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Immigration Q and A
In Dissent, Number One Hundred and Forty-Seven
by Brian S. Wise
13 January 2004Mexican Flag

President Bush has said his is an immigration program with a clear end.  He's lying.


QUESTION: Okay, first thing’s first: There are something like 10 million illegal immigrants in America right now; is there a feasible way to round them all up and send them back home?

ANSWER: No, it’s a logistical impossibility.  No matter what Michael Savage says.

QUESTION: So why is everyone so upset about granting three year work permits to illegal immigrants, as long as they’re legally and continually employed?  At some point, isn’t it the intellectual responsibility of the president to recognize the inevitable, that the immigrants aren’t going away and that they should at least be productive while here?

ANSWER: Democrats are upset because they prefer blanket amnesty for all illegals, no strings attached.  In other words, that someone is forcing them – though no one or nothing is forcing them, but that’s beside the point – to earn their keep as a condition of residency makes Democrats queasy.  They would rather be willing to say, “Bush wanted you to work, and we got you a free pass,” because it will help them win elections.  Republicans are upset because they realize exactly what this will become, an amnesty.  A statement that says: So long as you’re contributing to the tax base, it doesn’t matter what laws you’ve broken …

QUESTION: But the president said this is a program with an end.

ANSWER: And the president is lying.  He may not know he’s lying.  He may very well have intended for the program, at its inception, to have a citizenship clause, thus the end of the program as it relates to individual illegals, but that’s not how modern government works.  By the time his original outline is broken down and passed around from this committee to that one, things that thrill some people are added while the things that disgust others are removed … by the time it reaches Bush’s desk, it resembles his original plan in name only.  And even if they truly remain temporary work permits at inception, they will become permanently renewable within five, ten years.

QUESTION: How do you know that?

ANSWER: Because government programs, and concurrent policy, never shrink; they only expand and allow those using them to do more, and more people to use them.  Social Security and Medicare are fine examples.  Some “compassionate” soul, if not the president himself, will eventually say, “This isn’t inclusive enough,” and it’ll become a permanently renewable workers card.  You’ll see.

QUESTION: So the underlying flaw of the president’s plan is that … it’s too soft?

ANSWER: Well, that’s one way to say it.  A better way is to say that the plan balances on a unique fantasy, that every illegal alien is going to see it as an opportunity and jump right on board.  If an illegal doesn’t want to work, is in a situation where he doesn’t have to work, or is able to work under the table, nothing forces him to register with a government agency.  Things for him are fine the way they are, and he knows the odds are against his being forcibly removed … we’ve already proven that if an illegal is here and wants to stay, the odds are very good he’s staying.

QUESTION: There is the argument that, by and large, illegal aliens are doing work Americans won’t do.

ANSWER: In many cases that’s true.  What the president has said is that an employer should make every effort to hire an American for the job first, and if all else fails he can hire an illegal, provided the employer makes himself known to a government agency as someone doing so, and fills out a bunch of paperwork, and convinces his new employee to also register with a government agency, et cetera.  The worry then becomes whether various employers will make an honest effort to 1) seek out and employ Americans, some of whom may know what their labor is worth, 2) if they hire an illegal, whether they will bother to jump through all the hoops, et cetera.

QUESTION: Some companies, a lot of companies, will make that effort.

ANSWER: Absolutely.  And they should be applauded for making the effort, for respecting the law.  Maybe throw in a little tax incentive or something, for the smaller companies.  But this will only create a bureaucracy and level of enforcement that will bore people over time; 15 years from now we’ll be addressing a much larger problem.  And we’ll fail at solving that one, too, but with 10 or 15 million more illegals to consider.

Brian Wise is the lead columnist for IntellectualConservative.com.

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