Thursday, May 18, 2006

Immigration compromises

The proposals that Bush outlined Monday are an interesting combination. He is trying to satisfy conservatives but he also has to deal with some realities that they don't want to face. These include:

  • Bush really is trying to be a nice guy about this. remember when he was running as a compasionate conservative? This is what he meant (and why many conservatives didn't want him to run in 2000).
  • We cannot just round up all of the illegals and ship them home. If collecting numbers called for security purposes makes people uneasy, how will they feel when officials start asking everyone in the country for proof of citizenship? The resources required including the manpower, holding facilities, and transportation just are not there.
  • We are still trying to keep up relations with Mexico. That means that we will not have the army patrolling the border. Instead, they will take over desk jobs so that more INS agents can patrol. Mexico has also made it clear that they will be insulted by a real wall, strong enough to stop or slow the immigrants.
When you get right down to it, and I'm not the first to point this out, the real problem is Mexico in general and President Fox in particular. Mexico's economy is in very bad shape, so bad that at between 5-10% of it's population has left for work in the US (Mexico's population is a bit over 100 million. 10-12 million illegal immigrants are in the US and the majority of them are Mexican). Mexico needs economic reform. It also needs a president who does not make it official policy to send people to the US. Fox does this. The Mexican economy currently depends on money sent home from the US. Currently this accounts for Mexico's second largest source of income between oil and tourism.

Unfortunately, reform is not likely in Mexico. Hispanic America is becoming increasingly socialist. That leaves the US to handle the problem as best we can.

There are some things that Bush could propose to push people into his guest worker program. We should refuse services to people who have not registered. That means housing assistance, schooling, etc. I know it is harsh but if we are going to give amnesty, we need to have an incentive for those who take us up on it.

I realize that prior to the 20th century we did not have any limits on illegal immigrants but we did not have welfare then either. that gives us the right to be picky about who we let into the country.

We also need to push assimilation harder. If you move here you should be making an effort to stay. That means that all schooling will be in English except for classes to teach English. School-age kids learn language fast, anyway so this will not be a burden. We should also enforce English fluency requirements for citizenship. I won't even go into Spanish-language ballots.

Bush is proposing to increase the boarder patrol by 50% to 18,000. They say that they need twice that number. Give it to them, or at least give them more than 18,000. Otherwise we are just going to have to go through this again in a few years.

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