Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Immigration Bill

A bill several hundred pages long, full of fine print, crafted in secret and sprung upon a Senate with little time to reflect, must necessarily be viewed with suspicion. Especially when the provisions talk about increasing the nation's legal population, at one swoop, by some 4% (12 million/300 million). A country which has a serious debate over whether breaking and entering into the country is really such a serious issue, and carries on with platitudes such as:
  • This is inevitable,
  • We cannot really do anything about it
  • Immigration is a net plus
  • We are a nation of immigrants
  • etc.
is making a virtue of out of lassitude and lack of will. Two articles, one by George Will in the Washington Post, and the other by Ann Coulter in Human Events, both bring this idiocy sharply to light. George Will writes:

Some Democrats argue that liberalism's teetering achievement, the welfare state, requires liberal immigration policies. The argument is: Today there are only 3.3 workers for every retiree. In January, the first of 77 million baby boomers begin to retire. By the time they have retired, in 2030, there will be 2.2 workers for every retiree -- but only if the workforce is replenished by 900,000 immigrants a year.

On Monday, however, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation stunned some senators who heard his argument that continuing, under family-based immigration, to import a low-skilled population will cost the welfare state far more than the immigrants' contributions to the economy and government. He argued that low-skilled immigrants are costly to the welfare state at every point in their life cycle and are very costly when elderly. Just the 9 million to 10 million adults already here illegally will, if given amnesty, cost an average of $300,000 -- cumulatively, more than $2.5 trillion-- in various entitlements (Social Security, food stamps, Medicaid, housing, etc.) over 30 years.

As to those who argue that finding the illegal immigrants is impossible, Ann Coulter writes in Importing a Slave Class:
If it's "impossible" to deport illegal aliens, how did we come to have so much specific information about them? I keep hearing they are Catholic, pro-life, hardworking, just dying to become American citizens, and will take jobs other Americans won't. Someone must have talked to them to gather all this information. Let's find that guy -- he must know where they are!

How do we even know there are 12 million of them? Why not 3 million, or 40 million? Maybe we should put the guy who counted them in charge of deporting them.
She also makes a telling rejoinder to the argument that "We can't deport them all":
The jejune fact that we "can't deport them all" is supposed to lead ineluctably to the conclusion that we must grant amnesty to illegal aliens -- and fast!

I'm astounded that debate has sunk so low that I need to type the following words, but: No law is ever enforced 100%.

We can't catch all rapists, so why not grant amnesty to rapists? Surely no one wants thousands of rapists living in the shadows! How about discrimination laws? Insider trading laws? Do you expect Bush to round up everyone who goes over the speed limit? Of course we can't do that. We can't even catch all murderers. What we need is "comprehensive murder reform." It's not "amnesty" -- we'll ask them to pay a small fine.
Finally, why this hurry? Why does this have to be done this week (or the next). First, establish the principle that breaking into the country does not pay. On this basis, other things can be discussed. Debates that are rushed through with a view to 'getting it behind us' usually have a way of returning and biting us in the behind. Witness the Democratic Senate's stupidity in the Iraq War debate of 2002.

See also: Immigration Bill's Point System.