Tuesday, April 11

TOUGH BUT FAIR

Ruy Teixeira has the goods on what the public wants re immigration reform.

To sum up, the public favors a tough, but not punitive, approach to the problem of containing illegal immigration and is willing to consider fairly generous approaches to the illegal immigrants already here, provided they feel expectations for these immigrants are high and that they will play by the rules. “Tough, but fair” is a reasonable summary of their position.

I haven't weighed in much on the immigration issue because I'm still thinking about it. Like everyone, I'm incensed that, four and a half years after 9/11 our borders haven't been made more secure. But I hate the idea of a wall -- it's so...Soviet. Similarly, I hate the sound of a "guest worker" program. It smacks of indentured servitude to me, or of the railroad barons of the nineteenth century importing "coolies" from China to lay the rail. In both cases, the "guest workers" couldn't quit their jobs or protest abuse, but were hostages to their employers. And I don't care what kind of rules you build in to a guest worker program, the very threat of deportation is enough to secure slavery-like compliance from most immigrants. And let's not pretend the intent of such a program is anything more than a way for big business to tap a pool of cheap labor.

Anyone of sense acknowledges the impossibility of sending 12-20 million illegals back to their country of origin. That definition obviously excludes the wingnuts who won't entertain any other solution because these people ARE BREAKING THE LAW by being here. You'd think they were committing serial murder instead of violating a civil (not criminal) law in order to feed their families. (However, if it's true that 20% of those in U.S. prisons are illegals, why not send THOSE guys back? Why should we pay $30-60,000 per year to incarcerate them?)

So I suppose I favor some sort of path to resident status for those illegals already in our country. At least then we'll know who's here, we can recruit them into unions, wages will rise, and tax revenues will increase.

Of course, the devil is in the details.

Greg Palast expresses some of my sentiments:

Looking out at today's temptest-tossed masses of protesting immigrants, the wretched refuse just looking for a break, I finally figured out what's wrong with George Walker Bush. He's so far away from his refugee loser roots that he just doesn't get what it is to be American. So he steals the one thing that every American is handed off the boat: a chance. It's not just the immigrants denied a green card. When Bush threatens to take away your Social Security; when Bush's oil wars hike the price of crude and threaten your union job at the airline; when Bush tells you sleeper cells are sleeping under your staircase, you don't take chances anymore -- you lose your chance -- and the land of opportunity becomes a landscape of fear, an armed madhouse.
...
Grandma Anna taught me what two million marchers this week are trying to teach that slow learner, George W.: In America, it's not where you come from that counts, it's where you're going.


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1 Comments:

Anonymous Crusader said...

"You'd think they were committing serial murder instead of violating a civil (not criminal) law in order to feed their families."

Actually, they are *indeed* violating criminal law, not civil law. Civil law is the branch of law that deals with disputes between individuals--its primarily invoked in business disputes. Those that enter this country illegally have violated the *criminal* code (regardless of how harmless their intention may have been).

4:49 PM  

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