The Right Opinion

Immigration Policy: Reality Bites

By William Murchison · Jan. 29, 2013

The problem with reality is that it can get so, well, real. As when it storms through the door, kicks over a chair or two and demands recognition, when the problem of immigration has done, as signified by eight senators, both Republicans and Democrats, this week.

The process of normalizing, so to speak, the status of 11 million illegal immigrants now in the United States is not an unusually attractive one, particularly to those who set store by observance of laws and norms. What the alternative may be, one isn't sure. To eject 11 million people from the country? I do not think anybody has ever believed that can happen. Something messy and disagreeable to many would get done instead. That was always the muted, mumbled understanding. Reality has crossed the United States border demanding admission.

There are various reasons four Republican senators, including Marco Rubio and John McCain, have reached general agreement with Democratic colleagues acting from other motives. The agreement, if enacted by the full Congress and signed into law by a president who longs for immigration reform suited to his own taste, would regularize in the short run the status of the aforesaid 11 million. The agreement would specify how they might become citizens; at the same time, it would set up procedures for tightening border control.

Adequate procedures? Who knows? The aforesaid Republican senators, this being their end of the deal, would have to work assiduously to make the political sprockets engage the legislative chain links. A deal to which the present president of the United States is a party cannot automatically - alas! – be called a deal without bear traps and demagogic accusations. The fallback realization is 11 million immigrants who can't, realistically, be expelled.

No, it's more than that. It's votes. “We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours,” McCain says. Maybe should be but wasn't in 2012. Sen. Rubio of Florida is a voluble exponent of measures to capture a major share of the Hispanic vote before it goes away forever.

Can it be done? A writer for the Daily Beast sneers, “You think the party that wanted to repeal health care expansion is going to get the bulk of [Hispanic] votes?” Not with a GOP base whose instinct is to “howl to the moon.”

A different kind of “howling” than the kind the writer obviously has in mind might turn the trick for the Republicans. What if they were to present the nation as a whole – all regions, all races – with a manifesto for economic growth through responsible economic stewardship and rewards for the old-fashioned virtues of hard work, diligence, thrift, the sorts of things no one ever hears Democrats talking about? Virtue: there's another attribute rarely praised by political figures not wishing to turn off the non-virtuous.

Look, why do immigrants, legal or illegal, come here for in the first place? The chance to be as batty and dependent and worthless as they could be back home without having to rise from bed? Do the great majority not want, fundamentally, the things they see Americans enjoying, and not just government subsidies, but rather, privately created opportunities for growth and prosperity? That is a large generalization but not a reckless one, I think.

If the GOP need not so much “reach out” to newly empowered illegals as remind them of blessings, and jobs, that accrue in a climate of comparative freedom, where tax men and bureaucrats keep low profiles – how can that hurt the quest for immigrant votes? Or for the votes of natives? Such things are worth affirming on their own terms. A 2012 presidential campaign that linked jobs and freedom and growth and prosperity might have issued in a different result than the one we got, with Hispanics and whites wondering just how Mitt Romney meant to reinvigorate his country. Always remember: Never let a crisis, or a dose of reality, go to waste.



fred in brothers oregon said:

good grief. i just now listened to that idiot macain say his immigration bill is not amnesty. that all those 11 million will be standing in line to get a green card,paying fines and taxes.
does he live on this planet?
our country is being "led" by self serving promoters. LED to the poorhouse and bondage.
ALL patriots need to assemble and begin to openly resist this most stupid of governments this country has ever had.
as i watch and listen to whats going on, i am given hope, but "we the people" must be willing to fight fight fight, it is the only way to win.
as a captain on a U S warship in the pacific said during ww2, DAMN THE TORPEDOES,FULL STEAM AHEAD!!!!
today i will hone my skills at the range.
this is not stupid drunken bravado. im not drunk, i am calm and i stay informed and i know our/my rights.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 9:16 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

I think the illegals come here for the free stuff, and as long as they keep getting it, they will continue to come for the free stuff. Anchor Babies should be illegal, enforce the law and the borders, and when caught send them back. If they come and there is nothing, then they won't come, but that is not the Obamao way, it is always more and more on the dole, voting for their own slavery.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 10:31 AM

fred in oregon replied:

actually WJM, anchor babies are illegle unless the parents are legal. but like everything this government does, they ignore the law, and the so-called press spreads the lies.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Mindblown in Flyover USA said:

And the solution is yet another "comprehensive" bill that will be so convuluted with unrelated stuff snuck in, regulations written by bureaucrats and no clarity or thought of unintended consequences. Can you say Obamacare or Dodd-Frank with rules still to be written?

Let's start with enforcing the laws already on the books. I heard Sen. Rubio say that border control was the first step, not just for immigration but for national security. He's right. But do we need a new law for that? Do we need a new law to say "enforce existing law?"

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

We have plenty of agencies that can throw out all illegals; I.C.E., ATFE, CIA FBI, Homeland Security, Police Depts, Sheriff's Org., etc!!Enter the United states Legally, or you will be deported--maybe sent to Guantanamo---GOT IT?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 5:26 PM

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

My wife is from Scotland and spent ten years, and about ten thousand dollars getting a green card, the long , legal way.

I support Rubio's version. Something has to be done to get this under control. Nothing will happen unless we make it happen - and we cannot round them up and send them home. We can treat them like we do every other criminal. Offer a PLEA BARGAIN.

1) Effectively close the border -- make it so no one dares attempt a deadly crossing. Get the number down to less than 100 attempts a year.

2) Limit the Registration period to 90 days! Once the border is deemed closed. Start a 90 day registration program for the Plea Bargain. Determine fines and back taxes based on time and work here. Many will not be able to pay, but the account will be made and they can make payments over time. Those who pass background checks will get a work visa and appointment to come again in one year for a status check ( just like my wife had to do for ten years). If they meet all requirements and have a sponsor they can go to the end of the line and seek green card status - which will take over ten years.

Those that do not like these rules and do not register will remain illegal. Anyone not registered after 90 days -- and found to be here through traffic violations or other means -- will be fingerprinted, deported and never allowed to re-apply for work visa to US.

Carrot and Stick.... one time offer. Plea Bargain now, or deported later.

This can be a tough but fair process that is not amnesty. Note that the "reconquistas", and other criminals that think the law does not apply to them will not come forward top register, and they will be found and deported, over time. We will rid ourselves of the criminals and miscreants.

We must do something and this can be made to work.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:13 PM