Thursday, June 28

Immigration Bill Defeat II

The blogging community seems to be in a celebratory mood. My boss reports on the vote and has the count.

Immigration Bill is Dead

It's just as well. Like I said before, I wasn't sure about the Bill. I suspect for most Democrats, this is simply a vote for the status quo.

Let's hope they can take some effort to get some border security. Here is the story from the Hill.
The comprehensive immigration reform bill that has dodged attacks from the left and right for weeks, survived “poison pill” amendments, and was once pulled from the Senate schedule failed its most important test Thursday. Passage of the legislation now appears unlikely.

Tuesday, June 26

Immigration Bill and Border Security

I have consistently said for a long time that the border needs to be secured before any other "comprehensive" aspect of dealing with the issue of illegal immigration is addressed.

Now, I don't mind border security being dealt with in combination with other aspects of the immigration bill. I don't know enough about the current bill being debated to endorse or stand against it, so I won't. But having that said, if this is true, then I would have to stand against it.
But the business of securing our borders isn't just an issue of law and order for House Republicans - it's a matter of national security. Unfortunately, in looking for partners to work with across the aisle, Republicans have found a majority party convinced that less is more when it comes to border security - consistently voting to defer or delay the construction of hundreds of miles of security barriers along our southern border.
I'm ok if the barrier includes the use of drones, cameras, and other technology -- the point is the bleeding has to be stopped. Before we worry about the millions of illegal immigrants we have IN our country, we need to worry about the next few millions still wanting to get in. Illegal immigration is bad for the Hispanic community, it is bad for American's of Hispanic heritage, and it is bad for all Americans--for social and cultural reasons. Legal immigration, on the other hand, done in a secure and orderly fashion, can be great for the immigrant (new opportunities) and can be great for America (new opportunities).

Its pretty simple. Secure the border first, continue in the right direction of better enforcement of our current laws, and then we can talk about "comprehensive" immigration reform.

Reagan to Bush: Get tough on Mexico

Reagan has it right on this -- get tough on Mexico and put a stop to the corruption! I have been saying this for years now. Why is this concept so foreign?
Saner minds, more concerned with the almost-total collapse of border security than with the longstanding issue of the 12, 15 or 20 million illegals now here, caution that we had best solve the problem of our all-but-open southern borders before even thinking about dealing with those illegals now here. Stopping more of them adding to their numbers is the first priority.

Instead of signing onto Teddy Kennedy’s bill and attacking the majority of Americans who demand that our borders be secured, George Bush should be attacking the problem where its roots lie – in Mexico.

Mr. Bush needs to hold Mexico responsible for all of these people sneaking across the border, and I’d be one of them if I were a citizen of a country run by corrupt government officials who are more dictatorial drug lords than public servants.

The only way to clean up the border problem is to use every power in our means to force the Mexicans to clean their own house, get rid of corrupt officials, shut down the narcotics traffic, and create an economy based on the country’s vast and largely untapped resources to provide jobs and opportunities for Mexico’s struggling people whose only way out now is a furtive trip across the border.
Not that I agree with everything Reagan said.
Illegal immigrants have broken our healthcare system, they have broken our education system, they have broken our jail system, they have broken our criminal justice system, and Washington just doesn’t get it.
Please -- our system was already broken...the increased illegal immigrant population simply highlights how badly its broken.

I was saddened to read his second-to-last sentence:
And, slowly but surely, the U.S. begins to look more and more like Mexico every day.
Mr. Reagan has obviously not been to Mexico in a long time. There is no comparing the corruption, the crime, the slower-moving economy, and the drug wars. Not to be derogatory about Mexico, but I would think Reagan could remember his father's attitude and positive attitude about the resilience of America. Mexico is a victim of socialism, corruption and more. There is a reason why they desperately seek to come to America. In all gratitude to God, and with humbleness, America is no where near what Mexico is in regards to economy, crime, or government.

To say so reveals more about Mr. Reagan's beliefs about Mexico, than about the state of our culture in America.

Ono a side note, the fact is if you set aside the corruption, the crime and other social problems that are plaguing Mexico, the Mexican people are a hard-working, passionate, and noble people. In my opinion, there is a lot to be admired.

Monday, June 25

Immigration Link Round Up

For those of you trying to stay on top of this important issue, here is a collection of headlines and summaries for news stories on immigration (Via the Center for Immigration Studies). This is for information purposes only, not necessarily an endorsements of the positions advocated. My intent is to educate on the issue from multiple perspectives. Only then can we have a reasonable and educated discussion.
Employment Down Among Natives in Georgia
As Immigrant Workers Increased, Native Employment Declined in Georgia
By Steven Camarota
Center for Immigration Studies Announcement, June 21, 2007 (pdf)

EXCERPT: Some businesses in Georgia argue that they need large numbers of immigrants because there are not enough native-born Americans to fill jobs that require relatively little education. However, state employment data show that as the number of less-educated immigrant workers has grown dramatically, the share of less-educated natives holding a job in Georgia has declined significantly.

Limit relatives' rights: Decide what categories of people to admit, then let in all who qualify
By Mark Krikorian
USA Today, June 18, 2007

EXCERPT: Rather than accelerating family immigration under the pretext of limiting it, Congress should simply eliminate all the extended-family categories. (One exception: Those who expect to get their visas within one year.) Special immigration rights for relatives should be limited to the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens; they are -- and should always be -- admitted without any numerical caps. Other relatives should be allowed to move here only if they prove their value to the American people as a whole.

Misguided City ID Plan Undermines Security, Rewards Illegal Immigration
By Jessica M. Vaughan
The Hartford (CT) Courant, June 17, 2007

EXCERPT: Ostensibly issued by foreign governments to keep track of their citizens, these cards have been used by Mexican consuls in recent years to provide documents to undocumented (illegally present) Mexicans or anyone claiming to be Mexican. The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and the FBI all have declared these cards worthless as identification. Steven McCraw, then assistant director of the FBI's intelligence office, told Congress in 2003, 'There are major criminal threats posed by the cards, and a potential terrorist threat.'

Amnesty, R.I.P.: A bad deal dies
By Mark Krikorian
National Review Online, June 8, 2007

EXCERPT: It seems that the overreaching of amnesty advocates has politicized a lot of people, and not just conservatives, over the non-enforcement of the immigration law. And that's a good thing too -- if the White House concludes that amnesty is unattainable, there will be a strong temptation to end the enforcement show that's been staged over the past six months or so, with workplace raids designed to bolster the administration's credibility on the issue. A vigilant citizenry will be required to ensure that doesn't happen -- that enforcement is not only not discontinued, but that it's expanded, so we can end the Bush administration's 'silent amnesty' and get to work implementing a real strategy of attrition through enforcement.

Senate Amnesty Could Strain Welfare System
Newest Data Shows Latin American Immigrants Make Heavy Use of Welfare
Center for Immigration Studies Announcement, June 6, 2007

EXCERPT: Of course, immigrants, including illegal aliens, also pay taxes. However, because of the education level and resulting incomes levels of Mexican and Latin American immigrants, their tax payments are much less than natives on average. The same is true for illegal aliens. In a 2004 study, the Center for Immigration Studies estimated that illegal alien households used about $2,700 more services than they paid in taxes at the federal level only. We also found that households headed by a legal Mexican immigrant created a net fiscal drain at the federal level of roughly $15,000, and for those with only a high school degree the drain was a little over $3,700. However, those with more education were a fiscal benefit. A new Heritage Foundation study estimated the net fiscal drain at all levels of government created by households headed by high school dropout immigrants at about $20,000 a year. A 1997 National Research Council study found the same pattern -- less-educated immigrants create a net fiscal drain and educated immigrants create a net fiscal benefit.
Legal, Good / Illegal, Bad? Let's call the whole thing off
By Mark Krikorian
National Review Online, June 1, 2007

EXCERPT: Not only are the flows of legal and illegal immigration related, but the impacts they have on the United States are similar. The effect that illegal immigration has in reducing wages for low-skilled American workers, for instance, is only partly caused by the illegality. The majority of illegal immigrants actually work on the books, having provided a fake or stolen Social Security number, but they command low wages regardless because most of them lack even a high-school education and thus are unequipped for advancement in a modern society. In other words, the chief problem that immigration creates for less-educated or young or minority American workers is that it floods the job market with competitors, illegal and legal.

Without Merit: Why have skills-based immigration at all?
By Mark Krikorian
National Review Online, May 31, 2007

EXCERPT: But to answer whether we should have a merit-based system, you need to clarify for yourself the purposes of having any immigration at all. Others may answer differently, but as I see it, immigration policy is not an employee-procurement system for American business, but rather a citizen-recruitment program for the American people. And while higher-skilled immigrants will be more likely to master the initial indicators of Americanization -- speaking English, keeping a job, paying your bills and taxes, and in general exhibiting behavior in lines with middle-class norms -- they may be less likely to develop the deeper, emotional connections that mark true Americanization. Higher-skilled immigrants are more likely to arrive here with a fully formed modern national consciousness and have both the means and the inclination to pursue transnational lives -- both through the formality of dual citizenship, and also emotionally, by living in two countries simultaneously without developing a genuine attachment to either.

Temporary Means Temporary'? No it doesn’t. And it shouldn't
By Mark Krikorian
National Review Online, May 30, 2007

EXCERPT: The temptation to delegate certain categories of work to menials is as old as civilization. It was the basis of the Hindu caste system, the Spartan economy, antebellum southern society, and daily life today in the oil states of the Persian Gulf. It is based on the premise that other men are labor inputs destined for those jobs that Americans (or Brahmans or Spartans or white southerners or Saudis) won’t do. It is subversive of republican virtue, moving us back toward the kind of master-servant society America was founded to transcend.

No Alien Left Behind: There’s nothing as permanent as temporary immigration status
By Mark Krikorian
National Review Online, May 29, 2007

EXCERPT: Our experience with TPS leads to only one possible conclusion: Once an illegal alien gets legal status, no matter how 'temporary,' he's here for good. Sponsors of the Senate's amnesty bill know this full well.

Fort Dix Fix: Immigration policy in wartime
By Mark Krikorian
National Review Online, May 28, 2007

EXCERPT: The nation's 700,000 state and local law-enforcement officers encounter illegal aliens every day in the normal course of their duties, and police cooperation is essential to any successful federal effort at immigration control. The Senate bill, however, actually undermines security by ensuring, in Section 136(d), that 'Nothing in this section may be construed to provide additional authority to any State or local entity to enforce Federal immigration laws.'

This is especially pertinent regarding the Fort Dix plot. The three Duka brothers -- illegal aliens all -- were stopped by police on various New Jersey jurisdictions 75 times without any inquiry into their lack of immigration status.

Proper enforcement is the only solution
By Mark Krikorian
San Diego Union-Tribune, May 27, 2007

EXCERPT: The overriding purpose of the Senate bill is to amnesty illegal immigrants -- everything else is window-dressing. Rather than go down this road, Congress would do well to put off further legislating on the issue and instead demand that the president do his job. Only when there's a demonstrated political commitment to enforce the law should Congress revisit the immigration issue. Until then, bipartisan inaction is the best policy.

Be Our Guest: New immigration law? Enforce old ones first
By Mark Krikorian
New York Daily News, May 23, 2007

EXCERPT: This insistence that the administration do its job isn't just whining. All these measures are part of an alternative to legalizing illegal immigrants -- a strategy sometimes called 'attrition through enforcement.' The goal is to enforce the law, across the board, to reduce the number of new illegal arrivals and increase the number of current illegals who give up and deport themselves.

The illegal population would then start shrinking from year to year, instead of constantly growing, gradually transforming what is now a crisis into a manageable nuisance. And we can get started without Congress passing a single new law.

Sunday, June 24

Council of Economic Advisers: Immigration's Economic Impact

According to the Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Edward P. Lazear, "immigrants not only help fuel the Nation's economic growth, but also have an overall positive effect on the income of native-born workers." They have a full report in PDF available over at the White House web site. You can download the PDF right here.

Here is a summary:
In 2006, foreign-born workers accounted for 15% of the U.S. labor force, and over the last decade they have accounted for about half of the growth in the labor force. That immigration has fueled U.S. macroeconomic growth is both uncontroversial and unsurprising – more total workers yield more total output. That immigrant workers benefit from working in the United States is also uncontroversial and unsurprising – few would come here otherwise.1

Assessing how immigration affects the well-being of U.S. natives is more complicated. This is because immigration’s economic impact is complex and may play out over generations, and because not all natives are alike in terms of their economic characteristics. Even in retrospect it is not easy to distinguish the influence of immigration from that of other economic forces at work at the same time. Nor is it easy to project costs and benefits far into the future. Nonetheless, economists and demographers have made headway on many of the measurement problems. This white paper assesses immigration’s economic impact based on the professional literature and concludes that immigration has a positive effect on the American economy as a whole and on the income of native-born American workers.

Key Findings

1. On average, US natives benefit from immigration. Immigrants tend to complement (not substitute for) natives, raising natives’ productivity and income.
2. Careful studies of the long-run fiscal effects of immigration conclude that it is likely to have a modest, positive influence.
3. Skilled immigrants are likely to be especially beneficial to natives. In addition to contributions to innovation, they have a significant positive fiscal impact.
Interesting perspective during these times of debate.