Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Immigration Problem--Updated

It is difficult to talk sensibly about the need for immigration reform without being labeled by the Left as "racist" or whatever other terms they are currently using in their effort to stifle debate and free speech, as well as honest efforts to solve the problems that face us today. The immigration problem is real and it is growing. We have got to handle it now. I am as sympathetic as anyone for people who want to come to America to improve their lives, but they have got to do it legally.

As usual, I have read some excellent articles that lay out the problems and issues and what needs to be done. The current immigration reform bill is most assuredly not the answer.

Here is a link to Phyllis Schlafly's excellent article at The article is titled "Senate Immigration Bill is a Sellout, not Reform". There are numerous articles at and at Jewish World Review about immigration--you can easily spot them by their titles--but I wanted to highlight just a few that explain the issues especially well.

For example, Mrs. Schlafly writes about the so-called "benchmarks" in the bill:

The bill claims that bench marks must be met before amnesty/guest-worker provisions go into effect. But the bench marks fail to require that the U.S.-Mexico border be closed, fail to require that the border fence be completed as mandated by Congress in October and fail to require that the Department of Homeland Security implement the entry-exit visa system so Americans can know if visitors and guest workers actually leave. The bench marks also fail to require employee verification and fail to require that the Department of Homeland Security deports absconders, such as the 600,000 immigrants who have already been ordered deported.
She then gives some specific examples where the bill fails in these "benchmark" areas:

The only thing the bill actually requires is that Department of Homeland Security speedily process amnesty applications and green cards for chain migration.

The border security part of the bill calls for a 370-mile-long fence on the U.S./Mexico border. That is only half as long as the 700-mile-long fence ordered by the Secure Fence Act passed overwhelmingly by Congress and ostentatiously signed by the president in front of TV cameras just before the November 2006 election.

The Senate bill authorizes 4,000 new Border Patrol agents, but doesn't require that they be trained or deployed. It's difficult to hire and keep Border Patrol agents because of the way some have been prosecuted and sentenced to long prison terms after intercepting professional drug smugglers bringing in vans of illegal drugs.

Another bench mark is that "tools" will be provided to prevent illegal immigrants from getting jobs, including requirements for identification standards and an employee verification system. But the bill lacks a requirement that anybody actually use the tools.
What good will these "benchmarks" be if no one is required to comply with them in the real world? Mrs. Schlafly also discusses the incredible costs of this bill, which would, of course, be paid for by the American taxpayer:

The costs of the Senate immigration bill are mind-boggling, and the Senate has made no attempt to estimate or figure out how to pay them. The Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector puts a potential price tag on this bill of $2.5 trillion, which is five times the cost of the Iraq war.
As if that weren't mind-boggling enough, there is also a little-mentioned section that Mrs. Schlafly discusses as follows:

Section 413 calls on Congress to "accelerate the implementation" of the Security and Prosperity Partnership - announced by Bush in Waco, Texas, in 2005 - so that the United States can "improve the standard of living in Mexico." Do U.S. taxpayers want to take on the awesome economic burden of solving poverty problems in Mexico?

The Senate immigration bill states that the United States want to increase access to credit for "poor and under-served populations in Mexico," and expand efforts "to reduce the transaction costs of remittance flows" from the U.S. to Mexico now running at $23 billion a year.

The Senate bill also puts the United States into a "partnership" with Mexico for "increasing health care access for poor and under-served populations in Mexico," for "assisting Mexico in increasing its emergency and trauma health care facilities," and for "expanding prenatal care" in the border region. It looks like the Heritage Foundation and Rector's estimates are only the start of the costs that will put a truly incredible burden on American taxpayers.

Ah, our Congress can certainly be generous with other people's money, can't they? The truth is that we simply cannot afford all this. Money isn't the only problem, though. However many good people come across the border (and many do so illegally, which raises questions about their character, after all), there are criminals who come across, too, and lose themselves inside of the USA, to prey on ordinary citizens. We aren't just talking about natives of Mexico, of course--anyone from anywhere could travel to Mexico to come across our southern border, if they can't get in otherwise. This would include terrorists.

A set of three articles by Dr. Thomas Sowell is also highly recommended. They are "The Amnesty Fraud", "The Amnesty Fraud: Part II", and "The Amnesty Fraud: Part III". As always, Dr. Sowell brings common sense and intelligence to the discussion and brings out many points that few people appear to have considered.

I am more than a little weary of the Left calling those who try to gather information and discuss the issues by such names as racist, classist, mean-spirited, selfish, etc., etc. ad nauseum. We all know that there are those on the Right, as well, who call names, go to extremes, and so forth. Most of us, however, are trying to find the truth and figure out the best solutions for all concerned. Immigration is a huge problem. There are other huge problems that need to also be discussed and thought through. We have to stop throwing money at these problems and take the time to deal with them honestly and discuss them openly.

Update: I ran across an interesting editorial about the immigration problem at The New Media Journal that you might find interesting. It is "Immigration Reform Begins in Mexico" by Frank Salvato. Here is the beginning of the editorial:
As the debate over the issue of immigration reform rages, we would all be wise to examine, honestly, the reasons why more Mexicans emigrate to the United States than die in Mexico each year. While the common argument is that they come here seeking work, the true root of the problem is that the Mexican government has allowed corruption to reach such alarming levels – in both government and business – that the average Mexican cannot survive within the borders of his own country.

The above statement is not an exaggeration. In 2006, 559,000 Mexican nationals emigrated from Mexico to the United States while the Mexican Demographics Agency reported a total of 501,000 deaths among Mexico’s population. The question that begs to be asked regarding the massive emigration is why?

Mexico is a country rich with natural resources. With its wealth of petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas and timber, it has all the resources a country would need to keep it from becoming a destitute Third World country.

Further, the median age in Mexico is 25.6 years of age and the literacy rate for the total population is at 92.2%. This demographic, combined with their abundant natural resources and central location in the Western Hemisphere, are a perfect catalyst for an employment sector that would – under normal circumstances – compete on the First World economic stage.
Quite an interesting piece with a different viewpoint. Mr. Salvato provides a number of links, too, so you can look at his sources.

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At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Pop said...

The problem Mary, is that politicans don't care how much of your money they spend to buy votes. That goes for members of both parties. With the Senate divided as it is, the Republicans could kill this bill dead. I have reached the point that I don't believe that anyone represents me anymore. I don't personally know anyone that is for this bill and I know both R & D. Sorry I don't have a solution.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Mary A said...

Pop, I agree about the politicians. They spend our money to stay in office for their own benefit. Few have any sense of public service. One of Dr. Sowell's points in his 3 articles (I believe it is in the 3rd one) is that politicians do things to solve politicians' problems, not for the good of the country.

I hadn't thought of it in quite that way before, but when you said "I don't believe that anyone represents me anymore" you have hit upon one of the foundational problems in our government today--no one represents the people anymore, and it is the people that this government is supposed to be all about.


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