Friday, May 18, 2007

A Nation For Sale

Over at Redstate, Nathan Nelson has what purports to be a plea for common sense in the immigration controversy. Ordinarily, Nate's posts do exemplify reasonableness, within the framework of his basic tenets. This time, however, while he employs a tone of reasonability, the substance is somewhat less reasonable.

You can read my analysis of that in a comment there.

But that wasn't so bad.

Then I happened onto this post at Captain's Quarters which attempts to frame the arguments against the current immigration bill.

Argument 1: Congress will never enforce the border-security provisions/triggers.

[...] Republicans insisted on security-first triggers before any of the rest of the plan can proceed.

Some say that Congress will just ignore the law anyway. If so, then you can't trust Congress to do anything, so even if they passed a border-security-only plan, you still can't support it. That's an argument for futility, where one does not believe in the legislative system any more.

With the amnesty component, the border enforcement will be made all the more difficult, and there is no guarantee that this Congress or any other and this President or the next will implement or maintain that border enforcement. Once the amnesty goes through, there will no longer be any way to get enforcement, especially once the former illegals start voting. They're already being pandered to now; just wait till they can punch out a chad.

But more to the point, we have years and years of evidence that border and workplace enforcement will be ignored. Let's see that addressed first, and in that order, and then see what needs to happen. The trigger mechanisms may or may not work, but not implementing amnesty at all until enforcement works definitely will work, and at the very least won't do any harm.

Still, not so bad. The bill is starting to sound "reasonable".

Argument 2: It will prompt a flood of illegals.

What do we have now? What have we had for the last 21 years? Doing nothing won't slow it down, which is why we've been screaming for a border-security bill. This compromise tries to move from the status quo. It may not have enough, but it does provide exponentially more resources to the border than anything we've ever seen, and we can add to it in subsequent Congresses if necessary.

This is something of a straw man, but none the less the idea that the current flood justifies the new flood is reprehensible. The choice is not between doing nothing or accepting this bill. We ask for enforcement before amnesty.

But still, so far all would not seem lost if the bill passes, because as bureaucratic nightmares go, it would really not do much damage, as the Captain points out, that is not being done already.

But then I saw the White House Position Paper on the bill, and was appalled:
No Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants: Illegal immigrants who come out of the shadows will be given probationary status. Once the border security and enforcement benchmarks are met, they must pass a background check, remain employed, maintain a clean criminal record, pay a $1,000 fine, and receive a counterfeit-proof biometric card to apply for a work visa or "Z visa." Some years later, these Z visa holders will be eligible to apply for a green card, but only after paying an additional $4,000 fine; completing accelerated English requirements; getting in line while the current backlog clears; returning to their home country to file their green card application; and demonstrating merit under the merit-based system.
So citizenship is now for sale. If you have acquired $1000 (by whatever means), you can stay. If you don't have the money, you will have to remain an illegal immigrant, working for cash, or whatever arrangement you can make, until you an come up with the money. Continue doing what was illegal, and come up with the rest of your bribe, and for $4000 you can get right with the law. All you have to do is come up with the money.

By whatever means.

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