Monday, May 21, 2007

Immigration Bill Thoughts

I am on record as favoring more legal immigration and favoring the enforcement of current immigration laws. Nothing is worse than the confusion that results from having laws that are rarely or ever enforced. The best system would be a fair system that is enforced with the rule of law. A less than fair system, which the United States currently has, that is enforced, is still preferable to any system that is not enforced because people will at least act on reasonable expectations.

I applaud our President and the Senate leaders for attempting to solve the illegal immigration problem and for making an effort to deal humanely with all of the illegal immigrants presently in the United States. There is plenty of room in the United States for more of every race, creed, and ethnicity to share in our blessings and opportunities.

However, I have three major misgivings with the current immigration compromise. Two involve class and one involves security.

Workers in the United States should only be tied to a specific job until they can find a better job or until their employment contract expires. Upward mobility allows the underclass to become the upper-class as workers gain knowledge, perfect their skills, manage their careers, and sometimes own their own enterprises.

I don’t see how temporary workers could ever be anything except a permanent underclass. The temporary designation is not as bad as slavery, but it is not freedom either if the temporary workers can not progress into a better class as they develop marketable skills. I don’t mind if someone wants to come to America and work and then return to their home country, but I do have a moral problem with forcing them to return after they have performed for a paycheck but before they have been able to develop and market their skills.

I also don’t see how allowing more visas for professionals and less visas for relatives of American citizens will do anything except limit the upward mobility of existing citizens and force more families to consider illegal options to attain reunification. Do we really need more Doctors, Lawyers, and Accountants pursuing six figure incomes or do we need more workers willing to roll up their sleeves and build more houses, roads, and schools and produce more food and home products at a lower cost? I vote for more houses, roads, and schools. I also vote for stronger families which means allowing citizens to assist their relatives in becoming Americans.

Lastly, I would like to see provisions in the immigration bill that have some serious screening provisions for Islamic radicals. There may come a time in America when we will be fighting terrorists on our own streets. If we can stop them before they get here, there will be a lot fewer Americans who become victims of terrorism.

An immigration bill that becomes law needs to represent the best of American morality and justice. We should be able to do better than the current compromise.


BillT said...

"I also don’t see how allowing more visas for professionals and less visas for relatives of American citizens will do anything except limit the upward mobility of existing citizens and force more families to consider illegal options to attain reunification."


David M. Smith said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment BillT.

Rick and Gary said...

Hi David -- Nice post. Thanks. I can't say that I know all that much about the details of the immigration bill, but I guess that people are going to have to compromise.

I have read this notion that guest workers would be an underclass or indentured servants. This strikes me as narcissistic way of looking at it. (What does guest workers say about MY scruples). Another way of looking at it is:

1.) Guest workers would be choosing to enter the program because, presumably, they believe that doing so would improve their lives.

2.) Guest workers would return to their own nations with important skills, capital, and insights. They would be valuable agents in spreading free enterprise and building civil society (the ultimate long-term solutions to immigration).

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

From the perspective of the guest worker, I’m sure you are right. There is probably a big chunk of the Mexicans who are considering migrating illegally to the United States who would see an improved life as a guest worker. I should have been more clear; while a guest worker provision is better for many immigrants than no provision, it does not represent a moral and just America, as defined by yours truly. : - )

I can’t help but think that full citizens will look down on guest workers and guest workers will feel inferior. I would prefer an America where opportunity is based on hard work and everyone has the same fair shot. I don’t like excluding some immigrants from a complete shot at full opportunity.

I sure wish moral and hard working people would migrate south, but I just don’t see it happening anytime soon because Mexico needs to change and change in Mexico is a slow, almost non-existent, process.

Buz said...

I am not against a more relaxed immigration policy, or even more relaxed citizenship laws.

The key here is policy and law. Perhaps I am old fashioned, and maybe it is because I grew up a long time ago and when I went to grade school, if you cut in line, you got sent to the end of the line.

It bothers me that we are even considering allowing people who have jumped ahead of everyone else to get in, and broken our laws to do it, to be granted some sort of favored status.

I work with international students, and have talked to several who would love to come here to work and maybe gain citizenship, but they can't because there are not enough openings for them. How many of those openings are not there because the govt. KNOWS that there are a gazillion illegals here?

A problem with a lot of third world countries is that while they have laws, the laws are not enforced. Their govt. is full of bribery and corruption. So what are we doing, we are teaching them that they can bring that same environment of special treatment for cash and votes when they come here.

There is an old fable about a camel sticking its nose in the tent, am I the only one who can remember it?

In the end, the owner of the tent either has to leave the tent or kill the camel. I really don't want to leave, so let's keep the camel's nose out of the tent, because I guarantee that no one will dare shoot the camel.


David M. Smith said...

Hi Buz,

I agree with all of your points. However, I think there is a large group of people who were brought to America by their parents who don’t have a home in any country except America. This subset needs to be legalized and allowed to become citizens. I really have mixed feelings about the group that came here illegally 10 to 20 years ago and have been productive and law abiding since coming. America is their only home too. Sure it’s partly their fault, but it is also our fault for not enforcing our immigration laws.

The biggest problem is enforcement. If we don’t enforce current law, what makes anyone think we will start enforcing a new law that is more cumbersome?

Rick and Gary said...

Hi David -- For some reason it just ocurred to me that I should have taken issue with your statement that "change in Mexico is a slow, almost non-existent, process."

I think that change in Mexico in the last 15 years has been great and positive, including the PRI's voluntarily giving up its one-party monopoly, the fair election of Fox and, now, Calderon, and the institution of widespread anti-corruption laws. Furthermore, this change occurred primarily, in my view, because its agents/leaders had all been educated at U.S. universities in the 1970's.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

Those are all changes in the right direction.

Perhaps in 500 or so years, illegal immigration will not need to be solved. : - )