Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Immigration Conflation

A big challenge that we face in the debate over immigration policy is the fact that different parties mean different things with the same words. Often, we are conflating several issues together.

If a person opposes illegal immigration, they do not automatically oppose legal immigration. Nor do they automatically dislike the race of the majority of illegal immigrants. I just read Phil Windley make this mistake. He writes:

Frankly, I’ve never understood why some conservatives consider being tough on immigration a conservative issue. I consider myself politically conservative and think that the future of our economy and well-being rests of liberal (small “l”) immigration policy.

You see what I mean? Windley doesn't draw any distinction between "immigration" and "illegal immigration." The tough talk I'm hearing about immigration has to do with the violation of law and process. I'm just not hearing much in the way of anti-immigration talk in general. (I know it is out there. I just don't think it is a major voice.)

I think it is a shame that it is so difficult to get into this country legally. There are people spending lots of money and time to go through the legal process. I think that legal process should be cheap and simple. If we need to limit the absolute numbers we admit in a given year for stability and assimilation purposes, that is reasonable, but let's keep the process simple.

If a person chooses to skip the immigration process and instead just shows up, as apparently 11 or 12 million have done, what are we going to do with them? The number is huge and I don't know the answer. Mass deportation just doesn't seem feasible. But I don't condone the untruthful methods those people have used to arrive here and maintain a presense here.

I am very much in favor of immigration. But I believe that it should be done "in wisdom and in order." The exploitation that happens to those that are here illegally should be one of the biggest motivators to stop that scenario somehow!

1 comment:

Scott Hinrichs said...

I have a special interest in the immigration issue, being the son of an immigrant (a legal immigrant). I'm not a big fan of Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger's politics, but he has a very interesting viewpoint in this WSJ op-ed piece. He says:

"Yes, immigration reform is a difficult issue. But it must be guided by a simple goal: compassion for the immigrant, control of the borders. Congress should not rest until it achieves both."

I think that about sums up how I feel about it.