A miscellany of readers’ comments and links to articles on the immigration debate

Paul K. writes:

Keep up the good fight. I do not believe we are going to be defeated on this. I have not been so outraged by any piece of legislation in my lifetime. I have called, written, and emailed all my representatives, as well as the Dear Leader himself for good measure. I’m sure there are tens of millions of people as angry as I am. As you know, the Democrats have dropped gun control from their legislative agenda. Why? Because it cost them elections. When they feel the heat of the popular anger over the immigration issue, I don’t believe they’re going to want to push it. They’ll let it be another millstone around Bush’s neck and another embarrassment for the Republicans. I don’t think many Democrats are True Believers on this issue as are Bush, McCain, and Graham.

I join you in contempt for Rush Limbaugh. You are sounding the bugle to charge and he is urging retreat. “You are not beaten until you admit it,” said General Patton. Maybe Rush is suffering shell-shock and needs a good smacking around.

Jim writes:

In fairness to Limbaugh, I think during a commercial break he took a look at the National Review website and on the front page there is a Kate O’Beirne piece about how there aren’t the votes to stop it. On the other hand, John Fund was on the Laura Ingraham show and said the bill is dead in the water.

LA replies:

This is what makes Limbaugh’s statement so contemptible. My point was, even if you are facing overwhelming odds, to say, in the middle of the fight, “It’s over, the other side will win,” would be wrong. But in this case all kinds of knowledgeable people believe not only that it’s not over but that the momentum is shifting to our side. Yet Limbaugh played a defeatist note anyway. Of all the angles he could have played on this, he chose the angle that we are going to lose.

Mark M. writes:

An excellent piece on how UNCONDITIONAL amnesty is disguised in the legislation. And a BRILLIANT article by Stanley Kurtz on how Kennedy tricked Kyl. Here’s the opening:

Don’t take it from me. Listen to the liberal San Francisco Chronicle: Kennedy is “among the craftiest lawmakers in the Senate. His aides insisted the family-based system will remain intact. For the next eight years, they said, the proposal would award 75 percent of new green cards to family members to clear the existing backlogs.”

So one of the key conservative victories in the grand immigration bargain is in reality a defeat. The advertised shift from family unification (currently 60 percent of legal immigration) to a merit-based point system actually disguises a 15-percent increase in family-based immigration. That gives disgruntled business lobbyists and immigration advocates eight long years to replace, or gut, a merit-based point system scheduled to kick in three presidencies from now. Clearly, the crafty Senator Kennedy is playing conservatives for a bunch of saps.

wbzr writes:

I thought you might be interested in what a far left wing old undergrad buddy of mind tells me the future holds for us.

He assumes that the “immigration” bill will pass. He says the left also assumes that due to endless troubles in foreign policy the Dems will gain both the White House and increased seats in both houses of Congress. If that is so, he tells me that high up on their agenda will be statehood for D.C. And, if that passes in the next couple of years they will start to break large cities off and make them states. Say like starting with LA. No doubt the new “citizens” there will be happy to support this effort. With millions of new “citizens” out there to vote and almost complete control of the media who know what could happen.

Hel Netkin writes:

According to Heritage Foundation’s analysis, to be eligible to obtain a Z visa, an applicant must have been illegally in the U.S. prior to January 1, 2007. Acceptable proof need only be a sworn affidavit from a non-relative. This brought to mind my own involvement in the 1986 amnesty.

In 1987, My mother’s house cleaner, Lola, an illegal alien from Honduras, asked me if I would write a letter on her behalf to the INS as evidence that she had been in the U.S. for the required time to make her eligible to apply for amnesty. Since the INS nor any government agency ever called me to verify that the information contained in that letter I wrote for Lola was truthful (it was), it is highly probable that many of those 2.7 million aliens who may not have been present in the U.S. for the required time, presented the INS with concocted letters. And it is highly probably that a tsunami of illegals who are on their way now to obtain their Z visas, will conspire with legal residents in presenting fraudulent “sworn” affidavits.

Lola became a legal resident but has never applied for citizenship.

Spencer Warren writes:

Novak is wrong. He fails to make the point that the sons of the immigrants who fought and won WWII (along with the great number of older stock Americans) were fully assimilated as Americans by a confident, self-assured elite that had full consciousness of our American identity. See the FDR 1936 Statue of Liberty speeches, for example. And the Fonte essay on Brandeis that I believe you linked a couple of years ago.

The total difference from the situation today makes Novak’s comparison shallow and useless.

A reader writes:

Borjas on immigration.

LA replies:

The link is to George Borjas’s website on immigration. The most recent article is on the guest worker provisions in the bill. Here is part of it:

The key problem with practically all proposed guest worker program is that they have no credible mechanism for ensuring that guest workers return home after their visa expires. Before anyone retorts by citing the case of Malaysia or Singapore and arguing that those countries provide examples of successful policies that we can follow (as compared to, say, Germany), let me point out the obvious: The United States is not Malaysia or Singapore and most Americans would like to keep it that way. According to news reports, a (guest worker) maid in Singapore who gets pregnant gets deported within a week. I don’t think that’s the way that the situation would be or should be handled in the U.S.

Let me ask a few simple questions that proponents of guest workers programs should answer in the context of U.S. laws and norms:

1. What guarantee is there that the guest workers will in fact be temporary workers? How can such a guarantee be enforced in the United States?

2. What will happen when the judicial system puts its fingerprint on the program? All it takes is for one activist judge to invent some right out of thin air, and—presto—it will be hard to repatriate many more guest workers.

3. Doesn’t a guest worker at the end of the visa term have incentives to become an illegal immigrant? How are we going to prevent that? How are we going to catch them?

(See the numerical exercise below for an example of how financial incentives can motivate many guest workers to become illegal immigrants at the end of their work period).

4. Why would one want to start a program that essentially creates a huge class of disenfranchised workers in the labor market?

Alex K. writes:

Limbaugh is even doing this thing, which he did last year during all this, where he says “it’s not really about immigration/this isn’t immigration—it’s about growing government and bringing in more victims to vote Democrat,” or “it is isn’t immigration because they’re not assimilating as the real immigrants of old did.”

This is like where “amnesty,” the word having become universally despised, is now something that no one supports or proposes. Whatever it is, it’s not amnesty, because amnesty is bad. Likewise Limbaugh, understanding that immigration is good, redefines what is happening so that it’s not immigration, and this, since we are no longer dealing with something that is by definition good, allows it to be bad. [LA replies: And Limbaugh is supposedly someone who opposes the bill?]

And as with the tedious amnesty semantics, all this does is clutter up the debate, and avoid talking about the concrete elements of it. It aids the open borders side, because it supports their fundamental lie that we all agree on how wonderful immigration is, we just differ on the tactics of keeping it safe and legal.

Yesterday a caller lectured Limbaugh on Free to Choose, pompously explaining that he learned from Friedman that open immigration is always wonderful, we just have to ditch this pesky welfare state. Even on the caller’s libertarian-centric terms (never mind all the aspects of immigration libertarians never understand), he was wrong about Friedman’s position, which was realistic about the prospects of losing all the welfare state, but Limbaugh, despite immediately puffing himself up as the leading proponent of Friedmanism on the nation’s airwaves, didn’t even know that.

Nor did Limbaugh just immediately give the obvious answer: come on, you really think we’re going to abolish the entire welfare state any time soon? Social security, public education, emergency health care?

Limbaugh’s passion is for the free-market, wealth-growing side of conservatism, that’s why he resisted the immigration issue for so long. And tho he pretty much gets it now, he can’t bring himself to address the tension between libertarian markets and a conservative understanding of national integrity. [Emphasis added.] He has so far pretended that there’s no tension there because this is nothing more than the same old problem: socialist Democrats making more victims.

So Limbaugh answered the know-it-all open borders guy by saying he loves immigration, who ever said he was against immigration, he’s all for immigration—but this isn’t immigration! Because if there’s no assimilation it’s not really immigration, plus it’s new Democrats, so that’s not immigration either. [LA: Limbaugh sounds as though he’s gone completely Orwellian.]

These are all ways to dance around the uncomfortable crux of this, that immigration isn’t inherently good, as our civic religion has taught us. At this point in time and at its current levels and with its current qualities, it is very bad. But it’s still immigration.

Dunnyveg writes:

It seems to me that as far as the elites are concerned, the real fight is over whether the illegals all go home and then become citizens, or stay here and become citizens. I haven’t seen where any serious alternatives to these two approaches are even being considered by anybody with any power. I find it difficult to believe such a trivial difference in approaches could cause such discord. Isn’t this a bit like the old light beer fight over whether it tastes great or is less filling? At least the beer maker treated a ridiculous argument with levity. What gives?

LA replies:

I don’t follow. It seems to me that fight is about a lot more than that.

LA writes:

Here’s the Senate’s record of its rollcall votes. All the recent votes on amendments to S.1358 are at the top.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 24, 2007 08:04 PM | Send

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