Thursday, August 9, 2007

More on Illegal Immigration

Something that concerns me a lot, as you can probably tell.

Today's Editorial in the New York Times

I could not agree more. Their basic thesis for those who may not be able to read it is that the US government's current policy about illegal immigrants is based on punishment and making people's lives miserable. I quote

Their one big idea is that harsh, unrelenting enforcement at the border, in the workplace and in homes and streets would dry up opportunities for illegal immigrants and eventually cause the human tide to flow backward. That would be true only if life for illegal immigrants in America could be made significantly more miserable than life in, say, rural Guatemala or the slums of Mexico City. That will take a lot of time and a lot of misery to pull that off in a country that has tolerated and profited from illegal labor for generations.

The American people cherish lawfulness but resist cruelty, and have supported reform that includes a reasonable path to earned citizenship. Their leaders have given them immigration reform as pest control.

The thing is that this article is such a great example of American generosity. How many countries would be so generous about this issue? Do I think that governmental policy should be more generous? Resoundingly, yes, partly due to a visceral and admittedly unfair feeling that this whole country is founded on immigration and therefore has more of a responsibility to immigrants now.

Its a nice article at any rate and a strong statement from an extremely influential media source.

edited to re-format link


Nathan said...

First and foremost, any use of ideas like misery is looking at the issue from the undocumented workers point of view. That noted, anyone can do the same thing with any crime: "the government's policy about murderers is based on punishment and making people's lives miserble... and that won't work." See? It isn't just or fair to make laws based on the wrong doers point of view.

Now, in no way am I trying to say illeagal immigrants are as bad as murderers... but both are crimes which means they are thought to be plagues on society.

Couple of other things about the editorial I find questionable...

"If the data don’t match, presumably because a worker is an illegal immigrant using a false number, the worker must be fired. There are millions of people in thousands of workplaces who could be caught in that net, and the government is promising to start dragging it zealously, with stepped-up raids around the country."

That's one of the troubles with undocumented immigrants... to work they have to falsify documents, which is a worse crime than simply being here without documents. And the editorial seems to say that that's fine; to say that identity theft should be permitted, at least when its an undocumented worker stealing an identity to be able to work.

"The country will have a long time to watch this approach as it fails. The politicians who killed the Senate bill for offering “amnesty” have never offered a workable alternative."
The country has had a long time to watch the approches of Pres. Reagan and Pres. Clinton as each one of those failed. And guess what... no politician has ever offered any alternative to those approaches. The writer seems to ignore the fact that there are still millions of people in this country not paying taxes, getting free health care when they don't pay taxes, and plenty of other things and the "comprehensive reform" wouldn't have done anything to resolve this same situation from reoccuring 10/20 years down the road.

Veo Claramente said...

Hi Nathan,

thanks for taking the time to comment on this. I do see what you're saying, about the article being completely form the point of view of the immigrants (the point of view that I am sympathetic too personally, no that it is right). From an emotional point of view, everything sides with the illegal immigrants, after all who doesn't want a better life? And who can be blamed for wanting to escape suffering? And that can be very frustrating in a debate because it is very hard to argue with emotion. Its inherently irrational. I liked the article because I felt the emotion. As a legal immigrant who has jumped through hoops, by choice, it makes no sense that I "side" with the illegal immigrants, but I do, emotionally. Your points are well taken, though they do play on a different set of emotions, those against "free-riders".

Also I really don't think free health care is that prevalent or commonly given out at all. And legal immigrants pay taxes, even social security, which they (I) will never see benefits from. That doesn't make not paying taxes ok, but both situations exist.

Thanks for your interesting counterpoint.