A Few Facts on the Immigration Debate

My views on the immigration debate are fairly down the middle. I think both sides make some good points, but are also guilty of demagoguery. Therefore, I wish to point out a few facts on the issue without the spin:

1. Illegal aliens are just that – illegal. They are not “undocumented workers.” They are illegal aliens. Passing laws does not criminalize them – illegally entering our country does.

2. The national security argument for securing our southern border is valid, but why only secure the Mexican border? No known terrorist has ever entered the U.S. from Mexico – but have from Canada. The Canadian border may be even more wide open than the border with Mexico – yet no one seems to care. This leads me to wonder how concerned with national security closed-border proponents really are. Don’t misunderstand, the Mexican border needs to be secured, but so does the Canadian border.

3. Claims that illegals are taking jobs away from Americans are overblown. The unemployment rate has actually been in decline. If Mexicans were really taking jobs away from Americans, the unemployment rate would be on the rise. Finding Americans to work crappy jobs is hard – just notice the “help wanted” signs everywhere. There are individual cases of illegals taking jobs away from Americans, but these are considerably fewer than we are led to believe.

4. Americans will do any job – for the right price. True, but wage increases will invariably be passed on to the consumer. Do you really want to pay $20 for a combo at McDonald’s?

5. Passing harsher laws on illegal immigration is simply a play to the masses. Whether or not these laws are appropriate is irrelevant. The laws on the books now are not being enforced. What makes you think these new ones will be?

6. Immigrants are necessary for the economy. They will continue to come no matter what we do. The question we must answer is, Do we want a guest worker program with background checks and tabs kept on those who come, or the current system where they come here illegally?

7. Amnesty for those illegals here will create an incentive for more people to enter our country illegally and is an insult to those who obey our laws and come legally.

8. Immigrants from Mexico are not going to turn the U.S. into Mexico. Those who choose to pursue citizenship do so because they want to become Americans. They came here because they wanted to leave their country of origin. Does it make sense that they would want to reform it here?

9. A wall along the Mexican border would be a waste of money. Walls can be scaled and tunnels can be dug (in fact, many already are). Increased border control would make more sense.

I guess that you can see from this that I’m in favor of legal, but easy immigration. I think our immigration laws are archaic and need reform.

Here’s my suggestion: Let migrants come to the U.S. and work for five years. After five years, if the migrant has held a job during the time, stayed out of legal trouble, and has learned basic English, then he or she can be placed on track for citizenship. Of course, background checks will be performed on all applicants.

At the same time, we need to increase border patrol on both the Mexican and Canadian border, and reject calls for amnesty. Think a policy similar to this will be adopted? Nah – it makes too much sense.

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Elsewhere: Glenn Reynolds, Captain Ed, Glenn Dean, and Impossible Scissors

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