Immigration-Part 1: The Chicken or the Egg
I believe it is a very real statement of the obvious that both Democrats and Republicans and everyone in between believe that our nation’s immigration laws are in some serious need of reform. The reasons for that need or how to go about it seem to create the divergences. For example, I truly believe that the Democratic Party seeks the more liberalized option not out of some monopoly ob humanitarianism, but for simple political reasons. Namely, they want to be the Party responsible for allowing millions of illegals to become citizens so that they vote Democrat in the future. Conversely, Republicans would be stupid not to realize that Hispanics- the primary ethnic group of illegal aliens- represent a future voting bloc that must be won over, especially in certain states. I also believe that basic core Republican ideals appeal more to these Hispanic groups who tend to be more conservative than your average bear. But, how to get there?
Thus far, the debate has come down to which is achieved first: comprehensive immigration reform (or, amnesty in the minds of many) or secure the borders first. First, I think you have to look at the illegal population. A certain percentage of the illegal population entered this country legally using visas and have overstayed those visas and are, thus, classified as “illegal.” The other portion entered this country without visas largely seeking employment. A substandard wage on a California farm still pays more than working in a Mexican factory. Then, of course, there is that portion in the country illegally to further illegal activities like drug dealing and the violence that accompanies it. The first group represents the potential for national security debacles. Remember that the 9/11 hijackers all entered this country legally. Both sides, I hope, agree that the third grouping just simply do not belong here at all under any circumstances. Thus, the second group- those seeking employment- are the focus of the illegal immigrant debate.
There are many arguments and proposals out there to address the idea of border security. First, lets dispense with the fallacy of a fence. Security fences do not deter illegal immigration 100%. The security barriers in the West Bank have not deterred Palestinian attacks in Israel itself. India, which has a long border with neighboring poor Bangladesh, has a similar illegal immigration problem along their eastern border. They too have begun construction of a security fence that has stemmed the tide of illegal Bengali immigration by a mere 10%. The uncompleted border fence along the Mexican border has simply shifted the points of entry elsewhere when they haven’t outright breached the actual barriers erected.
Another solution has been that trotted out to show that an administration means business. Namely, they deploy more border patrol agents to the area. And all the additional guards have not exactly stemmed the tide of illegal immigrants coming into the United States. I also find it incredibly hypocritical that we always talk about securing our southern border. Lost in the argument is why does Mexico do nothing to secure their northern border? Obviously, the Mexican government is a co-conspirator in this whole mess. They don’t discourage illegal immigration out of Mexico because that is so many less people they need to worry about. And given the billions in repatriation of money from workers in America back to Mexico, why would they want to deter it? It is a win-win situation for Mexico. And even more appalling is the fact that our Congress can give a standing ovation to a corrupt hypocrite like Jose Calderon while our government sues one of our own states to stop them from enforcing a law they themselves enacted in 1953! While the Mexican “president” can stand in this country and assail states for encforcing established immigration laws and call them restrictive, I am reminded of a story from a reporter from San Diego. He wrote that on a recent trip into Mexico, over the course of his 1,000 mile round trip, he was stopped eight times by Mexican authorities and asked for identification. That is not the exception in Mexico- that is the norm! In short, Calderon and Vincente Fox and every other corrupt politician should practice what they preach and keep their criticisms and comments to themselves.
Viewed in this light, there should be no consideration of dealing with ideas like visa reform, pathways to citizenship and other such notions until the Mexican government gets serious about keeping their people- and their problems- on their side of the border. In the interim, the federal government, if it lacks the resources or the will to enforce the laws they enact, get out of the way of states, like Arizona, who are actually doing something to stem the tide of illegal immigrants into this country.
Before we start to secure our southern border, we need Mexico to enforce its northern border. NAFTA has been very good to Mexico. Several American companies have relocated some operations there creating jobs when American unemployment is hovering above a disgraceful 9%. I agree with free trade agreements. I also believe they should be tied to enforcing your own damn immigration laws and that includes not letting labor leave your country to enter another illegally to seek work. We, as a country, needs to hold the feet of the Mexican government to the fire and force them to secure their northern border while we do our job from our side of the Rio Grande. And that includes reconsidering NAFTA as it applies to Mexico. At least until they do so, we should bring every pressure to bear on the Mexican government.