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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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    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.

      JayDick in reply to MaggotAtBroadAndWall. | May 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      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.

      SDN in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 5, 2013 at 4:31 am

      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.

    Browndog | May 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    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!

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