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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Fences And Carrots: Sound Border Policy

David Reinhard has an interesting take on the immigration issue. (Hat-Tip: Hugh Hewitt.)

Is there a way out of our immigration mess? Must we choose between "ship 'em back" and "amnesty-now-and-forever"? Must we pick between the heavy-handed House bill and the weak-kneed Senate plan that came a cropper?

Sorry, but we cannot allow the extremes to hijack the debate. Our real immigration and security problems are too grave to let each side's emotions hold sway over common sense or to let political calculations trump the common good.

I confess, I have a hard time getting worked up on this issue. More precisely, my emotions tend to cut both ways and cancel each other out. Maybe this accounts for my support for a "can't-we-all-get-along" immigration-security compromise.

Of which, I too must confess that I share a similar mindset. While we agree, and wholeheartedly so, that the people who have come here illegally have broken our laws. This cannot simply be excused by our politicians because it is inconvenient; especially so in an election year. Nor can the citizens here be supporting those who have broken the laws, and demanding a level of amnesty along with the illegal aliens. As we have argued, a sensible policy is needed, but it is one that should carry a level of reform, as well. The Senate bill does not seem to wrap itself around that glaring point. Their idea of "reform" is a three-tier system that would be a disaster. The House bill carries reform in it, and the needed addition of a fence, wall, or whatever done on the southern border. As we have laid out, control must be gained first, and that is what we lack.

That sounds precious and vague, I know. Specifically, however, it means melding the security and fence-building features in the House bill with the normalization and legalization spirit of the Senate proposal. I didn't know it until last week, but this itch to deal makes me part of what the incomparable radio talker and author ("Painting the Map Red") Hugh Hewitt calls the "fences and carrots coalition."

I've never been able to gin up a vast indignation over the illegal immigrant's threshold crime. Admiration is more like it. Indeed, much in the past weeks' demonstrations has been, at once, humbling and inspiring: So many of the marchers seemed to want -- and took great pains to achieve -- what so many of us here take for granted: U.S. citizenship and economic opportunity. How cool is that?

Cool is not the word I would use. While I sympathize with their plight, I also respect this nation and her laws. To me, aside from God, is a higher authority. These people, with their demonstrations, continue to break the laws of the nation. The demonstration is illegal, and I am sure others will disagree. However, as they are not citizens, they do not have the right, nor the protection guaranteed under the First Amendment, to protest the government. They are here, literally, at our sufferance, and many of these demonstrations in recent weeks has tied up traffic.

The fact is we're not going to deport millions of illegal immigrants to Mexico and other economic backwaters. We don't have the means, or the stomach to split up families. I'm not sure we should if we even could. Most are hardworking, taxpaying and, yes, law-abiding individuals who came here for the same reason our ancestors came here long ago: to provide a better life for their families when the old country failed to offer opportunity.

Again, they did break the law to arrive and stay here, and they should pay some penalty for this. But many of our ancestors came when there were no limits on legal immigration. Moreover, today's illegal immigrants have been able to live here because of our failure to secure our borders or enforce our employment laws -- and our use of their labor. In short, we need them, and we've played a part in their illegality.

We have played a part in this, and that is something that many people we have spoken with refuse to acknowledge. We cannot simply draw a line on a map and tell everyone not to cross it unless you have enforcement in place to prevent the incursions. That is precisely what we have done. Whether this was done by scaling back border enforcement, or by a failure to adapt to the situation as it evolved, we literally have no one to blame but ourselves.

We still need them, and we should now provide a process for their assimilation. The Senate "compromise" left much to be desired, but its spirit is wise and humane. A true compromise should include legalization mechanisms such as a guest-worker program -- and, yes, even a path to ultimate citizenship.

Yes, there can be a path to that, and even for a guest-worker program. In addition, programs need to be put in place that helps these people assimilate to American society and life. We are not asking them to give up everything from their native land, but the use of English would be preferable to many people we know in Arizona.

That said, citizenship proponents don't help their cause when their demonstrations feature Mexican flags and upside-down American flags. It's impossible to believe they represent the sentiments of the illegal immigrants in attendance. But they certainly symbolize the hard-core "multiculturalism" that now complicates today's immigration debate. Earlier generations came here to become part of the American melting pot. Americans are going to be rightly reluctant to welcome a new wave of immigrants whose "leaders" reject assimilation, whose allegiance is to other nations, cultures, languages and flags.

Beyond this, the debate must be about securing our borders. This is no theoretical concern. A nation that cannot do this in a post-9/11 world risks more terror massacres. In addition to other security measures, the House bill calls for building a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexican border -- to supplement the successful one the Clinton administration built near San Diego in the 1990s.

Americans aren't going to be open to normalizing the status of the last 11 million illegal immigrants until they're sure there won't be another 11 million -- and some Islamic terrorists -- behind them.
Legalization or citizenship provisions must follow or be conditioned on the kind of security measures in the House bill. Perhaps a compromise could tie progress on legalization to concrete progress on a fence and give the far ends of this fight a stake in the outcome.

We've heard from the Minutemen on our border and Latino marchers in our cities. We've heard from the House and (almost) from the Senate. It's time to hear from Hewitt's "fences and carrots coalition" -- unless you'd rather have an issue than a solution.

Above, I included a link to a piece that Thomas and I worked on together--right next to one another at the computer. It is the beginning of a plan, and one we feel could work. It has four integral parts to it, and the wall is point number one. Normalization is within it, as well as a way to register and keep track of those here illegally. Granted, it is a rough draft, and many details are left open. But we are not done yet. But it is a start, which is more than those involved in this debate in an "official capacity" (Minutemen, Latino activists, the House and Senate, or the White House) have offered the citizens of America.

By all means, put us in the coalition for fences and carrots. It is far better than being on the side of pointing fingers with no solutions.

The Bunny ;)


Blogger samrocha said...

Hi, I enjoyed your article on immigration, I think this is a very important dialogue to have and that Bloggers are making the climate very democratic. Feel free to look at some of my posts on the issue at my blog www.debaterelatepontificate.blogspot.com

4:32 PM  
Blogger samrocha said...

Hi, I enjoyed your article on immigration, I think this is a very important dialogue to have and that Bloggers are making the climate very democratic. Feel free to look at some of my posts on the issue at my blog www.debaterelatepontificate.blogspot.com

4:32 PM  

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