No easy answers on immigration conundrum
April 9, 2006
MARK STEYN SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
Here's my immigration "compromise": We need to regularize the situation of the 298 million non-undocumented residents of the United States. Right now, we get a lousy deal compared with the 15 million fine upstanding members of the Undocumented American community. I think the 298 million of us in the overdocumented segment of the population should get the chance to be undocumented. You know when President Bush talks about all those undocumented people "living in the shadows"? Doesn't that sound kinda nice? Living in the shadows, no government agencies harassing you for taxes and numbers and paperwork.
Go ahead, try it. In Michelle Malkin's book Invasion, she recounts the tale of two fellows who in August 2001 pulled into a 7-Eleven parking lot in Falls Church, Va., in search of fake ID from the illegal-alien assistance network that hangs around there. Luis Martinez-Flores, who'd been living here illegally since 1994, took them along to the local DMV, supplied them with a fake address and falsely certified they lived there. The very next day, the two guys returned with two pals of their own, and used their own brand-new state ID on which the ink was not yet dry to obtain in turn brand-new state ID for their buddies. A couple of weeks later, all four of them used their Virginia ID to board American Airlines Flight 77 at Dulles Airport and plowed it into the Pentagon.
Think about that. From undocumented illegal alien in the 7-Eleven parking lot to lawful resident of the State of Virginia in just a couple of hours. Wow. Say what you like about Luis Martinez-Flores, but he runs one efficient operation.
By comparison, say you've got two kids under 5, and you'd like to bring over a nice English nanny to look after them. Name of Mary Poppins. Good references, impeccable character. If you apply now, there's a sporting chance the process may be completed before your children's children are in college.
Given that the new immigration "compromise" bill retrospectively approves all the millions of people who've been through the super-efficient Luis Martinez-Flores immigration system but without doing anything to improve the sclerotic U.S. government immigration system, maybe it would be better just to subcontract the entire operation to Senor Martinez-Flores and his colleagues. It would certainly be cheaper. The extensive Undocumented American support network manages to run it out of the back of the car from a parking lot without a lot of air-conditioned offices full of lifetime employees on government pensions, and given that the net result is exactly the same people who'd be living here anyway, why not go with the lowball bid? Legal immigrants to the United States can only envy the swift efficient service Messrs. Hani Hanjour and Khalid Almihdhar received outside that 7-Eleven.
All developed countries have immigration issues, but few conduct the entire debate as disingenuously as America does: The president himself has contributed a whole barrelful of weaselly platitudes, beginning with his line that "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande." True. They don't stop at the 49th parallel either. Or the Atlantic shore. Or the Pacific. So where do family values stop? At the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you're an American and you marry a Canadian or Belgian or Fijian, the U.S. government can take years to process what's supposed to be a non-discretionary immigration application, in the course of which your spouse will be dependent on various transitional-status forms like "advance parole" that leave her vulnerable to the whims of the many eccentric interpreters of U.S. immigration law at the nation's airports and land borders.
Here's another place where family values stops: The rubble of the World Trade Center. Deena Gilbey is a British subject whose late husband worked on the 84th floor: On the morning of Sept. 11, instead of fleeing, he returned to the building to help evacuate his co-workers. A few days later, Mrs. Gilbey receives a letter from the INS noting that as she's now widowed her immigration status has changed and she's obliged to leave the country along with her two children (both U.S. citizens). Think about that: Having legally admitted to the country the terrorists who killed her husband, the U.S. government's first act on having facilitated his murder is to add insult to grievous injury by serving his widow with a deportation order. Why should illegal Mexicans be the unique beneficiaries of a sentimental blather about "family values" to which U.S. immigration is otherwise notoriously antipathetic?
How about "the jobs Americans won't do"? Most of them would be more accurately categorized as the jobs American employers won't hire Americans to do -- that's to say, in a business culture ever more onerously regulated, the immigration status of one's employees has become one of the easiest means of controlling costs. I see no reason why this would change, and given that, as a matter of policy, U.S. illegal-immigration law is not enforced by the U.S. government, it's hard to know why private employers should do it.
Meanwhile, U.S. immigration is cracking down on classical violinists. Don't ask me why. Presumably, Brahms' violin concerto falls into the ever dwindling category of jobs Americans will do. At any rate, the Halle Orchestra of Manchester, one of England's great orchestras, has just canceled its 2007 concerts at Lincoln Center. Why? Because all 80 musicians plus the 20 support staff are required -- under new "homeland security" regulations -- to be interviewed personally at the U.S. Embassy in London before each visa can be issued. They can't go en masse on the tour bus: They have to make individual appointments stretched out over several weeks. And they can't go to the local U.S. consulate in Manchester because -- and this detail is worth savoring five years after 9/11 -- the consulate's computers cannot handle the biometric data. The orchestra worked out that in train fares and accommodation it would cost about $80,000 to get the visas and decided it would rather cancel the tour. The good news is that Lincoln Center subscribers don't have to worry about the tuba player having plastic explosives packed down there. The bad news is, if a rogue tuba player ever breaks through the system, Homeland Security won't be able to e-mail his data back to the U.S. consulate in Manchester for a background check.
We're now expected to believe that this system will be able to stop hassling 68-year-old cello players long enough to process an extra 10 million-plus immigration applications, and that furthermore an agency that keeps no reliable records of legal entry into the United States will somehow be able to determine on the basis of utility bills whether this or that undocumented alien falls into amnesty-eligibility category.
Sure, believe that if you want to. It'll be good practice for swallowing the amnesty for the next 40 million circa 2025.
they're just crashing the jets into the pentagon that americans wont
The solution to the illegal problem is easy.
1.) Fine the crap out of people/Corps that hire them.
2) No admittance to schools.
3) End the anchor baby loop hole.
4) Deny all .gov aid to non-citizens.
5) Deport all that are found.
Not a single one of those is hard. There is just no desire to do it.
I emailed President Bush about this topic not even two hours ago;
Let me start by saying, just as in previous emails I've sent you, that I support you and every day I pray for God to guide you in leading and protecting our country.
I'm writing now to share my opinion on how to handle the illegal immigration issue. I'll do it as individual points for brevitiy.
1. I think all illegal immigrants should be immediately kicked out the country.
A. Having a child here as the result of an illegal act should not qualify anyone for citizenship. To me this is no different than if an illegal robbed a bank and someone let them keep the money and remain free simply because they're here illegally. No rewards for illegal acts.
2. I like your foreign worker pass idea, but everyone should have to start with an application from outside the country. No grandfathering in the illegals who are here.
3. The border with Canada needs to be more secure than it is now, and the border with Mexico needs to be completely secure.
A. The Canadian border needs to be watched better so that terrorists have a harder time getting in.
B. The Mexican border needs to be very secure. I've resisted the idea for a long time, because it seems too much like the Berlin Wall/Iron Curtain, but I think it's now time to do it. I think a lot of it could be done at no taxpayer expense too, because so much of the country wants this done that they'd volunteer supplies, labor, material and heavy equipment if they were given the plans and the permission.
4. Stop all benefits/entitlements/voting rights/driving privileges etc. for illegals. Again, no rewards for committing an illegal act against our country. If you're here illegally, all you get is a trip back to your country. (Preferably far from the border).
5. No more making so many concessions for foreign languages. We speak english here, and immigrants should be required to speak and write english well enough to communicate with everyone else.
6. Maybe part of National Guard/Reserve duty could be border patrol. WHere possible, perhaps property owners would allow Guard exersizes on their property simply so they wouldn't have to fear for their lives when out working on their land.
Thanks you for the opportunity to voice my opinions.
I don't expect anything to come of it, but sometimes I just gotta say it.
Could I renounce my citizenship but continue living here so I don't have to pay taxes anymore? Who's going to stop me... and where would I be deported to if they "caught" me?
Step one, build a 40 foot high (40 foot deep) wall from the Gulf to the Pacific. Concentrate whatever number of BP guards there are to the entry points - which may be 16 lanes across, but at least they'll be under observation, and give us a chance to see who's who.
Step two, tighten up the voter roles...absolute proof of citizenship required - photo ID, etc. before anyone gets to vote, period.
Step three, Constitutional amendment - anyone who gets welfare, i.e. subsidies from the government and anyone who works for the federal government can't vote. It's just too damn simple for people to continually vote themselves a raise off the backs of those who do all the real work and create all the real wealth. Only federal exception: armed forces personnel.
The wall cuts off the influx
The voter rules and amendment cuts off the 'gaming the system' incentives.
No FBI employees? NSA? CIA? Secret Service? Postal Employees (they're edgey enough as it is...).
Better just to narrow it down from a different angle.