February 09, 2006

CPAC: Focus on Immigration

There are a lot of ideas out there on how to deal with the problem of our porous borders, and it seems that people are finally approaching the issue in a serious way, recognizing that the present situation is untenable.

The main two debates seem to be (1) between those who believe that some sort of guest worker program must be a component in whatever we set up, vs. those who feel that this would be tantamount to amnesty. And: (2) those who feel that enforcement of our existing laws should come first, before we address the issue of how to deal with those who already live in the "shadow world" of illegal immigrants.

James S. Gilmore talked today about the necessity to design a system to deal with immigration in a way that is humane. He maintains that we cannot take punitive action, because other miniorities might then think that "they could be next." Also, in the Hispanic areas of American cities, illegal immigrants are intermixed with legitimate immigrants, so it's more complicated to identify the illegals than one might suppose.

He insists, however, that we must control our borders, and cannot have any kind of anmesty program.

["Amnesty," of course, is becoming one of those squishy words that has at least two separate definitions, like "affirmative action"—which either does involve quotas or does not, depending upon how you feel about the issue. Everyone is against quotas, just as everyone is against amnesty. It's a question of getting more precise than that and figuring out, for example, whether we can have a guest worker program—or enhanced rates of legal immigration—without creating the kind of amnesty that only encourages a sudden, overwhelming flood during a perceived "window of opportunity."—ed.]

Some kind of guest worker program might help us to get our arms around this, Gilmore suggests, and it might be better to do that rather than simply letting the situation “drift.”

Posted by Attila Girl at February 9, 2006 09:10 AM | TrackBack

....why can't we have a program like the Bracero program of the fifties? BUT FIRST CLOSE THE BORDER!!!!!! Illegal immigants here in Colorado enjoy FREE medical care!??? Let a regular citizen try to get free medical care and he/she will be tossed out of the the med center.

W. Roy

Posted by: W. Roy at February 9, 2006 10:52 AM

Any "guest worker" program that doesn't require people who are here illegally to go back where they came from to apply for the program is de facto amnesty. So when people talk about a "guest worker" program they should define more clearly what they mean. By the way - we already have a "guest worker" program. It's called an H2-A visa. It is used extensively in the Pacific Northwest to bring workers from Asia to pick apples.

Posted by: Gene at February 9, 2006 12:56 PM

To legalize an illegal is to give that illegal an amnesty.

Any guest worker program that legalizes illegals is an amnesty. President Bush has consistently called for the legalization of some number of illegals through a guest worker program while simultaneously claiming he opposes amnesty. He is not being honest with himself.

Nor is it honest to claim that legalizing illegals is "humane." For every illegal that is legalized as a reward for having taken illegal employment, a law-abiding potential guest worker would excluded from competing for that guest-worker slot. That's the gross unfairness of the Bush Amnesty, the McCain-Kennedy Amnesty, the Hagel Amnesty and any other scam that pro-illegal politicians might try to flim-flam into law. There is nothing humane about rewarding cheaters at the expense of potential workers and immigrants who've respected out laws.

Posted by: Sabertooth at February 9, 2006 03:19 PM

The public is against any form of amnesty for illegals. So, let's see if we can make a guest worker plan workable.

Here's my incentive laden approach.

1. Foreigners can apply for guest worker permits in their country of residence. They must provide evidence that an employer wants them and the employer must provide evidence that they cannot fill the position with American citizens or legal residents. Fee for application $50.

2. Illegals already in America can apply for guest worker permits in America. Fee for application $500. Persons making such application will be ineligible for citizenship for at least ten years after their departure from America.

3. Children born to guest workers are citizens of their parent's country.

4. Illegals are allowed six months to acquire guest worker status. After that period, employers must require that all employees show proof of residency or a guest worker permit or proof of citizenship. Any employer employing an illegal resident to be fined $5,000 per violation.

5. All government agencies at all levels are authorized to question immigration status. Failure to comply and report illegals to DOHS will result in loss of federal funding.

Chosen figures are arbitrary. The higher charge for illegals is a penalty for their being here illegally. The low charge for foreigners wishing to go through legal channels to get here rewards their respect for US law. It must be a lot cheaper than the fees paid to smugglers. Just my ideas on the subject.

Posted by: pat at February 9, 2006 06:34 PM

"Illegals are allowed six months to acquire guest worker status."

That's an amnesty.

Posted by: Sabertooth at February 9, 2006 11:06 PM

Q: is or need for unskilled labor being met by the 5000 or so people we legally admit into this country every year?

Could we therefore "simply enforce existing laws" without economic chaos?

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 10, 2006 12:36 AM

Do your homework. The number of aliens admitted to the U.S. as legal residents per year is closer to 500,000. If you add H1-B visas, family members of H1-B visa recipients and people applying for asylum it exceeds that number by a considerable amount. You are naive if you think allowing workers from third world countries unrestrained access to our labor markets won't affect the lifestyle of Americans. An anecdote: My son's best friend's father owns a construction business in California. My son tried to get a job in construction with him. The guy ONLY hires illegals because he can't afford the workers' compensation for legal workers. Grow up and smell the coffee (if I might mix my metaphors). Someone once said that the inherent virtue of Communism is the equal sharing of misery. The same can be said for open borders.

Posted by: Gene at February 10, 2006 09:38 AM

With a booming economy and very low unemployment, I'm glad the president seems to agree with me that the status quo is our best policy. He's throwing bones to people who want to close the border, but nothing is going to happen.

This reminds me of the medical "crisis" of the early 1990s when everybody said, "We have to do something." Turns out the status quo was working ok despite the screeching that this country would go under if we just kept drifting.

the status quo is great for the economy, good for the emploers, good for the Mexicans, and good for America -- letting enough workers without being overwhelmed if the border was completely open. Bush has been tremendous on this issue, glad he's keeping it up.

Posted by: Lincolnman at February 10, 2006 10:01 AM

I don't worry so much about the economic impact, since I feel that the labor has been extremely good for the economies of border states. But I am concerned about some of the social ills that show up in border towns where a a lot of the traffic is truly criminal in nature (vs. merely "illegal").

And the security issues are extremely troubling.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 10, 2006 02:33 PM

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