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Illegal Immigration – An Editorial That Gets It

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In a must-read editorial, Doug MacEachern of the Arizona Republic nails down the two questions that truly must be answered if there is to be a real solution to the problem of illegal imigration:

1. How will your plans provide a result different from the last great “answer” to illegal immigration, the amnesty of 1986?

MacEachern notes that “John McCain, President Bush and Ted Kennedy have failed, so far, to provide an answer” to this question. I agree. In Bush’s case perhaps the problem is, as the President recently acknowledged to Republican leaders, he has not done a good job of communicating his policy plans to the people. I again agree. A MacEachern excerpt:

“Since 1986, an estimated 8 million foreign-born non-citizens who by law should not be in the United States live illegally in the United States. At the very least, whatever becomes the new law – if anything ever becomes law – must credibly address what the ’86 amnesty obvious did not.”

“If immigration legislation does not help stem the human tide rushing across the ranches of Douglas in the dark of night, its sponsors really need to ask themselves why they are even bothering.”

Yep.

2. How do you deal with the human-scale reality of the millions of people living in this country now?

MacEachern argues, correctly, I think, that this question is “one that Pat Buchanan, Mesa Rep. Russell Pearce and serious policy analysts like Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies have failed to answer.” More from MacEachern:

“People who play the snotty game of illegal-alien sanctimony – ‘what part of illegal don’t you understand?’ – apparently believe illegals exist in isolation in some fanciful land called “Mexican Holler.'”

It’s a great piece. Read it all.

ADDENDUM: For a collection of my posts on the illegal immigration issue, go here. If you’re a nativist you’ll hate my posts. If you’re a free immigrationist, you’ll hate them too. If, however, you are a wise, thoughtful, fair-minded person, you’ll agree with me. (Just kidding. Comment away!)

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About The Hedgehog

  • http://suitablyflip.blogs.com/ Flip

    For some of the most astute research being done on immigration reform, check out Mark Krikorian’s Center for Immigration Studies.

    The group’s overarching thesis is that the long-term level of illegal immigration is above all else a product of the incentives produced by policies like enforcement, amnesty (or the perceived possibility of future amnesty), etc. It’s a simple idea, but it yields a comprehensive, actionable approach to solving the problem that’s frustratingly absent in the typical political dialog.

  • jeff

    “If immigration legislation does not help stem the human tide rushing across the ranches of Douglas in the dark of night, its sponsors really need to ask themselves why they are even bothering.”

    Legislation doesn’t stop people from doing what they want to do. It is only enforcement of those laws that do that and there has been no real enforcement. The border game doesn’t count and everyone knows it.

  • jim

    It has become increasingly clear that unless it is uncomfortable for illegal immigrants, they will continue to come and stay. However, if the risks outweigh the benefits, they will self-deport. Here’s a link that demonstrates this truth on a small scale… http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050618/NEWS01/506180308/1006
    In answer to the question: 2. How do you deal with the human-scale reality of the millions of people living in this country now?
    It is indeed tragic that past (and present) non-enforcment by the US have placed these folks in this situation. Too bad! I don’t care to help the Mexican elite (in Mexico) avoid revolution/reform by continuing to use us as a safety-valve. The call the poor migrants “cockroaches”, and offer them no hope in their own country. Seal the border, eliminate the incentives here, and watch Mexico begin to change. The harsh reality is only Mexicans can change Mexico, It’s about time we let them do it. Mexico is rich in many ways, none of it’s citizens should have to come here to work.