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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mr. Kinsley, I Am Not Kidding Myself About Immigration



In a TIME.COM piece, Kidding Ourselves About Immigration, Michael Kinsley addresses something that belittles genuine concerns about the unregulated flow of people into the U.S. His main thrust is that those who point out that the law should be supreme are actually hiding their true concerns: immigrants themselves.
What you are supposed to say about immigration--what most of the presidential candidates say, what the radio talk jocks say--is that you are not against immigration. Not at all. You salute the hard work and noble aspirations of those who are lining up at American consulates around the world. But that is legal immigration. What you oppose is illegal immigration.

This formula is not very helpful. We all oppose breaking the law, or we ought to. Saying that you oppose illegal immigration is like saying you oppose illegal drug use or illegal speeding. Of course you do, or should. The question is whether you think the law draws the line in the right place. Should using marijuana be illegal? Should the speed limit be raised--or lowered? The fact that you believe in obeying the law reveals nothing about what you think the law ought to be, or why.

Another question: Why are you so upset about this particular form of lawbreaking? After all, there are lots of laws, not all of them enforced with vigor. The suspicion naturally arises that the illegality is not what bothers you. What bothers you is the immigration. There is an easy way to test this. Reducing illegal immigration is hard, but increasing legal immigration would be easy. If your view is that legal immigration is good and illegal immigration is bad, how about increasing legal immigration? How about doubling it? Any takers? So in the end, this is not really a debate about illegal immigration. This is a debate about immigration.

First off, I'm a taker on that last question. Yes, indeed INCREASE legal immigration. Streamline it. The three main criterion upon which someone should be allowed to permanently reside (and eventually gain citizenship) are 1, criminal behavior, 2, known contagious diseases, and 3, the ability to support oneself in the U.S. without resorting to social welfare programs.

Having people live in the shadows is not conducive to a strong and vibrant nation, nor a strong and productive population. As long as people DO live in the dark they are not really part of the society. To be fair, one of my main concerns about the influx of Hispanic only immigrants is their propensity to not only stay within their own ethnic group (normal for all new immigrants) but their lack of interest in assimilation. It could be fairly said that the shadows DO inhibit assimilation.

But...the law is very important as it is supposed to establish the premise that we are all matter our circumstances....equal before the law. One might recall in years past the quiet outrage when a diplomat in New York or Washington got drunk and killed someone but faced no penalty because of their diplomatic plates.

Such is the case now, for the shadowy world of illegal aliens places them in a similar status. If I may be so bold as to claim that a habitual drunk driver is a criminal, then we have a lot of them on our roads. However, like a diplomat there really isn't any penalty short of a manslaughter conviction. And even then, after serving their time and being deported, they are quite free to come back with a new name, etc., and resume their criminal lifestyle.

And such a situation is NOT like smoking marijuana, because the number of traffic murders can be traced almost entirely to alcohol. It is estimated that as many Americans (and legal residents...AND illegal residents) are killed each year by illegal alien criminals as there were killed on 9/11. Note I did not say illegal aliens, painting all with a broad brush, but illegal alien CRIMINALS.

Expanded legal immigration would go a long way in alleviating this problem. But then the question can get a bit sticky.

Who do we let in?

Let's assume that the U.S. has absorbed 20 to 25 million illegal aliens at the moment. Most are from south of the U.S. border. And let's say we issue another blanket amnesty.

Fine. But then wall off that border and control who comes in. Increase the number of legal immigrants from Asia, Africa, Europe, and so on. Make America a melting pot again.
Certainly, it's true that we can't let in everyone who wants to come. There is some number of immigrants that is too many. I don't believe we're past that point, but maybe we are. In any event, a democracy has the right to decide that it has reached such a point. There is no obligation to be fair to foreigners.

Michael Kinsley is thoughtful if nothing else. And his last quote is accurate enough...there is no obligation to be fair to foreigners (vis a vis immigration law). But, once here we DO have to be fair, and fair to ourselves as well.

And once here, immigrants must be fair to us, too. Adopting another country and its culture is a time-consuming and onerous chore. But most 1st generation immigrants grasp what America can be with fervor, as well as giving us a cultural shot in the arm.

So bring in more....legally. Just be fair and not reserve the word immigration to one particular ethnic group.

These days that is too much for ask for, however.
Cross-posted at

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Anonymous magyart said...

Tired of illegal immigration ?

Only those Senators & Congressmen willing to co-sponsot the SAVE Act should be given our vote.

The Save Act forces all employers to verify social security numbers. It's an "interior enforcement" bill that this country needs.

Get more details at NumbersUSA and send a free fax to your elected reps. asking them to co-sponsor this revolutionaty new bill.

Contact Congress today. Thanks.

6:15 PM  

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