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Futile immigration folly

Futile immigration folly

Rewarding law breakers is not a good idea, whether we’re talking about the securities laws or the immigration laws.

The Gang of 8 plan rewards law breakers.  We’re told that we need to legalize law breakers because it’s the humane thing to do.  But in so doing, whether it results in citizenship or not, we have advantaged those who broke the law to get here over those who respected our laws and wait patiently overseas or across the border.  Bad policy, pure and simple.

That bad policy will be compounded if there is a path to citizenship for law breakers.  At a minimum, never becoming a citizen should be the cost of breaking the law to get here.  (Caveat to all that is children who were brought here at a young age and know no other country.  They don’t have legal or moral culpability, and hence are not rewarded.)

The folly of the Gang of 8 is made even more clear when we consider why this is being done, for some imagined electoral necessity to do better with Hispanic voters.  Doing better with Hispanics and other groups is a worthy goal and should be a focus, but not at the cost of rewarding law breakers.

And it probably would make no difference in presidential outcomes as Byron York points out, Winning Hispanic vote would not be enough for GOP:

After six months of mulling over November’s election results, many Republicans remain convinced that the party’s only path to future victory is to improve the GOP’s appeal to Hispanic voters. But how many Hispanic voters do Republicans need to attract before the party can again win the White House?

A lot. Start with the 2012 exit polls. The New York Times’ Nate Silver has created an interactive tool in which one can look at the presidential election results and calculate what would have happened if the racial and ethnic mix of voters had been different. The tool also allows one to project future results based on any number of scenarios in which the country’s demographic profile and voting patterns change.

In 2012, President Obama famously won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote to Mitt Romney’s 27 percent. If all other factors remained the same, how large a percentage of the Hispanic vote would Romney have had to win to capture the White House?

What if Romney had won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, the high-water mark for Republicans achieved by George W. Bush in 2004? As it turns out, if Romney had hit that Bush mark, he still would have lost, with 240 electoral votes to 298 for Obama.

But what if Romney had been able to make history and attract 50 percent of Hispanic voters? What then? He still would have been beaten, 283 electoral votes to 255.

What if Romney had been able to do something absolutely astonishing for a Republican and win 60 percent of the Hispanic vote? He would have lost by the same margin, 283 electoral votes to 255.

But what if Romney had been able to reach a mind-blowing 70 percent of the Hispanic vote? Surely that would have meant victory, right? No, it wouldn’t. Romney still would have lost, although by the narrowest of electoral margins, 270 to 268….

Likewise, the white vote is so large that an improvement of 4 points — going from 60 percent to 64 percent of those whites who did vote — would have won the race for Romney.

So which would have been a more realistic goal for Romney — matching the white turnout from just a few years earlier, or winning 73 percent of Hispanic voters?

It’s not an all or nothing analysis.  Republicans should try to improve with all groups, but the folly of thinking that bad immigration policy will win an election is just that, folly.


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I cannot agree more. I’ve said before that the absolute irreducible bottom line position is: NO citizenship EVER for those who came here illegally as adults. Legal residence and work permits, conditioned on good behavior, fine. But citizenship for those whose first act was to break our laws? No, sorry. There has to be a cost.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to caseym54. | May 5, 2013 at 7:30 am

    I disagree with the professor about going after ethnicities for votes. My America is about a rising tide lifting all boats.

casualobserver | May 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm

For me the idea of someone coming out in to the open, admitting guilt, paying a penalty, and getting to the back of the line seems equivalent to having gone through a trial and found guilty. While I do see the argument about breaking the law, I just don’t understand why the punishment can or must ONLY be an exit from this country, especially if that person does contribute. More importantly, if the illegals are to be punished in any form (fee and wait, or return to your homeland), what is the appropriate action for those employers who have been hiring them? They should be punished, too.

My biggest issue is not which is the appropriate punishment for illegals. It’s the total lack of trust and faith in the politicians to do the right thing even when written into law. Already there is so much weaseling going on I can’t stand it.

    What line? If you are from Mexico and you have no relative to pull you in, there is no line (or at least no window at its front). We only take in dependents anymore; the able-bodied working folk can’t get in legally.

    By ‘going to the back of the line’ … do you mean going back to their country of origin and waiting several years? I suspect you mean remaining in the U.S., which is a reward for breaking the law. Many of the folks that follow our laws are not yet in the U.S., it’s a slap in their faces to call it punishment and let illegals remain here.

      casualobserver in reply to max. | May 4, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      My goal was simply to point out the question – Why is the only suitable punishment that millions go back to their country of origin (not just Mexico)? I get the notion of law breaking. But why aren’t other punitive rules acceptable? Maybe the fines aren’t stiff enough? It isn’t like illegal entry is akin to some violent felony, for example.

      And if the illegals must be punished in whatever way, surely you buy that all of the employers of illegals should be punished, too, in some way. Yes?

        DaMav in reply to casualobserver. | May 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm

        If someone has been driving on a fraudulent license they are not fined, then automatically given a valid license when they pay the fine. If someone is caught breaking into a house, they are not fined and then given a key to the house upon paying it off. Why? Because breaking the law should result in a deterrent to lawbreaking, not just a monetary penalty that becomes de facto the price of driving illegally, burglary, or an admission ticket to citizenship.

          casualobserver in reply to DaMav. | May 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm

          Why does everyone avoid the question about employers?

          I get your point, although your examples aren’t that great. Expired licenses, out of registration vehicles, etc., are easily reversed by payment. I cannot reply to your other example about the house, because I simply don’t understand it. Are you suggesting the criminal would have a right (in your example) to pay for it or “get the keys” some other way?? Squatters do find loopholes I guess…or so it has been reported in the media.

          Again, I’m only pointing out that there must be other options. What if the illegal immigrant paid fines but never got beyond a green card? It seems better than sending millions back. The “must go” option is impractical.

        Yes … there are many problems that arise when you do not consistently enforce the laws. I would quickly make an example of the 10 worst offending employers of illegals in each state … including jail time. Then heavily publisize it, here and south of the border. Deny any benefits to illegals. Do these 2 things and you won’t need to deport many illegals, they’ll return the same way they got here.

        Yes, the employers should be punished. But only after we have removed from office and barred from ever holding it again any elected official and bureaucrat who set up the system that facilitated them. Next question?

This entire episode is as revealing as it is pathetic.

The left (and their political party) have shown their only interest — ONLY interest — in our country is their being in power over it forever by which to fulfill their childish fantasies and to loot it.

It also demonstrated Rubios’s weaknesses as a national player. How he got sucked into putting his entire cache with conservatives on the line by going full out for a 1,000 page bill full of Obamacare-type chaos — not to mention his allowing himself to be perceived having McCain as his new mentor and Schumer as his new trusted ally — was stunning, to say the least.

Anyway, hope Marco does better back at the farm team.

Ragspierre | May 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I know of no “amnesty” program that has ever worked, anywhere in the world it has been tried.

Our current laws provide for a “path to citizenship”, though it is a path most find tooo “hard”. Return to your nation of origin, get in line. Simple as that.

As I’ve written before, the “comprehensive immigration bill” is painfully simple to state in principle—

1. control the border

2. make employing an illegal alien uneconomical

3. make catering to illegal aliens uneconomical

4. make all welfare state support unavailable to illegal aliens (excluding health care in emergencies, for humanitarian reasons)

5. immediately on apprehension, determine the criminal background of illegal aliens, or the threats they pose by their associations, and deport them

6. “de-kludge” our LEGAL immigration system

7. make some accommodation for illegal aliens brought here as kids, allowing them to stay under some legal status

I would bet that could be written into a brief and concise set of laws, many of them simply modifications of existing law.

One of them needs to be a provision allowing the states to act on the Federal laws.


    JayDick in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I have no problem with your proposal except that you left out a couple of important items.

    1. No more family “chain” immigration; only spouses and dependent children get immigration priority.
    2. No more “anchor” babies. Babies born here of parents here illegally do not get automatic citizenship.

    We also need to update the visa system so that we know when people overstay. This could come under your point 1. about controlling the border.

    Add those, and I’d go for it.

    theres a huge problem with #2.
    employers are pretty much, for all intents and purposes, not able to verify.
    you ask too soon you get sued.
    you ask too late you get fined.
    e-verify isn’t the pinnacle of goodness its made out to be either.

    I also get tired of blaming employers. I only blame the person(s) who purposely decided to break our immigration laws.

    the other items seem pretty good though.

      Ragspierre in reply to dmacleo. | May 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      Really, that would be very simple to change.

      You ask. Period. Soon, late, middling. EVERYBODY gets asked, so that “de-racializes” the issue.

      No suits, by law, for conformity.

      EVERYBODY gets verified.

1. Like Rags, I have written about this before. For example:

A nation which refuses to control its borders does not deserve to survive and won’t. Sooner or later its luck, like the dodo’s, will run out.

2. IMO conservatives who blame the Left for the immigration mess are letting themselves be suckered, or are suckering themselves. It is not a Democrat who is known for repeating Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande.

Afaic the issue is not Left versus Right, but ruling class versus the rest of the country.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | May 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Republicans lose because they deal in facts, logic and reason. Democrats win because they deal exclusively in emotion.

The people who support amnesty don’t care about enforcing the law. They support amnesty because 1) it’s a big pool of future Democrats and 2) on an emotional level it makes them feel good about themselves that people will no longer be “living in the shadows” and can assimilate.

Of course, the rule of law argument from the anti-amnesty crowd is the logical argument that appeals to people based on reason. But logic and reason do not win political arguments. Emotion wins political arguments (remember Hope and Change?). The anti-amnesty crowd has to figure out how to make their case emotionally. I don’t think the rule of law argument will work.

Pointing out that 12 million illegals will be allowed to bring across the border millions more of their extended family who will take jobs from our low and no skill citizens, push up their unemployment rate, and keep a lid on their wages may stir the emotions.

Or maybe not. I’m better at logic and reason than stirring up raw emotion. But I am pretty sure that for the anti-amnesty crowd to win the argument it has to be based on emotion.

    I share your problem with logic vs. emotion. But the left also seems to pay a lot of attention to “fairness”. So, how about if we point out how unfair it is to people who want to come here legally and have waited years to do so. It is so unfair that these people who sneak across our border get in ahead of the others.

    Nah, that has too much of a logical element, and not enough emotion.

    Republicans, as a party, lose because they’re stupid. The GOP has nothing to blame but itself for the disintegration of the Reagan coalition.

    What I have to say about Democrats is not suitable for a family-friendly blog, but I must acknowledge their skill, relative to their opposition, at pursuing power.

stevewhitemd | May 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Rags writes a set of principles that sound fine.

They are, for the most part, completely unobtainable. It’s rather like discussing how to replace Social Security: it’s a great dinner (or blog) conversation but it’s not going to happen.

How exactly do you make employing an illegal alien ‘uneconomical’? Explain please; the whole point of hiring an illegal this very moment is that they are MORE economical than any other course of action for that employer. They work cheaper (or as cheap) as Americans, they work harder than Americans, and they work in positions that can’t be automated. Be it busboy, landscaping or chopping up chickens in a poultry processing plant, they truly are doing jobs that millions of unemployed Americans won’t do.

And if you argue that last point, I shall note the unemployment compensation (99 weeks), disability rolls (highest they’ve ever been) and relative dearth of American-born chicken choppers.

How do you make ‘catering to illegal aliens’ uneconomical? What does that even mean? If I own a convenience store am I supposed to ask my customer for prove of citizenship before selling him a Twinkie? How do you stop ‘catering’ to a whole group of people who look just like other people who are citizens without setting up a massive new bureaucracy and ‘kludging’ up our system even further?

Rags wants to ‘make some accommodation for illegal aliens brought here as kids’ — how do you do that without making some accommodation for their parents? Are we to slap the kids into orphanages and ship the parents back to Mexico?

Rags states, “I would bet that could be written into a brief and concise set of laws” — I say in return you couldn’t possibly be more wrong.

Immigration hasn’t been solved not just because we have competing interests, each of which is able to stop the others from their hearts’ desires, but also because it’s complicated. There is no brief, concise, simple set of laws to solve the problem.

Oh wait, there is one way: we could turn our backs on what our country stands for in the first place. Sorry, I’m not willing to go there.

    JayDick in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Unobtainable or not, you have to start somewhere if you’re going to seriously address this issue. This would be a very good start.

    Making employment uneconomical? Easy. E-verify on steroids, and mandatory.

    Catering to illegals is a little more difficult, but not impossible. Mostly, it would deal with obvious cases like renting to someone you knew was illegal.

    Accommodating illegals brought here as kids would deal only with people at or near adulthood, say age 18 and above. Dependent children would go with their parents.

    Why is writing brief and concise laws so hard? If you don’t have lots of extraneous provisions and exceptions, it’s not that hard.

    Turning our backs on what our country stands for? What on earth are you talking about? Since when does our country stand for illegal immigration?

    Browndog in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    What a pile of hogwash.

    All of it.

    Tell us Steve, what does our country stand for? Mexico?

    Funny, the progressives tell us that Mexicans are the purest and most pristine people on Earth. To the very last one, all they ever really want is to work really, really hard for dirt cheap wages and vote republican. That’s why advertizing US government programs to Mexicans in Mexico is a futile exercise. No takers. Not a one.

    And yes, Steverino, if the parents CHOOSE to orphan their own children, I guess an orphanage would be an appropriate place for them, now wouldn’t it?

    Ragspierre in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 4, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    “How exactly do you make employing an illegal alien ‘uneconomical’?”

    Seriously? OK. You FINE the employer of the illegal alien.

    How hard is that?

    EVERY actual employer of another WANTS to take their payment to that person as a business expense. This, of course, does not consider someone who is a very “casual” employer of a day-laborer, such as someone who just needs help moving, and will pay $100 for a day’s work.

    Since those are few and far between (as compared to a contractor who uses illegals at market wages BECAUSE they are BOTH 1) skilled, and 2) have a work ethic most Americans do NOT, the net result is that very FEW potential immigrants will find it attractive to come here.

    “How do you make ‘catering to illegal aliens’ uneconomical?”

    Again, rather simply. You FINE the people who rent, provide credit to, or otherwise cater to illegal immigrants at a high enough rate to make that market unattractive. In my area, there are entire car dealerships whose only market niche is to EXPLOIT illegal immigrants needing a car. NOBODY else would find their crap worth bothering with.

    “Are we to slap the kids into orphanages and ship the parents back to Mexico?”

    Absolutely not. We do NOT ship ANYBODY back to Mexico. As we see in the Obamic Decline, self-exportation is working very well. IF we make the economics of staying here the OPPOSITE of what they have been, that would be both accelerated and more attractive. ONE thing we know: MOST illegals have family here legally. Junior can live with auntie.

    “Rags states, “’I would bet that could be written into a brief and concise set of laws’” — I say in return you couldn’t possibly be more wrong.”

    Wanna bet? See Arizona, legislation. I could do it, and I am no legislative mavin.

      stevewhitemd in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Rags: your notion of fining everyone who doesn’t conform to your idea of the law has contained with it this simple, fatal flaw —

      — how do you identify them?

      The answer is, you’ll only identify them if you massively strengthen the hand of federal government. You’d need many, many more auditors, inspectors, prosecutors and district attorneys. You’d be taking a LOT of people to court and to administrative hearings. You’d be tying up a lot of our economy in enforcement.

      Seriously Rags, how else will you identify and prosecute them?

      Is that what you want?

      More importantly, do you want to give Eric Holder that power?

      I do not.

      I would rather tolerate 11 million illegal aliens than give people like Eric Holder one more spec of power. I know where the greater danger lies for our Republic.

        Ragspierre in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 4, 2013 at 7:35 pm

        I recognize the tension between enforcing our immigration laws and NOT enforcing them.

        Here is how it could be done…

        ALLL states would have power to enforce labor employment law.

        THEY would do the auditing, based largely on IRS filings NOW MANDATED. That is, if I employ someone, and take their wages as a business expense, I have to verify they are here legally. No new data gathering.

        Same with renting to, extending credit to, or selling real or capital property to anyone. A very quick, cheap, and easy to comply-with data-base is all that is required. You either are a citizen, legal alien, or you are something else.

stevewhitemd | May 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Having stated my opposition to parts of what Rags has written, I should put forward my own thoughts on fixing the problem. Those points would include:

1. Physical control of our borders — not to stop illegal immigration but for simple security. The David Frum quote gets it right.

2. Repeal the Kennedy immigration law of 1965. Completely revamp how we set limits on legal immigration. Recognize that immigration has made our country great over the past four hundred years. Set new limits and filters on immigration that recognize immigration from different parts of the world (including Europe), that are in line with what our country can handle (higher), and then enforce this. See Canada for an immigration law done right.

3. Illegal aliens in our country today pay a reasonable fine, swear allegiance, and move to a place in the new immigration law (#2 above) that is not at the back but not at the front. They get an ‘orange’ card, not a ‘green’ card: the orange card allows residency, precludes any special draw on benefits except as explicitly defined by law, guarantees basic legal rights, and lets them live and move openly. Establish a policy whereby an orange card holder can, over time with good behavior and with meeting certain conditions, become a green card holder (more rights to benefits, etc) and then (over more time) a citizen. Yes, I’d offer a path to citizenship. That has to be a basic condition or else this will never fly.

4. Rags and I (and most of you) will agree on this: illegal aliens who commit crimes, especially felonies, after having entered the U.S. are immediately deported and are never allowed to return.

5. Revise the mess of J1 and H1 style visas. Work is work, and so a simple orange or green card is what is required. Student visas are separate. Track visas and deport those who overstay.

6. Declare legally that the 14th Amendment does not apply to a child born in the U.S. to foreign parents unless those parents, at the time of the birth of the child, are citizens or have a valid green or orange card. There becomes no such thing as an ‘anchor baby’ in my plan.

7. Recognize that there are indeed jobs that native-born Americans won’t do. That’s just the way we are, and because of that we will always need some immigration.

8. Recognize that there is such as a thing as “an American born in the wrong country”. There are people who are American in outlook and spirit. They want to leave where they live and live with their kindred souls. We should make that happen; we’ll be better off for it.

    JayDick in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    That’s not totally unreasonable! I wouldn’t give citizenship to anyone who was ever here illegally, but I might be willing to trade that for something I thought was really important.

    We also need to fix the visa system and the e-verify system and make the latter mandatory. It doesn’t sound like that would give you big problems.

    I like the orange card concept if you’re going to let present illegals stay legally.

    The real problem is the systems to prevent large future illegal immigration. By definition, we’re talking about the future and therefor promises, not reality. I don’t trust any politician of either party when it comes to promises, especially when there are so many powerful interests who like the idea of having illegals around. I don’t really have a solution for this; that’s why I’m dubious about any scheme to legalize those currently here illegally. Dubious, but not unalterably opposed.

    The ONLY reasons there are “jobs Americans won’t do” is that employers find it cheaper to hire non-Americans because of the regulations that make hiring an American expensive, and we have a welfare system that makes it possible to collect money for sitting on your ass. Eliminate those (especially #2) and that phrase will leave the language.

The progressives have already won the battle. How do I know?

Even here, on Legal Insurrection many are conflating legal immigration and illegal immigration.

How did this happen?

Take a functional legal immigration system, chop it up, dismantle, complicate, and ignore it. Make it dysfunctional. Decades later, the rise of illegal immigration becomes overbearing.

Solution? Legalize illegal immigration!

Argue semantics all you want, the bottom line is “change the electorate”. Why? Because the current electorate is too resistant to the progressive take over. They’re holding up the show!

crosspatch | May 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Put me solidly in the camp that says “you treat Hispanic voters just like everyone else”. Policies of economic growth, individual liberties, and smaller government benefit everyone.

I live in California and have friends in areas with large populations of people who have come from Mexico (and other countries, but mostly Mexico). One friend’s father had an apple ranch and some families worked that land for three generations. They go to church on Sunday and they have a strong family and worth ethic. The way we make headway is to point out to them how the Democrats want to destroy their families, incarcerate their sons, put their daughters on welfare and make them dependent on government programs. They want to do to the Hispanic immigrants exactly what they did to African Americans — trap them in slums with poor schools, trap them on government programs down through the generations, and make them dependent on voting for Democrats for their daily bread. Why should anyone want that?

What the Republicans need to do is stop allowing themselves to be tied up in rhetorical battles over one issue after another, rise above the minutia, and set out a general framework for the vision they have generally for the direction of the country and then place each issue within that framework.

Explain how the Gang of 8 proposal strengthens families, improves quality of life, gets people self-sufficient, improves education, and keeps people out of jail and off welfare. I don’t see anything that addresses any of these problems. The Republicans should hold up the number of immigrants on welfare as a measure of FAILURE of the Democrats polices. The Republicans should hold up the number of incarcerated immigrants as a measure of FAILURE of the Democrats. The Republicans should hold up the number of dropouts and the quality of schools in Hispanic neighborhoods as a measure of FAILURE of the Democrats.

The basic notion is that the Democrats want to allow a bunch of people in the country, put them into low rent ghettos whose Democrat landlords collect government subsidies and get rich housing them, give them poor educations at bad schools that forces them onto welfare for life, and then demagog their political opponents as wanting to take the benefits away to scare those people into voting for Democrats.

The Democrats don’t care about Hispanic people and families, they care about Hispanic votes. LBJ made many unsavory comments about how he was going to use welfare to make African Americans dependent on Democrats in perpetuity. They are now trying to do the same to Hispanics.

I agree, no citizenship EVER for those that have broken our immigration laws to get here. I agree this doesn’t apply to the children who were brought here, however … someone IS guilty, the parents. The parents should receive some penalty for each child that they brought here illegally.

    seems to me these kids get to benefit from the proceeds of a crime. the rest of us can’t do that.
    however they are is a sucky position.
    and I no longer care.
    they can blame whomever they want, send them to their home country.

Enforcement first, and the “orange card” idea has merit – but there is no need for a path to citizenship for those who came here illegally that puts them ahead of anyone who played by the rules, PERIOD. If that’s a “non-starter,” then we don’t start. They should be happy to be “legalized.”

NO public assistance for five years for any immigrant, PERIOD. Repeal of the Kennedy guidelines and reasonable policy for those who can actually help us is good.

Silver’s models all assume the record-breaking black vote Obama drew. Without him on the ballot, there is no reason to expect that vote, especially the younger voters, won’t go back to their historically low rates of participation.

BannedbytheGuardian | May 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Haha. I know a kid who went surfing in Brazil on a 90 day visitor visa. He booked flights on the first of month one & return on the last day of month 3 – as you do when you want to get full stay.

Unfortunately his generation did not rote learn that there are 31 days in a month except for April June & November & 28 in Feb .

Thus on exiting he was over the 90 days by one day & got a stern lecture & a fine placed on any further visit valid for 5 years.

I visited Mexico for 3 months & can remember being politely asked for ID many times. Ironically when I returned to e USA I had to chase down a border official to get my entry rest amped to match the Mexico entry. They originally waved m e through . Try getting out of a vehicle in that traffic & finding a booth.

BannedbytheGuardian | May 4, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Interestingly I caught a bus from Tijuana down thru Sonora. In the middle of the night the bus was stopped & all passengers were searched for imported goods from e US. After showing my I’d I was excused but wow – those searches were thorough . Goods were confiscated & excise paid .

At least I think they were Government officials .

    stevewhitemd in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | May 4, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    That’s how a state that isn’t free, that has corruption everywhere, and has a police empowered to lord it over citizens behaves.

    Would we want that here?

    You want to have to show your papers for every move you make? Every time you buy something? Sign something? Rent something? Drive somewhere?

    That’s what my ancestors came to this country to get away from.

    The cure proposed by some in this thread is far worse than the disease.