With all the attention to the border security problem, and the challenges the nation is facing in regards to immigration, here are some thoughts on why learning English is of such importance to immigrants. More importantly, America would benefit greatly if we put a higher priority on getting immigrants to learn English. We are talking about improvements for the economy, reductions in crime, and much more.
Learning English allows an immigrant to:
1. Spread their wings beyond the urban Spanish-speaking enclaves. This, of course, leads to better integration, and a better understanding of what our country really looks like--nothing like "el barrio" in LA. But it also has implications as far as housing, jobs, and more. If an immigrant feels compelled to only live in certain areas to be close to other immigrants, this will place serious limitations on housing and jobs available. God knows housing prices are bad enough in LA and in Miami.
2. Improve on the job opportunities available. I have heard many talk about how immigrant construction workers have top-notch skills. Yet, if they don't speak English, chances are they won't get very far from a low-level laborer position. Those who learn English are promoted to site-supervisor, foreman, etc.
3. Improve their education. If an immigrant without a higher education decides they want to take a training course, or go back to college for a degree, having learned English makes this process so much easier. Statistics show that just having an Associate in Arts increases substantially the earning potential for an individual. Another key factor is that an immigrant who has learned English can also look forward to better paying work in their home country, should they choose to return at some point.
4. Prevents and reduces crime. An immigrant that does not speak English will be more hesitant to contact authorities when they are victimized, out of fear of not being understood. This is true even for those that are here legally. Knowing English can also make a difference between life and death, when a paramedic is trying to give life-saving treatment, and needs to know about possible allergies or what may be.
4. Better education for their children. Informed parents are better parents. If the parent doesn't speak or understand English, chances are the child can get away with deception at school and with homework. Immigrant parents who learn English will feel more comfortable attending PTA meetings, calling up the teacher to check up on the child, and help the student with homework assignments. With the number of Latino gangs and their explosive growth, I wonder what parents who know English would do to children's success ratio in school?
This is not one area we can afford to be PC about. Children are truly the ultimate victim of immigrant disintegration. Its a great disservice when local governments and agencies don't provice any incentives for immigrants to learning English.
Making a difference in Latin America -- Opportunities for Short Term Mission Trips
I thought I would share with everyone the work that one of my favorite organizations is doing in Latin America. Great Commission Latin America is a church planting, leadership development, and community outreach non-profit doing some pretty amazing things in Central America and Mexico.
If you are on your church's mission committee, Deacons or Elder board, or just a regular church member who wants to make a difference, I would encourage you to contact Carlos Garcia at 614.668.1030 for more information. They are not in it for the money, so the cost of the mission trips (per individual) are much lower than most of these "mission trip" planning companies. They have people on the ground in these countries, and a proven infrastructure to make sure you get to know the culture, while contributing to these impoverished areas.
Great Commission Latin America is committed to plant a growing church in every important city of Latin America. We empower believers to share the Gospel to the Hispanic world.
More than 25 years ago, our Hispanic movement of churches started in Latin America. Since the beginning God gave us the vision to be part of reaching the world with the Gospel.
God has been glorified through the testimony of many changed lives. He has used us to reach, disciple and train leaders to grow to become pastors. God also used us to bring hope to many communities after terrible disasters like Hurricane Mitch in Honduras in 1998, the deadly mudslides in Venezuela in 2000 and the earthquake in El Salvador in 2001.
Now we are bringing health services to the sick, education to the children and leadership training to communities. We also developed projects to help single mothers become self-sufficient and to restore health to malnourished children who are starving.
However, our greatest joy is that God is using us to bring people from eternal death to eternal life. This is the joy of bringing a taste of heaven to earth.
Please contact Carlos Garcia at 614.668.1030 for more information. Reaching the world with the Gospel becomes a team effort and together, as the body of Christ, we can cause an impact for the world our holy Savior died for.
Click here to see a list of the next Short Term Mission trips to Latin America for 2006:
Here are some of the projects they have been involved in.
PROJECTS, OPPORTUNITIES & NEEDS Medical, construction, farming and educational projects with one thing in common, the Gospel and the local church involvement.
SALUD TOTAL La Ceiba, Honduras This health clinic provides services to a large region in Honduras. Medical and Construction teams are needed.
FISHERIES & SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT Camalote, Honduras This is a poor region in Honduras where God has brought revival in the last four years. Help families build tilapia farm tanks, chicken pens, improve elementary schools and other development projects.
YOUTH SKILLS TRAINING SCHOOL Camalote, Honduras Education is the only tool that can break the cycle of misery and poverty. Help us set up a shop to train the youth of the region in skills such as carpentry, construction and welding.
CHILDREN MALNUTRITION RECOVERY CENTER Choluteca, Honduras Thousands of children die of starvation. Come and help us build a specialized center to restore the health of these children and train their parents about nutrition.
YOUTH OUTREACH CENTER San Salvador, El Salvador We have implemented some youth outreach programs and have seen kids receive Christ, be discipled, and then take leadership roles in the church. Help us set up this Youth Outreach Center to reach, mentor, tutor and prepare these young students for life.
OTHER There are many other projects and places to go. Cities like Lima, Monterrey, Managua, Olanchito, Guapiles, Valencia; places like Oasis Orphanage or the Lenca Tribe in Honduras; Projects range from painting a school, setting up a workshop for teaching new recipes to women, to organizing events for the local firemen and business professionals. God wants to use you and your gifts. Join us in continuing to be equipped in living out the great commission.
Anyone know where in D.C. this is going to be showing? I am so wanting to be there for opening night, make sure it gets some good opening numbers.
*** Found a trailer on YouTube. This one looks like it's going to be a good one. The one question that comes to mind is if Andy Garcia over-glorified che and castro's guerrillas. Should be one for tears for those who lost their homeland.
A.M. Mora Y Leon has the story. Let us hope she continues on this path, and does well. It will do the region a lot of good to have a stabilizing local force. I have known many Peruvians. They are great people, and it would be good to see that country improve its economy.
A new poll shows that Peru’s free-market, free-trade, pro-property-rights, anti-poverty, anti-Hugo Chavez candidate is BACK IN FIRST PLACE ahead of Peru’s polls this Sunday!
If it’s accurate, this is great news! Lourdes Flores is once again topping Ollanta Humala in Peru’s presidential race, not a moment too soon.
It immediately follows Flores’ willingness to confront and speak the truth about Hugo Chavez, the continent’s worst tyrant (see my post below), and stand up for democracy!
Quote of the day: The Constitution, the citizen's protection against the government.
For those of us who do not have a background in law, it is this sort of common-sense statements that open our eyes to what exactly the framers had in mind when creating the constitution. I like this perspective. It's one of those moments--more common as of lately--when I agree with the Liberterian perspective.
"Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals -- that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government -- that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection against the government."
Update: AP has more. Democrats are obstructing again. Like I said--maybe its a good thing. Go home during the recess, and listen to your constituents.
"It's not gone forward because there's a political advantage for Democrats not to have an immigration bill," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa.
He said Democrats perceive a benefit in having only a GOP-written House bill that criminalizes being an illegal immigrant. That bill has prompted massive protests across the country, including a march by 500,000 people in Los Angeles last month.
*** Just heard it on Fox. I'm glad. Mabe the Senators can start listening to their constituents, and firm up their backbones.
Government cannot be trusted to fulfill its promises. Voters are looking for action--tangible solutions to our border security problems. A big fence would be something like that. Instead, we get a lot of promises, a lot of compromises--and I thought we had a majority control--and very little principled solutions. I don't want more bigger government and virtual fences or complicated legislation that is completely unenforceable.
The open borders lobby says the "immigration reform" compromise sellout won't encourage law-breaking. But the OBL conveniently forgets that the historical record provides absolutely no evidence in support of this claim. There have been seven illegal alien amnesties passed into law since 1986:
The 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act blanket amnesty for an estimated 2.7 million illegal aliens
1994: The "Section 245(i)" temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens
1997: Extension of the Section 245(i) amnesty
1997: The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act for nearly one million illegal aliens from Central America1998: The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti
2000: Extension of amnesty for some 400,000 illegal aliens who claimed eligibility under the 1986 act
2000: The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act, which included a restoration of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty for 900,000 illegal aliens]
Guess what? None--not one--of those amnesties was associated with a decline in illegal immigration. On the contrary, the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. has tripled since President Reagan signed the first amnesty in 1986. The total effect of the amnesties was even larger because relatives later joined amnesty recipients, and this number was multiplied by an unknown number of children born to amnesty recipients who then acquired automatic US citizenship.
"The Senate's amnesty authors don't dispute that their deal will offer blanket amnesty to at least 10 million illegal aliens -- everyone who entered the country illegally through 2004. But they wouldn't be dealing honestly with the American people if they failed to state what will happen with the additional two million or more illegal aliens who came here more recently. No illegal alien with half a brain would admit that they came here after 2004. And how could law enforcement tell? The Senate deal asks people who have broken the law for years -- often using fraudulent documents -- to provide proof that they've lived here. I can guarantee that many of those fraudulent documents--which law enforcement hasn't been able to detect yet -- will be used to obtain legal status.
Glenn Reynolds had Frist on his podcast show. As always, Reynold's podcasts feature awesome intro music.
The Glenn and Helen Show: Bill Frist on Immigration and PorkBusters
We managed to catch up with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist this morning, and talked to him about immigration -- both legal and illegal -- whether the issue will split the Republican party, and what he thinks about Trent Lott's remarks on PorkBusters, and about pork generally.
It's shorter than our usual interview, as he only had about 10 minutes this morning (things are kind of busy in the Senate) but I think you'll find it worth listening to.
I haven't had as much time to blog as I would like, but I thought I would provide a round up on the immigration bill amnesty. It doesn't look good from what I can tell.
Mary Katharine provides a good round up of more links, so make sure to check her post out at HughHewitt.com. Hugh Hewitt had some to-the-point comments as well:
When Hill sources had told me there was a fence, I believed that a real fence was included, but of course this is the promise of a fence. It is just not serious.
Much could be negotiated away in exchange for ewal border security, but this isn't it.
And the bill won't pass.
And those associated with it have damaged their political prospects greatly.
Frustrating! It's one of those "Why do we even bother having a majority" moments! AS Hugh indicates, from Majority Leader Frist's own blog, here is the "clue" and the wrong message to would-be illegals.
Border Enforcement Specifics...
- Begin the process of securing every inch of our 1,951 mile border with Mexico by building walls and fences in high traffic areas and using sensors to let our Customs and Border Patrol Agents see and hear those who try and cross through low traffic areas
In other words, there is still time! Come one and come all! Ugh!
It just sends the wrong message and continues to be an incentive to continued illegal immigration.
Everyone is going back to issue number one--a real, physical barrier for our borders. This whole virtual fence things sounds like a child's imaginary friend--sounds nice, but its not real. I would think that most legal immigrants are in agreement that this is going to be a big issue both in 06 adn 08. People are watching, listening and reading. We won't forget, and I expect the blogosphere will make sure of that.
We are tired of being tossed around every few years like political scoring points, as both parties try to gain more votes. Its pandernig. What most legal immigrants want is a final and effective solution to this problem.
I interviewed a Customs agent yesterday who again confirmed the obvious: Fencing along high traffic areas of the southern border will greatly reduce illegal immigration into the country, thus bringing control to the enduring problem and greatly enhancing security against terrorists and narco-criminals.
The House bill passed provisions authorizing 700 miles of real fence for those high traffic areas.
This is how it seems to me the GOP should stand!! Most citizens of Latino or immigrant heritage can agree and support this! Awesome!
Before even getting into our points, let's start with the basic fact that something must be done. The cost of doing nothing is greater than even the cost of legitimate enforcement of current laws. Police in border states are overwhelmed as are local taxpayers. Many illegal immigrants insult the rule of law by being here, get angry when we call them "illegal" immigrants as opposed to "undocumented," and march in our streets demanding we do nothing to them. There is a social cost to illegal immigration and there is an economic cost.
I'm all for the abolishment of minimum wage, by the way. At one point in time, I worked for FREE in an arquitects office as a draftman. Why? To gain experience and knowledge! If I am willing to work for free, why should the government stop me! The minimum wage is costing our economy more than people realize, and it is very related to the problem of immigration.
I thought I would share parts of a letter from my younger brother who is going through boot camp with the Coast Guard. I thought it was interesting he felt compelled to assert the fact that he is treated with respect. It makes me wonder how much it is a response to perceived negative image the military has on the outside. Can you tell that he's loving it!
Mom & Dad,
Well to begin I'm eating like a horse! Besides that it's going ok, I guess.
My company almost got reverted yesterday! We are not coming together as a team...too many egos!! I hate it cause I'm giving it my best but when they mess up we all pay for it so it sucks. But I guess we are getting through and coming together little by little.
Tomorrow will be April 3, our 3rd week as a company. Hopefully we come through fast and go on to week 4.
Our LCD (Lead Company Com.) is super harsh and crazy but I love him a lot, good guy, good morals, high standards and won't settle for less than pefection. He wants us to be the best company. Yankee 173 is the only company that will have that name ever in history. Never again will there be a Yankee 173. So he is "Intensive Training" us a lot. He calls it a beating. It's funny, but I like it!
They treat us good with respect, no one ver gets cussed-out or cursed at, neither do they hit us. Very awesome people, probably the greatest people I'll ever meet!! He always tells us that if we believe in something whether it be God, country or ourselves, to give it everything we've got--to chase it like there was no other, no space for mistakes, or second thoughts. Perfection is what they ask of us. Second thoughts can kill people in the field.
Those are some of his words anyway.... I like boot camp! It's hard, but by now it should not be .... so much! But it's cool!
Well, say hi to everyone.
SR Sierra, J.S. United States Coast Guard We Stand Proud Knowing We Are The Best!
Kathleen Parker: Para espanol, Mexico is lovely this time of year
Great article! For those who want to get into the right of self-determination and the whole Reconquista thing, you have to read this. Here is why illegals don't really want this country to look and sound more like Mexico, even for those who don't know it. We must remain one nation, united by common values.
I'll take this opportunity to repeat my belief that any sort of path towards citizenship should REQUIRE learning basic English. It should also require testing on some basic American history. Read the full thing from Kathleen Parker over at TownHall.com.
Do illegal Mexican immigrants really want Texas or Arizona or California without the U.S. economy, or the U.S. social services, or the inspired government instruments that have made this country so attractive to so many?
That's the pinch, isn't it? The country's riches and benefits are not free for the picking - nor are they all necessarily indigenous to the physical territory - but are part of a national package that demands citizenship of its citizenry.
Mexicans are as welcome as any other group of people - and we all came from somewhere else, including the American Indians whose ancestors migrated from elsewhere - but reconquering, alas, requires a military action that could get messy. A simpler, more civilized course involves taking a number, waiting in line, and signing on to the principles of assimilation, without which we will not long be a united states of anything or a worthy destination for immigrants.
Para espanol, meanwhile, Mexico is lovely this time of year.
RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman Addresses The U.S. Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce
Washington, D.C. – RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman addressed the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce today in Washington, D.C. Chairman Mehlman’s remarks addressed the critical issue of comprehensive immigration reform. The following is a transcript of Chairman Mehlman’s remarks as prepared for delivery, and sent to me via email.
I haven't had time to read through the whole thing, but I thought I would put it up and hear from you all. Also, make sure to read Linda Chavez column tomorrow morning, once its up. She gives some facts I do agree many are ignoring, regardless of what position you want to take. I don't think it helps anyone when pundits resort to attacks and ignore the facts because it may not support their position.
Now, back to Mehlman...
What do you think? Any hits? Any misses? Read on...
Thank you, Mike, for that kind introduction, and for the hard work you’re doing here at the Hispanic Chamber, and for serving this country at the Small Business Administration.
And thanks to all of you for being here, and for letting me have this opportunity to speak with you.
In 1978, a then-obscure advertising consultant from Texas named Lionel Sosa went to California to meet Ronald Reagan – Reagan wanted Sosa to take charge of his Hispanic outreach campaign.
As Sosa tells it, Reagan welcomed him into his office and then shocked him by announcing that Sosa's job would be relatively easy.
Sosa asked how it would be easy to persuade Hispanics to vote for a Republican.
And in classic Reagan fashion, the Gipper responded that Hispanics were already Republicans ... they just didn't know it yet.
If the 2004 election was any indication, more than three million Hispanics have discovered that they agree with President Reagan.
Those 3.3 million Hispanics who voted for George W. Bush two years ago represented 44 percent of the Hispanic vote – and nearly 1.3 million more votes than he had won four years previously.
Some folks have said the President won those votes because he speaks Spanish.
Of course, no one who actually speaks Spanish says this.
The President earned such strong support in the Hispanic community because he speaks common sense and delivers real results.
It’s common sense that churches and other faith-based armies of compassion can help those in need.
It’s common sense that faith should have a place in the public square.
It’s common sense that judges interpret the law, not invent it from the bench.
The President’s education reform is delivering real results, with new records on reading and math test scores for Hispanic children, and the number of Hispanic students taking Advanced Placement courses more than doubling since 2000.
Our commitment to pro-economic growth tax relief and lawsuit reform is delivering real results, with almost 5 million new jobs in the last 30 months, with Hispanic unemployment close to an all-time low, with an environment of entrepreneurship and risk-taking that has led to Hispanic small business growth rates that are among the highest in the nation.
Our efforts to create more Hispanic homeowners are yielding amazing progress, with closest to the largest percentage of Hispanic homeowners ever.
And we’re not stopping there.
We have an agenda to make health care more affordable and available, to reduce energy costs, and to ensure that America remains the world’s leader in innovation and technology.
Those are the reasons Ronald Reagan has been proven right, and more and more Hispanics are discovering that yes, they are in fact Republicans.
But they’re not the only reasons.
President Reagan was about more than policies, and more than politics. He was about leading America, and carrying on the American dream. President Reagan practiced the politics of ‘and’.
Before President Reagan, some politicians counseled strength in response to the Soviets, while others called for peace.
Ronald Reagan was the leader who stood up and said we will have peace through strength.
When economists said we could control either inflation or unemployment, Ronald Reagan said we can do both … and he did it by cutting taxes and insisting on sound money.
When others said we can either be energy independent or dependent on foreign oil, Ronald Reagan said it was a false choice and deregulated the oil industry … and gas lines disappeared.
Today, I believe that we still can, still must, practice the politics of ‘and.’
And there is no issue that exemplifies the importance of this more than reforming our immigration system and securing our borders.
There has been a lot of rhetoric about immigration and border security over the last few months, but not enough communicating.
Too much talking, and not enough listening.
And it seems to me that the politics of ‘or’ has dominated the argument, culminating in an attitude that doesn’t solve anything … of my way ‘or’ the highway.
Today, I want to speak to both sides of the debate.
And I am here to say that they are both right … and they are both wrong.
And no good will happen until they come together to discuss the issue, not politicize it.
We will not have solutions until we come back to practicing the politics of ‘and.’
So let’s start at first principles: America is a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.
Ronald Reagan knew that we were a nation of immigrants.
In his farewell address to the nation, President Reagan called America a “shining city on the hill” with the doors “open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”
Across the world, over the generations, people looking to make better lives for themselves and their families have been attracted to our open doors.
And we are better off economically, culturally, militarily, in every way, stronger because of those brave people.
What’s so powerful about the American Dream is that it has nothing to do with where you come from, what you look like, or how or if you pray.
The American Dream is about your destination, not your origins.
Unfortunately, throughout our history, there have always been Americans who believed that coming to these shores was a right reserved only for them and their ancestors, and for no others.
In an opinion survey in May 1938, fully 68 percent of the public opposed letting refugees from Germany and Austria enter the United States.
In 1924, Morris Sheppard a Democrat Senator from Texas said that the increasing rate of immigrants in American cities “all tends to show that the United States has become a Tower Of Babel.”
In 1905, a Republican Senator from Massachusetts, Henry Cabot Lodge, called for “more restrictive legislation” partially because of “the effect upon the quality of our citizenship caused by the rapid introduction of this vast and practically unrestricted immigration.”
Ladies and gentleman, that was wrong then … and it is wrong now.
Those who predicted then that America’s culture would be changed by those immigrants were right.
America always has and always will be changed by the immigrants who come to our shores: changed for the better.
Immigrants renew and restore America’s soul.
America is safer because of the more than 12,000 soldiers who have been naturalized since the beginning of the War in Iraq.
We are wealthier and more productive because of an immigrant, Andrew Grove, whose computer chip technologies are moving our world at faster speeds.
Our culture is richer because of people like
Architect Cesar Pelli, from Argentina; Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, from the Dominican Republic; And baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew, from Panama.
We are a better nation because of public servants from both parties like Congressman Henry Cuellar, the oldest son of migrant workers, and Mel Martinez, an American Senator born in Cuba.
Because of people like Carlos Gutierrez, who was born in Cuba and rose to become Kellogg’s youngest ever CEO and our nation’s first Hispanic Secretary of Commerce.
People like the director of the Peace Corps, Gaddi H. Vasquez, the son of migrant farm workers from Mexico.
To my fellow conservatives: we believe in a strong defense because freedom is not free.
Who shows a stronger commitment to freedom than those who leave everything and everyone to be part of our American democracy?
We believe our nation is strengthened by strong families, active faith, and vibrant communities.
Who better to strengthen our communities and fortify our institutions than those willing and anxious to put tar on roofs in 100-degree weather to provide food for children they love?
We believe our free enterprise system must constantly be infused with new energy and vitality.
Who better to strengthen capitalism than those whose who will work the extra hours for the dream of one day starting a small business?
These men and women aren’t just enriching America … they are America, and they always have been.
But today, just like a century ago, some people wonder “can they really be American? They look different. They act different. They eat different foods, and speak a different language.”
Well, what do you think they said about the Germans and the Irish and the Jews not too long ago?
When Americans go out to an Italian restaurant for dinner, do they think “we’re eating foreign food?”
When we celebrate St. Patrick’s day – and I’ve seen some impressive St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in this country – do we think “this is a foreign holiday?”
On our nation’s great seal are the words E Pluribus Unum: out of many, one.
We have always absorbed people from many cultures, and it has always made our own unique American culture richer.
And we haven’t needed the federal government to do it for us.
As a conservative, I believe our vitality, our strength, lies in our free actions, not in government mandates.
Do people really think we need a federal “Office of Assimilation,” with all of the attendant bureaucracy that our government is so fond of?
Assimilation has always been a quiet tide that has risen from our neighborhoods … from our towns … from our cities … as people from different backgrounds meet each other, marry each other, work together, pray together, live together and build a great nation together.
The melting pot of America works not because of laws we pass or pronouncements we make in Washington, but because in a free society, people from different races fall in love and get married … people from different religions go into business together … people from different nations become neighbors.
Today, somewhere in this country, there’s a family new to America.
They might be a family of migrant workers, or day laborers.
They might be living in California … or Michigan … or Florida.
They woke up today and went to work.
They will come home at the end of the day to spend time with their children.
They will eventually buy a house … or start a business … or write a book.
They are building a new life.
And that’s what America is all about.
Their love of family reflects our values.
Their work ethic strengthens our economy.
Their energy renews our national spirit.
And for their sakes and our own, we must always be the shining city on the hill, with the doors open.
So that’s one side of the ‘and’ argument.
And here’s the other.
We are a nation of laws … and we are a nation at war.
We must also always protect ourselves from those who hate us for what we are.
On 9-11, the terrorists didn’t distinguished between fifth generation Americans and those like Milton Bustillo, a new husband and father who came here from Colombia … or Juan Ortega Campos, an immigrant from Mexico, who was saving to build a better life for his children … or Carlos DaCosta, a native of Portugal, who ‘was general manager of Building Services for the Port Authority’ and a father of two.
All were among the victims.
And in this new war, we must – must – control who enters our nation.
It’s not a trick, not scapegoating, not a dishonest means to a nefarious end.
Border security is a codeword for one thing: border security.
There are those, right now, today, who are examining our borders, looking for weaknesses.
They don’t want to come here to become American … they want to come here to destroy America.
And though they might number a mere handful among the millions of others, we learned on 9/11 what a mere handful can do.
We will not let that happen again.
That is not the only reason we must control our borders.
One of the reasons America is the first universal nation – a nation united by ideas, not race, creed or place of origin – is because we are all held to account by a common rule of law.
As the Supreme Court says so eloquently, “equal justice under law.”
This simple concept has brought down the rich and powerful and provided justice and mercy to the weak and vulnerable.
And respect for this basic concept is critical to an America where we are all treated the same.
If the law applies to some people – those who waited on long lines to enter this nation according to the law, for instance – but not to others, those who enter illegally, then we are betraying the very concept that has allowed this nation of many to become one America.
Controlling illegal immigration is also an issue of fairness to American taxpayers.
Is it fair if people are using public services like schools and roads, but are not paying taxes?
Is it fair when people live outside the system?
No, it is not … and everyone pays in the end.
Indeed, far too often, illegal immigration’s real victims are the immigrants themselves, exploited by those who know that their legal protections cannot be enforced.
So let’s accept the ‘and’ premise:
We are a nation of immigrants.
And we are a nation of laws.
And together, we must practice the politics of ‘and,’ forging a new way, a solution that recognizes these two essential concepts.Because if we give up on either one … If we close ourselves off to the very lifeblood that gives our nation strength and vitality … Or if we say ‘anything goes’, to heck with our laws and system of justice … Then we have given up on America.
And this President, this Administration, and this Party will not let that happen.
That is why this President, this Administration and this Party believe in a comprehensive solution to this problem, one that embraces our history and our compassion, one which keeps our doors open … but one which also recognizes the rule of law and keeps our nation secure.
First, we must control our borders. We need more people, more technology, and more money at the border. There can be zero tolerance for illegal immigration, and porous borders.
Second, we need more interior enforcement. Last year, the President signed the Real ID Act into law to make sure our driver’s licenses and government issued IDs can’t be faked. We need to hold employers accountable for hiring illegal workers, and real IDs will make this enforcement possible.
Third, we need to ensure fairness to the millions of legal immigrants who entered America the right way, according to the law. It would be unfair for illegal immigrants to get in the front, while those who followed the laws wait behind them in line.
And, finally, we must have a temporary worker program that meets our economic needs without encouraging illegal immigration.
If there are people willing to do jobs, and jobs that need to be done, we should be trying to bring those two together, not keep them apart.
We can do that by using the same methods and technologies we use to keep terrorists and drug runners from crossing our borders. If we can identify them, we can also identify carpenters and farmers and tech workers whose help we need.
And while we’re talking about temporary workers, let’s make something very clear.
A temporary worker program is not the same thing as amnesty.
Amnesty would mean letting illegal immigrants become citizens without penalty.
That’s what happened in 1986.
Leaders of my Party -- including the President -- who favor a guest worker program believe there should be a penalty.
Some have proposed forcing illegal immigrants to pay a fine or return to their nation or wait at the back of the line.
Just today, there was talk of differentiating between those who have been here five years or less.
There are many points of view.
But insufficient penalties are not the same as no penalty at all.
So what should the consequences be?
Should they be fines? Should they be deportation? Something less severe? Something more severe?
And what about those who do come forward and agree to face the consequences?
In the American legal system, we have a long tradition that those who admit guilt often have a reduced penalty.
These are all things we must consider and discuss, because there will not be amnesty: there must be consequences for illegal immigrants.
These are all issues for us to decide together, in a civil discussion as a nation.
You are part of this debate, and I thank you for playing a constructive role.
With enough people of good faith, we can cut through the rhetoric on both sides.
We can discuss and debate in a civil manner.
We can practice the politics of ‘and.’
It’s vital that we do all of these.
Because if we do, then I guarantee that we will find a solution that will do our nation and all of its people proud.
Glenn Reynolds pointed me to this post that I thought was right-on! James C. Bennett asserts what I have been saying all along--secure the border as top priority and as step-number-one, THEN start talking about other related issues. You cannot discuss any option or convince anyone to the possible solutions to the problem of illegal immigrants, until there is assurance that more illegals will be coming in. This can only happen if the border is secured--really secured. I smell beltway blaber-talk when they talk about a "virtual fence." Virtual as in it only exists on paper and on the good senator's press releases?? Common! The government will not be able to do this effectively.
Without an effectively secured border, none of the other measures are likely to work well, even if we decide that we can stand them. Particularly programs that require a large force of government agents to be effective day in and day out in the face of a substantial segment of the public that does not want them to succeed. Without a barrier, we cannot even consider any other form of regularization, and say "but this time we mean it". With a barrier, however, we have a much wider range of options. Of course a barrier won't be cheap, won't be quick, and will never be 100% effective. But it will be cheaper in the long term than a new, massive internal police force, and it doesn't need to be 100% effective -- it just needs to make things substantially more difficult than they are today.
Many people also point out that any amnesty program today would only be an invitation for many more new illegals to come in, in the expectation that this amnesty would not be the last. As things are today, this is true. With a barrier, it would be possible to start discussing seriously the terms and conditions of regularization, increased legal quotas, conditions of entry and residence, and other issues. Since I do not have any objection to immigrants per se, and since I also think that the total number of immigrants the US admits could be quite high, given an active assimilation culture, I would support a generous offer on all counts. But it doesn't make sense to start talking about it when one side of the discussion has no intent to wait before acting, and the other side has no means of preventing it.
If the current administration cannot grasp these simple facts, then it will suffer in 08 and before for it.
I am not one that wants to advocate for a third party candidate, and I certainly do not advocate abandoning the GOP, as we all know the Democrats' so-called-solutions are only going to make things worst. But they are sure frustrating the base, and the base is going to look for a way to assert their voice! For those that worry about what sort of message a wall might send, give me a break! Just hire some PR people, and get the right and positive message out--it is not an impossible task. Get the border secured!
The wife came down with the flu over the weekend, and I had a busy day. Sorry everyone--no blogging tonight. I feel a bit worn out by the immigration debate, and frankly, its getting tired! I just wish protestors would go home, and Congress would get their act together and stop chickening out.
Feel free to ad your comments on anything you wish.
I discovered this fun cartoon from NewsBusters.org. I've added their syndication script, so you'll be seeing a new strip up there--daily I believe.
It's my desire to ad valuable and entertaining content to the blog, and keep you all coming back again and again. Feel free to leave your comments here. If you see a comic strip/edition that you don't like, let me know.
I have found it quite entertaining, so I hope you all do to.
More from David Frum on the true root issues that need to be addressed to solve this immigration problem.
Follow the money: In 2005, Mexicans in the United States remitted some $20 billion home. That's 3% of Mexico's entire national income.
Remittances have surpassed tourism, oil, and the maquiladora assembly industry to emerge as the country's top single source of foreign exchange. For the 6% of Mexican households that receive remittances, these funds can mean the difference between extreme poverty and an income roughly in line with the Mexican average.
And as Mexico's economy has malperformed since 2000, remittances have become more essential than ever - not only economically, but politically.
This trend explains why Vicente Fox pressed President Bush so hard for amnesty and guestworker programs in Cancun this week. It explains too why George Bush has acceded: After all, Mexico's problems are inevitably America's problems too. The stability and prosperity of Mexico are vital American national interests.
So President Bush is right to sympathize with his Mexican counterpart. He is entirely wrong, though, to give in
The factors are very much the same for Central America and most of South America, though countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Colombia have some other factors--like violence, religious persecution, and the growth of socialism. Some key quotes I found right-on!
Mexico is not suffering famine: It is suffering from a comprehensive failure of political and economic leadership.
One good place to start would be the [Mexican] energy industry, which could contribute much more to Mexican wealth if Mexico abandoned its 75-year-old protectionist policies. Of course, Mexicans will say that such changes are politically impossible for them. Then they turn around and ask George Bush to lay waste to Republican political prospects to save them from a fate from which they will not save themselves.
Mexico's Economic Progress Can Ease Migration Woes
I found this great article on the Heritage Foundation web site. If we are willing to invest lives in promoting democracy in the Arab world, I think we can invest in creating economic prosperity in Latin America.
The disparity between job growth in America and in other countries has contributed to the recent influx of migrants into the United States, such that between 10 and 12 million illegal aliens now reside in the United States. According to a Pew Hispanic Center study and the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half are from Mexico.
Success in reducing this tide requires better border security, workplace enforcement, a practical guest-worker process to match prospective workers with legitimate employment, and encouragement for labor-exporting nations to reform their laws and economies to provide avenues of social mobility now absent in their societies.
Note the order--its important.
Better border security
workplace enforcement ONLY THEN...
Practical guest-worker process
Encouragement for labor-exporting nations to reform their laws and economies to provide avenues of social mobility now absent in their societies.
In my opinion, any guest worker process should only be valid and available to those in their home countries. No illegal immigrant should qualify or be allowed to participate from within the US, if they entered illegally. If there is enough incentives to do things legally, and enough consequences for living outside immigration laws, attrition will do the job of reducing our millions of illegal immigrants.
Also, I think #4 should be above #3. Latin America is going to face a serious labor shortage, if all their able workers are running across the border into the US! What do they have left? The aged, women, children, the lazy and the criminal elements.
A staff member of the Honduran consulate in D.C. was telling me a story of a small town in Honduras, where almost 100% of the able-bodied men are now living in a small town here in the mid-Atlantic. Literally. Practically the entire town got up and crossed illegally into the US. He admitted this is hurting Honduras, creating shortage of good hard workers.
If we are going to support Central and South America in providing avenues of social mobility, we need to send their labor pool back home to make it happen. Can you imagine what growing economies in Latin America would mean for US products and exports!
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GCLA is dedicated to social work, evangelism, and leadership development and mentorship in Latin America. They plant churches, train lay leaders and make a real difference in rural communities through medical and social work. More importantly, these are individuals I have known and trust wholeheartedly. I would encourage you to learn more about them by visiting their web site at www.ReachingLatinos.com.