article.
If anything people should be concerned of the northern border where there is a Canadian govt,
So by your last terms, "milking the welfare state" means, I surmise, you are for the welfare state.
BTW, how come no mention of the people really messing up the American healthcare system, the trial lawyers.
Get back to me when your hero pat buchanan is President.
Get back to me when you have a bad word about the NEA, who are doing much more damage to the American education system.
So what you're basically saying is that assuming illegal immigration finally gets under control unless we massively increase legal immigration in the process the economy will take a serious hit?
First of all do you realize how many millions of illegals aren't really contributing to the economy at all but rather work under the table in odd jobs such as maids, gardeners, babysitters or standing on street corners waiting to be picked up by cheap contractors? Suddenly removing them would not be the shock that so many like yourself wish to keep claiming however that doesn't have to be necessary. The reduction in the illegal population could be done gradually through attrition so those employers addicted to the cheap labor would have to learn to live without it.
As far as legal immigration: we would still be taking in around a million a year, more than all the other countries of the world combined, where some like Japan have basically zero immigration and are doing just fine economically. I'd say we're already quite generous.
To suggest we keep levels at the current rate is "anti-immigrant" is not an argument or defense for increasing it but a way to silence those who find immigration policy should not be based solely on economic needs but that other factors, such as the social costs, including those related to schools, hospitals and prisons that are all needed for this never-ending massive population you want to import be also taken into consideration.
This may shock both you and George Bush as libertarians but the US is not an economy or a shopping mall, it's a nation where immigration policy should be based on the needs of all its citizens and their communities, not just those of the immigrants and the employers who want them.
"For a long time I bought the "they do work others will not do" line. Then my kids became teenagers looking for work.
There is not much to be found. Mexicans do it cheaper, for cash, no benefits. Why hire a teenaged kid?
Construction? Yeah, right. Unless they are willing to stand on the main streets in what I call our barrios, forget it. No teenaged American need apply.
Stockboy at the grocery store? Not
They drive down the wages in larger businesses.
We educate illegals.
We provide free medical care.
If needed, we feed them.
Unless we order in numbers, 9 times out of 10 "I'll have an Egg McMuffin" can mean anything from A Sausage Biscuit to a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
And I am pissed to no end when faced with the reality that our government overlooks the fact that they are here because they broke the law. You know, I know, we all damned well know the government does not look the other way when applying the law to citizens.
Whatever happened to equal protection under the law?"
Now multiply that by tens of thousands of teenagers and yound adults who graduated from either State Tech High schools and other secondary trade schools and you begin to see what a pant-load GWB is selling us. A lot of these young adults have trained 4 years in there trade only to be sold out by GWB and his stupid "doing the jobs that Americans won't do" BS.
"Any teenage kid can find a job, the problem these days is getting that teenager away from the X-Box."
"Gee NOT a word about the COMPLETE lack of ANY plan on the Democrats side."
We finally got Pub Prez, the Pub House and Senate...and all we really get is a BS line on Shamnesty.
OH! I remember, Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles
Your entire schpeel depends on a sudden removal of all Illegals. WONT HAPPEN!!
At best, we will get deportation as LEOs come into contact with them, some round ups at business sites, tightening the screws on employment of Illegals, and of course slowing border crossing to a trickle.
There will be ample time for the economy to adjust from this long slow process.
"Your entire schpeel depends on a sudden removal of all Illegals. WONT HAPPEN!! "
No, my entier "schpeel" does not depend on it happening suddenly, nor do I think that it happing suddenly is possible.
It will happen over time, and an increase in legal immigration should be phased in over time to provide workers as needed.
"There will be ample time for the economy to adjust from this long slow process."
If by adjusting, you mean shrinking, I would agree that it won't happen overnight. Businesses being raided and closed down will happen a few at a time, for a while there will still be a considerable pool of illegal workers around and those disreputable companies will be replaced by others.
How quickly we can reduce the illegal immigration population depends on two factors. How effectively can we reduce illegal immigration, and how quickly can we process deportations. Right now immigration hearings appear to be the amin bottleneck.
We already have the means to detect a large percentage of the illegal immigrants working in the US through the IRS. However, it's not being used because our courts are full and we simply can't process more deportations and we don't have the facilities to incarcerate more illegal aliens. Therefore they concentrate on those they believe to be dangerous criminals, not those that are working for a living.
However if we can reduce the bottleneck in the courts, and even encourage SOME (I have no delusions that this will be a huge percentage) to leave without fighting deportation through the possibility of being eligable for a guest worker program, we can make significant progress in reducing the illegal immigration population.
However, you can't just ignore the facts and say it will all work out.
If we end up with significantly less workers, we end up being able to produce significantly less and what we do produce will cost more due to the law of supply and demanad in regards to worker wages.
To prevent that from having too large of an effect, we need to have a program that can increase legal immigration accordingly.
The nice thing about a guest worker progrm is that it requires that there be a job for the immigrant before they can enter the country. It would also require that the employer try and hire a US citizen or legal resident first.
There are similar regulations with the H1B visa program. In my experience where I work, it didn't seem like our company had much trouble justifying hiring qualified foreigners under that program because the labor market was pretty tight. However as soon as we hit some bugetary troubles and had to let some people go, the people working on H1B visas were layed off because to keep them insead of an American citizen they would have to justify that the American citizen was not capable of doing the same job.
The guest worker program should not be capable of flooding the country with people who aren't contributing to society. It should also put some competition in the low end of the labor market and make it so that employers have a choice of hiring legal workers and contracting with employers that hire legal workers.
So, once again, I have to ask what is the harm in allowing immigration as long as the immigrants are required to pay taxes and support themselves while they are here, as well as obey our laws, or find themsleves being deported.
My one big concern would be that we allow in people legally and that they become disqualified in some way, yet we allow it to be made too difficult to deport them. That's is something we must make sure does not happen. If possible we should make it so that legal immigration is halted under the guest worker program if we are unable to process deportations. That would at least require Congress to address the issue if deportations become a bottleneck. It would also piss off the ACLU which is almost always a worthy goal in itself.
I've worked with many white co-workers who have unimpeachable work ethics. The same with black and Asian co-workers.
It does us NO good when our side spends all it's time doing the Democrat Party's PR work for them. QUIT whining. Frankly the "Conservative" pundits seem stuck on stupid. They are so busy acting as the Dinasour Media's echo chamber that they no longer are on our side. Nice work guys. Way to gut any hope of getting ANY thing done.
Oh, quit your whining.
Is that what you foresee for the average American? To be at work seven days a week?
What about raisind a family and being able to spend time with your children?
Are you one of those who complains about the lack of parenting to children in our society?
My apologies. The "suddenly" gave me the impression this was something that was happening quickly.
No, I do not believe the economy will perform poorly as a result. The savings in social services alone will be considerable. I can see the economy being "smaller" but stronger.
Allowing more legal immigration at the same time is a bad idea in my book. The system cannot adequately screen and police the million or so they are processing now.
A well regulated guest worker program is always an option should we need, after we have control of the border. Personally, I would like to see the program limited to agricultural work and only the sponsored worker is allowed to come for a specific amount of time. My fear is a guest worker plan will simply open up any job to a foreign worker, reducing wages further and put Americans out of work.
I pretty much do the same thing. My wife thinks I'm silly for doing it, but I respect the people who have to bus restaurant tables for low wages.
Super! Never mind the ethics pertaining to abiding by the law, as long as you are willing to work for table scraps, you're A-OK!
There was a CATO Institute forum on C-Span last year and one of the guests was from the Bush administration. She said the worker program would be open to every sector of the economy and that if they had kids they would automatically be citizens. The plan was and still is to force all Americans to compete with foreigners for jobs in their own country.
Btw I agree with you, if the guest worker program were limited to only agriculture then it might be far more easier to swallow.
Can you imagine the level of animosity towards these foreign workers if that happens?
You bet because it's there right now with the H1-b program. It's obvious Americans are being displaced in the tech industry and wages are getting depressed. Now they want to expand the program and dramatically increase visas. If they're looking to cause national unrest that's the way to go about it.
I agree with everything you said. But the link between terrorism and illegal immigration is even more direct than that. Think how many murders, rapes and other violent crimes these folks commit. I bet they have killed far more Americans than 9/11. When these things happen to you or your loved ones it is really rather irrelevant whether it was committed by an Islamasist or a good hearted illegal. Think about the diseases these folks are importing. A lot of them are walking biological weapons. And don't forget the Washington sniper, John Lee Malvo!
Illegal immigration is terrorism in slow motion!
On a Large scale as well.