September 19, 2014

Stossel on Immigration

Here's a clip from Stossel's immigration show last night. I mentioned in a coment a better section on Sen. Sessions and Mark Zuckerburg. The show will be replayed on FOX News Sunday at 10 Eastern / 8 Mountain.

Around 4:10 there is a good Hayekian argument about central-planning, government and democracy.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2014

My Work Here is not Done

Senator Sessions, we are told in an article linked from these very pages, "began waging his lonely battle on behalf of American workers..." and "Sessions's campaign on behalf of American workers..."

I'm thinking the American Workers are better off with the vibrancy of immigration and the products and economic activity they bring. But don't take my word for it, take John Stossel's


People say that immigrants steal "our" jobs. And yes, they do take some. But they create new jobs, too, lots. When people move to another country and encounter a different culture, they see things in new ways. Some pick the best from each culture and create useful things.

Imagine your life without Google searches, cheap Ikea furniture, YouTube, bicycles, blenders, ATM's. All came from immigrants. New Americans also gave us blow dryers, basketball, football, the first shopping mall, comfortable jeans, even the American hot dog (that came from Germany's frankfurter).


How many jobs did Google "steal?" Librarians?


Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I can live without Ikea.

Let's not talk about Google though.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2014 2:16 PM
But jk thinks:

I am strangely immune to IKEA's charms as well, but I like its contributions to jobs and GDP.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2014 2:20 PM

July 14, 2014

If you've lost Chicago's south side...

This might be a problem for the President.

[Embedded video deleted due to autoplay. Click through to article for video.]

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (0)

July 7, 2014

Quote of the Day

Still, Simpson-Mazzoli welcomed more people as citizens during a time of divided government. The president, Ronald Reagan, and the Senate were Republican, the House Democratic--the inverse of today's Washington. But this was "Morning in America," and Reagan's favorite words were "growth" and "opportunity." Mr. Obama is presiding over a fifth year of 2% growth, with his favorite words being "inequality," "us" and "them." -- L. Gordon Crovitz, WSJ Ed Page
Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 2, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

Obama doesn't want a real immigration deal. The Cynic-in-Chief wants a real fight over a false immigration deal.

With his poll numbers sinking, new foreign crises erupting almost daily, ongoing hearings on his scandals and his diplomatic ineptitude, an immigration fight is Obama's only wedge of hope to unite his party for Nov. 4.

Like the enthusiastic audiences at Obama's telepromptered rallies, these poor frightened Latino youngsters are just props. And an immigration fight, properly fueled (Obama will swear in new citizens for a July 4 photo op), will distract from his other countless screw-ups.

Andrew Malcolm on IBD Ed page.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Oh, he's uniting people, all right...

“'Mr. Obama finds himself in the uncomfortable position where every age group, independents, and whites all agree that the public has given up on his ability to accomplish anything before the end of his term,' said Zogby in releasing his latest numbers."

http://washex.am/1kf14rg

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 2, 2014 3:50 PM

June 12, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

And if the 11 million illegals who live here obey the law, pay taxes, learn English, and understand the Constitution, they deserve legal status. Citizenship is an issue way down the road. And yes, we must include border security, where unfortunately Obama's lax policies have contributed to the calamitous surge in illegal-immigrant children. But temporary visas or work permits should be part of a sensible reform package. The E-Verify system can work.

So, Mr. Brat, as a free-market economist, surely you know there's no reason why all this cannot be done.

Hopefully you will come to believe that sensible immigration reform is pro-growth and pro-GOP.

Larry Kudlow, 'David Brat, Right on Free-Market Economics'

(Quoting Kudlow on CIR, so's jk don't have toooooooo.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:20 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

Millions pay withholding on fake SSNs for which they can never get refunds or claim any benefits. This is something of a windfall to the treasury which is never computed in opponents' balance sheets. They also pay sales taxes, property taxes through rent, and any local fees. Not to say that zero are not using services for which they do not pay, but the balance is at the very least a lot more nuanced.

The line sounds great, Andy -- the orderly queue is the centerpiece of civilization and order. But in the case of immigration, it is an absolute fantasy. There is no line -- there are some with connections who hope to emigrate and there are a few with family already here that can hope for some unification.

But those who just want to live here, whether a newly minted PhD in Engineering from Stanford or a good worker who would like a shot at the better life -- which my immigrant have friends have received -- have no hope. One can fill out a form, but there is no line, there is no wait list where a name will come up someday. There's an H1-B system that fills its annual quota in a couple days.

These people could be starting exciting new business, providing the labor for others to start or grow one -- or just be legal taxpayers and customers. It strikes me as a pretty good deal.

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2014 5:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

1.2 million pay witholding on ITIN's, which probably do allow refunds and benefits.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_Taxpayer_Identification_Number

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2014 10:57 PM
But AndyN thinks:

JK - I'm aware that a lot of criminals, both foreign and domestic, use fake SSNs. I also don't deny that taxes automatically withheld from them may be a net financial gain for the government. However, if part of Kudlow's criteria are that foreigners who entered the country illegally deserve legal status because they pay taxes and obey all our other laws besides the ones they broke entering the country, acknowledging that a lot of them pay taxes by falsifying government documents isn't much of an argument against my original point. People who aren't legally allowed to be in the country can't both obey the law and pay taxes unless they're entirely dependent on someone else for their upkeep.

As for there being no line for immigrants wanting to come here legally - that H1B quota is a line. Is the permitted length of that line too short? Perhaps. I'm more than willing to entertain the possibility that we should be encouraging more legal immigration. That doesn't change my opinion that the criminals who are here now shouldn't be given priority treatment over people who've been waiting to come here legally all along. Those people also could be starting new businesses, providing labor for others to do so, or just be legal taxpayers and customers. And I'm inclined to believe they'll be less likely to violate our other laws than people who have a history of doing so.

Posted by: AndyN at June 14, 2014 8:53 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Any body else had their tax return held up?
this:
https://sa.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp

isn't helping....

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 15, 2014 1:38 AM
But Terri thinks:

Andy is right.
Increase the amount of visa's available.

That is not only the short term, but the long term solution to this problem.
I don't get why it isn't the 1st thing on the agenda. Perhaps equal to confirming we're going to work on being serious about a border or stop any talk of amnesty which just invites illegal activity.

Posted by: Terri at June 15, 2014 10:01 AM
But jk thinks:

Clearly, my work here is not done. <wink />

I know I go on about immigration, but after Facebook threads it is enriching to discuss with people guided by reason and appreciative of liberty.

The H1-B has elements of a line but no continuity. If there are 300 this year and I am number 301, that gives me no leg up next year; the line forms anew. That is a multi-winner lottery and not a line.

But I accept, to Terri's point and Andy's, that it could be expanded to create a line. I am all for that. But it will not happen.

There are those who oppose any increase in immigration for a variety of reasons. Some see zero-sum economics and believe every immigrant taking a job leaves one fewer job for US citizens (cf., South Park). Unions see a shift away from Union labor. Some have baser motives.

Even with a plurality remaining, neither would legislators on either side "give this away." This most popular chip is held hostage by the right to enact more security and on the left to get a path to citizenship. You can't give the abolitionists Missouri and then discuss Kansas.

If the H1B is fixed, we still have all the same messes. More Doctors around to treat everybody, which is nice, but there is a demand for low wage labor and a supply of it separated by a very narrow river. On that front, I most definitely hold my position that this "line" we keep hearing of is a fiction. There is zero legal path for a Mexican or Central American who would like to come here, work hard, pay his taxes, and establish a better life.

I am a law and order guy. It gets me kicked out of a lot of Libertarian events -- even the ones with a cash bar. If there were a legal path, I'd happily get tough on those who chose not to use it. As there is none, I'm sympathetic to those who make my life better and theirs, at great cost and jeopardy to themselves.

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2014 11:17 AM

June 11, 2014

Cantormageddon

First: Wow. Didn't see that coming.

Second: I have read some pretty good (and some bad) commentary. Peter Suderman at Reason provides a balanced look at four reasons VA-7 may have given its favored son the heave-ho.

But it is hard to contradict Jim Geraghty's terse summary:

Take a victory lap, Mickey Kaus, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham.

Kaus, at least, is tuirnung donuts it the parking lot. Insty has linked to him about 147 times since the exit polls trickled out last night.

Perhaps I am too pragmatic to be a 'bagger. I read that Professor Brat is a sharp, eloquent, and principled defender of small government. So. Yay.

But the advertisements linked Rep. Cantor to President Obama and "Amnesty." If there is one word I'd love to never hear again, it is of course "Obama." (See what I did there?) But if I get two, the second is certainly "Amnesty." Amnesty is the "bloody shirt" of the immigration debate. I can take immigration opponents seriously until they use that word. Then, they've lost me.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (TeeVeeStar - SC) cruises to victory in the Palmetto State. I would love to see a principled lover of liberty prevail there. Against Cantor? Not so much.

A sports metaphor, scarecrow? We've just traded a really good Left Tackle because he couldn't throw 60 yard spirals. But try and throw one with JJ Watt standing on your head.

Tea Partiers are happy, I guess I am not one after all.

UPDATE:

UPDATE II: Corrected District number: was VA-11 should be VA-7

Posted by John Kranz at 1:20 PM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

"We are the Knights who say 'Amnestee!'"

The Prosperitarian in me says it will fuel growth. The Administration is sworn to smother any economic life with taxes and regulations -- here's a "compromise-worthy" task that might both be positive for the economy and happen while that-other-word-guy is living in the White House.

The Pragmatist in me says it would be electorally advantageous not to be they guys telling 30-something percent of the voting public that we're going to build an 27' barbed-wire electric fence to keep you guys out.

Fears of Obama's (I said it) discretionary enforcement are well founded. I am such a Ricardian Sop, I don't care, If we trade more H1-Bs for more enforcement and don't get the enforcement, I have not been baited=-and-switched. I would meet my opponents halfway on that and try to structure some mechanisms to address their concerns -- but only if they stop calling it "Amnesty."

Waiting three years for the workers we need to grow is like waiting three years for Keystone XL. Well, yeah, if we have to -- but why?

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2014 6:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Workers we "need" to grow? Have you looked at the labor participation rate lately? The recovery has made the decision, to stay away, not the workers. It would have taken a bilge pump far bigger than this to stop the sinking of the Titanic. That's your "why."

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Readers might be interested in CU Boulder visiting conservative scholar Steven Hayward's view on immigration reform, found in his Powerline Blog post today - After Cantor:

I think there’s some room for reasonable changes in our immigration practices—I rather like the idea of an auction system, favoring people who would bring valuable assets or skills to the country—but the time is not now. The Democrats are operating from bad faith, looking only to sign up more Democratic voters, and Republicans have been operating from massive confusion married to bad motives.
Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 10:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I like the line which preceded your excerpt: "(Or as I put it on Twitter: 'What's the difference between Elvis and immigration reform in Congress? Immigration reform is definitely dead.')"

Not sure I agree that capricious enforcement of a reform bill will be any worse that capricious enforcement of current law.

And, yes, we need immigrants. North Dakota Walmart*s are starting people at $17.10, unemployment is ~2% -- that is what growth an prosperity provide. More workers/entrepreneurs/customers fuels growth.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2014 1:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I like the line which preceded your excerpt: "(Or as I put it on Twitter: 'What's the difference between Elvis and immigration reform in Congress? Immigration reform is definitely dead.')"

Not sure I agree that capricious enforcement of a reform bill will be any worse that capricious enforcement of current law.

And, yes, we need immigrants. North Dakota Walmart*s are starting people at $17.10, unemployment is ~2% -- that is what growth an prosperity provide. More workers/entrepreneurs/customers fuels growth.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2014 1:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't mind you having the last word but just as there are jobs that "Americans won't do" there are also jobs that "Mexicans won't do" - any job north of Cheyenne. North Dakota will have to look somewhere else to stem their labor shortage. Hey, maybe start a rumor about a gold rush or some such.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2014 3:04 PM

May 22, 2014

Hello Old Friend!

I still miss Larry Kudlow on TV. But it is great to get a quick fix in National Review. A familiar, prosperitarian call for immigration reform:

Republican economist and former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin argues that more rapid overall population growth will generate more rapid GDP growth and increased productivity. He notes that labor-force participation rates are higher among the foreign-born, and suggests that real GDP growth could rise from 3 percent to 3.9 percent on average annually over the first ten post-reform years, reducing the budget deficit by nearly $3 trillion.

What's more, immigration restrictionists are wrong to cite a CBO estimate that increased immigration will cost jobs. Yes, there could be a minor 0.1 percent transitory uptick in the unemployment rate. Meaningless. Over the longer term, the CBO agrees with Holtz-Eakin's conclusions.


The media have so been enjoying a Tea-Party vs. Establishment contretemps in the GOP. The real opportunity o destroy a wave is likely if the Tancredo wing gets supremacy (like, maybe, if Rep. Tancredo were the Colorado Gubernatorial GOP Nominee).

Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I am the Lorax. I speak for the TEAs. Immigration is not a TEA Party issue. The TEA Party was born to oppose taking stuff from people and giving it to their neighbors, specifically via taxation and regulation. Rolling that back is and will always be, our mission.

I'm not sayin' none of us have opinions on immigration or border security, but just because the CFR wing of the GOP wants amnesty and is threatened by the TEA Party wing doesn't mean we're all Tom Tancredo an' -err- stuff.

Posted by: johngalt at May 22, 2014 3:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Was my summation careless? I was not trying to tie TEA partiers to immigration. One of the things I enjoyed in Kudlow's piece was his quoting "Sal Russo, cofounder of the Tea Party Express" and pitching that tough no-Amnesty opponents could be brought along. (Kudlow is the King of the Optimists.)

I am with you because I am a 'bagger myself and hold heterodox views on immigration. I enjoyed Elizabeth Price Foley's book on the TEA Party but feel she erred in including immigration.

Posted by: jk at May 22, 2014 4:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't take it personally. I just wasn't careful enough in the aiming of my vitriol, which was intended for the broader media and their "TEA Party = racist, homophobic, xenophobic, woman-hating knuckle draggers who seem to keep talking about the IRS and 1776 for some reason" meme.

Posted by: johngalt at May 23, 2014 11:16 AM

December 27, 2013

You Laughed at South Park!

Mexicans may have to build a fence to keep us out!

On the serious side, we get a little despondent around here, but I'll enter the new year content that our neighbors to the North pulled back from überprogressivist Trudeauism without millenarian bloodshed. (well, a couple clerks in Ottawa got paper cuts but they were treated without cost).

Now comes remarkable word (holler if you want me to mail out of Rupert's paywall) that freedom and prosperity are breaking out down south. Bold reforms of privatizing energy and telecommunications, plus locking up the head of the Teachers' Union [ed: Viva!] have pushed the Mexican economy beyond the BRIC darling to her Southeast:

Not only is Mexico's per capita GDP back above Brazil's, according to International Monetary Fund data, but over the past five years investors in the Mexican stock market have enjoyed nearly three times the returns of those who put their money into much-hyped Brazilian equities. Jobs are being created so fast in Mexico--more than two million since early 2010--that the problem of illegal immigration to the United States may soon be history.

And all it takes is bold leadership -- oh wait, we're screwed!
The democratic world today is so lacking in Mr. Peña Nieto's kind of strategic leadership that the visitor is rather taken aback to encounter it.

Good policy, freedom, leadership, growth. It worked in Canada and Mexico; what are the odds we could try it here?

Over/under at least?

UPDATE: Sorry, I've got excerpting fever! More cowbell!

Modern technology will take time to install. But thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement--the fierce critics of which have gone silent--cheap U.S. natural gas will soon be flowing down north-to-south pipelines. This will make Mexican industry, which is already beating China on labor costs, even more competitive. That will in turn support a growing Mexican middle class.

The government has not lost sight of income inequality and low productivity. But Mr. Peña Nieto's key insight is that attacking the mere symptoms of economic underdevelopment is not the answer. It is rare indeed to witness a president talking about "raising family incomes for all Mexican families through elevating and democratizing productivity," as Mr. Peña Nieto said during his state of the union in September. If social ills like drug violence stem from a lack of opportunities, then successful economic reforms should reduce them. Almost all measures of violence have fallen during Mr. Peña Nieto's first year of government.


Posted by John Kranz at 2:24 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"... attacking the mere symptoms of economic underdevelopment is not the answer." Oh, like extending unemployment benefits to ninety-nine weeks?

Any word on tax cuts? Is President Pena Nieto more concerned with the "fairness" of tax policy than its efficacy, as is his counterpart to the north?

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2013 9:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Alas, the news on that front seems no so bueño. Tax reforms have not been what Señor Laffer has proffered.

But I'm not sure marginal tax rates is the problem. Looking at the Economic Freedom Index (Mexico ranks 50) confirms my hunch that taxes, property rights, and limited government look good. Corruption and regulation (but I repeat myself...) hold them back. I think some wealthy Americans would dream of their top rates.

The wake of Spanish colonialism contains catholic-populist-socialism while the remnants of British Overlordship is rule of law. Too bad you cannot choose whom to be conquered by.

But even with the mixed tax reforms, the point holds that the new not-so-communist PRI is pulling a nation out of a deeper hole than we're in. It can be done.

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2013 11:54 AM

June 24, 2013

UNCLE!

Damn Republicans! They have finally screwed up the immigration bill so badly that even I must withdraw my support.

I was prepared for a total hash and have been riding along. A bad bill is better than no bill. It will have some good parts and some bad parts, but the GOP as a party can move on, and any extra immigration allowed will contribute to economic growth.

But I cannot get on board with what the WSJ calls "Checkpoint Carlos." This is not the border of a free nation:

Though peace between the U.S. and Mexico has been unbroken since the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, Senate Republicans are making contingency plans in case of another Pancho Villa. In an amendment to the immigration bill that comes to the floor Monday, they now promise a "border surge" akin to the military campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Which is to say, the 1,190-page agreement brokered by Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota does not merely appropriate martial tropes and metaphors that used to be reserved for war. Messrs. Corker and Hoeven say the plan will "maximally secure" the border, while New York Democrat Chuck Schumer calls it "a breathtaking show of force." He means that as a compliment.
[...]
The only other virtue of Corker-Hoeven is that it is transparently an exercise in political expediency. Republicans believe they need this excess in order to justify their votes for immigration reform to the rank and file, and maybe they do, alas.

But this also underscores that immigration reform is getting worse as it goes along. Instead of recognizing the realities of an integrating North American labor market and the U.S. economy's needs in a competitive world, this is becoming an exercise in government overregulation, Big Labor allocation of visas, business harassment and now the militarization of 1,969 miles in the middle of nowhere.

The shame is double because some of the worst elements are being added by Republicans who claim to believe in spending restraint and economic freedom.


I was indeed prepared for bad stuff. But this is an arms race with House Republicans demanding more and more militarization and Democrats and deal makers offering it up in spades to get an agreement.

I reluctantly withdraw my support. Let us be the party of slower growth and impeded freedom before we become East Germany.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:29 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Fear not. Even if the bill passes, which I hope it does not, any such "militarization" will be temporary to the extent it happens at all. Once the Administration gets authorization for the things it wants they'll pay only lip service to the things they find abhorrent. Things like border security.

I don't have a cogent opinion on border security. I thought I believed it should be clamped down but everyone who asked for a temporary visa should receive one, barring a criminal record or some such. That still seems a good idea, and could easily be financed and manned with a fraction of the savings from closing all of our foreign military bases. (Well, lookie there, JG sounding all Big "L".)

At any rate, many pundits warn that the immigration bill is a stepping stone to amnesty and instant citizenship, i.e. 11-plus million new voters on the rolls, certain to vote more D than R.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2013 3:01 PM

April 7, 2013

Competing Currencies and Immigration

WOW! Two great ThreeSources issues in one post! Had Bradley Jansen snuck in some NATALEE HOLOWAY PICTURES, we'd be handing out awards.

While most Americans and others might not immediately understand the concept of "currency competition," there is one segment of the population that already gets it: immigrants. Since most countries use their own national currency, those individuals who have moved, lived and worked in other countries understand the concept and mechanics of competing currencies. Yes, in this example, the competing currencies are only nationalized currencies with a central bank which is not what we are promoting, but having people understand the concepts is a great first step.

There was a ruckus-bordering-on-a-kerfuffle a few years back, where a pizza place very near to my first house in Aurora, Colorado publicly accepted Mexican Pesos. The nativists lost their mind. Sovereignty was clearly threatened. But I saw this as a possible -- albeit probably illegal -- experiment in competing currencies.

I don't know what ever happened with Pizza-gate -- perhaps President Obama just droned the place. But Jansen makes an interesting and easily forgotten point about the scale of remittances :

[N]ot only do immigrants understand the concept of competitive currencies, but remittances (people sending money back to their home country) are, I believe, the best opportunity for competitive currencies to develop. I would put Bitcoin, broadly speaking, into this category too. Remittances--which globally dwarf not only official foreign aid and foreign direct investment but both of those combined!--offer a huge market especially in conjunction with mobile apps.

In many developing countries, especially in Africa, people are leapfrogging over bricks and mortar banking for mobile banking. That environment, coupled with the remittances factor, offers fertile ground for free banking.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:38 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2013

Review Corner

In 2001, my wife, Shawnna, and I moved to Arizona. I love nearly everything about my adopted state, but the one thing that troubles me greatly is Arizonas widespread hostility toward Mexican immigration, not just illegal but legal as well. Among many Arizona conservatives, opposition to immigration dwarfs all other political issues, even in the face of economic recession. The vehemence on this issue initially puzzled me, given that Arizona still is the land of Barry Goldwater and largely reflects his libertarian, live-and-let-live philosophy.

Indeed, I have often joked that if Arizonans are really serious about protecting our traditional values against assault from hostile newcomers, we should wall off our western border to California rather than our southern border.


Governor Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick provide a solid blueprint for moving forward in Immigration Wars. I don't agree with every word of it, and I'm rather certain it would not be any ThreeSourcer's idea of perfection. It is a contentious debate, and apart from the bitter clingers on both extremes, I think the authors understand it is about compromise and understand it is about moving forward. While imperfect, if Congress were to pass it exactly as written, there is nothing in this book that I could not live with.

The best part is its two foundational premises:

We believe comprehensive reform should be constructed upon two core, essential values: first, that immigration is essential to our nation, and second, that immigration policy must be governed by the rule of law. Those who expound only one of those values to the exclusion of the other do violence to both, because the two values are inseparable.

Many of our circular, circuitous, and cicumlocutious immigration debates have danced around this, because I was unable to state my premises so clearly.

The authors are as pro-immigration as I am and the book celebrates many reasons for increasing and legalizing/normalizing additional immigration. The talk shows and political reviews have focused on their solution to current undocumented aliens. Those who came here as adults are offered a pathway to permanent legal status but not a head start toward citizenship. This is not the plan I'd write, but I can sign on if this is un-am-nasty enough for a plurality.

This is the most contentious issue, and the position of a prominent Republican is newsworthy. Some of the more subtle points are more interesting. Bush and Bolick call for refocusing preferences on skills and economic need in favor of "family reunification."

Reuniting someone with their long lost third cousin twice removed is sweet. But it sets up a chain migration that can grow without bounds. Plus, it is biased toward less productive new citizens. Spouses and children can follow an immigrant but no further. We're sending home doctors and entrepreneurs and physics geniuses to bring more grandmothers in. Sweet, but not in our best economic interests.

One hopes that this might get resolved. We cherish rule of law, yet look the other way for startling abuses to people and equal enforcement.

It is in no one's interest for illegal immigrants and their families to live in the shadows. We need everyone to participate in the mainstream economy, to pay taxes, to participate openly in their communities, to be willing to report crimes-- that is to say, to be accountable, responsible members of society. That cannot occur when people fear they will be arrested if their immigration status is known.

It is an enjoyable and quick read touching economics, education and politics. If the debate were moved forward in this direction, that would be a huge net positive.

Four stars.

UPDATE: That other fella named Bush has a very good guest editorial in the WSJ today.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2012

Sad to See a HOSS Fall

That sound you hear is the stumbling of a Congressional giant, mixed with my sigh of disappointment. Rep Jeff Flake (HOSS [Ret.] - AZ) has been a champion of not only spending restraint but also a gifted expositor of the non-intuitive benefits of liberty. He can tell it like it is and make a powerful case for less government.

How sad to see him joining the Tancredo wing to try to win a Senate Seat in The Grand Canyon State. Jason Riley on the WSJ Ed Page:

Mr. Flake has represented suburban Phoenix since 2001 and distinguished himself as, among other things, a champion of comprehensive immigration reform that includes not only more border security but also viable guest worker programs to meet U.S. labor market demand and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers already here. These days, he sounds more like Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio, denouncing comprehensive immigration reform as "a dead end" and saying it's no longer "possible or even desirable." He touts his support for walling off the Mexican border and suggests (incorrectly) that illegal Latinos drive violent crime in the U.S., telling one interviewer that "virtually all" of the people entering the country illegally today are tied to smuggling rings and drug cartels.

Riley concludes:
A Senator Flake would surely be an additional vote for spending restraint in the Upper Chamber. Unfortunately, he might also be another vote for the immigration status quo that he once bravely fought to change.

The idea that the WSJ Ed Page (and me) would be lukewarm to the candidacy of a fiscal hawk like Flake would have been unthinkable.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2012

TJ Rodgers on Immigration

I all but wept. One of the great Hosses of all time hit it out of the park on Kudlow last night (Joe Kernen guest hosting).

Rodgers's bit starts at 4:50 if you don't have 10:46. I agree with every word and don't think I have heard it said better.

The whole concept that somehow people are dragging the economy is wrong, People are the economy. The intelligence and wealth they create is what creates the jobs.

Rodgers also criticized the increasing militarization of the border, alluding to a famous Ronald Reagan speech.

To me, that makes the country look weak. What made the Soviet Union look weak? "Gorbachev, tear down this wall." When a country is so screwed up it has to put a wall between itself and its neighbor, that puts weakness on the other side of the fence.


UPDATE: And Reason reprises their superb What part of legal immigration don't you understand?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

See -- I told you we did not agree!! :) :) :)

As the two intellectual forces of both Ron Paul and South Park have attested, a militarized border can easily impede in either direction.

Produce rots in the field when farmers are forced to try and hire away software developers to pick it. It's not about whether Rodgers's Lexus will have heated seats.

The most important and to me unassailable point is that people are the economy, and those who would shrink it in an effort to make us wealthier show no more sense than those who would bring prosperity by increased taxes, spending or currency creation.

I also give him props for being "embarrassed for Republicans" on this. Rodgers is a strong voice for liberty; bully for him for not giving the GOP a pass.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2012 5:17 PM
But Terri thinks:

Perhaps you're right and we do disagree.

BUT, I think I have been mistakenly put in the camp of those in the GOP that he's embarrassed by because I do want a strong border. It's assumed that I, perhaps Tancredo like, want no immigrants and that's a mistaken assumption.

I think the border should be much, much more open and especially to those who perhaps have little technical skill, but are happy to work hard.

The "line" at the border is ridiculously long and difficult to maneuver, especially for those who just want to work the seasons and go home. I don't want an underclass of people here. This is America. There is only one way to fix this without a completely open, as in wide open, border.....
You have to have control of the border and you need a liberalized immigration policy.

Rubio is right that politicians like to keep the issue unresolved because it keeps an underclass of people picking their lettuce without really having to acknowledge that there is an underclass with a stamp of approval by the rest of us.

Posted by: Terri at June 23, 2012 9:15 AM
But jk thinks:

Fair points all -- and I'd never be embarassed by you (some of the populist scum around here, mind you...)

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2012 10:34 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Terri, the border thing works both ways. His point is that we can still defend our borders from invasion, but we don't have to actively keep people from coming in. In a great eulogy, Pericles mentioned that Athenians not only welcome strangers, but they don't try to hide secrets. They also didn't have massive social welfare that lured freeloaders -- THAT is the real issue that these conservatives need to talk about.

The free market IS with the free movement of labor. The free market is far from the typical rubbish Republicans claim it is: there is no difference between someone immigrating from Mexico to work in the U.S., or someone from Oklahoma during the Depression going to California. The free market is simply the absence of force (whether applied to supply, demand or both), and government is entirely force.

But legalizing the illegals is still not a free market. Actually, it brings in more government interference. The first unavoidable deleterious effect is that the turned-legal will be able to demand minimum wages, if anything to compensate for the income and FICA taxes they'll start paying. But at the same time, going back to my point about the massive welfare state, the bulk of Hispanic immigrants are lower-skilled and will qualify for EIC. There's a very real potential for some to become like too many Americans, getting more in refunds than they pay in. I would much rather keep things the way they are, and not have the federal government further drive up wages and prices.

I am heartened, though, that someone is willing to say on a national program that Obama is just playing election year politics. So of the 9% of the electorate who are Hispanic, Obama won 6% in 2008. This race is tight enough that he needs the others, and a poll this week showed 90% of "likely" Hispanic voters favoring him. It was also a great point that for his time in the Senate, Obama did nothing on immigration, so why now? I would love an acolyte to say that, well, he was there just four years. It would validate the criticism about a freshman senator ex-"community organizer" thinking that qualifies him to govern 310 million people. It's a point of logic liberals can't escape: he did nothing then and is pandering now, or he wasn't a senator for very long to do anything.

I was not familiar with TJ Rodgers, but after this clip, I like him. I will take issue with something: "like the Italians and the Irish before them who came and built this country," huh. Boy, if that doesn't ignore the two centuries before them. This is an issue for me because I once knew a couple of Italian-Americans who probably still declare that the shoe-shiners and cooks were "the ones who built this country." What about my German ancestors who came after the Irish but before the big wave of Italians? Actually, the ones who built this country into what we know today were Carnegie, JP Morgan, Vanderbilt and other industrialists. Shoemaking and cooking aren't what produce great advances in a civilization. It's great inventions that allow us to make better shoes and produce better food faster.

Now who is the jackass on the right? I don't recognize him, but I immediately detest him for the idiocy of saying he favors immigration, just not the illegal kind. What does that statist want? What if the law merely says "legal" status comes after someone hops on a foot ten times? That's the very problem with using statute to define "legal": it can be changed at any time to be whatever the powerful want.

"Is that...legal?"

"I will make it legal."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 23, 2012 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

@Perry: TJ Rodgers was the founder of Cypress Semiconductors, a reliable and brilliant advocate of free markets, and your friend Don Luskin's choice to be the reification of Francisco d'Anconia in his "I Am John Galt."

(@Dagny -- another recommendation for your trip.)

The jackass is Mark Simone. There is some law at CNBC now that when somebody guest hosts for Kudlow, there must be a talk show host to co-pilot. I was heartened that only he took up the populist position. I feel as if I am swimming upstream on immigration and was happy to see the nativist in the minority.

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2012 10:42 AM
But jk thinks:

I think his point about Italians and Irish tracks right out of Michael Barone's superb book The New Americans.

The German and British immigrants were certain that the Irish and Italian wave was unlikely to assimilate and that these new ethnicities lacked the Calvinist work ethic and were totally unsuitable to be Americans. Yet a few of them made good, and the Mexican and Central American wave likely will too.

Just don't get me started on the Filipinos, man...

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2012 11:00 AM

June 16, 2012

Article II, Section 3

I rarely imagine that I owe the world a post. Maybe if Governor Chris Christie released an album of Hayek quotes and Buffy lines set to jazz music, some readers might wonder what jk thought on the topic... but as a general rule I consider silence an option.

Yet President Obama's callow, opportunistic, and completely unconstitutional principled and humanistic immigration policy does inspire some thoughts. Like Larry Kudlow, I agree with most if not all of the policy but disagree with the process of bypassing Congress. The WSJ Ed Page takes this on using the President's own admission that this exceeds his authority:

In a speech last year to La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization that has criticized the White House for the lack of progress on immigration reform, President Obama mused that he'd like "to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own." He added, "Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you."

Looking at the demographics of swing states, President Constitutional Law Professor succumbed to temptation. Like his equally opportunistic stand on gay rights, I don't understand why even when I agree with the President, he cannot lead or craft bipartisan legislation. He has to demagogue the things I like.

John Yoo, the left's beta-noir for his envelope-pushing of Executive power, has an interesting article in NRO today.

There is a world of difference in refusing to enforce laws that violate the Constitution (Bush) and refusing to enforce laws because of disagreements over policy (Obama).

Under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president has the duty to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." This provision was included to make sure that the president could not simply choose, as the British King had, to cancel legislation simply because he disagreed with it. President Obama cannot refuse to carry out a congressional statute simply because he thinks it advances the wrong policy. To do so violates the very core of his constitutional duties.


Among the exceptions, Yoo lists "prosecutorial discretion" which I defended on these pages as a legitimate tool for the DOJ to de-emphasize drug prosecutions. In both instances, I would prefer a clear and comprehensive legislative solution. And in both I would welcome a soft-pedal on enforcement while issues are resolved.

But the naked politics of this combined with the President's casual willingness to overstep executive authority is a step too far. It is also a reminder that he did NOTHING on gay rights or immigration with a Democratic Congress or with GOP Senators who have supported comprehensive reform. He'd rather demagogue than legislate.

UPDATE: Jim Mantle catches it in sub-140: @jimantle President Obama invokes the all-powerful Right Thing to Do clause in the Constitution.

UPDATE II: Blog friend Terri asks "Right thing for whom?"

He keeps setting up all of these new rules but they hardly ever seem fair to me.
-- I'm 31, came here when I was 5 and this doesnt apply?
-- I'm 18, came here when I was 16 and this doesnt apply?
-- I'm 21 and a citizen and cant get a job....how is this right for me?
-- I'm the employee of 20 of these folks and paying them the prevailing wage, when they all quit because there are now better opportunities....is this right for me?
-- I'm the one whos been waiting in line at the immigration office for 4 years to get into the US legally. I dont really have skills, but can contribute. Is this right for me?

Good points, all. This is, of course, one topic on which our blog friend and I do not see eye-too-eye. I agree that the rules are capricious and will even up the ante -- these laws are still on the books and will be enforced whenever it is politically expedient for this or any president or Secretary of Homeland Security.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:33 AM | Comments (3)
But Terri thinks:

I don't actually think that we're that far apart.

We both agree immigration laws should be liberalized. You think that will solve the problem of jobs here that 'mericans don't want.

I think they should be liberalized too, but I don't think it will solve the problem. Middle managers in Mexico who come here because they can make a lot more money mucking horse stalls will still come here, but become middle managers.

Perhaps you'd like to defend your position over a drink in Louisville tonight? hmmmmmmmmm?

Posted by: Terri at June 18, 2012 10:06 AM
But jk thinks:

Fear for the space-time continuum friends, it appears Terri and I may actually meet.

We may have to just pull the plug on ThreeSources, because the immigrtaion problem is solving itself and we'll soon have nothing to talk about. Mexico is escaping centuries of bad government and a less than perfect neighbor to establish a vibrant middle class.

I firmly reject that they were all leaving boring production meetings to cross the border in a 150 degree boxcar. Better opportunities in Mexico and less up here have brought net migration to near zero. As the Mexican population ages and grows wealthier, fewer will seek illegal entry even when our economy improves.

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2012 12:23 PM
But Terri thinks:

Here here!

You'll enjoy this post from SooperMexican.

http://www.soopermexican.com/2012/06/18/how-both-parties-ignore-the-problem-underlying-illegal-immigration/#more-1943

Posted by: Terri at June 18, 2012 2:16 PM

May 1, 2012

Capitalism and Immigration

Howdy fellow 3sourcers!

I haven't been able to post in a while due to a very hectic schedule.

I know that immigration has been a hot topic on 3sources in the past, and I thought I would try to reignite the debate. I tend to have a more "open borders" approach when it comes to immigration instead of the more "protectionist" approach favored by mainstream conservatives. I came across this article today that makes a great economic argument for the liberalization of human capital flows in the same way and for the same reasons as the liberalization of traditional capital and trade markets.

It is interesting to note how many "free market" folks out there adopt immigration polices that are totally inconsistent with their views on free trade.

Enjoy!

An Economic Case for Immigration

Posted by Bryan at 5:49 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Haven't read the link yet but wanted to establish a few more parameters that relate to this topic:

Residency and right to work vs. citizenship.

Poor regulation of the electoral franchise thus diminishing the right of living, single voting citizens.

Public accomodation at public expense of non-English speaking residents.

Uncontrolled cross-border influx of hazardous materials, weapons, contagions.

So in other words, my largest single complaint about the immigration of foreign individuals is the negative consequences our national government has bestowed upon them - in many times, for political reasons. Now on to the [possibly] academic discussion of the subject.

Posted by: johngalt at May 1, 2012 6:19 PM
But Bryan thinks:

All great points JG.

The author of this article touches on most of your concerns, although this paper is certainly not a treatise of economics and immigration.

The points the author makes in regards to security issues really hit the nail on the head.

Paraphrasing: Liberalization of human capital flows via deregulation and decreased barriers to entry will allow the government to focus on the people we want to keep out (criminals, terrorists, etc..) instead of having a "one sized fits all" immigration policy where our boarder protection resources must be used for both criminal and non-criminal immigrants.

Let me know what you think of the article and we can discuss further.

Posted by: Bryan at May 1, 2012 6:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Welcome to ThreeSources!

I enjoyed the linked article and it mirrors my beliefs pretty closely.

Posted by: jk at May 1, 2012 10:15 PM
But Terri thinks:

Ah yes, yet another paper on immigration used to raise the subject of illegal immigration.

Let's go with the conclusion:"Absent a market process, there is no way to centrally plan the optimal number and mix of immigrants any more than it was possible for the Soviet Union to centrally plan its markets. Instead of restricting labor flows at arbitrary places where politicians happened to draw lines on maps, we need a free market in labor. That means open borders. Not only would free immigration make the native-born population richer, but also it would be an effective way to help the poor of the world.
"

I'm all for open borders for workers since we have open borders for business.

However no matter how open a border for either business or workers, there will be paperwork involved.

Should those without proper paperwork be given a pass every 10 years or so?

Passing laws that allow for more people to enter this country and be given access to markets etc. would be a general good.

The more people who enter with the entry level jobs will (with legal papers) then progress to good jobs with good pay and fewer welfare and then more will follow to start off with the crap jobs etc, etc. I'm all for that.

BUT - those that enter in the first place need to be legal. Having mass amnesties every so many years only invites those without paperwork. And those without paperwork are a different group than those that Mr. Powell is describing.

Posted by: Terri at May 2, 2012 10:37 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I enjoyed the linked article and it mirrors my beliefs pretty closely. (Yes I did cut and paste JK's comment.)

It doesn't address citizenship, voting or bi-lingualism, but does speak to controlling hazards at the border: "Open borders" includes "legal check points" in Mr. Powell's formulation. (A better term might be free borders, as "open" border implies uncontrolled - at least to me.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 2, 2012 2:59 PM

April 11, 2012

I Was Right and You ALL Were Wrong

See, you can already see the elevation of discourse and heightened understanding now that I have read Jonathan Haidt's superb "The Righteous Mind." (I sold a couple lefty friends on that -- I'll let you know how it goes.)

But I think I can enjoy a good gloat with Michael Barone as he reports net illegal immigration from Mexico is now zero. The data hail from Think Progress so a pinch of NaCl is warranted, but I do not think anybody can deny the trend. Insty quips that "The way things are going here, the flow may soon go the other way."

Barone underlines the incredibly underreported story of the improving Mexican middle class.

Among the reasons: Mexico has been growing more prosperous, its birth rates declined sharply two decades ago and it now has a middle class majority (as former Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda argues in his 2011 book Mañana Forever?). For some years I feared that Mexico could not achieve higher economic growth than the United States since our economies have been tied so tightly together by NAFTA since 1993. But in the past two years Mexico's growth rate has been on the order of 5% to 7%. It's looking like Mexico's growth rate is tied not to that of the United States but to that of Texas, which has been a growth leader because of its intelligent public policies which have prevented public employee unions from plundering the private sector economy. Anyway, looking ahead, anyone seeking changes in our immigration laws should keep in mind that immigration in the future is not likely to look like immigration in the recent past.

But I claim credit because it vindicates my claim that the bulk of "undocumented immigration" was to pursue employment, and that we all reaped -- as Ricardo predicted -- increased wealth from comparative advantage and the growth of the economic pie (more a nice flan than pie...)

They came to fill and fulfill a need and as that need subsides, so does the wave. When President Obama leaves office and the recovery begins again in earnest, the voices of the Tancredo wing will rise pari passu. But this time, ThreeSourcers will not be fooled. Next time, my brothers and sisters will see these workers as the important piece of the economic engine.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:00 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

UPDATE: Neener-neener!

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2012 4:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Mexico could hardly grow less prosperous. America, on the other hand... Another headline for this story might read: "Obama's America no sale to immigrants seeking opportunity"

But yes, you are right. You have affected ThreeSourcers immigration views for the better - speaking for myself at the very least.

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2012 9:34 PM

February 17, 2012

Immigration...Incendiary...Internecine...

If only I had an incendiary article to lob over the fence on Friday and run away. Oh, wait --

Reason: Ayn Rand was an Illegal Immigrant

But this proud naturalized American, who arguably did more than any contemporary figure to restore the faith of Americans in America, might have been hounded out of the country if one of our current crop of Republican hopefuls had been president when she arrived. Why? Because Rand lied and bent every rule to gain entry into the United States.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:27 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2011

Ignorant Laws Have No Excuse

I set out on the internet this morning to find support for a personal premise: The existence of unenforced laws undermines respect for those laws that are enforced. The experience caused me to recognize an unacknowledged subsequent premise: Individual liberty is enhanced in a law-abiding society. For some time now I have thought the first premise was a call to action in furtherance of the second premise but then I questioned the validity of that objective, and of the second premise itself.

Slate magazine published, in October 2007, a rather wide-ranging compendium of unenforced law discussion by Tim Wu.

He addressed the drug war, illegal immigration, copyright, polygamy and more. Wu seems to conclude that non-enforcement is good for America. Not, as I would attempt, in furtherance of greater liberty but of "the economic interests of the nation."

Immigration policy is perhaps the strongest example of the ways in which tolerated lawbreaking is used to make the legal system closer to what lies in the economic interests of the nation but cannot be achieved by rational politics. All this is why the Bush administration faces an uphill battle in the course of trying a real internal enforcement strategy.

I tend to agree with this conclusion but I attribute as cause the very American attitude of individual liberty amongst voters who won't tolerate a heavy hand against individual workers and employers. More to the point is what this does to our representative government. Since our legislatures cannot achieve rational laws our judiciaries and our executives, at both state and federal levels, exercise discretion in which laws are enforced and to what extent. This appears, at first, to be a good outcome since the forces that guide the police and the courts are those of public opinion which derive, in turn, from individuals. We effectively have 300 million citizen legislators. However, this system has (at least) two major flaws.

First is the disparate influence on the legal system from concentrated versus individual interests and the tyranny of the majority. Allowing the trial lawyers lobby, the AARP and SEIU to dictate which laws are left to wither (and which to be bolstered) is no boon to liberty.

But worse yet, the ability of government to "get" any individual on some trumped up charge whenever it is "necessary" is a hallmark of totalitarian states.

At the federal prosecutor's office in the Southern District of New York, the staff, over beer and pretzels, used to play a darkly humorous game. Junior and senior prosecutors would sit around, and someone would name a random celebrity--say, Mother Theresa or John Lennon.

It would then be up to the junior prosecutors to figure out a plausible crime for which to indict him or her. (...) The trick and the skill lay in finding the more obscure offenses that fit the character of the celebrity and carried the toughest sentences. The, result, however, was inevitable: "prison time."

It's one thing when government lawyers make selective prosecution into a drinking game, but quite another when used as a tool of coercion and intimidation. In the name of liberty, laws to prevent "injuring a mail bag" have no place in a just society. Liberty is enhanced when laws are obeyed, but said laws must first be not just objective and knowable but also justified in the cause of protecting individuals from others and not from themselves.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:47 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Three Words: Bastiat, The Law.

Looking the other way at drugs invites discrimination against the statistically minority poor. That has been one of my big objections. Rightly or wrongly, minority youths feel that they are hassled by law enforcement, increasingly under the rubric of suspected drug possession.

Taken to its logical conclusion, unenforced law is no law, but rather rule by police and prosecutors.

Excellent post. The undermining of voluntary enforcement is a powerful point as well.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2011 1:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Love the link. Six stars! If you've posted it before I was delinquent in following it.

"The Desire to Rule Over Others" is a good reply to your current FB tilt.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2011 3:19 PM
But gd thinks:

Agreed. Great post and response. Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.

Posted by: gd at June 12, 2011 9:31 PM

Larry On the Alabama Law

Here we go again. Sorry to open a can of worms in the middle of exciting things like Weinergate and Governor Palin's email, but Larry is dead on, emotionally and economically:

This is the segment and the law I referenced in my tea party post below.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:51 AM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Jeffrey thinks that a business owner has an "obligation" to offer jobs to locals obeying "the law"? To hell with him. It just goes to show how collectivist a lot of conservatives are.

Why are unions and conservatives so united against illegal immigrants? Because the people whose jobs are being "taken" are those who can't compete. They're the equivalent of buggy manufacturers and whip braiders. Thomas Sowell once wrote that if it's really true that women earn 75 cents of what men do, then there would be no unemployed women: businesses would hire a woman before a man. Similarly, if Americans really did want those jobs, then businesses wouldn't need to hire illegal immigrants. But it's a matter of Americans wanting more money than a business is willing to pay, because someone will do it for less.

Now whoever thinks that's fine, that a business can't hire someone who will work for less, then they deserve to lose their jobs to someone else for more money. "But," they'll protest, "that's ridiculous!" Yes, and so is their argument against hiring illegals. Prove that the illegal is guilty of a real crime, not merely being on the other side of "the law."

As far as illegal immigrants not getting "welfare," they get all sorts of other benefits that taxpayers pay for. The real solution takes far fewer words: kill the welfare state. This not only takes care of "illegals," but my native-born neighbors who also live off me.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 12, 2011 7:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said, Perry. I have had my differences with Terry Jeffrey over the years in spite of the fact that we share the curse of high pitched speaking voices.

I went into orbit -- no something less linear and contiguous for the segment you highlight. My suggestion was to replace "illegal immigrant" with "negro" as in "Man's gotta duty to give white folk jobs..." Man's gotta duty to increase value for his shareholders is what's what.

But, more significant than the guests was Kudlow's even-keeled, Prosperitarian defense of immigration. I think Larry has the politics, economics, and heart right. Jeffrey -- and most people at ThreeSources -- highlight the illegality. But with insufficient legal access to match opportunity to labor it doesn't count (see brother jg's post on capricious enforcement).

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2011 10:13 AM

April 26, 2011

'Mother of Exiles'

This is the name that Emma Lazarus gave to the Statue of Liberty when it was gifted to America from France in the 19th century. The poem she reluctantly wrote to aid in raising funds for the building of a base to place it upon came to be the statue's meaning put into words:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

One analysis of the poem published by the University of Virginia errs in its characterization of an irony:

"As political propaganda for France, the Statue of Liberty was first intended to be a path of enlightenment for the countries of Europe still battling tyranny and oppression. Lazarus' words, however, turned that idea on its head: the Statue of Liberty would forever on be considered a beacon of welcome for immigrants leaving their mother countries."

I disagree with this conclusion. The statue and Lazarus' words were, in fact, symbols of enlightenment and freedom and did stand in contrast to European tyranny and oppression. However, the fault for European emmigration was not America's new statue but the fecklessness and intransigence of Old Europe's governments.

Is this germane again, today? Do the words in the great statue's base beckon to a new generation of American Patriots to strive for not just "democracy" but liberty?

It is true that much progress toward liberty has been made in America's 19th and 20th centuries, but in many other ways the once "golden door" of America has become as tarnished as the oppressive societies to whom she once showed the way. From the U of VA's concluding paragraph:

Just as Lazarus' poem gave new meaning to the statue, the statue emitted a new ideal for the United States. Liberty did not only mean freedom from the aristocracy of Britain that led the American colonists to the Revolutionary War. Liberty also meant freedom to come to the United States and create a new life without religious and ethnic persecution.

Yet this means little if economic persecution remains. Let not the New Colossus be transformed from the Mother of Exiles to the Mother of Equals, nor let our "tired" our "poor" our "huddled masses" once able to breathe free, succumb to the persecution of "shared sacrifice." Some lecture us that "cutting programs that help those who need them most is morally wrong" and "when Jesus talked about how God will judge nations, he said that God will focus on what we did or did not do for the neediest among us." And yet, how do government policies which violate the eighth and tenth commandments advance Jesus' word?

God's judgement, and liberty itself, are things reserved only to individuals and not to the abstract form we call "nations." Our government "overlords" would do well to remember this important distinction, as would voters.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great post, JG!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 26, 2011 6:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, what he said!

Posted by: jk at April 26, 2011 6:25 PM

March 5, 2011

"Nothing to See Here"

A few excellent passages from a Mark Steyn IBD editorial on the "random" murder of US airmen in a German civil airport:

The strange shrunken spectator who serves as President of the United States, offering what he called "a few words about the tragic event that took place," announced that he was "saddened," and expressed his "gratitude for the service of those who were lost" and would "spare no effort" to "work with the German authorities" but it was a "stark reminder" of the "extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making . . ."

(...)

But relax, this fellow in Frankfurt was most likely a "lone wolf" (as Sen. Chuck Schumer described the Times Square Bomber) or an "isolated extremist" (as the president described the Christmas Day Pantybomber).

There are so many of these "lone wolves" and "isolated extremists" you may occasionally wonder whether they've all gotten together and joined Local 473 of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves and Isolated Extremists, but don't worry about it: As any Homeland Security official can tell you, "Allahu akbar" is Arabic for "Nothing to see here."

(...)

Okay, why is a Muslim who wants to kill Americans holding down a job at a European airport? That's slightly easier to answer. Almost every problem facing the western world, from self-detonating jihadists to America's own suicide bomb -- the multi-trillion dollar debt -- has at its root a remorseless demographic arithmetic.

In the U.S., the baby boomers did not have enough children to maintain their mid-20th century social programs. I see that recent polls supposedly show that huge majorities of Americans don't want any modifications to Medicare or Social Security.

(...)

But even with looming bankruptcy America still looks pretty sweet if you're south of the border.

And this last applies to Western Europe just the same.

So among other things we have some sobering news for your favorite, possibly marijuana-medicated, effete urbane egalitarian idealist who most likely calls himself "Progressive:" What killed the social welfare state, or at least hastened its demise? The sexual revolution.

And in bleak contrast with the western immigrants from Islamic regions who want to manage a 7-Eleven or drive a taxi or go to med school in the land of opportunity are the Islamic refugees looking for a free lunch. These are the ones most likely to, in Steyn's words, self-detonate. And what brought them to our neighborhoods? The social welfare state.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:41 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2011

Honor Roll

I've no plans to dive into cost vs. benefits on "Tiger Mothering." It is not my beat.

But, I stumbled across an interesting list from Nick Schulz:

Raja Ratna Murthy Ayyagari
Wendy Wenyu Cai
Fang Y Cao
Kuo-Kai Chin
Andrew Christopher Das Sarma
Pranav Gokhale
Parakh Jain
Ajay Kannan
Nilay Kumar
Annie Lin
Winston W. Liu
Sharon Ren-Wei Ong
Yinglun Wu

Montgomery County, Maryland students who were named as semifinalists in the prestigious Intel National Science Talent Search competition.

Spellcheck that.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 3, 2011

When does illegality happen?

In a comment reminiscent of the claim that a tree falling in a forest makes no sound unless someone is there to hear it, Leo Laurence writes in the magazine for the Society of Professional Journalists that the term "illegal immigrant" does not apply to non-citizens. Why? Because of the Constitution, he asserts.

In an appearance on FNC's Fox and Friends this morning Laurence said, that an "undocumented immigrant" is not an illegal immigrant "until a judge says so." This is because of the Constitutional provision of innocence until proven guilty before a jury of one's peers. "No. No. They are not. The only person who can say someone is here illegally is a judge."

So the bank robber hasn't committed a crime until he is found guilty, according to this logic.

Laurence added that, "It's a very conservative issue because we're following our Constitution."

I attribute the smug, self-confidence of Mr. Laurence to a collision between the philosophy of subjective idealism and the TEA Party movement.

For what it's worth, Leo closed the segment by spelling out his telephone number and email address for those who want to discuss the matter with him. Repeated as a public service: 619 757 4909, leopowerhere@msn.com.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

To tie our open threads, that's the Scroëdinger defense: the cat is not guilty until the box is opened...

I don't think I'll call Mister Laurence. His seems an odd defense and unlikely to advance the cause of more legal immigration that I champion.

And yet, I've heard a sister theory that it does not actually violate any statute to be on American soil, providing the same outcome that no one is truly illegal. Back to work but I'll see if I can find a well written exposition of this theory to share with the class.

Posted by: jk at January 4, 2011 10:13 AM

November 14, 2010

A Racist Joke for Y'all

My opinions stand, but one must appreciate a good joke:

The day it all started was March 6, 1836.

On that fateful day, Davy Crockett woke up and rose from his bunk on the main floor of the Alamo.

He then walked up to the observation post along the west wall of this fort.

William B. Travis and Jim Bowie were already there, looking out over the top of the wall.

These three great men gazed at the hordes of Mexicans moving toward them.

With a puzzled look on his face, Crockett turned to Bowie and said...

"Jim, are we having some landscaping done today?"


HT: My (biological) brother via email.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2010

Those Vicious Brits

While on assignment in London this past week, The Refugee took a careful look at the fine print in the immigration passport stamp:

"Employment and recourse to public funds prohibited."

Racist bastards.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 9:19 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Well yeah, if you're going to go in the front door with a passport...

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2010 9:40 PM

September 22, 2010

Not Sure This Is Gonna Be Popular...

Brincos -- shoes for border crossers!

They re called Brincos, and they re shoes designed to help illegal immigrants cross the U.S.-Mexican border. Designed by Argentinean artist Judi Werthein, these shoes feature an array of items designed to make the dangerous trip across the border a little less so. There s a built-in compass, a pouch inside the tongue used to store aspirin and a map of popular routes going from Tijuana to San Diego on the insole. An Aztec eagle adorns the heel, while the shoes red, white, and green colors remind you that, yes, the shoes were designed with Mexican nationals in mind. The Brincos (the name derives from the Spanish verb brincar, to jump, as in, to jump the border) were handed out for free to migrants, while so-called hip stores in San Diego were spotted selling them for $215.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2010

Terrorized Enough Already?

Get it? TEA? The offical stance of the TEA party supporting walls and agents and drones &c. Anything but free movement of goods, labor, and capital,

PJTV

Fair enough, I suppose, but I will henceforth not identify myself with the Tea party movement. I got a couple T-Shirts if anybody wants 'em.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:40 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Fair to a point, but I don't think "our Ku Klux Klan group is totally not racist" is a stirring defense. I have been pretty concerned about this from day one and a trend is clearly underway to roll popular populist programs under the bright yellow Gadsden umbrella.

It started as a very cool shorthand for limited Constitutional government. I think it has become shorthand for "Conservative."

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2010 3:35 PM
But jk thinks:

TO BE CLEAR: I just read my previous comment and did not want anyone to think I was calling Tea Party Illegal Immigration Opponents (TEAPIIOs) racist. I was using the example of the KKK as a group that has a collective identity without a central office controlling it.

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2010 3:40 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

(1) No offense taken, as we all know that the Klan was the militant arm of the DEMOCRAT party.

(2) Gasden flag: good. Gonzalez flag: better.

(3) What sizes are the shirts, and how much you want for them?

(4) I've decided that when the revolution comes, I'm going to call it "The War Of Washington Aggression," just to be contrary.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 24, 2010 4:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yours is a warranted fear, jk. I see the TEA Party platform ebbing and flowing to include and then discard issues beside "limited Constitutional government." If the TEA Party movement is discredited by association with indefensible causes and left-liberal ad hominem then it will likely dissolve. But the idea that individual 'mericans can rally together to foment opposition to statism has been born. Maybe next time it'll have a better name.

Posted by: johngalt at August 25, 2010 3:09 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


It's a bad idea; why not express your power by convincing them (in our case, whomever stands for Tea Party in CO). what a bad idea it is, instead of the "I'm taking my vote card home and putting it under my mattress" approach?

Is there such an organization that there's a person or office in CO to call or post? Help a brother out here, who has scant time for PolyTicks.

nb

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 25, 2010 4:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Actually no, nb, The same thing I have always cherished is its Hayekian Spontaneous order. I guess one of the downsides is that there's nobody to call and yell at!

Of course I won't be figuratively "going home" (I am home). I will continue boring people with my thoughts, sending the occasional $50-100 to candidates I like, and looking for a group I can count myself in. I had hoped that I had found it with the Tea Party -- and it has been a gas! I just don't think that describes me anymore.

I completely agree with jg (just this once) that it is great that expectations have been raised and people have been educated. I'd say the same about Glenn Beck's 9-12 thingy, but I would not want people to define me by their stances.

Posted by: jk at August 25, 2010 4:49 PM

July 28, 2010

Dear Tea Party Patriots: No. Love, jk

The Tea Party Patriots send an email (web version here) that asks "Will you stand with AZ tomorrow?"

I accept that a populist movement will exhibit a bit of populism, but frozen-illegals-on-a-stick, man, this is a dilution of the message. I'll stand toe-to-toe with the enforcement first folk in a battle for Constitutional rule. But to hijack the name and the mailing list for the conservative cause du jour is disturbing.

For another side, Patriots, let me suggest a guest editorial today by Alex Nowrasteh of the CEI. Nowrasteh is not bleeding hearts for the poor migrants. He makes a startling and substantive case for the interests of business, law enforcement and liberty.

The problems begin in Section 2 of the law, which grants all legal residents the power to sue any state agency or official that they believe is failing to enforce immigration laws. This provision will funnel millions of dollars to trial lawyers and put Arizona police officers in a no-win situation.

As 19-year Phoenix Police Department veteran David Salgado has said, enforcing the law could get him sued by the federal government for violating civil-rights protections, while failing to enforce the law could get him sued by anti-immigration activists. Two county sheriffs in Arizona have already created funds to cover their departments against the lawsuits that will inevitably come, undermining law enforcement and enriching trial lawyers along the way.


Awesome piece -- let me know if you'd like me to mail it to you.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:38 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I agree that I'd rather not see the TEA Party devolve into issues other than taxes and spending, but when you get the hard working, tax paying citizenry riled up enough to become political activists you can't be surprised when they tell you EVERYTHING that pisses them off.

Illegal immigration is a complicated issue but the common themes I see among those who actively oppose it are: illegals steal identities in order to get jobs, illegals demand the unearned via emergency rooms, welfare, etc., and to a lesser extent they take jobs in a time of high unemployment. I'd rather see them focus on social security reform, welfare reform, healthcare reform, and as I said, TAX and SPENDING reform to achieve their goals. But how do you put that on a sign and wave it at an intersection?

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2010 12:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I think I have a great answer for this. Disabuse if I am wrong:

The good folks, once riled up may march for their own positions on immigration, abortion, gay marriage, or the infield fly rule. It's a free country.

But I encourage them to use the Tea Party name ONLY in issues where the Federal government has exceeded its Constitutional authority. That is what the tea party stands for.

This site proves you can have different opinions of immigration. Even all the wrong ones you mention above (tee hee). But nobody can claim an expansion from the Constitutional purview. It is an enumerated power. If you go for irony, all the sign wavers are mad that the government has refrained from using its authority.

The Tea Party is our last chance to avoid Velveeta Socialism. If the message is diffused it will fail.

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2010 12:46 PM

July 7, 2010

Sanctuary to the extreme

We've seen news stories posted here to criticize police for excessive force in drug cases. Here's a news story that shows poorly on America's metropolitan District Attorneys, or at least the one in Jefferson County wherin Wheatridge, CO is located.

The Jefferson County DA's office said that neither Torres nor Cardona have been charged with anything at this point, even though Torres confessed to the crime. However, the homeowner, Wallace is facing twelve felony counts, including four counts of attempted first degree murder. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Four counts? Two bullets and two fleeing larcenists, I suppose. Attempted first-degree murder? Doesn't that require premeditation, and the absence of self-defense? And not even an illegal lane change ticket for the "immigrants?" Hey, what's that smell? Smells like ... sanctuary.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:10 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Smells like someone in the DA's office is auditioning for a job in the US Department of Justice.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 7, 2010 4:02 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

God help me, I haven't been this incensed since the trespassers at that general counsel's home. Every cop and magistrate who contributed to this tragedy of justice should have a .45 shoved up their assholes, and the triggers pulled to the cheers of everyone who cherishes justice. The two thieves should be strung up by their wrists and turned into human piñatas for their victims.

Putting every last one of these criminals to death is guaranteed to save lives and property in the future.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 8, 2010 9:11 PM

July 1, 2010

Obama Blames GOP

Wow, that's twice, is it not?

WASHINGTON (AP) Hoping to breathe new life into the stalled immigration effort, President Barack Obama on Thursday blamed the delay on recalcitrant Republicans whom he said had given in to the "pressures of partisanship and election-year politics."
Posted by John Kranz at 6:24 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2010

Me and the Gipper!

I'm proud to stand with a conservative, America-loving, free-trader, Californian hero of mine on the issue of immigration.

My arguments are economic but I do enjoy, on occasion, throwing some juicy quotes from President Reagan at my conservative interlocutors. So I sent today's editorial by Peter Robinson to my (biological) brother and brother-in-law today. I'll sit back and wait for the thanks to come pouring in.

Robinson wrote a superb book on our 40th President, What I Learned from President Reagan. I highly recommend it. The book is about applying Reagans beliefs and principles to everyday life, and curiously, I read it in the hospital after my MS diagnosis and left it there (In Boulder that may or may not be a mitzvah).

Robinson worked for and carries a deep appreciation for President Reagan. As in his book, he assembles quotes, actions, and anecdotes to portray a belief. He starts with Reagan's signing -- dare I use the word? -- Amnesty!

Anyone who retains a high opinion of Reagan, whom John McCain himself has described as one of his heroes, can hardly help wondering. In 1986, Reagan signed legislation granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Instead of denouncing the undocumented, Reagan invited them to become citizens. If Reagan was right then, isn't Sen. McCain wrong now? To attempt an answer, I've listed what we know for certain about my old boss and immigration. Then I've done my best to figure out what each item tells us about where Reagan would have stood on the issue today.

What we know for certain, item one: Ronald Reagan was no kind of nativist. In a 1977 radio talk, for instance, Reagan dismissed "the illegal alien fuss," arguing that we need immigrant labor. "One thing is certain in this hungry world," he said. "No regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters."


If that story is behind wicked Rupert's pay wall, let me know -- I'll be happy to email it to you.

You're welcome.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:35 AM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

Senator McCain's name is not held in high esteem ‘round these parts. I found this the most disappointing. He stuck to his guns against incredible adversity for years. And he lost far more GOP votes on immigration than on McCain-Feingold or opposition to the 2k3 Bush tax cuts,

I used to suggest that you had to respect his dedication to principle even if you disagreed. Whoops. I guess one more Senate term is worth more.

Of course, tg, there is a real danger in a Populist movement becoming Populist. Yet after the primaries so far, the record number of candidates, and the newfound sophistication of a newly engaged electorate, I retain my pride in the Tea Party movement more than ever and ask you to rethink your position.

Not perfect, but the last chance. Rep. Paul Ryan said that if we fail this time, there may not be another chance. I'd upgrade the may not to will not.

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2010 7:17 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

JK, so that we have 111 million more voters whose representatives in D.C. will sap the already sapped wealthy states?

Remember that reunification wasn't such a great deal for West Germany.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 15, 2010 9:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Perry: German reunification is a perfect parallel and should be studied closely before proceeding. Are you certain, totaling the seen and the unseen that it was a bad deal for the West?

As to your first point, this idea was big for me when Barack Obama was that young guy who gave a great speech at the convention. The exponential rise of government since has cooled my ardor for expansion. I would also suggest that there are Mexican Texases as well as Mexican Californias.

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2010 11:44 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Absolutely sure. West Germany was doing fine on its own. Imagine adopting and having to care for a long-lost sibling who was always down on his luck (and who was released only because his kidnapper was too broke to keep him). The Soviet Union was in its last days, broke because of the arms race and from trying to sustain (militarily and economically) its puppet states.

After reunification, the East German communists simply joined with West German social democrats, and why not? Two sides of the same coin. So what was East Germany started getting subsidies and welfare programs at the expense of West Germany. This is exactly the kind of "equality" that socialism seeks: the bottom is brought up by a bit, the top is brought massively down.

Annexing Mexico would be exactly the same: we'd be doing nothing but adopting their poverty, violence, and widespread belief in "social justice" (fueled by a resentful belief among poor Mexicans that the government should tax the evil rich). Do we want another 100 million people on our welfare programs, another few dozen senators who'd demand a "fair share" of federal highway funds that they'd barely pay into? Most Mexicans are so poor that under our tax system, they'd be getting huge tax credits. So then we'd adjust tax rules for ex-Mexico, right? As if that would happen! Their Congressmen and Senators would, no doubt in broken English, accuse their new "Anglo" countrymen of racism.

And then consider that suddenly the U.S. would be bordering Guatemala and Belize, whose millions would suddenly find it much easier to come to the U.S. and achieve their dreams of anchor babies. In the county north of me is one town in particular that's been all but taken over by Guatemalans in the last decade. 10 or so years -- they come here despite the difficulties of going through Mexico. But if we annexed Mexico, millions in Central America would find it easier to come here and achieve their dream of anchor babies.

So, no thanks. It's bad enough to have a bad neighbor down the street, but even worse to buy the house next door before realizing that it borders his garbage-filled lot.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 16, 2010 4:34 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

On a slightly different note, I don't think the United States has the cultural capacity to assimilate 100 million Mexicans on the fly.

Don't get me wrong - America is a very good with assimilation. I roll my eyes at the demagogues who declare that the current batch of Hispanic immigrants refuse to become American. But that number is but a tenth of Mexico's entire population, and a self-selected one at that.

Imagine what would happen. Millions of Mexicans would move northwards - 'specially when American labor standards put them out of a job - in search of a better jobs. Odds are that they would get many of them too. And how does your average American react to that? What does your average American do when a bunch of foreigners who can't speak English come into his town and take "his" job? The country would turn into a great tinderbox.

And in this future either the government fails to manage the huge amount of internal migration and inter-racial strife and American society falls apart, or it gains the capacity to manage both of these things and the iron hand of the state becomes all the heavier.

Neither option sounds like an America I want to live in.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 16, 2010 9:01 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

This we definitely agree on. It isn't a matter of their skin color or genetics, but that they're coming from a culture without a foundation of individual liberty. It is impossible for this land of the semi-free to adopt another nation whose history for at least the last 1000 years has revolved around entirely around central authority and warfare. To envision such a future, consider the hordes of Muslims who are effectively invading France. They riot because it's the government's fault they're poor -- they're poor because they don't have jobs, and they blame the government for not training and creating jobs. They riot and burn synagogues regularly.

But wait a minute, rioting over not having jobs (and ones they like, at that), blaming the government, and anti-Semitism? They fit right in with the native French!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 17, 2010 4:12 PM

May 26, 2010

Jobs Americans Cannot Handle

I suspect my ThreeSources brothers and sisters are somehow culpable. This is the world you risk creating.

The efficient, swarthy, Spanish speaking crew that normally mows our lawns (don't know their status, don't care) was absent today. Some blond-haired college-age youths took their stead.

The cute young ponytailed lady blew the sidewalks clean 20 minutes ago. Now the trimmer comes through.

Tancredo!!!!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:17 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Gosh, can't you give them a few weeks to learn? It should be viewed with relief that young pale-persons can still be found willing to put down their lattes and break a sweat.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2010 11:27 AM
But jk thinks:

Mmmmmkay. Sweeping up before making the mess seems rather uneducable to me. Nor did they recognize the error and reblow.

Comparative advantage my friend. Except for the desire to see them walk ten miles to school in the snow uphill both ways like we did, I'd rather they sipped their lattes and studied.

Posted by: jk at May 27, 2010 12:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The real test will come when the customer complains, the boss chews them out, and they have to do the job better or quit. Wagers anyone?

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2010 2:47 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't want y'all up late worrying about me and grass clippings on my sidewalk. They actually did send a person out to blow away the clippings that survived the hailstorm.

Chastened and wiser? We'll see.

Posted by: jk at May 28, 2010 10:59 AM

May 17, 2010

Does anybody read anymore?

Last week the Attorney General of the United States was asked if he has read the Arizona immigration law that he had said could result in people being "picked on" because of their appearance. The law that so concerns him and his boss that they are reviewing it for openings to a federal legal challenge. The law he says may have consequences "we have to try to avoid at all costs." Uhhh, no sir Representative Poe, I haven't.

"I've just expressed concerns on the basis of what I've heard about the law. But I'm not in a position to say at this point, not having read the law, not having had the chance to interact with people are doing the review, exactly what my position is," Mr. Holder told the House Judiciary Committee.

I wonder if he takes his case to the Supreme Court, will the Justices make their rulings without reading the "unfortunate" law too?

UPDATE [May 18]: Homeland Security Secretary (and Former Arizona Governor) Napolitano hasn't read the law either.

I guess she has more important things to spend her time on, like telling reporters the law is "misguided." From the same story: "Holder said he plans to read it before determining whether it's constitutional." No word on whether Napolitano plans to read it before refusing to cooperate with Arizona authorities on implementation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:15 PM | Comments (0)

May 5, 2010

Life Imitates Brother AC

Blog Brother AC:

I understand they will still be checking tickets at the door.

Instapundit's "Tweet of the Week:"

tweet-of-the-day-e1273060007300.jpg

You decode, but I'm stickin with my bro.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:54 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Free admission, plus hot dogs, beer and nachos underwritten by the paying fans.

I am soooooooo going to plagiarize this - pure genius.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 5, 2010 7:15 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I'm surprised my liberal FB friends didn't jump all over me for being a racist.

Posted by: AlexC at May 6, 2010 12:12 AM
But jk thinks:

Liberals on Facebook?

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2010 10:29 AM

May 3, 2010

Another Way to Skin a Cat

Today's Michael Ramirez Cartoon reminds me of an old joke: "Why don't we hire some illegal immigrants to do a job that Americans just won't do - enforce immigration laws."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:58 PM | Comments (11)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

One more thought. So let's say Pablo and Maria come here and leech off the system. How is that different than my neighbors of European, African and Asian descent who send their children to school on my dime? Who collect welfare checks courtesy of my tax dollars?

We can all agree that illegal immigration is an issue because of the welfare state, but people of all ethnicities -- and natural-born American citizenship -- abuse it also. Which is better, for government to build a fence that it can't effectively monitor (something anyone can scale or cut through, and which keeps out the honest) or for government to stop doling out our tax money to anyone who shows up?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 4, 2010 11:11 PM
But T. Greer thinks:
Now to address the topic seriously. One of the fundamental problems with the immigration debate is this blindness to "enforcing the law." I've said time and time again that just because something is "the law" does not mean it is right. Conservatives and liberals are both hypocrites in that they want to enforce laws they like, and disregard laws they don't like. The thought occurs to me that if laws were actually enforced in a blind and disinterested manner, both sides would take the justness of these laws more seriously.
Posted by: T. Greer at May 5, 2010 3:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I completely agree that the welfare state is a greater evil in itself. Where I was going with my comment, however, was a discussion of a nation of individuals shaping its their own civil society to suit their desires. In my case I would not ban immigrants for skin color, nation of origin, or favorite evening meal - I would admit every capitalist and reject every statist.

(Welcome to Galt's Gulch.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2010 2:48 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"The thought occurs to me that if laws were actually enforced in a blind and disinterested manner, both sides would take the justness of these laws more seriously."

Well, TG, good luck with that. :)

"I completely agree that the welfare state is a greater evil in itself. Where I was going with my comment, however, was a discussion of a nation of individuals shaping its their own civil society to suit their desires. In my case I would not ban immigrants for skin color, nation of origin, or favorite evening meal - I would admit every capitalist and reject every statist."

Sounds fine to me, though I'd point out that the very existence of a "government" is what draws the statists. While the apparatus exists, bad people can and will pervert it to take from some and give to others.

The advantage of a free society is that it doesn't need to be "shaped" or otherwise designed. Every man lives his life as he would, to any extent he'd like as long as he harms no others. In that kind of life, you don't need to worry about your neighbors (of any ethnicity or religion) using the subterfuge of government to bleed you little by little. All criminals will then be obvious, whether they're outright robbers or welfare state leeches, and the latter can be dealt with as directly as the former.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 5, 2010 9:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I could be wrong but I'd imagine there would be many more "outright robbers" to deal with in the absence of government. Or at least, in the absence of a normative set of rules and behaviors. Don't you worry that if you became known as the home and the homeowner "not to mess with" that the most successful hoods and gangs would target you to make a name for themselves? Wouldn't this ultimately lead to neighborhood protection organizations and eventually, governments?

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2010 2:34 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Sorry to be late getting back here, was busy and still am pretty sick.

You're confusing "anarchy" with a complete lack of social structure. Most people do, but the two are not necessarily overlapping. Anarchy does not mean throwing pipe bombs, raping and pillaging the weak, or any sort of societal chaos. Anarchy simply means there's no authority that forces people in what and what not to do -- but that in no wise means there's no moral basis for people to use when acting. If neighbors want to get together voluntarily (Bastiat defined law as the common force to protect individuals' rights and enforce justice), then fine, let each person join voluntarily. But when my neighbors decide to form a government so a few of them can profit from building roads at my expense, and the policemen and judges infringe on my rights, where is my opt-out button? The very nature of government is that there's no opt-out: you are as forced into it as anything else. Thus any amount of government is still coercion and hence not true freedom.

In the absence of government, I couldn't possibly be robbed any more than I am today. Every two weeks, I'm regularly robbed of a rather significant chunk of my paycheck that would make Tony Soprano envious. But at least if I defend myself against regular thieves and murderers, my neighbors will understand. With "government," if I defend myself, then my neighbors will say I was at fault for not being a good citizen. "Good citizenship" has been perverted into meaning "giving up your sovereign individual rights to life, liberty and property to the whims of your neighbors."

If I'm the homeowner no one wants to mess with, then by definition no one will want to mess with me, right? Right now the government is the thief that no one wants to mess with, because it guarantees the peaceable citizen will go down while his sheeple neighbors watch.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 10, 2010 5:45 PM

More Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Illegal Immigration

This one takes a more worldly view, looking at similarities between American (illegal) and European (condoned) mass immigration. As an example of over-the-top hate speech, author Mark Steyn tells us what English grandmother Gillian Duffy said to PM Gordon Brown which prompted him to say of her, in an unguarded moment, "She's just this sort of bigoted woman." Gillian had lamented that "you can't say anything about the immigrants."

The quick 3-page piece is packed with Steyn's trademark humor which is it's own reward so I'll just plagarize the dry conclusion:

A dependence on mass immigration is not a gold mine nor an opportunity to flaunt your multicultural bona fides, but a structural weakness, and should be addressed as such.

The majority of Arizona's schoolchildren are already Hispanic. So, even if you sealed the border today, the state's future is as a Hispanic society: That's a given.

Maybe it'll all work out swell. The citizenry never voted for it, but they got it anyway. Because all the smart guys in the limos bemoaning the bigots knew what was best for them.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:43 PM | Comments (0)

May 2, 2010

Is America really that inhospitable to illegal immigrants?

Time to turn up the heat a little more with some home-grown populism. From the DenverPost-dot-com comments to a story on the Arizona immigration law:

RedBeemer wrote:

MOVING TO MEXICO

Dear President Obama:
I'm planning to move my family and extended family into Mexico for my health, and I would like to ask you to assist me.

We're planning to simply walk across the border from the U.S. Into Mexico, and we'll need your help to make a few arrangements.

We plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws.

I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here. So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Calderon, that I'm on my way over?

Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:

1. Free medical care for my entire family.

2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.

3. Please print all Mexican government forms in English.

4. I want my grandkids to be taught Spanish by English-speaking (bi-lingual) teachers.

5. Tell their schools they need to include classes on American culture and history.

6. I want my grandkids to see the American flag on one of the flag poles at their school.

7. Please plan to feed my grandkids at school for both breakfast and lunch.

8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.

9. I do plan to get a car and drive in Mexico , but, I don't plan to purchase car insurance, and I probably won't make any special effort to learn local traffic laws.

10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from their president to leave me alone, please be sure that every patrol car has at least one English-speaking officer.

11. I plan to fly the U.S. Flag from my house top, put U S. Flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.

12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, or have any labor or tax laws enforced on any business I may start.

I haven't fact checked everything but each point is at least true or plausible. (Hey, it was good enough for Al Gore.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:16 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

No facts to check in this puppy. It is simply a mean spirited diatribe.

But I'll suggest a few facts. Mexico is poor. Mexico does not advertise itself as a destination of immigrants or a pluralistic melting pot. In spite of this many Americans and Europeans do quite well after emigrating there.

Yes, we pat ourselves on the back because we're better than Mexico -- mission accomplished! But I don't think they represent a governmental model we should aspire to.

On the good side, their last revolution burdened President Wilson when he was busy giving us the graduated income tax and the FTC. We owe them muchos gracias for that.

Posted by: jk at May 2, 2010 5:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. I had thought #6 might've happened for a short time at one school or was merely an urban legend, and that the second half of #12 was obvious exaggeration. But c'mon, brother, you don't think any of those other things happen every day? Perhaps you imagine all illegal immigrants to be like the one who helped one Mr. Rodriguez install my irrigation pipeline who, though unable to speak English, worked hard and conscientiously every day he was here. And perhaps I imagine too many of them to be like the former employee of Denver mayor and current gubenatorial candidate John Hickenlooper who murdered a Denver cop and then bragged about it before escaping back to Mexico where he was returned via extradition only after Denver's DA agreed not to seek the death penalty. Either way, there is enough truth in the above checklist to sway a majority of Americans, white, brown and otherwise, to support "law and order" measures to reduce illegal immigration. Whatever principled opinions you or I may have were long ago overwhelmed by the enormous negative impact spilling into the southern U.S. from our third-world neighbor to the south.

Your disrespectful "mission accomplished" remark misses the reason why America is better than Mexico - our respect for economic freedom and property rights that was once greater than it is today. But it doesn't change the focus of the commenter's point, and mine, which was that America bends over backwards to accomodate our uninvited guests.

Posted by: johngalt at May 2, 2010 6:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup, we can agree on a few things. I believe that every country that is poor in 2010 is poor because its government has not provided freedom, protection of property rights, and rule of law. Sadly, our neighbor to the south hits "below the Mendoza line" on all three.

I also agree that we treat immigrants better than most nations, although I would suggest much of Western Europe has bent even farther than your commenter suggests to accommodate Islamic immigrants. But I found this comment distasteful (you may have read between the lines, using your long association with me to infer that).

We provide many courtesies for US citizens who celebrate their heritage and prefer their home language. My grandmother was born in South Dakota in 1896 and her family spoke German. All the post-bellum presidential campaigns provided materials in Italian, German, Polish, &c.

I'd be the first to vote against government forms in other languages, and I think bilingual education is destructive to those it purports to help. But this comment is over the top. No, if an NBA player shows up at your pick up game, you're not going to spot him 10 points. Nor do I expect a poor nation to offer all the courtesies of a wealthy one.

Posted by: jk at May 3, 2010 9:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I also don't think the commenter really intended to suggest that Mexico really be expected to do these things. It's a fairness argument: America shouldn't be expected to do them either. If we do it is a courtesy. He and I are saying we've become far too courteous. It's time to stop changing the sheets on the in-laws' bed.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2010 3:18 PM

Otequay of they Ayday

It's been a while since I've contributed to my half of the "Quote of the Day" franchise but this one had to be shared.

"Why are all of the cartoons these days trying to teach children Spanish?" -dagny (mine) this morning
Posted by JohnGalt at 1:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2010

Immigrayshun

I'll see your Harsanyi and basically agree. We're not as far apart as usual. I do see the Arizona law as a rebuke to fed incompetence (heckuva job, Brownie!) and you can image my discomfort with my newfound allies. Sure Shakira is serious, but some of those other celebs appear to be posturing. The Denver Public Schools' boycott of Arizona travel is silly, but I'm glad to know some teachers can find a state that borders us on a map.

In the ultimate argument, though, I must see your Harsanyi and raise you a David Griswold at Cato:

Requiring successful enforcement of the current immigration laws before they can be changed is a non sequitur. Its like saying, in 1932, that we cant repeal the nationwide prohibition on alcohol consumption until weve drastically reduced the number of moonshine stills and bootleggers. But Prohibition itself created the conditions for the rise of those underground enterprises, and the repeal of Prohibition was necessary before the government could get control of its unintended consequences.

Ultimately -- and I wish we were not doing this in an election year -- we will get back to this and reach impasse. His comparison to prohibition is more deftly worded than my "relieve pressure" argument. But they are the same. Prosperity and freedom requires more liberal immigration than my pals, brothers, and sisters around here will accede to.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:08 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Like Harsanyi and I said, not while we're supporting a welfare state.

I also would require an oath to the Constitution such as that of the Naturalization Act of 1795:

In addition to the declaration of intention and oath of renunciation, the 1795 Act required all naturalized persons to be "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States" and be "well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same."

Posted by: johngalt at May 1, 2010 3:26 PM

"Free immigration to jobs?" OK

I know JK is a Harsanyi fan. Maybe David can bridge our divide.

Americans value immigration. They recoil from lawlessness. And frustration over the impotent border enforcement has manifested itself in a flailing overreach. Arizona's law isn't a referendum on Latinos or even immigration itself. It's an unambiguous rebuke of Washington.

(...)

But if you, like me, believe it's possible to advocate for a broad-minded immigration policy -- one that creates more expansive guest-worker programs, offers amnesty (though not citizenship) to some immigrants already here and enforces border control -- this administration is not making it easy on you, either.

The uplifting tale of the hard-boiled immigrant, dipping his or her sweaty hands into the well of the American dream, is one thing. Today we find ourselves in an unsustainable and rapidly growing welfare state. Can we afford to allow millions more to partake?

When Nobel Prize-winning libertarian economist Milton Friedman was asked about unlimited immigration in 1999, he stated that "it is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both."

National Journal's Ronald Brownstein gives dismissive lip-service to violence in Mexico and unemployment in the US before blaming racism and nativism for the "hardening GOP position" on McCain-Kennedy style amnesty. I think he needs to read the Harsanyi piece too - "It's the welfare state, stupid!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:37 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I like the basic premise. But I think he espouses the same naïveté I started with back when that cowboy dude was President.

Harsanyi thinks -- as I thought once

Very few Americans, on the other hand, are inherently opposed to immigration.

"Why can't?" I once asked we give stepped up enforcement to the Tancredoites in return for increased legal immigration. It seemed a natural compromise because both sides could claim victory and enjoy their spoils.

I was wrong and so is Harsanyi. There is something deeper. This isn't the Capital Gains rate, where I say it should be 0% and President Obama suggests 100, this ties into a national pride, an identity and it proxies for a host of deeper issues: bilingual ed, entitlements, and even "o prima numero uno como Espanol."

I can't even blame the Obama Administration. Seeing the failures of President Bush and Senator McCain on this, who wants to take it up?

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2010 7:31 PM

April 29, 2010

Europeanization

I was going to post this yesterday, then I wasn't.

The segue today is the Cato video a few posts down with its admonition that "Democrats are not always your enemies." I don't know if anybody is going to like this but me, yet I encourage you to consider this counter-intuitive thought from Forbes's Shikha Dalmia:

If universal health coverage was part of the longstanding liberal agenda to implement a European-style welfare state in America, Arizona's tough new anti-immigrant law represents the conservative agenda to install a European-style surveillance state. Indeed, the very same conservatives who could not find words strong enough to condemn the Europeanization of America under ObamaCare are now greeting the Arizona law--which will require residents to prove their lawful status to authorities on demand--with a cheerful smile and a shrug.

I'll concede that Article IV gives legitimacy and consistency to one who supports Constitutional limits on government and strict enforcement on immigration laws. Unlike Tea Partiers who like Medicare and <merlehaggardvoice>Social Security</merlehaggardvoice>, they are on firm Constitutional ground.

But because things are allowed by the Constitution doesn't mean we want a ton of it. We are at war but I really don't have room to billet a dozen soldiers in my condo.

I've kept silent on the Arizona contretemps because I know we will divide along the same old lines (that is, everybody against me) but I think Dalmia is on to something here.

Likewise, a compelling case can be made that the State of Arizona is in an emergency situation with increased violence and increased breakdown in the social order to its South. I actually accept this and have criticized the law only from a Constitutional, civil liberties perspective. I'll look the other way if they need to get rough on the border.

But the other escalation, as mentioned in a comment, is that the the leading candidate to be the GOP Gubernatorial nominee, Rep. Scott McInnis, made headlines last night saying that he would like to sign a similar law in Colorado. We do not face the same situation as Arizona and it is clearly out-of-bounds in Colorado. That he so quickly accedes to such an authoritarian solution does not speak well for his devotion to liberty.


Posted by John Kranz at 11:34 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm far more concerned about the creeping "surveillance state" effect of things like red-light cameras than about states enforcing long-standing federal immigration laws.

And I think McInnis' rapid endorsement of AZ's treatment of illegal immigrants has more to do with political calculation than with core beliefs. And it will be popular in Colorado because the difference between Arizona's and Colorado's situation is one of degree.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2010 3:12 PM
But jk thinks:

I should probably stop but...

Red light cameras are a great concern. As are texting-while-driving laws, the new ridiculous child-seat laws in Colorado, and anything that allows you to be pulled over for police questioning with no evidence of wrongdoing.

The difference, to carry Dalmia's point of comparison with ObamaCare, is that the swarthy residents of the Grand Canyon State will need to provide documentation just for living. Not driving, not buying gas, not boarding an airplane. Just sitting there.

Likewise (and Randy Barnett has an awesome WSJ Editorial on this) ObamaCare will now force you to buy insurance -- and prove it -- just to be alive.

The red light camera, like the auto insurance mandate, is an imposition on the privilege of driving a motorcar on our fine public streets. The health insurance mandate, and the documentation requirements of brown Arizonans are not consistent with Dalmia's idea of American liberty -- nor mine.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2010 4:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, I've now read Dalmia's unconvincing dystopia. Firstly, a national ID card was being widely discussed long before the new Arizona law came to pass. I'll pass on any further deconstruction of her assume-the-worst musings to focus on a stark discrepancy between your impression and mine of the AZ law. You have now referred to "arbitrary and capricious demands for documentation" and Arizonan's "need to provide documentation" for "just sitting there." As I said before, I've been led to believe (yes, by the rabid, racist, right-wing media echo-chamber) that police must have reasonable cause, called in the biz "lawful contact" before asking for a license/green card/I-9 form. Naturally I assume that the 4th amendment still applies in Arizona and that there are no fewer defense attorneys there now than before Governor Brewer signed the bill.

Clearly we could both benefit from reading the actual law before butting heads much more. Here is a link to the Senate Fact Sheet on the bill, courtesy of the Caplis and Silverman page on www.khow.com.

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2010 1:56 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Not that I necessarily believe this will satiate your desire for the liberty of brown Arizonans but I think this basically says, "We know that if we contact people solely on the basis of race we'll have more FBI agents up our ass than Sheriff Arpaio."

"34. Requires the act to be implemented in a manner consistent with federal laws regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons and respecting the privileges and immunities of U.S. citizens."

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2010 2:20 AM
But jk thinks:

Read the bill before I vote on it??

Dang, you ARE un-American!

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2010 11:39 AM

April 7, 2010

Obama Can't Handle Immigration Reform

Shikha Dalmia says that neither the time nor the President is right for immigration reform (hmm, something we might all agree on). Dalmia links to one of my favorite charts and -- among many good points -- makes yet another immigration statement that we might all agree with (I said "might):

The fundamental problem with America's immigration system is that it forces Americans to justify to their government why they want to bring someone into the country, instead of requiring the government to justify to them why they can't. Uncle Sam is less gatekeeper, more social engineer. Instead of focusing on keeping out those who pose a genuine security or public health risk-- the only immigration policy consistent with ideals of limited government -- it is driven, among other things, by a need to manage labor market flows and the national demographic makeup.

An excellent article. I only wish Forbes would replace Ms. Dalmia's picture with the small poorly-lit mug shot we expect. Hers is somehow distracting.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:24 PM | Comments (2)
But Terri thinks:

Hey - even I agree!

Posted by: Terri at April 7, 2010 5:37 PM
But jk thinks:

KUMBAYA!

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2010 5:48 PM

March 9, 2010

What say you, Three Sourcers?

Sens. Schumer and Graham (probably not a pair of Threesourcers favorites) are proposing legislation to create a biometric ID card that, at a minimum, would be used for proof of employment eligability.

The Refugee will put an initial stake in the ground and say that such a plan does not sound like a bad idea. In fact, he would make presentation of such identification a requirement for social benefits, health services (i.e., non-emergency hospital care), school registration and - yes - voting. The cards may significantly reduce fraud.

Opponents say that such a card would be a defacto national ID card and a way for the government to track citizens. However, the SSN is already a defacto national ID and the government has so many tools to track us now that the benefits seem to outweigh the risks.

The Refugee will admit that he may not have thought of every possible threat to liberty that these cards may present and therefore has an open mind; he would like to hear what Three Sourcers have to say. What say you?

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 5:04 PM | Comments (13)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'll be blunt. Forget the Constitution. Go to : "Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?"

My neighbors have no legitimate right to seize my property against my will, even if they band together and call themselves a "government." (That it nonetheless happens, and that I currently am not doing anything to physically stop the legalized robbery, is another topic.) So how can my neighbors, in the guise of a "government," require me to carry around a document just to prove I have a right to work?

Is it not the liberty of someone to trade peacefully with another, whether it's goods for goods or labor for wages, and they harm no one else? If someone is originally from Mexico, or Germany, does it matter to me if they are not harming me?

"Pay-purz, pleez!"

"And [The second beast] had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 10, 2010 4:01 PM
But jk thinks:

I knew help was on the way. Now let me pitch the squish side.

I share your revulsion at "Pay-purz, pleez!" Perry. And that might be the best argument against. I also writhed a bit that the purported benefit of this was to prevent a free transaction between a consenting employer and worker. I get lonely around here when we discuss immigration.

But we are losing money and safety in our airline security. If a better ID could produce speed and security, it would facilitate business, prosperity and innovation. We run courts and cops to facilitate honest and repeatable business dealings. I'll admit it's at the deep end of the Hamiltonian pool, but a real government solution instead of the current Kabuki Theatre would be a bona fide public good.

And, we are losing liberty to voter fraud. I'm sure somewhere in rural Idaho, there is a Libertarian voter scheme. But 98% of the fraud is committed to provide more government (cf, ACORN). Trading a bit of privacy for sound elections would likely provide more liberty.

Agreeing with BR on two outta three, I am also swayed by the "too late already" argument. Amazon has the goods on me, Colorado has some, the Feds have some. It is a fait accompli that a decent dossier can be assembled on me. What is the benefit of fighting at the margins?

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2010 6:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wow, this is really frightening.

I didn't realize just why a national ID card was evil until Perry took the idea to its ultimate conclusion. But he is absolutely correct.

Allowing a national government to put a tag in our ear is no "solution" to immigration issues, at least none that benefits individual citizens.

The reason we're losing money and safety in airline security is because the government is running it. Follow your own advice, jk, and allow the airlines to do the job.

You endorse a "real government solution?" The only thing the govenment does well is use force (and sometimes, not even that.)

Can't have honest elections without tattooing us all with our "serial number?" Then do away with elections instead.

And finally, "fighting at the margins?" What happened to the football analogy? It's goal line stand time, brother!

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2010 10:22 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

For me, immigration/seaonal work, whatever, is not that big an issue to me. I support liberal immigration laws. That said, I do not support open borders, if for no other reason that to prevent Castro and Chavez from emptying their prisons into the US. I also do not support the notion that under-the-table workers should be able to avail themselves of our schools, hospitals and welfare state. I view such transactions as fraudulent and an ID would help to reduce them.

Perhaps a solution would be bio-ID required to received government benefits. If you want to suckle on the taxpayer teet, you have to prove you're eligible (and surrender a certain amount of personal privacy). The debate will then be about who is eligible, but it is then at least enforcable.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 11, 2010 10:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

BR's proposal has merit in the sense of trading government cheese for liberty being an individual choice, but is it a gain or loss of yardage for the collectivists? I say we have to throw a flag on that one.

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2010 11:20 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
But we are losing money and safety in our airline security. If a better ID could produce speed and security, it would facilitate business, prosperity and innovation.
There's an unspoken reason: airlines don't bear full responsibility for the crashes. Sure, they'll settle with the families of victims, but that's generally the limit of their liability. In a free market, American Airlines and United Airlines would have been held partially liable for the deaths and damage at the WTC, because their lax security measures allowed certain passengers from bringing aboard weapons. (Al Qaeda would bear the rest of the liability, but that of course is uncollectable.) Thus the airlines and their insurers would be the ones to pony up the billions for compensating families and any rebuilding. But the airlines have effective immunity from such claims, because it's the government that creates and enforces the ineffective security policies. So the government is instead the one "responsible," meaning that it will bleed taxpayers just a little bit more for payouts.

It's a good deal for the airlines, don't you think? What should happen instead is that airlines and airports must be fully private. You're correct that it'll take a better ID, but that can come only through private endeavors. But even more effective will be private methods of screening.

You'll have certain airports that could develop a reputation for tough scrutiny and exceptional security agents (not these TSA morons), such that no terrorist will dare to go through those airports. A terrorist would rather go to an airport with reputations for lax security, except that no reputable airline and certainly no honest, sane passengers will want to go through there. Jihad Airlines with a 767 full of Abduls will be pretty easy to spot -- and shoot down, if necessary, before they do any damage.

This is like what I wrote about on my own blog a few months back, regarding food safety. It's the same principle: when government creates a standard and is the only enforcer, consumers have no means to inform themselves, let alone go with a superior option. You walk into a deli, or go through an airport, hoping that the government has actually done what it promises but can deliver only by blind luck: to keep you "safe."

If this means that some airports and airlines will go out of business, then that's just too damn bad. If they can't operate without bearing responsibility for their actions, then they shouldn't be in business.

We run courts and cops to facilitate honest and repeatable business dealings. I'll admit it's at the deep end of the Hamiltonian pool, but a real government solution instead of the current Kabuki Theatre would be a bona fide public good.
Even the best libertarian concept of government, which exists only to punish force and fraud, can't "facilitate." It can only apprehend and punish after something wrong has been done. It's only peaceful, willing individuals who can facilitate.

The problem is that courts and cops aren't always successful, even the most competent ones who truly seek justice. And as I have personally experienced, courts and cops are sometimes the very ones facilitating or even committing the very criminal activity they're supposed to prosecute (and "prevent" only in that they deter criminals because of the threat of catching and prosecuting them).

When it comes to elections, I like JG's reply: "Can't have honest elections without tattooing us all with our "serial number?" Then do away with elections instead." So we don't want illegal aliens "participating" in this farce of democracy. Is it really any better that only my citizen neighbors can vote to seize my property and rule my life?

Bio-ID: it's a step in the right direction, but to continue the football analogy, that's a half-yard gain when you're 3rd and 20. It doesn't do anything for the fundamental problem of the state forcibly seizing our property to give to others. Are you going to hope for a miracle with an onside kick, or are you going to punt and hope you can stop the enemies of liberty on their next crusade?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 11, 2010 11:57 AM

September 2, 2009

Nevermind!

Kumbaya, my ThreeSources brothers, kumbaya!

Michael Barone suggests the immigration rift may be over.

But there's another reason why Congress and the administration would be unwise to revive the 2006-07 legislation. The facts on the ground have changed. The surge of illegal immigrants into the United States, which seemed to be unrelenting for most of the last two decades, seems to be over, at least temporarily, and there's a chance it may never resume.

Reading this, I thought it might be the first time I have to disagree with his Barone-ness, but I think we're pretty close. Barone cites improvements in border security as the first reason that wholesale immigration will not resume when dGDP/dT > 0 again.

To which I intellectually retort "Hah, you're nuts, dude."

But, flip his second point with his first, and I am intrigued if not all in:

And the reservoir of potential immigrants may be drying up. Birthrates declined significantly in Mexico and Latin America circa 1990. And as immigration scholars Timothy Hatton and Jeffrey Williamson write, emigration rates from Mexico and Latin America -- the percentage of population leaving those countries -- peaked way back in 1985-94.

Moreover, people immigrate not only to make money but to achieve dreams. And one of those dreams has been shattered for many Hispanic immigrants. Most housing foreclosures have occurred in four states -- California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida -- and about one-third of those who have lost their homes are Hispanic. Immigration is stimulated by the reports of success that immigrants send back home. It may be discouraged by reports of failure.


I am preparing for a long recession as I watch the people who think they are steering this economy. By the time demand improves, it could well be that the factors Barone cites will become significant.

So, all those wars were all for naught. A moot point. And the ThreeSourcers are all once again in perfect agreement on the side of righteousness. Whew, glad that's over!

Posted by John Kranz at 2:37 PM | Comments (15)
But johngalt thinks:

I had actually typed "to the right" as that is my natural inclination. But when johngalt decides to acquiesce to government aid it is clearly a sharp turn left.

(Maybe it's only a head fake.)

And before you spike the ball K let's see if brother JK can tackle you first.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2009 6:05 PM
But jk thinks:

"Dirty Colonoscopy Equipment for Everybody!" is certain to go over well.

The CO - 2 Chair of Keith's Presidential Campaign is certainly not going to tackle the candidate...

Not a thing to disagree with in these comments (and love the Crockett link) but I hold no hope of significantly rolling back the scope of public charity. Sure it would be better but it ain't gonna happen. To make an impossibility a prerequisite of another plan is extending fancies.

Kill the mohair subsidy and let's talk.

Posted by: jk at September 3, 2009 8:59 PM
But Keith thinks:

The mohair subsidy, the ethanol subsidy, the land bank, all consigned to the ashheap of history. The price of a carton of milk resulting from supply and consumer demand rather than the diktat of an artificial price floor. Federal lands and Interstate highways deeded back to the states in which they lie, to do with as they and their voting residents see fit. Full implementation of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, and a call for a new Constitutional amendment forbidding taxation for the involuntary transfer of money from citizens who earn to others. A double-bladed ax laid to the root of whole Federal departments. You want them, you've got them.

Résumés for Cabinet posts in my administration are now being accepted...

Posted by: Keith at September 4, 2009 5:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Cabinet post hell, I want to be the Classical Education Czar. (Can you say Nationwide Charter Schools?)

I expected JK to predict the following: Medical care that is, de-facto, "good enough" for our military vets would somehow be judged by the electorate NOT good enough for the deadbeats and border-hoppers among us. I didn't expect him to do it so colorfully.

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2009 8:37 PM
But Keith thinks:

jg: Classical Education Czar? I don't know which I find more shocking - that you favor official appointed positions over which there is no oversight, or that you understand Education to be something that the Federal government has any business fiddling with.

Now, I'll offer you a twofer instead. If you'd settle for Secretary of Education, with a mandate to dissolve a Federal bureaucracy which has never educated a single American child, and done nothing but allocate tax moneys from the taxpaying public to school districts (after said money spends a very expensive night in Washington) for funding its pet programs and meddle in the business of college loans (a task better left to banks and other private lending organizations) and outright grants (a task better left to private charitable and scholarship organizations) - dissolve that bureaucracy with an eye to devolving the business of education to states, school districts, municipalities, and parents - and then head up a blue-ribbon brain trust to recommend (not require or mandate) a model curriculum of classical education, then the job is yours. Heck, just by exchanging these comments with you, I've already done a better job of vetting you than the current Education Commissar got.

Posted by: Keith at September 8, 2009 11:55 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yep. That's about what I had in mind.

I thought about this further after I posted the request and decided I'd prefer to be Energy Secretary. Once America has 2-dollar gas and as much nearly free electricity as France just imagine how much higher OUR "happiness index" will be than theirs!

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2009 1:39 PM

August 19, 2009

CATO: Ricardo Right

Should he wade in again? Everybody is getting along so well. Oh yeah.

The WSJ Ed Page reports on a CATO study suggesting relaxed immigration to encourage economic recovery:

Using a dynamic economic model that weighs the impact of immigrants on government revenues and expenditures, the study seeks to quantify the benefits of comprehensive immigration reform versus the enforcement-only approach. It finds that legalizing the entry of more low-skilled immigrants would result in economic gains of about $180 billion annually to U.S. households. A focus on more enforcement alone would not only result in an annual net economic loss of around $80 billion, say the authors, but fewer jobs, less investment and lower levels of consumption as well. "Modest savings in public expenditures would be more than offset by losses in economic output," says the report.

The common assumption is that low-skilled Latino immigrants are displacing U.S. natives and driving unemployment. The reality is that these immigrants don't tend to compete directly with natives. They more often take positions in the U.S. labor market that go unfilled by Americans, who are increasingly more educated and have better job opportunities.


Huh, that Comparative Advantage thingy again.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:39 PM | Comments (2)
But Terri thinks:

The operative word you don't often use is Legal vs Illegal.
Illegal - not competitive.
Legal - definitely fair game.

Posted by: Terri at August 20, 2009 10:02 AM
But jk thinks:

The thesis of the linked article is to encourage President Obama to follow through on a campaign promise for increased legal immigration. Then you and I can both be happy.

From a raw economic viewpoint I don't differentiate because it is not important. I've said a million times that I seek the humaneness of legal immigration. But in its absence, I'll take illegal immigration over poverty.

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2009 11:45 AM

February 7, 2009

The Under-examined GOP Rift

I'm glad Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians (note the little-l) are reexamining their tactics and message after the drubbing they all took in November-oh-eight. A little navel-gazing is probably well warranted.

While many topics are on the table, it appears to me that Republicans have forgotton or choosen to ignore the immigration rift. (They should read ThreeSources Immigration Category.) The debate turned me into a name-caller and separated me from Michelle Malkin, National Review (especially NRO), and Hugh Hewitt. It made me even more skeptical of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and a large list of right-wing bloggers.

Like the Civil War, it pitted brother against brother as I fought blog brothers, biological brothers and even a brother-in-law. The news may have moved on to the new administration and the stimulus bill, but I was reminded of the underlying rift yesterday. Allahpundit, whom I admire very much, had a post on the HotAir site where he complimented -- rightfully -- the tough and well reasoned stand that Senator Lindsey Graham has taken against the stimulus bill. Allahpundit could not resist pointing out that Michelle Malkin was now in agreement with "Grahamnesty."

Grahamnesty is a good line. But as we ask the last 41 Republicans who count to stick together against overwhelming odds, name calling seems a little churlish. I don't know that a Jesus-Christopher Hitchens ticket could have beaten Obama this year, but how many Republican activists were unable to get 100% behind the party's nominee because of immigration?

Regular ThreeSourcers know I stand pretty closely to McCain/Graham/Bush on immigration. I don't want to re-ignite the debate. I do, as a political pragmatist, want to seek out a New Fusionism. If the atheists and evangelicals could get together for decades to pursue their common interests, perhaps the populists and the free-border crowd need to do the same.

I get tense when I hear Rep. Tancredo rail on about deporting valedictorians and I wince when Governor Huckabee says "we have to make the Constitution match God's law." Yet it seems that the whole idea of individual liberty is under serious threat. Looking for electoral majority, we may need to paper over these differences.

As I have suggested, there is some middle ground. We could all support a platform plank of "reasonable border enforcement," "expanded legal immigration possibilities," "increased efficiency of INS and enforcement personnel," and "dignified treatment of current undocumented workers."

I'll even stop calling you xenophobic, economically-ignorant, populists names. What do you say?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:06 PM | Comments (3)
But Terri thinks:

"reasonable border enforcement", "expanded legal immigration possibilities", "increased efficiency of INS and enforcement personnel," and "dignified treatment of current undocumented workers."

As one of the blog 'brothers', who disagreed with you.....I am on board with all of the concepts laid out above.

Posted by: Terri at February 8, 2009 9:23 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Border security is rapidly shifting from keeping "Jose" out of the orchard to keeping out extremely violent drug cartels. If the violence now on the Mexican side spills over north of the border, the momentum for a wall will (ahem) build faster than you can say Gaza. Keeping illegal workers out will merely be a consequence.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 9, 2009 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sounds good so far brother. Now give me a guarantee that current and future immigrants from third-world nations won't become voters - legally or otherwise - and I'm on board. Without that there's reason to believe any immigration liberalization will effectively make the Republican party, and the idea of a representative republic, obsolete.

I find it ironic that one of your justifications for forging this New Fusionism is in a quest for electoral majority. For whom?

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2009 3:46 PM

December 2, 2008

Change of subject

Obviously, the entertainment quality of Fox's '24' is too much to handle. In the holiday spirit, I will change the subject. To immigration.

Though it was not a key issue in 2008, my pals on the WSJ Ed Page, point out that "the political reality is that Republicans who thought that channeling Lou Dobbs would save their seats will soon be ex-Members."

Virginia Republican Congressman Virgil Goode's narrow loss to Democrat Tom Perriello became official last week, and it caps another bad showing for immigration restrictionists. For the second straight election, incumbent Republicans who attempted to turn illegal immigration into a wedge issue fared poorly.

Anti-immigration hardliners Randy Graf, John Hostettler and J.D. Hayworth were among the Republicans who lost in 2006. Joining them this year were GOP Representatives Thelma Drake (Virginia), Tom Feeney (Florida), Ric Keller (Florida) and Robin Hayes (North Carolina) -- all Members of a House anti-immigration caucus that focuses on demonizing the undocumented.


"Republican share of the Hispanic vote fell to 31% this year from more than 40% in 2004." As the GOP struggles to define itself and its positions, I hope the caucus will choose freedom. Pretty soon, the Tancredo wing will be on the outside looking in. That will be a plus. It is bad economics, bad philosophy, and bad politics.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:12 PM | Comments (22)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JK makes his financial decision without realizing that The Refugee can be 10X more productive than a Sonoran, so JK would be crazy not to hire him!

Immigration is currently a loser issue for Republicans. However, with all due humility, The Refugee thinks that a proposal that combines a modicum of free market principles, controlled immigration and reasonable enforcement, such as his above, would turn it from a loser to a winner. Now, he'll count on all Three Sourcers to tell him why not.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 3, 2008 6:47 PM
But The Heretic thinks:

Thanks BR for the eloquently intro. For the record, we strive to raise our children as Indian-Americans. It is important to us that they draw upon the goodness of their heritage, as much as they cultivate the American values.

Getting back to the point of this discussion, the Heretic has no objections (and as a matter of fact would welcome) setting some standards on who is allowed in and who is not. Many of these categories exist today. The problem really is with the bureaucracy and quota limits per year and by country. Further, the quota's for family based immigration is much higher than that of labor based -- thus leading to long waits and ultimately of two outcomes, talent moving on to other greener pastures or illegal immigration.

The Heretic does not believe legislation and building walls (in this case fences) alone will curtail the illegal immigration problem. People will move to where the jobs are. That is just the reality. In this regard BR's proposition of job seeking vs. citizenship seeking immigrants is a good way to consider and solve the problem.

However, The Heretic doesn't necessarily buy into private sector labor arbitrage. There is lot of room for abuse and consequently, something this group hates - regulation. Someday, in an appropriate context, we can debate real life examples.

, the Heretic has long admired efficiency of the immigration system in Singapore. One of my relatives, decided to go to school there. The selection process into the school, as I understand, was at least as rigorous as those of many of the marquee Universities in the United States. However his having to prove his worthiness ended there. By the time he had graduated, the govt. had automatically given him his work permit and he had an invite to apply for his permanent residency. After he found a job and had paid into the tax system for about a year, he was invited to apply for his citizenship. Entire process completed online and in approx. 18 months. Total cost Sing. $500 (approx. USD 71). The system has figured a way to recognize and keep talent. Arguably, they haven't done too bad for themselves.

Posted by: The Heretic at December 3, 2008 6:50 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

Hey I've been on this ride before and I think I got dizzy and threw up. Go to itunes, spend a buck and listen to Willie Nelson's "Living in the Promiseland."

Posted by: sugarchuck at December 3, 2008 6:55 PM
But jk thinks:

BR is invited to spend some time with a Ricardo text or play The Desert Island Game. It is not your productivity vis-a-vis our southern friend, it is about the most productive use of your time, which is pretty danged unlikely to be lettuce picking.

Yeah, SC, we have been around these parts but we have some new players and new ideas. I have enjoyed the ride quite a bit this time.

I fear for BR's solution because President Bush and Senator McCain came up with a very workable version -- and Rush Limbaugh, Rep, Tancredo, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and their evel minions killed it!

Posted by: jk at December 3, 2008 7:42 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

(marrying Perry or JK seems to be a job Americans won't do)

Technically it isn't the mere act of marrying, but a lifetime commitment of marriage. And in my case, I couldn't find an American girl who was right for me. One would be gold-digging, another too flirty to be trusted in future fidelity, and for another, I was the wrong religion. In the end, I found someone who had both a comparative and an absolute advantage in being a good wife to me.

But you're designing a plane that doesn't account for gravity. "When we get rid of gravity, it'll fly real good!"

Actually, no. Gravity is a natural property of matter that exists with or without human action. The welfare state is a human construct that we had to create before it existed.

So your analogy would be correct if it were something like, "When we get rid of the bureaucrats and the lead weights they make us use for flaps, it'll finally fly."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 3, 2008 11:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I hoped I knew Perry well enough to get awaty with that joke! My lovely wife spent almost all her life here and was sworn in in the 3rd grade. She is comfortable in both cultures and I have certainly enjoyed being a "big, white Filipno."

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2008 11:46 AM

July 3, 2008

Immigration, Again

We can't all go off to our Fourth celebrations as indivisible, proud Americans, can we?

I wonder if the forces at ThreeSources who are -- shall we say -- less tolerant of illegal immigration than I am -- are you disturbed that Senator McCain is spending the Third in Mexico? Mickey Kaus sure is:

So the Fourth of July newspapers will have John McCain in ... er, Mexico plotting how to achieve comprehensive immigration reform with Felipe Calderon. ... And some people say the McCain Team has a tin ear!

I've heard some good points made around here -- I like the prosperity that they bring to us and am more willing than most around here to shrug off some of the problems. I'll agree that it is complicated, and I will cede that the other side has honest interlocutors.

But Kaus -- whom I admire greatly -- is not one of them. I feel a little sorry for him -- a Democrat yearning for Tancredoism has a tragic side to it.

I would think that one thing we might agree on is that the government of Mexico will continue to be mui importanto to future immigration concerns. I think this episode exposes the flaw in the Kaus theory. Why is the candidate holding talks without preconditions with Calderon? The solution is to be found on the north side of the Rio Grande. It's 14 feet high, has barbed wire on top and a lot of armed people in its shade to ensure its integrity.

Sorry, Mickster, a real solution involves Mexico. To deny that is to expose your thinking as being too small for the problem.

Happy Fourth!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2008

Kumbaya Time

ThreeSourcers have had our best fights over Immigration, but I have a feeling we might all come together on Rep Wiener's special Visa for models.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York congressman who has been romantically linked by tabloid newspapers to several high-profile, beautiful women, is one step closer to creating a special work permit for foreign fashion models.

Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, a 43-year-old bachelor, has proposed legislation giving international beauties their own U.S. visa category, rather than have them compete with computer analysts and scientists for the non-immigrant H-1B visa for skilled professionals.


For the record, it is not that hard to tell models and computer professionals apart. All the same, as the pro-Immigration guy around here, I'll take more fashion models however it works.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 3:43 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2008

Let Them Eat Corn!

The evil, populist Kaus-Reynolds axis is at it again. (Mickey & The Professor?) I have the highest respect and admiration for both Mickey Kaus and Glenn Reynolds, but their position as Lou Dobbs of the Blogosphere always gets me down.

Today, Kaus writes about a Pennsylvania farmer who is no longer planting tomatoes because of labor concerns. Kaus points out that tomatoes are not rotting in the fields (sad news in an election year), but that the farmer has chosen a less labor-intensive crop:

But note that no tomatoes are rotting in the fields in this story. Eckel has just decided to plant another, less labor-intensive crop: "45 acres of sweet corn, and 1,200 acres of corn for grain." Is this a tragedy, or a surprisingly painless transition away from a business that used illegal labor to a business that uses legal labor? We will buy fewer Pennsylvania tomatoes and more Pennsylvania corn. So? ...

So we are poorer, Sir, instead of using trade and comparative advantage to enrich our lives, we are choosing self-sufficiency. Enjoy your Bacon, Lettuce and Corn sandwich!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:33 AM

February 8, 2008

The Worst Thing You Can Find?

Rep. Tom Tancredo is back. His Presidential campaign is over, he is not seeking reelection, he can now worry full time that somewhere an illegal alien is happy.

I get emails from the Center for Individual Liberty. I think I signed a pro war or support-the-troops petition once and I have been on the mailing list for some time. I guess we see eye-to-eye on the war, but I haven't agreed with anything they've included in their emails. Today's subject is "Warning Illegals May Still Get Rebate Checks Under Stimulus Plan" And it seems Rep. Tancredo is unhappy. Even though they amended the bill to not purposefully send checks to illegals, there might be a slip up or two:

Here's what else Tancredo has said of the Ensign Fix:

"Unless language is added to the package that both expressly prohibits the issuance of rebate checks to illegal aliens and directs the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to share information and work together to prevent these payments from being made to illegal aliens, we will not address this glaring deficiency in the stimulus legislation."


I will shock and astound ThreeSourcers when I say that I am not seeking direct subsidies to the undocumented. But this stimulus bill is nonsense on stilts. In quicksand. With a plate-balancing monkey on your back.

The depreciation provisions may actually help a little, but the rebates are bad from every angle. They won't help, and the deficit they exacerbate will preclude extending tax cuts that do help. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

But to single out immigration as the problem with this legislation highlights the depravity of the Tancredo crowd. It's like worrying whether burning your house down is an efficient use of matches.


Posted by John Kranz at 11:49 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Everybody whacks at me for my immigration position, AtWC, feel free.

I cannot see the map when I follow the link.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2008 1:14 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I have no problem with anyone, citizen or legal resident or illegal, getting tax money back. Whoever gets money back will either spend it or save it in the real economy. Ideally that's less money in the hands of government, but as we know, government won't cut spending...

Forget illegals. They're a red herring. The problem is when *anyone*, citizen or legal resident or illegal, gets a rebate check when the amount exceeds whatever the person paid in taxes.

There's no equivocating: it is patently absurd for those who pay no income taxes to receive (more) money from the rest of us, whether welfare or the "rebate" farce.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 8, 2008 1:29 PM
But At The Water Cooler thinks:

jk, not pointing my finger at you, but somebody voted these #$%^##@ into office.

Perry Eidelbus, I have the same issue thanks for bringing it up. As it made me think about the head of household credit (which I believe acts like a credit to the money you paid in) ... I think people on welfare get it. I am using welfare loosely to include everybody who gets a check from the state without doing work, people who have no documents do get those.

Posted by: At The Water Cooler at February 8, 2008 1:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Taking it a step further, even if one's "stimulus rebate check" does not exceed his tax payments for that year it is still income redistribution unless it's in the same proportion as his taxes paid. But as Ragnar Danneskjold taught us, any chance you have to get ANY of your money back - take it!

"Nonsense on stilts" yes, but I'll take mine please. Thank you very much. Now, would I turn it down if it meant none of these abominous checks would be mailed? Yes, but if we're making up such wondrous notions why would we stop there?

Posted by: johngalt at February 8, 2008 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Perry and jg are a little too sanguine here. Swell to get some taxes back, but you're paying for them to write and mail the checks, you're paying for all the fraudulent ones, and you're paying for all the ones paid to those who did not pay that much in taxes.

And if you're over the income limit, you not gettin' nothin'. I don't think Ragnar is quite down on this.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2008 4:05 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I think you misunderstand my point, jk. I'm only saying there's no problem with anyone getting tax money back -- provided they had paid taxes. This whole "illegal" thing is a red herring, to mask that retirees and welfare recipients.

Don't let my previous comment deceive you. I accept no redistribution whatsoever, even to the point that I think a "flat" percentage-based tax is wrong. If you saw me in real life, your hair would blanche white in a second, once you heard my ranting about the bleepity bleep bleep bleeping taxes that are being stolen from me, and given to bleepity bleep bleep bleeping bleepers.

Each year of my adult life, I grew angrier as my income grew and the percentage stolen (euphemistically called "taxation") grew. I am positively livid over what I paid last year, and that people who aren't working are literally living off my hard labor. Last year, I paid as much in taxes as a person can earn all year round, and I'm not talking about someone making minimum wage. Yet with the taxes, I feel like I'm not advancing in salary.

Remember, even the Mafia charges either just a head tax or a flat tax.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 11, 2008 1:21 PM

January 21, 2008

HB's Immigration Plan

Nothing gets the folks at Three Sources as riled up as a conversation on immigration. With that in mind, here is my immigration solution:


Do Nothing.

Okay, that is a bit facetious. In actuality, what I mean is that we should "do nothing" in terms of legislation. Here is why:

  • The sheer magnitude of the task of removing 12 million people from the United States makes any attempt to do so nearly impossible. This should not be the focus of any immigration policy. We need to treat the problem, not the symptom.

  • Secure the borders. There is no need for legislation. The United States government already has the authority, they have simply failed to do so.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:22 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

@#$^%& ^&*^(* , HB!!!

Seriously, the Prosperitarian in me likes your plan a great deal, and it is probably going to draw more ire from some others 'round here. As with all government enterprises, it is much better to do nothing than the wrong thing. And my animation about the issue is driven out of the assumption that the government will (surprise!) likely do the wrong thing.

At the same time, I'd have to point out a few very serious problems with the status quo ante:

1) Breakdown of rule of law.
2) Capricious enforcement (I know you're a Bastiat fan. I don't think Frederic would find current law "understandable and avoidable.")
3) Barbaric treatment of workers we need and should encourage. These workers must give money to "coyotes" to get them across the border and then are completely at the mercy of these people. They are subjected to rape, torture and further extortion because our government cannot connect willing employers with willing workers.
4) I think the terrorism card is wildly overplayed by the nativists, but a controlled border would provide more safety than an intentionally porous one.

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2008 1:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Again, I ask, why do we limit the number of immigrant visas in this country?

HB says we need to treat the problem, not the symptom. As I see it the problem is that our immigration laws since 1952 have criminalized individual pursuit of the American dream for those not born in America. Like Fred! said, we need "high walls and wide gates."

Citizenship is a different matter entirely, but I doubt you'd see widespread fraud to obtain citizenship (i.e. citizenship by marriage) if simple and lawful procedures existed for aliens to come here and enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those who want to vote or hold office could pursue a separate citizenship process.

But enough talk of pie in the sky immigration dreams. Let's talk about something that has a greater probability of happening, like Fred Thompson winning the Republican nomination.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2008 3:14 PM
But Terri thinks:

I have to agree with Harrison except I would add one more change and that's make it easier to cross legally when you have no skills

I don't want to see specific work visas for hard laborers because then you have a permanent underclass who will never Americanize because we'd suck purposefully bring in serfs.

The reasons people cross over to work here in labor is because it's a heck of a lot easier and possible than coming across legally.

Continue to prosecute folks who knowingly hire illegals, secure the border and make it easier to cross with papers.
That would fix the problem.

Posted by: Terri at January 21, 2008 3:17 PM
But HB thinks:

jg, I will concede that I would repeal all legislation that limits the number of immigrant visas. I am much closer to being an open borders guy than an immigration hawk. However, my main point is that if we are not going to open the border, we should at least enforce it. I wholly support high walls/wide gates.

Posted by: HB at January 21, 2008 9:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Fred!'s candidacy seems up in the air as I type this, but he has united ThreeSources with a single phrase.

I suspect that if we dug a little deeper, we'd find that I want wider and jg wants taller, but we're all on board for "tall fences with wide gates." I hope the nominee adopts that line.

Posted by: jk at January 22, 2008 11:41 AM

January 18, 2008

Carlos Mencia Call Your Office

On his Comedy Channel TV show, Carlos Mencia got big laughs when he riffed on the border fence. "Just who do you think will build it?" "You'll have to tell them to go over to the other side to check it out and then shut the gates."

Mary Anastasia O'Grady may or may not be getting laughs with the same riff. In Political Diary today, she says:

It turns out that to build barricades to keep "them" out, we might need to let "them" in because the construction companies building border fences need illegal workers.

Just ask Mel Kay, who runs a company called Golden State Fence and was busted two years ago for hiring undocumented migrants. On January 12th the Associated Press chronicled his path to arrest, explaining that he gave employment to illegals whose job it was to build fences along the U.S.-Mexico border and at two immigrant jails.

Mr. Kay says that over the years much of the output from Golden State Fence was produced by illegals. He hired them, he says, not because they were cheap, but because he relied on referrals from his Mexican employees as the only way to get reliable, stable help.

A prospective candidate's status with immigration authorities wasn't nearly as important, he said, as whether a potential employee's connection to family and friends meant he was "trustworthy and more apt to stay long term." A building boom in California made it hard for him to find workers any other way, even paying a starting salary of $35,000 that increased to $60,000 after three years. Full-time employees also got medical benefits, sick leave and two weeks vacation.


But I've used that argument around here and nobody has been convinced. So, here's her second point. I saw it in a FOXNews crawl a few days ago. To build this fence will require vigorous exercise of the hated "takings clause." ¿Kelo no beuno, anybody?
But that's only one barrier to building a wall to keep out illegal migrants. A second is resistance from property owners along the border who don't want a Berlin Wall in their backyards. Many are now vowing to fight the government. Texas's Rio Grande Valley has lately become flush with "No border wall" signs.

Does all this mean that Texans don't care about the rule of law? Not at all, says Mayor Richard Cortez in the border town of McAllen. "Our fight with the government is not over their goals, it's how they go about them." He says Washington should deepen the river, clear brush for better vigilance and create a program to allow for legal workers to cross the border. Then, U.S. law enforcement could spend its time going after real criminals rather than tracking down and deporting bus boys and construction workers.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:39 PM | Comments (3)
But Terri thinks:

So because people can't find labor, the answer (in the all important free market) is to
a) increase legal immigration and make it easier
or
b) continue to allow illegal immigration to grow

Jk, you're still wrong by choosing b no matter how many ways you say it.

Posted by: Terri at January 18, 2008 5:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Actually, I want whatever combination of a plus b plus c -- allow guest workers will fill the labor pool.

I wondered if some of the property rights crowd around ThreeSources might be concerned by the eminent domain requirements to build the fence.

Posted by: jk at January 18, 2008 5:52 PM
But Terri thinks:

Yet 'a' wasn't part of the bill, and 'c' would all of a sudden be unfair competition for 'b' , just like 'b' right now is unfair competition for 'a' and citizens.

You can't have guest workers and illegals. Allowing for legal immigration in a faster way and increased amount while no longer easily allowing and hiring of illegal workers is the only answer to this problem.

Posted by: Terri at January 18, 2008 6:31 PM

December 14, 2007

Regulation Isn't Free

Justice Brandeis, call your office! States are indeed "laboratories of Democracy" and in the absence of a Federal immigration solution, states are passing their own legislation.

The Wall Street Journal news pages -- not my wingnut buddies on the Editorial board -- report on the business community's preparations for a new law

PHOENIX -- Arizona businesses are firing Hispanic immigrants, moving operations to Mexico and freezing expansion plans ahead of a new law that cracks down on employers who hire undocumented workers.

The law, set to take effect on Jan. 1, thrusts Arizona into the heart of the national debate on illegal immigration, which has become a hot topic on the presidential campaign trail. Republican candidates, in particular, have been battling to show how tough they are on the issue.

Arizona's law, believed to be the strictest in the nation, is shaping up as a test of how employers will react when faced with real sanctions for hiring undocumented labor. It is being closely watched by businesses across the country. While proponents say the crackdown will save the state money on services for illegal immigrants, some businesspeople fear Arizona's economic growth may be at risk.


Businesspeople should fear. The law is having its intended effect. Immigrants are leaving the state and employers are very cautious about the status of new hires. But my Friends at ThreeSources (F@TSs) who would rightly scream about unintended consequences for subsidies or CAFE standards, still do not recognize the massive consequences of such a crackdown:
A University of Arizona study released earlier this year concluded that economic output would drop 8.2% annually if noncitizen foreign-born workers were removed from the labor force. Researchers estimate about two-thirds of the workers in that category are in the state illegally.

"Getting rid of these workers means we are deciding as a matter of policy to shrink our economy," says Judith Gans, an immigration scholar at the university's Udall Center. "They're filling vital gaps in our labor force."

Sheridan Bailey, president of steel-beam manufacturer Ironco, said he has fired several Hispanic employees in anticipation of the sanctions law. "This law has the potential of sinking a business," he said. Mr. Bailey, who has formed a business group to address the issue, said Congress's inaction has allowed "policies to be generated on the fringe."

Ironco recently sealed a deal to outsource some production to a Mexican company. "The labor market is tight, and I face fines if I don't meet my commitments," said Mr. Bailey. Pacing his company's steel-fabrication bay, where welders and fitters build columns, he asked rhetorically: "Who will work here in 112-degree heat, come the summer?"

Dora Cardenas, who owns a small Mexican restaurant in Phoenix, has lost six out of 12 employees since late November. They moved to other states. "They say they were afraid to be here," said Ms. Cardenas. "I'm even afraid to be here, and I am a legal resident." She said business is down almost 40% since the summer at her restaurant, which caters mainly to a Latino clientele.

Jason Levecke, the grandson of the founder of the Carl's Jr. fast-food empire and the state's biggest franchisee, has put on hold plans to open 20 more outlets statewide. "That's $30 million that could blow up in my face," he said. "The risk is too great."


I do not claim that my F@TSs are inconsistent, hypocritical, or fat. The country has a legitimate right to regulate immigration which it lacks for energy mix, toilet water use, or washing machine design. And F@TS is just an unfortunate acronym.

But I'd ask them to consider these consequences and to refrain from calling for a crackdown until there is some method to ameliorate these effects.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:58 AM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'll find the link to my own post later, but I've said for a while now that there's no point to the law distinguishing between one man as a "legal resident" and another man as an illegal alien. The difference is whether one works and the other leeches via the state.

I don't care if the Guatemalans in Brewster (a town in the county north of me that's known for an increasing Hispanic population) are living here legally or illegally. In warmer weather, there are usually a bunch on the Metro-North train by the time it gets to my stop. I don't care why they're riding it, which is always for day-labor jobs in Mount Kisco or Chappaqua. I *do* care if they're living off my tax dollars.

Conservatives often use "the rule of law" but have no goddamn idea what it means. It only means that the law must be applied equally to everyone. It doesn't mean the law must always be obeyed: there have been laws saying you'd lose your head for not swearing allegiance to the crown, so should those have been enforced? What about when HillaryCare is passed, must it be enforced because "it's the law"?

Laws can be wrong, and just because an illegal "broke the law" doesn't inherently mean anything bad.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 14, 2007 4:39 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd love to see the link if you can dig it up, Perry. I'm a lonely voice around here on immigration. (Then again, I'm feeling a bit lonesome on "New Monitarism" as well...)

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2007 6:44 PM

October 29, 2007

Rep. Tancredo to Quit House

I suppose he'd have to give up his seat when he's inaugurated.

I know that other ThreeSourcers are closer to Tancredo's views on immigration than I am, but I think we might all maybe sorta agree that his extremist positions do not do the GOP any good. (I still remember when he wanted to deport the class valedictorian). John Fund, in the Political Diary, hammers him for blocking comprehensive immigration reform:

The 61-year-old Congressman certainly had a rabble-rousing impact on his fellow Republicans. While the comprehensive immigration bill proposed by a bipartisan group of Senators earlier this year turned out to be hastily written and deeply flawed, Mr. Tancredo had no effective alternative in mind. He simply wanted to kill the bill, pouring cold water on efforts by members such as Rep. Mike Pence to craft a compromise that would deal in a practical way with aliens already in the country and businesses that desperately need a reliable guest-worker program.

Fund then speculates on his political future:
But while Mr. Tancredo is leaving Congress, don't think you've heard the last of him on his pet subject. He plans to continue speaking and writing and (for now) pursuing his presidential bid. Then there's the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Colorado, when Democratic Senator Ken Salazar, whom Mr. Tancredo sees as 180 degrees opposite him on immigration matters, will be running for re-election. The problem is, Mr. Tancredo thought long and hard about running for the same seat in 2004, only to discover that polls showed he would have trouble winning even the GOP nomination statewide.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, Congressman. (I may have promised no more nasty comments like that about Rep. Tancredo -- but this is a special occasion.)


Posted by John Kranz at 4:09 PM

September 27, 2007

Did I mention This Was a Big Loser?

Tancredoism might be popular with the talk radio crowd and the right wing fever swamps of the blogosphere (like ThreeSources when jk is out to coffee), but it is not an electoral winner.

Larry Kudlow links to an evaluation, on the America's Majority site of Projected Impact of Enforcement Only on Hispanic Presidential Vote, 2008. Larry calls it A GOP Recipe for Electoral Disaster.

The foundations newest study, involving 145 precincts and 175,000 votes, analyzes actual vote shifts in Hispanic portions of six congressional districts in the 2004 and 2006 elections.

Nadler finds that border security is not the key issue affecting the Latino vote...Participants in the immigration debate neednt like this conclusion. But they had better understand it.


Bad politics. Bad policy.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:29 AM

September 19, 2007

Immigration, Part MCLXIV

Awesome interview in TCSDaily today between Nick Schultz and "British author and economist Philippe Legrain." Schultz serves up, pretty astutely, the bulk of legitimate questions about legal and illegal immigration. The author of Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them politely, but convincingly answers them.

Schulz: Can we know what the right level of immigration is? How do we know?

Legrain: I don't think that "we", whoever that "we" might be, can determine the "right" level of immigration, any more than we can know the right level of international tourism, the right number of foreign business trips that should be taken or the right number of children people should have. What we can say is that because immigration controls restrict people's ability to move freely and companies' and workers' ability to reach mutually advantageous employment contracts, the current level and composition of migration is "wrong", in the sense that arbitrary controls stop some people from moving, cause others to migrate illegally, result in many people staying in the US longer than they would otherwise choose to do, and prevent the labor market operating efficiently and fairly.


It's a great, serious discussion without the name calling and ad hominem attacks we have around here. It is well worth a read in full.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:27 PM

August 22, 2007

Rudy's Immigration Pander

The WSJ Ed Page (or, as Michelle Malkin would call them, the "Open Borders WSJ Ed Page") asks whether Mitt! and Rudy! are "competing for the Republican Presidential nomination, or for the job of vacation replacement for Lou Dobbs?"

GOP Immigration Meltdown (free link)

Both candidates, however, ignore the reality that more security measures will have limited effect if not paired with a guest worker program that gives foreign nationals more legal ways to access job offers in the U.S. The same goes for the Bush Administration's recently announced plans to step-up "interior" enforcement. Taking U.S. employers to the woodshed won't fix the illegal immigration problem, and it could do real economic harm.


Then again, maybe Hugh Hewitt is right. Trashing the economy and alienating the fastest voting block in the country really is the path to big Republican sweeps in 2008. Yaaay Team!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:11 AM

August 20, 2007

Down, the Republican Party

"Immigration will be to the Republicans what Iraq withdrawal is to the Democrats," says Jeff Birnbaum on FOX NEWS's The Beltway Boys. It is August and the folks at FOX could not round up a liberal to fill Morton Kondracke's seat.





But both conservatives -- I emphasize the word "conservative;" these guys are both more conservative than I -- see the approaching electoral train wreck. They don't blame the other ThreeSourcers directly but...

UPDATE: YouTube is a great forum for nuanced debate. The comments I drew to my posting on Speaker Pelosi made we want to join her side. Today I get this:

The Beltway Boys are for Open Borders. Screw them!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:31 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I have NEVER found Jeff Birnbaum to be a conservative.

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2007 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, Fred Barnes and Karl Marx say the GOP is in trouble from immigration. The point holds.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2007 4:18 PM

August 16, 2007

Rudy! Immigration!

I can't sit on bad news. John Fund writes a troubling item in Wednesday's Political Diary:

Rudy Giuliani has decided to become very tough on immigration. Stung by criticism from Mitt Romney that he presided over a "sanctuary city" in the 1990s when New York refused to report the immigration status of illegal aliens, Mr. Giuliani gave a speech in South Carolina yesterday in which he announced: "We can end illegal immigration. I promise you we can end illegal immigration."

The former New York mayor backed up his words by announcing he would push for a "national database of foreigners," an increase of 20,000 border patrol agents to deport illegal immigrant felons, and the erection of a fence along the U.S. border.

All this tough talk amuses anti-immigration forces, which have been critical of Mr. Giuliani ever since he opposed the 1996 welfare reform bill in large part because of its treatment of illegal immigrants. "It sounds like an effort by Giuliani to make himself seem like a hawk on immigration when, in fact, he's been a dove all along," Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies told the New York Sun.

Advocates for immigrants are appalled at Mr. Giuliani's new tack. They point out that while mayor he created the mayor's office of immigrant affairs and also sued the federal government for trying to allow city employees to turn in illegal immigrants who applied for government help.

Indeed, in 1996 Mr. Giuliani gave a speech at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in which he declared: "The reality is, people will always get in. And the reality is, the federal government does not deport them... So illegal and undocumented immigrants are going to remain, and even increase. And nothing that is now being proposed in Washington would realistically change that very much."

Everyone is allowed to alter his or her position on issues, and Mr. Giuliani says he remains firmly committed to more legal immigration than is now allowed. But nonetheless his current attempt to remake himself into a "Border Patrol" champion is one of the more dramatic and surprising transformations of the presidential race so far. It is further proof of just how much the politics of immigration have changed in recent years.


I'm still on board, but this is easily the most disappointing thing I have read about Giuliani. His position has "evolved" from right to wrong.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:11 PM | Comments (6)
But sugarchuck thinks:

You expected, perhaps, a pro illegal immigrant speech? Your assessment of Rudy's evolution is, in a nutshell, the reason you and Bush and Ted Kennedy can't get any support on the this issue; you don't want border security, legal immigration or an honest guest worker program. You want open borders, a legalized version of the chaos we have now. You cover yourself with rhetorical fig leaves but they fall to the ground when you equate a desire to end illegal immigration with a move from "right to wrong".

Posted by: sugarchuck at August 17, 2007 9:33 AM
But jk thinks:

No, I was talking to Senator Kennedy the other night, making big plans for the future, and he said...

Seriously, I begged for a guest worker program for years around here. The rough riders of talk radio rose up in a populist revolt and killed it.

Mayor Giuliani was eloquent in the FOX News GOP debate when Rep, Tancredo was suggesting a moratorium on legal immigration. I'd say the 1996 described above is about right: admit the exigencies of a lengthy border and open society and seek a more political solution. Fair point on the pro-illegal speech, but Giuliani has pushed free market, classical liberal ideas on heath care, regulation, and taxation. I'd have loved him to propose something a little more nuanced than a fence.

Lastly, my concern is not just immigration. This is the first time I see (my) candidate choosing politics over principle. That never ends well.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2007 11:14 AM
But Terri thinks:

If you're saying that "right" is all the illegal immigration that is possible and "wrong" is increasing the numbers of legal immigrants allowed, then I'd say you have it wrong.

Posted by: Terri at August 17, 2007 11:19 AM
But sugarchuck thinks:

The guest worker program you begged for years ago, without a muscular enforcement of our borders, would be that fig leaf I was talking about. You can't have one without the other, and enforcement has got to come first. As to Rudy picking the political over the principal, isn't that precisely the kind of pragmatism he'll have to embrace if he wants to save us from Hillary? Just askin'....

Posted by: sugarchuck at August 17, 2007 11:52 AM
But jk thinks:

Right is having enough free labor to expand our economy and create wealth. I want to do that in a legal context where we know who is here and can keep out those who do not abide by our laws.

I do not join my blog brothers to say that an illegal border crossing under the current circumstance is enough of an infraction to call someone illegal. That would be like Barney Fife putting everybody in jail if they drive five mph over the speed limit.

Millions came here to freely trade their labor and create contract with employers who require them. It is insane that we force people to pay criminals and risk their lives.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2007 12:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I have always held that enforcement and a guest worker program are complimentary. The guest worker program keeps the pressure off the fence. Enforcement pushes people to use the legal method.

Gotta have both. Ergo, comprehensive reform.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2007 1:34 PM

July 27, 2007

Immigration Redux Remix

Let the record show that I didn't start it this time.

Former Deputy Editor of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page, George Melloan, has a guest editorial today (paid link). He contrasts the arresting of workers in Arizona against news that potatoes are rotting in the ground in Idaho because of insufficient labor to harvest them. It's all my arguments that have not convinced anybody around here yet:

Still, the $13 trillion American economy demands labor. Mexico has had a high birth rate (although it is rapidly slowing) and can supply the needed workers, with benefits on both sides of the border. But the U.S. political class can only talk of new barriers. Why is this such a hard equation for politicians? The longer this problem festers, the more likely it will push the Mexican polity to turn away from being an uneasy friend of the U.S. to becoming a troublesome enemy.

But there was a new twist I enjoyed:
The fundamental mistake, one that American politicians have made over and over again, is the belief that the government's police powers can overwhelm powerful market forces. Richard Nixon and the Congress attempted this feat in 1971 with wage and price controls, stalling American growth for a decade. Simpson-Mazzoli was a similar effort to strong-arm a key market -- for labor -- by threatening something that proved to be unenforceable, jail sentences for employers of illegal aliens. Luckily, that didn't shut off the labor supply from Mexico, it just drove it underground. Estimates are that there at least 12 million illegals in the U.S. and that may be far lower than the actual number.

Nixon wage and price controls. Blanket government interference in opposition to market forces. Why not institute a guest worker program instead of a fence?
My friend Robert Halbrook, a retired lawyer living in Tucson, Ariz., is aware that politics are not always logical or even rational, but offers a logical solution nonetheless: Legislators must do away with all the threats and penalties that drive labor and its employers underground. It must be made possible for illegal workers to achieve legal status without fear. That way Mexicans can come to the U.S. to fill jobs and go home safe in the knowledge that when their work is demanded they will be able to come back again. Many will go back with skills learned in the U.S., enabling them to earn a living at home. Most, he believes, do not crave U.S. citizenship. Why should they want to cope with a new language and culture, if they can return home without penalty? They just want to feed their families and try to move up the economic ladder.

Is it too much to ask of Congress that it employ some of this clear logic? Apparently so, judging from the paralysis in Washington.


Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | Comments (2)
But sugarchuck thinks:

Why not institute a guest worker program and a fence!

Posted by: sugarchuck at July 27, 2007 1:12 PM
But jk thinks:

That's what I suggested in November of 2005...

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2007 3:50 PM

July 26, 2007

Immigration Redux

Admitting you have a problem is usually the first step.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said he's floating a plan that would grant legal status to the nation's 12 million illegal immigrants, but offer no path to citizenship.

"It might be the equivalent of a green card," Specter said Thursday. "The main thrust is to bring the 12 million out of the shadows," and eliminate the fear of arrest or deportation.

Specter said conservatives who last month derailed a comprehensive immigration bill might accept his plan because it would not allow the 12 million to seek citizenship status.

"We litigated amnesty and that lost," Specter said.


Amnesty? Did he say Amnesty? I thought the previous bill specifically was not amnesty!

Posted by AlexC at 11:36 PM

Fred! & the Hazelton Decision

Fred Thompson is the first non-Presidential candidate with an exploratory committee to comment on the Hazelton decision.

Lets be clear about whats going on here. No matter what some groups may be trying to do to muddy the water and portray Hazletons law as something playing to an uglier agenda, this law is not about legal immigration. This law is about dealing with the illegal immigration problem in Hazleton. The towns mayor and city officials made this clear from the beginning, and it seems like they took a common sense approach.

Our constitutional system allows cities to take reasonable steps to protect their citizens. When the federal government is unwilling to enforce immigration laws effectively, then cities need to be able to act, and take reasonable steps to secure their citizens from the social, financial, and criminal costs of illegal immigration.

No doubt, this ruling will be appealed. And it should be.


The decision sets up the situation where a city or state wants a law enforced but federal law prohibits it, leaving it to the federal government, who don't want to enforce it.

Posted by AlexC at 6:23 PM | Comments (2)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

An interesting exercise in the 10th Amendment, if nothing else.

Sadly, it'll be years before it gets in front of the Supremes, where Justice Roberts SHOULD stick to his stare decisis (sp?) philosophy.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at July 26, 2007 10:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Here we go again...

I don't think the Hazleton law is a good idea. And I think it is a bad case for enforcement types to "get behind."

Let me, humbly, suggest how your side should proceed (you're welcome).

Those seeking stricter enforcement should "Know thy enemy" and should champion legislation and tactics that meet their goals and arouse the least opposition and suspicion from those who see it the other way. Like President Bush goes too far toward praising Islam so that he is difficult to attack as being anti-Muslim, I would suggest that y'all are very cautious on two fronts.

First, you should bend over backwards to demonstrate that you are not racist and would accept no law that interferes with legal immigrants and Hispanic citizens.

Second, you should assure the business community (and its toadies like me) that you do not want to disrupt the economy nor place onerous regulations on business.

You should find laws and tactics that support your goals and are good politics. Instead, the "enforcers" I know immediately hop on any proposal that they feel will harm illegal immigrants. Let's pardon the border guards who misbehaved (because they were shooting at an illegal); let's protest the pizza parlor that accepts Pesos ('cause that would be a convenience to illegals); let's all get behind the Hazleton law ('cause then illegals won't have any place to live or work).

You cover the Pennsylvania beat, ac, and if I am missing subtleties in the Hazleton law, I look forward to elucidation. But you're asking every landlord and employer to be an INS agent. How can you be sure whom you're renting the basement to? I don't want to be fined, I better not rent to any Latinos. It seems to punish employers and landlords for something that is not their problem.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2007 10:44 AM

July 6, 2007

So, it's a feature, eh?

As regulation scares companies away from our capital markets, protectionism pushes trade away, our overly restrictive immigration policies are reducing our competitive advantage in technology. The WSJ reports (paid link)

TORONTO -- Microsoft Corp. plans to open a software development center in Canada this fall to attract talent and avoid U.S. immigration issues.

The Vancouver, British Columbia location will be one of only a handful development centers outside the company's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., the software company said Thursday. It previously announced plans to build sites in Boston and Bellevue, Wash.

Microsoft said the Vancouver location will "allow the company to continue to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by the immigration issues in the U.S."


Good for Canada. But America becomes just another overregulated, socialist nation and there is no place left for classical liberals and innovators.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM

June 29, 2007

Epilogue

Or is it denouement? Post Mortem.

My brother in law called me last night for a quick gloat on the death of comprehensive immigration reform. While I had purported to give up last week, I cannot lie. This loss stung. I got a little grouchy and told him "that's okay, a lot more people will die but they are poor and brown, so who cares?"

Regaining my composure, I saluted President Bush for standing up to do what was morally and economically right against vocal opposition. It's the kind of Profile in Courage behavior we are always clamoring for at ThreeSources. The WSJ Ed Page joins me: (paid link)

As for the politics, the press will call this a defeat for President Bush, but he deserves credit for trying. This late in his term and with his low approval rating, he simply lacked the political capital to persuade Republicans spooked by talk radio and cable TV hosts. Mr. Bush was also trying to do his fellow Republicans a favor by forging a new relationship with Hispanic-Americans, even though he'll never be on another ballot. We look forward to seeing how GOP candidates win elections as Democrats grab a larger share of America's fastest growing voter bloc. Perhaps Lou Dobbs has some campaign tips.

As for Democrats, their cynicism has rarely been so obvious. Senate Majority Harry Reid pulled the bill earlier this month when GOP leaders wanted only another day or two for amendments. Then when he brought the bill back to the floor, he doomed it with faint support and by letting his party add amendments he knew would drive Republicans away. Now he and his fellow Democrats will tell Hispanic voters that they could have passed reform if not for those bigoted Republicans.

Mark it down: Chuck Schumer will use this against GOP Senators next year. And should they win more Senators and the White House, Democrats in 2009 will be in position to pass their own immigration reform that will be far less restrictive than this one. The conservatives who "won" this week will deserve much of the credit.


I'll lick my wounds and move on but this is a disappointment.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Brother-in-law? Do you have a conservative relative, is he one of the 50% of democrats who opposed the bill, or is he just a sadistic SOB?

As for the WSJ ed page, what a bunch of crap, er cr*p.

President Bush gets "credit for trying" but the "fellow Republicans" who stood in the way of this bad legislation didn't bring it up, so why do they get the blame for protecting Americans from it? I don't know about the rest of y'all, but "dems might do worse IF they win more senators and IF they win the White House" isn't a very persuasive argument with me.

And it would have been more difficult for talk radio and cable TV hosts to "spook" Republicans if the bill had gone through a normal legislative process with plenty of debate and transparency. John McCain's continuing penchant for secrecy and back-room deals is precisely what Republicans do NOT want - in a landmark bill, in a senator, or in a presidential candidate.

Where's the WSJ's lament that our congress behaves more and more like the soviet politburo?

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2007 10:23 AM
But jk thinks:

Said Brother in law is extremely conservative. I can't quite go as far as SOB but there was a little sadism involved. Even Sugarchucks email was subjected Salt in the wounds

Nobody in the planet has done a better job at attacking back room machinations from both parties than the WSJ Ed Page. There are some things you can accuse them of, suggesting they are silent against politburo tactics is unfair.

They WSJ and I and the President and Larry Kudlow and Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes and Jack Kemp and John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Trent Lott and Mitch McConnell thought that comprehensive immigration reform was a good idea and are disappointed that it is dead. You've heard all my arguments for it.

I find it surprising that you, whom I've heard eloquently rail against "the tyranny of the majority," now want a talk-radio plebiscite to determine policy in this country.

It was always about a committee/conference bill. The Senate needed to pass a bill, the House would draw and pass a different bill and the legislation would come out of conference: with lots of yummy enforcement for you and enough wholesome and nutritious legal labor for me and my beloved growing economy.

I think last year's bill was better and that last year's process was more open. But the talk radio populists and O'Reilly-Dobbs axis spiked it then. They tried a "streamlined" (I really should work for a campaign) a streamlined process to circumvent a noisy minority.

I salute the President for trying and salute the WSJ Ed Page for their intelligent commentary. Sorry I folded on you in the last week, guys.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2007 12:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Preventing a new set of laws and programs is a far different accomplishment than imposing them. One generally protects individual rights, while the other is virtually guaranteed to assault them.

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2007 3:09 PM

June 28, 2007

Once they heard jk folded...

Senate blocks immigration bill

WASHINGTON - The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush's plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

After the stinging political setback, Bush sounded resigned to defeat.

Now, I suppose we will agree on everything around here.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:30 PM

Quote of the Day

Speaking about the Senate immigration process

You cant tell the will of the American people simply by those who call or object.

US Senator Arlen Specter, proudly serving my home state of Pennsylvania, on the day the Senate phone system is overloaded with phone calls.

Posted by AlexC at 11:32 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

And your illustrious Senior Senator was the only Republican to vote for legalized union extortion.

Had I not given up the other day, I might point out that a majority of Americans, poised to profit from comprehensive immigration reform, are unlikely to call their Senator while a vocal minority is pulling out all the stops. I saw Tamar Jacoby speaking on the topic this morning and I think she is exactly right.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2007 12:05 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Arlen Specter,..he'll do for Aricept what Bob Dole did for Viagra!

BTW - Someone call his office and ask him if he still believes the single bullet theory?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 28, 2007 9:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Had to look up "Aricept." He's a great choice.

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2007 10:56 AM

June 26, 2007

jk Folds on Immigration

-- and begins addressing himself in the third person. Both are scary.

Instapundit links to a post on the Influence Peddler blog that asks "Has Bush Squandered the Last of His Political Capital on Immigration?" Professor Reynolds says "I'd say the answer is pretty much yes, which is unfortunate with more war-funding battles coming up soon."

I still think that the President's immigration views are 100% right. I think he understands the economic needs of the nation and, as a border state Governor, understands the human cost of the present system. I do not share his religious convictions, but I am guessing that they play a part here as well. He is doing the right thing for all the right reasons, and exhibiting political courage.

BUT

This President has been called to deal with Islamist terrorism and has been forced to preserve the Enlightenment. He wanted to do Faith Based Initiatives and Guest Worker Programs and limn out the Ownership Society. I wanted to keep playing hockey and riding my bike. He got 9/11 and I got MS. Tough titties all around, Mr. President.

I don't know why I was wrong when I called it a big GOP win in 2005. It still makes sense to me but I was wrong. I misunderstood the electorate. This is too hard and the President should concentrate, instead, on the war. It is one thing to see Rep Tancredo and a bunch of uber-Conservative talk show hosts stand so firm on this topic. I'm used to disagreeing with those folks. I lost my ties to National Review when they put the FMA on the cover.

I'm quitting because we couldn't get Glenn Reynolds. He is the one human with a nuanced approach to Global Warming. If he cannot or will not see the arguments for more liberalized immigration, it's over. In the same post, he links to Laura Ingrahm and to a Gateway Pundit posts that expresses anger that Senators Kennedy and Martinez are seen...wait for it...laughing together at a press conference.

Jk folds, Mr. President, and suggests you keep your few remaining chips for the war.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 AM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

64-35!

Posted by: AlexC at June 26, 2007 2:39 PM

June 25, 2007

Immigration Station

So, I was cruising the PhillyHistory.org website looking for old pictures of the waterfront from the 1950s, which I plan to dutifully recreate in HO scale in the basement.

I came across this picture from 1919.

MediaStream.ashx.jpg

I guess it's from the era when documentation was still part of the process.

Posted by AlexC at 5:31 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Just for me, I'll hope you 'll have a few 3/4" Poles and Italians sneaking under the fence...

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2007 7:06 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

More like, "back when people did it the legal way, before the Dumb-o-crats left the barn door open and said 'come on in!'"

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 25, 2007 9:12 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

As a great-grandchild of an immigrant who farmed, we take offense to the barn door analogy. My farmer parents would load their hind-quarters with buck-shot if we caught them within a mile of our barn. Perhaps, we should take a page from my predecessors and introduce them to what a pain in the rear an unhappy constituency can be.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at June 25, 2007 9:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Human beings. Come here to improve their lives. And make us rich. Shoot them?

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2007 1:07 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

JK: I was referring to the politicians snooping about our barn, not the hired help.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at June 26, 2007 1:12 PM
But jk thinks:

I misunderstood. Mea maxima culpa! Consider me on board. Mix a little rock salt in with shot.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2007 2:05 PM

June 19, 2007

Well, That's Scientific

A blog ad on Hugh Hewitt's Site:
amnesty_poll.jpg
Amazingly, 18% chose "I Like Amnesty" from this cartoonish "survey"-- on Hewitt's site no less. I picked it, of course, and they're "sorry I feel that way" but provided some links to straighten me out. And it's not too late to change my vote.

UPDATE: Warning! clicking that link counts as an "I Like Amnesty" vote. I can't quite crack the url to just view the results. At least I'm honest.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:48 PM

June 6, 2007

Conservatives for the Immigration Bill

A open letter to conservatives, asking them to band together on the Immigration Blill in today's Dallas News.

Border security, the rule of law, national interest, economic competitiveness these are the conservative concerns at the heart of the agreement. Yet conservatism is also, as Ronald Reagan reminded us, about optimism and self-confidence about an America sure enough of itself to be a big tent and a beacon.

The Senate framework will allow us to go on attracting immigrants and maintain the rule of law, too. The benefits of the bill far outweigh its shortcomings. We believe it offers the only realistic way forward, and urge conservatives and all Americans to embrace the promise it holds out.


Signers include:
  • Jack Kemp, former New York congressman

  • Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida

  • Ken Mehlman, former chairman, Republican National Committee

  • Tamar Jacoby, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute

  • James Q. Wilson, professor of public policy, Pepperdine University

  • Bill Paxon, former New York congressman

  • Michael Gerson, senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

  • Hector Barreto, chairman, The Latino Coalition

  • Ken Weinstein, CEO, Hudson Institute

  • Lawrence Kudlow, economics editor, National Review Online

  • Linda Chavez, chairman, Center for Equal Opportunity

  • Charlie Black, chairman, BKSH & Associates

  • Mike Murphy, Republican strategist

  • Francis Fukuyama, professor of political economy, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

  • Max Boot, senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

  • Richard Gilder, partner, Gilder Gagnon Howe & Co., LLC

  • Jeff Bell, principal, Capital City Partners

  • Steven Wagner, former director, Human Trafficking Program, Department of Health and Human Services

  • Gregory Mankiw, professor of economics, Harvard University

  • Donald J. Boudreaux, chairman, Economics Department, George Mason University

  • Philip I. Levy, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute

  • Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies, American Enterprise Institute

  • Jerry Bowyer, chairman, Bowyer Media

  • Clint Bolick, senior fellow, Goldwater Institute

  • Robert de Posada, president, The Latino Coalition

  • Gary Rosen, managing editor, Commentary

  • Joseph Bottum, editor, First Things

  • John McWhorter, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute

  • Larry Cirignano, Catholic activist

  • Pancho Kinney, former director of strategy, White House Office of Homeland Security


Hat-tip: Greg Mankiw (one of the signers)

Posted by John Kranz at 6:14 PM

June 3, 2007

Riots!

If we decided to start sending illegals back home, we'll have riots.

At one point McCain went back and forth with one audience member, who said he was upset that the immigration proposal before Congress is not tough enough.

The man asked McCain why the United States couldnt execute large-scale deportations, as he had heard they did in France and other countries.

In case you hadnt noticed, the thousands of people who have been relegated to ghettos have risen up and burned cars in France, McCain replied. Theyve got huge problems in France. They have tremendous problems. The police cant even go into certain areas in the suburbs of Paris. I dont want that in the suburbs of America.


Tip of the hat to Allah, who notes the real lessons of the French riots.
perhaps the real lesson of the French experience is that citizenship doesnt guarantee assimilation. Or perhaps its the idea that if you doubt your ability to assimilate people culturally, be sure you can control how many of them are coming in.

Posted by AlexC at 5:24 PM

L'Affaire Noonan

Paul Mirengolf of Powerline pens an interesting defense of President Bush from Peggy Noonan's attacks.

Conservatives certainly have plenty to disagree with the Bush administration about. However, as I argue at the AOL blog, we have no right to consider ourselves victims. President Bush never presented himself as a traditional conservative. We supported him anyway, in large part I think because we understood that a traditional conservative would stand little chance of succeeding Bill Clinton, who had re-popularized activist government.

This excerpt rings of "damning with faint praise" but I think he is right on. One thing that conservatives have learned to like about our 43rd President is his consistency and steadfastness. The Powerline guys aren't exactly celebrating his dedication to comprehensive immigration reform, but I appreciate their pointing out that this is not betrayal, this is the long term effort of a former border state governor, doing what he thinks is right for the country economically and morally.

Hat-tip: Terri @ I Think ^(Link) Therefore I Err who highlights a great line in John Hinderaker's response: Bush is about two more noble actions away from being ridden out of Washington on a rail.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:05 PM

May 31, 2007

Immigration: the Market Speaks

My right-wing crazy buddies at the WSJ Editorial Page deliver a little badly needed cover for the "liberal-on-immigration" Republicans today.

First is a guest editorial (paid link) by Gov. Jeb Bush and former RNC Chief Ken Mehlman supporting the current Immigration Bill.

Immigration reform is very tough. It's an issue that divides both political parties and, on the right, has led many close personal and ideological friends -- people we respect and whose criticism we take seriously -- to oppose new rules governing how people enter this country and how we handle those who are here illegally. But we hope our friends reconsider.

We support the immigration reform compromise worked out in the Senate for a few simple reasons. It strengthens our national defense. It makes our economy more competitive and flexible. It enhances the rule of law and promotes national unity. And it also does these things in a fair, practical way.

Here's what the bill does not do. It does not grant amnesty to the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country and nor does it give a free pass to others who want to enter the country illegally.


The bill provides real border security for the first time, protecting us against the entry of terrorists and stemming the flow of illegal drugs. It doubles the border patrol, expands the border fence and informs law enforcement about foreign nationals in the United States. Because it requires foreign workers to carry tamper-proof identification, both law enforcement and employers will be able to identify and apprehend those who violate the law.

The temporary worker program will reduce the number of people trying to sneak past the border patrol, allowing law enforcement to focus on those who pose a threat to the U.S. By putting border security first, this immigration reform adds a provision that many Republicans suggested last year. It adopts the "trigger" mechanism suggested by Sen. Johnny Isaacson, a Georgia Republican. Until and unless security improves on the border, the temporary worker program and "Z" visa provision for three-year work permits will not be implemented.

Second is Dan Henninger's Wonderland column (free link). Henninger suggests that the quantity and destination of the immigrant flow is a perfect example of market forces at work, and he challenged conservatives who champion the market to recognize this.

Conservatives and liberals will fight unto eternity over whose notions of the law, society and justice are right. But the one idea owned by conservatives is the market.

For many Democrats in politics, the market--the daily machinery of the private economy--is a semi-abstraction. It's a barely understood thing that mainly sends revenue to the government, without which the nation is incapable of achieving social good. Liberals happily concede the idea of salutary "market forces" to their opposition. For them, markets are for taming.

Why, then, would Republican politicians and conservative writers want to run the risk of undermining, perhaps for a long time, their core belief in the broad benefits of free-market economic forces in return for a law that hammers these illegal Mexicans?

If I'm a liberal or progressive Democrat, I'm gleeful to see conservative foes who have preached "the market" at me since the days of FDR now arguing that these millions of workers are an artificial, "unskilled" labor force whose presence merely prevents "the market" from replacing them with machines.

Conservatives also argue, with considerable force, that any conceivable path to citizenship or guest-worker status for these workers--no matter how long or arduous--would be "amnesty" and so make a mockery of the rule of law. But so massively setting aside years of principled, market-based argument--the environment, pharmaceuticals, labor, antitrust--to thwart these movements of immigrants is a risky proposition.


Immigration is down this year without a post hole for a fence having been dug. Immigrants come when their relatives tell them there is work, Henninger is right.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:47 PM | Comments (4)
But Terri thinks:

I've argued in the past and I think it's only right that if business gets to cross borders without barriers (ala NAFTA), then so too should workers.
BUT - it should all be on the up and up. Just like we know what American businesses are in Mexico and which Mexican businesses are here, we should know which workers are in either country too.
This can't be done if the border is non existent.

Posted by: Terri at June 1, 2007 11:28 AM
But jk thinks:

I agree. I think a regularized border that provides enough workers with safe, legal crossing is the best way to know who's here.

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2007 1:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I so dearly wish to comment on these assertions, and I won't have just one "little flaw" to pick on, yet I haven't had the requisite spare moments in the past 24 hours. Stay tuned.

(And even if brother AC beats me to it, I'm sure I can push his pile even higher.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2007 4:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

First Jeb Bush -

"It strengthens national defense" by hiring x more government border agents to enforce the same flawed policies on the border?

"It makes our economy more competitive and flexible" by adding dependents to the welfare state?

"It enhances the rule of law" by eliminating laws that don't rule "and promotes national unity" by splitting the Republican party?

"It does not grant amnesty to the 12 [or whatever] million illegal immigrants already in this country" but it does, somehow, make them legal. Curious.

"The bill provides real border security for the first time" because this time, we mean it!

And then Henninger -

Who is picking "one little aspect" now? The particular anti-illegal immigration argument that Dan chooses to assail happens to be the one that is used principally by unions and their members, not by mainstream conservative thinkers.

I personally don't see the urgency to change the status of illegal workers (unless your goal is to "bring them out of the shadows" and into the great society.) Let them stay. Let them work. Don't let them collect $200 for passing go or stay in this country if they commit a violent crime. Biometrically ID them and deport them. That option goes away when they all become "legal."

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2007 11:09 AM

May 21, 2007

Valid Critique

No, not my shoes. A very legitimate complaint is surfacing on the new Senate immigration bill. Bill Kristol said it yesterday on FOXNews Sunday, and it goes something like this: last year, the McCain Kennedy bill was debated thoroughly on the Senate floor (and on ThreeSources). Kristol and I expect that this bill is similar, and I have a predilection toward supporting it. But this bill is being rammed through in the dark of night; neither the Senators nor their constituents are getting any opportunity to review this complex and important bill.

John Fund carries the theme today on OpinionJournal (free link):

Many immigration experts say they can't know if they support the current compromise until they've absorbed the entire 1,000 page bill. They are concerned that Mr. Reid seems determined to bypass normal committee review and hearings and rush the bill to the floor. "That's like trying to eat an eight-course meal on a 15-minute lunch break," said former senator Fred Thompson on ABC Radio Friday.

Why the rush? Because, to be blunt, the senators don't trust the American people to make sound judgments on such emotional issues as family reunification and national sovereignty. But the proper response to this is to engage the public in the discussion, not to short-circuit the deliberative process. One of the reasons the American people are cynical about government is that they don't believe its officials take the time to discharge their duties properly. Now a 1,000 page immigration bill is being put before senators for a vote without anyone having the time to study its details. Many will merely be leaning on talking points prepared by their staff.


The partisan hack in me has to point out that this is just the sort of thing the Democrats weren't going to do if we elected them. Leader Reid has managed to turn me off a bill I really wanted.

I'm still tentatively supporting this bill. I think it does most of what I want. Unlike Kristol, I think a confusing bill is better than no bill. But when even I can't get fulsomely behind it, they have --if I may use legislative jargon -- "boogered it up" pretty badly.

UPDATE:

WASHINGTON - Senate leaders agreed Monday that they would wait until June to take final action on a bipartisan plan to give millions of unlawful immigrants legal status.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:43 AM

May 19, 2007

Back Taxes

Lovely.

The Bush administration insisted on a little-noticed change in the bipartisan Senate immigration bill that would enable 12 million undocumented residents to avoid paying back taxes or associated fines to the Internal Revenue Service, officials said.

An independent analyst estimated the decision could cost the IRS tens of billions of dollars.

A provision requiring payment of back taxes had been in the initial version of a bill proposed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat. But the administration called for the provision to be removed due to concern that it would be too difficult to figure out which illegal immigrants owed back taxes.


There was another Kennedy who said, "we choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard."

Getting illegals to pony up on back taxes. Harder than a moon mission.

This bill is at least 326 pages, by the way.

(tip to HotAir)

Posted by AlexC at 5:31 PM

May 17, 2007

Fair and Balanced

Speaking of hyperventilation.

Michelle Malkin carries a post called "It's here: The Bush-Kennedy amnesty Report: Potential cost = $2.5 trillion." With an online poll which asks "Will you support a GOP presidential candidate who supports the Bush/Kennedy amnesty?" The three choices are Yes, no, and "hell No!"

I hate to be humorless. But I like to think that the right wing blogosphere is a little more thoughtful and intelligent than the left wing "netroots." Malkin frequently proves me wrong.

Lastly, I'd make the comment that I made about Hugh Hewitt. Can you not broach any intra-party dissent on this topic? Are we going to chase out all the free traders that support liberalized immigration? Honest people can disagree -- well, no, I guess they can't. Michelle and Hugh will tell us what Republicans think.

BTW, thanks to ThreeSources enforcement fans for their respectful and intelligent debate.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:30 PM | Comments (3)
But Everyday Economist thinks:

What is amusing is that the immigration debate features a unique dichotomy in which Democrats complain the policy is too conservative and Republicans complain that it is too liberal. As Mickey Kaus pointed out this morning, that is very clearly a contradiction.

I do not know why I would expect any different. The current state of political discourse is deplorable -- and I have low expectations.

Posted by: Everyday Economist at May 18, 2007 11:46 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Those who've been publicly critical of the new legalization proposal have been accused of "hyperventilating." I think it's fair to say those who rush to assure us "It's going to be okay" are being pollyannish.

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2007 3:02 PM
But jk thinks:

You can call me Pollyannaish. As I'm generally supportive of legislation which hasn't even been fully written, you are on solid footing.

I was trying to separate differences from tactics.

I disagree with you and AlexC and Hugh Hewitt and Michelle Malkin and my brother in law, fine. I took exception to Malkin's and Hewitt's assertion that every good Republican agrees with them.

I take double exception to their using the language and tactics that were employed to buck up the Republican legislators who were going to vote for surrender in Iraq. Hewitt has taken that successful play and done a search replace for "Amnesty." That equates voting for comprehensive immigration reform -- which is supported by a lot if not a plurality of serious Republicans -- with a withdrawal schedule in Iraq, which is supported by only a fringe.

Malkin takes emotional stands on a variety of issues. it may not be fair to accuse her of hyperventilating. But ol' buddy Hugh has really turned the crank up to 11 on this. I don't think I am wrong for pointing that out.

Posted by: jk at May 18, 2007 3:32 PM

GOP Caves to Good Economics

Hugh Hewitt has been hyperventilating all morning that the GOP Senate was about to "cave" on immigration reform. I resent this, because the language and tactics were taken from efforts to bolster the GOP House and Senate in supporting the troops and the war. Hewitt commandeers this pitch, implicitly comparing Immigration with the war.

I don't mind calling the war Dogma de Fide for the Republican Party (See, I learned something in Catholic Schools, Dogma de Fide, "of faith," is what you must believe to be Catholic.)

But there is a large body of intelligent opposition to Hewitt's immigration views, including Larry Kudlow, William Kristol, President Bush and me. If the four of us are "not Republican enough" you have a losing party. The Senate has passed a compromise bill. I don't know all the particulars but I applaud it. AP

WASHINGTON - Key senators in both parties announced agreement with the White House Thursday on an immigration overhaul that would grant quick legal status to millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and fortify the border.

The plan would create a temporary worker program to bring new arrivals to the U.S. A separate program would cover agricultural workers. New high-tech enforcement measures also would be instituted to verify that workers are here legally.

The compromise came after weeks of painstaking closed-door negotiations that brought the most liberal Democrats and the most conservative Republicans together with President Bush's Cabinet officers to produce a highly complex measure that carries heavy political consequences.


Take a deep breath, guys, it's going to be okay...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:12 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Citizenship. What about citizenship? The franchise?

"They could come forward right away to claim a probationary card that would let them live and work legally in the U.S., but could not begin the path to permanent residency or citizenship until border security improvements and the high-tech worker identification program were completed."

OK, but what is this "path to citizenship?" Permanent residency I'm less concerned with.

Posted by: johngalt at May 17, 2007 4:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One more day and some introspection later, I'm now more concerned with permanent residency.

Once these illegal immigrants become permanently and irrevocably legal we'll have a genuine two-tiered society split between those who can vote and those who cannot. What will be the persuasive argument that prevents granting the franchise to non-citizens? "They were't born here? They don't speak our language? They don't pay taxes?" Wait. Scratch that last one. This is a major argument in support of the legalization push. These lame reasons won't stand a chance against "No more taxation without representation" and "Non-citizen permanent immigrants are the new emancipated slave class - equal rights for the unfairly downtrodden!"

If the 12 to 30 million existing illegal immigrants are granted residency then their ability to vote themselves an ever increasing basket of goodies at public expense (read: wealth creating taxpayers) is a fait accompli.

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2007 2:57 PM

May 16, 2007

Lou!

How 'bout that?

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, who gained national prominence by targeting illegal immigrants living in his small northeastern Pennsylvania city, cruised to the Republican nomination for a third term on Tuesday - and unexpectedly won the Democratic nomination, too.

Barletta trounced GOP challenger Dee Deakos with nearly 94 percent of the vote. And he beat former Mayor Michael Marsicano for the Democratic nomination by staging a last-minute write-in campaign, all but guaranteeing himself another term, unofficial returns showed.

"I think the message is clear," Barletta said. "The people of Hazleton want me to keep fighting for them."

Posted by AlexC at 8:24 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Whew -- I was afraid you were going to say Lou Dobbs.

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2007 12:59 PM

May 1, 2007

Penn & Teller on Immigration

It had to happen. jk proudly presents a link to Penn & Teller's "Bullshit" on immigration. Click over to YouTube to see parts two and three.




You'll be glad to hear they do not use the term "Comparative Advantage."

Posted by John Kranz at 6:41 PM

April 15, 2007

Tax Day Coffee Smelling

Officially, tax day isn't until Tuesday (due to the 15th being on a Sunday and the 16th being an official holiday in D.C.) but the well known and lamented date of April 15th mustn't go by without some discussion of the state of taxation in America.

"Work hard. Be faithful. You'll get your just reward."

Those words appear on a statuette my father was given on the occasion of the closing of the College of Engineering at the University of Denver, where he had tenure. (The statuette was of a conscientious gentleman with a giant blue screw through his torso.) They can just as well be applied to American taxpayers who have earned a high school diploma or better in their educational career.

sr12_chart7-lg.gif

The preceeding chart comes from a fascinating April 4, 2007 study report by Robert Rector et. al. of The Heritage Foundation entitled, 'The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Households to the U.S. Taxpayer.' The report summarizes the chart this way:

Chart 7 compares households headed by persons without a high school diploma to households headed by persons with a high school diploma or better. Whereas the dropout-headed household paid only $9,689 in taxes in FY 2004, the higher-skill households paid $34,629 more than three times as much. While dropout-headed households received from $32,138 to $43,084 in benefits, high-skill households received less: $21,520 to $30,819. The difference in government benefits was due largely to the greater amount of means-tested aid received by low-skill households.

Households headed by dropouts received $22,449 more in immediate benefits (i.e., direct and means-tested aid, education, and population-based services) than they paid in taxes. Higher-skill households paid $13,109 more in taxes than they received in immediate benefits.

OK, so you're probably wondering, what's new? What's new is the trend in dropout households in the U.S. According to the World Net Daily article that cites the study:

About two-thirds of illegal alien households are headed by someone without a high school degree. Only 10 percent of native-born Americans fit into that category.

I have advocated on these pages (and stand by it today) that immigration should be free and unlimited to non-criminal aliens, provided that citizenship (and voting rights) must still be earned and that entitlement programs that make immigrants a burden on the taxpayer are first reduced or eliminated.

The Rector report explains the realities we face.

Politically feasible changes in government policy will have little effect on the level of fiscal deficit generated by most low-skill households for decades. For example, to make the average low-skill household fiscally neutral (taxes paid equaling immediate benefits received plus interest on government debt), it would be necessary to eliminate Social Security, Medicare, all 60 means-tested aid programs and cut the cost of public education in half. It seems certain that, on average, low-skill households will generate deep fiscal deficits for the foreseeable future.

Hat tip: The Canadian Sentinel

Click continue reading to see the report's conclusion in its entirety.

Conclusion

Households headed by persons without a high school diploma are roughly 15 percent of all U.S. households. Overall, these households impose a significant fiscal burden on other taxpayers: The cost of the government benefits they consume greatly exceeds the taxes they pay to government. Before government undertakes to transfer even more economic resources to these households, it should have a very clear account of the magnitude of the economic transfers that already occur.

The substantial net tax burden imposed by low-skill U.S. households also suggests lessons for immigration policy. Recently proposed immigration legislation would greatly increase the number of poorly educated immigrants entering and living in the United States.[12] Before this policy is adopted, Congress should examine carefully the potential negative fiscal effects of low-skill immigrant households receiving services.

Politically feasible changes in government policy will have little effect on the level of fiscal deficit generated by most low-skill households for decades. For example, to make the average low-skill household fiscally neutral (taxes paid equaling immediate benefits received plus interest on government debt), it would be necessary to eliminate Social Security, Medicare, all 60 means-tested aid programs and cut the cost of public education in half. It seems certain that, on average, low-skill households will generate deep fiscal deficits for the foreseeable future. Policies that reduce the future number of high school dropouts and other policies affecting future generations could reduce long-term costs.

Future government policies that would expand entitlement programs such as Medicaid would increase future deficits at the margin. Policies that reduced the out-of-wedlock childbearing rate or which increased the real educational attainments and wages of future low-skill workers could reduce deficits somewhat in the long run.

Changes to immigration policy could have a much larger effect on the fiscal deficits generated by low-skill families. Policies which would substantially increase the inflow of low-skill immigrant workers receiving services would dramatically increase the fiscal deficits described in this paper and impose substantial costs on U.S. taxpayers.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Mmmm coffee.

Bastiat talks about "the seen and the unseen." With all due respect, you -- and my brother in law -- and a lot of other people whom I highly respect -- love to point to a datum in the "seen" category and say "See?"

Lower income households provide less revenue and use more government services. Who is surprised? Those without a diploma will earn less than those with; illegal immigrants tend to be less educated than native born citizens, yup.

I contend, still, that the "unseen" value that these workers and consumers bring to the economy more than compensates for the increased use of public services. The educated in your table are able to earn what they do, in large part, because there is a less educated work force (stop him before he says "comparative advantage" -- too late!).

To allow the educated (or ambitious dropouts like me and AlexC) to get ahead and innovate frequently requires allowing them to leverage less-educated labor. As Ricardo showed, both will be wealthier.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2007 2:06 PM

January 18, 2007

Man Bites Dog

I have written many a harsh word about Rep. Tom Tancredo on these pages. In fairness, I must admit that he was eloquent and charming in an appearance on "Kudlow & Company" last night. He opened and closed with humorous comments recognizing their differences.

I still think that he is wrong about the economics of immigration and the politics off immigration. I will refrain, however, from calling him "a yahoo" (William Kristol's term I think) or even "bombastic" (mine). He is a man with whom I disagree on his signature issue, but he is an elected representative from my home state in my political party. I will show him the respect he deserves.

At the risk of ending on a sour note, I'm glad he's looking at the Presidency in 2008. He could cause a lot more trouble seeking Senator Allard's Senate seat.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:28 PM

December 22, 2006

Now a Word Against Enforcement

Full of Christmas Spirit, I thought I mightn't start a squabble about immigration on December 22. Naaah:

The lead editorial (free link) questions the cost benefit ratio of the immigration raids on the Swift meatpacking plants.

Immigration restrictionists would have us believe that harassing businesses like Swift, the world's second-largest beef and pork processor, helps make America safer. But so far the Swift raids haven't uncovered any al Qaeda cells, merely a bunch of hard-working people trying to feed their families. The operation involved more than 1,000 federal agents in six states. And of Swift's 15,000 or so employees, a grand total of 144 have been charged to date with misidentifying themselves to get hired.

Put another way, 1,000 federal agents that could have been focused on potential terrorists or other dangerous threats were instead focused on a meatpacking company that hires thousands of willing unskilled workers and pays them more than twice the minimum wage with full health benefits after six months. How's that for government efficiency?


I suppose that enforcing the law is its own good and I do not post this to criticize. I post this to rebut those who say that it should be the responsibility of employers to enforce our immigration laws. It seems that Swift tried.
There's a common notion that businesses seek out illegal aliens to employ. So it's also worth noting that since 1997 Swift has voluntarily participated in a government program for vetting new hires known as Basic Pilot. Under this system, the names and Social Security numbers of all job applicants are checked against a federal database. Which is to say that the presence of illegal workers at Swift is not the result of a company's indifference to the rule of law. It's the result of a flawed government system for determining who's eligible to work here. A few years ago Swift's management attempted to go even further than Basic Pilot to screen job applicants, only to be sued by the Justice Department for employment discrimination in 2001.

Full of hope for the season (that's twice he's said "full of it..."), this might be a big plus for having a Democratic 110th Congress.

On Wednesday, Mr. Bush reiterated his position that the most "humane" way to deal with illegal immigration is to combine enforcement with a guest worker program that would address the country's obvious labor shortage. "I want to work with both Republicans and Democrats to get a comprehensive bill to my desk," said the President. "It's in our interest that we do this."

Merry Christmas ThreeSourcers!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:02 PM

December 16, 2006

One more immigration defeat

It's December, and the GOP losses from immigration populism are still stacking up. Robert Novak thinks it was a negative factor for Rep. Harry Bonilla in the newly mapped TX-23 district.

The loss Tuesday of the 30th Republican House seat, representing a U.S.-Mexican border district in Texas, marked another political failure of hard-line immigration policies.

Immigration was not the central issue when Democratic former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez upset seven-term Rep. Henry Bonilla, a rare Latino Republican in Congress. Bonilla, who supported a border fence while Rodriguez did not, lost border counties he previously had carried. He won Maverick County, 95 percent Hispanic, with 59 percent in 2004 but lost it with just 14 percent Tuesday.

A footnote: Six-term Rep. J.D. Hayworth lost in Arizona after stressing immigration. Randy Graf lost an Arizona border district where he made immigration his major issue. Six-term Rep. John Hostettler, chairman of a House immigration subcommittee, lost his Indiana district despite stressing his opponent's softness on the issue.


Except in safe Republican seats, hard-line, enforcement only Republicans are all footnotes now. To be fair, Novak himself says in his e-mail report that the loss was complex but was hurt more than helped by his immigration stance.
Texas-23: Rep. Henry Bonilla (R) was crushed in the special election runoff after receiving 49 percent in the first round on November 7. The reasons are complicated, and they go back to a controversial Supreme Court decision earlier this year demanding a re-map of his district.

For one thing, Bonilla was at fault in many ways. He did not spend enough money to get himself over the 50 percent mark on Election Day, leaving $1.4 million in his campaign account on November 8. Bonilla had harbored ideas of running for statewide office -- possibly a Senate seat if one opened up. The saving of money that could have gotten him the few thousand extra votes he needed to pass the stake on November 7 proved costly. He only turned out 60,000 voters in the first round, just half of what 50 percent equals in many districts in a midterm election. Part of this is because of the number of illegal immigrants in the district, but there were enough votes in the district to put him over the top in the first round.
Democrats also acted cleverly in the first round with a calculated strategy. They fielded three semi-credible candidates in the race in order to appeal to different parts of the newly constituted district, knowing that none of those Democrats would have a serious chance of a first round victory. This would force a second round race with just two candidates by law and no chance that Bonilla could win with a plurality.

There was little reason to believe that yesterday's victor, former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D), could come out on top after taking just 20 percent in the first round. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee carried Rodriguez, a poor candidate in his own right, over the finish line, driving a powerful early-voting operation in advance of the election. The Hispanic group LULAC pressed for three extra days of early voting, which helped Democrats. Many Republicans did not think Bonilla could lose and, therefore, failed to help.

Bonilla, meanwhile, continued running positive ads for too long after November 7, but then suddenly launched a series of ads that overreached in their extreme negativity, asserting that Rodriguez had ties to Islamic terrorists. Bonilla also focused his entire voter turnout operation on Bexar County, his home base of voters that had saved him from a strong challenge in 2000. But there just weren't enough votes there -- his vote total on December 12 was just half of what it had been a month earlier, and he lost by almost 10 points.

Bonilla was also slightly harmed, and certainly not helped, by his embrace of the conservative position on the border security and immigration issue. Once again, it proved woefully ineffective in bringing out white voters, and whatever-sized effect it had among Hispanic voters -- who make up more than 60 percent of the new district -- it was a negative effect. Bonilla lost counties in the second round that he had never lost in any previous election.


Hat-tip: ThreeSources friend Sugarchuck, who used to be thought highly of by JohnGalt.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:21 PM | Comments (5)
But sugarchuck thinks:

Just passing it along... not agreeing with it.

Posted by: sugarchuck at December 16, 2006 1:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Unnerstood.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2006 3:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Since securing the border is (supposedly) unpopular with voters, it should be abandoned?

There's a point where pragmatism compels one to slit his own throat.

Just to get the fires burning again, http://www.immigrationcounters.com/

Posted by: johngalt at December 18, 2006 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

No. I think enforcement only is wrong economically, morally and politically. I have made all three points.

It's difficult to prove the economic argument. There are many many variables and I have referenced both Bastiat's Seen vs. the Unseen (your link captures and magnifies the "seen" half) and the wealth effects of comparative advantage.

Morally, I have made the case that, while crossing the border is illegal, I can't bring the whole Jovert down on one who crosses to feed his family. The torture and loss of life visited on simple workers by coyotes is not in keeping with a welcoming America.

The reason I brought it all up again is that it is so clear that this issue was a political loser fir the GOP in 2006. Pretend you cannot see if you must but if you examine who lost where, this issue is not a winner.


Posted by: jk at December 18, 2006 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

...while you continue to pretend that war issues were not the single dominant electoral factor.

Posted by: johngalt at December 19, 2006 3:27 PM

December 4, 2006

Rep Tancredo

I know my blog brothers hold immigration views that are closer to Rep. Tom Tancredo's than mine. I would ask how much they like his bombastic style. I think he frequently goes over the top and sets not only his party but his cause back. Add Florida Governor Jeb Bush to his lengthy Republican enemies list. John Fund in the OpinionJournal Political Diary:

Take Tom Tancredo - Please!

Republicans don't know what Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, the nation's leading anti-immigration spokesman, plans to do in 2008. Some think he will launch a Pat Buchanan-like run for president while others point to the likely retirement of GOP Senator Wayne Allard of Colorado, creating an open seat for Mr. Tancredo to run for.

In any event, controversy is sure to dog the publicity-savvy Mr. Tancredo. He recently stirred the pot when he said ethnically-diverse Miami resembled a "Third World country" and that "you would never know you were in the United States of America." That prompted Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who lived in Miami before his election, to defend the city. Mr. Tancredo promptly accused Mr. Bush of being "naive" and said he was trying to "create the illusion of Miami as a multiethnic 'All American' city."

The Florida governor then called a halt to the exchange. "What a nut," the president's brother told reporters. "I'm just disappointed that he's a Republican. He doesn't represent my views." What worries Republicans, including many who believe that secure borders are important, is that Mr. Tancredo's in-your-face approach to immigration could either overshadow other candidates in the early 2008 primaries or lead to the loss of yet another Colorado Senate seat.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:59 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Brother, can you not smell spin by the likes of Bush (Jeb) and John Fund? I know it doesn't help that they're spinning in your direction but please, we're objective here right?

From Tancredo's response to Governor Bush:
http://tancredo.house.gov/Media/file/TancredoresponseGovBush.pdf

"...it is neither naive nor insulting to call attention to a real problem that cannot be easily dismissed through politically correct happy talk."

"...Miami-Dade School District's 45% graduation rate tells us that the majority of Miami's new arrivals have not yet assimilated this culture of academic excellence."

"Unfortunately, fewer and fewer Miamians think of themselves as Americans."

"By the way, you should also pick up a copy of this week's TIME in which Miami is described as a "corrupt, exorbitant mess" where locals are fleeing in droves."

"Governor with all due respect, I have simply said something most people -- even in Florida if our calls and emails are a measurement of sentiment -- belive is true. I have no doubt that people of wealth can still lead a comfortable and pleasant life in Miami, but ask yourself why ordinary middle class citizens are leaving in such high numbers."

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2006 4:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I see. The Governor and John Fund are "spinning," yet Rep. Tancredo is being objective. No doubt he quotes Time magazine's editorial positions all the time and not just when it serves a narrow purpose.

My point, and I think Fund's, was that Rep. Tancredo's style of politicking may be good in a safe House seat, or as a panelist on Bill O'Reilly's or Lou Dobbs's show, but might not translate well to statewide or national ambitions.

A serious presidential contender might not be well served by insulting a large American city in a swing state which happens to be populated with many Republican-leaning Cuban-Americans. I could be wrong; I won't know for sure until I read it in Time.

Rep. Tancredo has alienated Republicans such as Paul Gigot, John Fund, Larry Kudlow, William Kristol, John McCain, President Bush, Governor Bush, Fred Barnes, and me. That seems to be a problem. Should he run for Allard's seat, I will cast my first non-Republican vote since 1980. (I spent the summer of 1980 just north of Miami, but I digress.)

Discounting the Bush-Miami-contretemps, there are many other examples of his bombastic style. His move to deport the high school valedictorian is one of my favorites, I'm sure we'll relive many of his hits should he seek larger office.


Posted by: jk at December 4, 2006 5:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And you illustrate once more MY point: You attack Tom for his "bombastic" style of politics, yet it only sounds bombastic when related by a third party such as "Paul Gigot, John Fund, Larry Kudlow, William Kristol, John McCain, President Bush, Governor Bush, Fred Barnes, and" JK.

Ad hominem doesn't persuade me that a 45% graduation rate (that's 55% dropout rate, folks) and an urban populace that increasingly feels "no pressure to be an American" is just peachy.

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2006 3:40 PM
But jk thinks:

I guess I don't my own strength, jg. I accuse Rep. Tancredo of having a bombastic style. I'd be surprised if he himself would run from that label.

You answered my question. You clearly do not think Rep Tancredo to be too bombastic or impolitic to receive your continued support. That's great, I like a guy who speaks his mind -- I just happen to disagree drastically with Tancredo.

Politics is about addition, however, and I would call his enemies list worrisome. Except for that jk fellow, I'd call most of the Republicans on my Tommy's enemies list pretty cool heads.

Add one more: Arthur Laffer. On Kudlow & Company last night, he said that the loss of Congress to the Democrats is worth it because of the defeat handed to the naturalist wing of the GOP. Dr. Laffer seeks lower tax rates that prove his famous curve but he fears the Tancredo wing more than he fears Reps. Dingell, Rangel and Pelosi holding gavels.

As to the troubles facing Miami, when I was there in 1980 a popular bumper sticker said Will the last American leaving Miami please bring the flag? Time Magazines opinion of assimilation ambitions of its populace do not interest me. The dropout rate is bad but I find it disingenuous to blame immigrants for failures of the public schools. Public schools are broken because of an incorrect incentive structure and the inflated political power of their public service unions.

Perhaps Rep. Tancredos wall can be extended through the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean Sea. Then we can fill the Miami public schools with good mericans and get those test scores up.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2006 5:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, you're right! It says right here on his very own "About Tom" page that he's a "bombastic nut."
http://tancredo.house.gov/about/

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2006 5:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, you win that one. I don't really consider "bombastic" to be too pejorative. Were I the Rep's press secretary I'd say " The Congressman just believes in clear honest speech. If some blogger nobody's ever heard of wants to call it 'bombast' he can."

Then I'd day "JK -- do those initials sound Mexican to you? Jose Something..."

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2006 7:07 PM

November 25, 2006

Immigration Politics

The holidays. It was nice to take a break from arguing about immigration with my blog brothers and spend some time arguing about immigration with my real brothers.

To be fair, the food was better. And, actually, it was my brother-in-law, whom I will call "Alejandro" to protect his privacy. Alejandro and I kept quiet cool on Thanksgiving Day, but we ended up going to lunch together on the day after. Al is a reliable Republican vote these days, but, like my blog brothers, has been seduced by the enforcement only camp. "'Dro" as we sometimes call him, contributed to Randy Graf's campaign in Arizona.

I suggested, as I did here, that the enforcement-only wing deserves some of the blame for the GOP losses in 2006.It was a tough climate in a historically difficult six-year midterm. I'm not saying that the GOP would be popping the corks on great gains, but I have great company in the belief that convincing the electorate we had a national emergency and then doing nothing to solve it hurt the party's chances.

Alejandro asked me to read Mark Krikorian's column in the December 4, 2006 issue of National Review. If the Wall Street Journal Ed page has led the charge for comprehensive immigration reform, I think it is fair to say that NR has led the enforcement-only wing.

Krikorian wonders if "Amnesty" is so popular, why the Democrats didnt come out for it as a campaign issue. He makes arguments that ThreeSources own JohnGalt made: that many Democratic victors were tough on immigration and that some tough GOP pols did win. Alejandro asked me to specifically address the Krikorian column as it seemed to him to contradict our friendly discussion at Chilis. I never turn down a request:

First of all, I don't think Krikorian contradicts me. The thesis of his article is that there is no electoral mandate for amnesty. I do not claim there is. I claim that the GOP looked feckless after creating a crisis and not solving it, and that compromise is popular. Sometimes compromise means watered down mush that makes nobody happy. In this instance, it is good policy and good politics.

I abhor his use of the word amnesty. I never once heard any of the most liberal proponents of comprehensive immigration come out for amnesty. I suspect that Krikorian considers anything less than shooting border crossers on sight amnesty. He calls his opponents by name: Tamar Jacoby, Fareed Zakaria, Fred Barnes and Linda Chavez. He snarkily calls them "the smart set" and their movement the pro-amnesty side. I don't expect that any of the people listed would call themselves pro-amnesty. Also, while I respect Zakaria immensely, he does not belong in that group. There are many principled conservatives who have lined up squarely on the comprehensive side (Paul Gigot, Larry Kudlow, Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman). Without saying he did it on purpose, his shopping basket is not representative of his opposition.

Krikorian also cherry-picks some statistics. He points out that only seven percent of the members of Rep. Tancredos Immigration Reform Caucus lost, against 11% of the GOP caucus. I would suspect that members of the IRC might be more likely to be in safe seats. The Weekly Standard and WSJ Ed page pointed this out before the election, suggesting that those in more competitive districts not follow the Yahoos off the cliff. Its hard to slice and dice reasons in a thunderous loss, but the loss of Rep J.D. Hayworth in AZ-05 (Hayworth won by 21% in a district that went 54-45 for President Bush in 2004) and Randy Grafs loss in AZ-08 (53-46% Bush) offer the clearest data. If they cant make it there, they cant make it anywhere.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I guess I missed all the TV commercials and mass mailings from the enforcement "only" candidates that championed "shooting border crossers on sight." There's no longer any wonder why I thought the GOP lost over it's holding pattern strategy in Iraq, multiple congressmen indicted for fraud, and an eleventh hour MSM orgy over a pedophile congressman from Florida.

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2006 2:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah. J.D. Hayworth and Randy Graf lost because the members of their heavily GOP districts wanted Rep. Murtha to prevail on Iraq and were so concerned about Mark Foley's IMs.

Maybe we could iron out terminology. If you'll provide a good name for Tancredoite, IRC-type Republicans I will use it. What sticks out in my mind is that they want enforcement which is half of comprehensive reform but not any of the other elements. So I call them enforcement only.

In return, I'd like the likes of Krikorian to not call anything else "amnesty." In the article (it's not online, sorry) he claims his opponents use "comprehensive" as a euphemism for amnesty. He uses amnesty as a dysphemism for anything but....er....shoot on site.

Posted by: jk at November 25, 2006 2:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Name calling isn't helpful on either side of the debate. Technically, however, it is amnesty to forgive individuals for their criminal acts. There is mitigation when the law in question is as questionable as was prohibition.

In fairness I think you have to concede that the Tancredoite Republicans rejected only the non-enforcment solution that was actually proposed. One would expect them to propose an alternative they DID approve of, but that's not exactly how things work in the Senate. Leadership writes it the way they want it and, voila, it's a "compromise."

My holiday was spent with in-laws in San Diego, on the "front lines" of the illegal immigration crisis. They certainly didn't consider the situation to have been created by the GOP talking about it. Their hospitals were going out of business before it became a fashionable topic in D.C. But another of them said, "I'd be doing exactly the same thing if I were them [illegals]."

Expanded legal immigration alternatives are the moral answer. The extra entitlement burden on US citizens is the impediment that must first be removed.

Posted by: johngalt at November 26, 2006 1:40 AM

November 14, 2006

Hugh on Immigration

A friend of ThreeSources sends this link to Hugh Hewitt.

As soon as the House and Senate GOP have their leadership teams in place, and soon after the lame duck session ends, the 250 House and Senate members should repair to a conference center somewhere for a long conversation on illegal immigration leading to a consensus position. Certainly there will be outliers, but an ongoing bloodletting over the issue is the only major obstacle in the path to return to majority status. An ongoing focus on the issue is found at Powerline, and though I am unwilling to simply credit Tamar Jacoby's take on the subject, she is generally correct that the issue of illegal immigration did not deliver a wave of support for GOP candidates who thought it would.

It's a thoughtful piece as I would expect from Hewitt. The link arrived without comment from one of my many detractors.

I sense that even Hewitt is humbled by the loss. He admits, in this piece, that he was never certain it was a winner and now concedes to being close to Tamar Jacoby's position.

I was very disappointed when Hewitt changed his "12 words" from his excellent book, Painting The Map Red, to "15 words" by adding "seal the border." The original twelve:

Win the war.
Confirm the judges.
Cut the taxes.
Control the spending.

Those would have galvanized all the GOP-leaning ThreeSourcers, WSJ, Weekly Standard, National Review, maybe even George Will and David Brooks on a good day.

When Hewitt released a T-Shirt, it was up to 15 and I feared the next week would be 18 with the addition of "Queers Cain't Marry!." I will credit Hugh with learning from the vote totals. But I sense he is ducking the complicity of the talk radio movement in fueling the border hysteria.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM | Comments (3)
But sugarchuck thinks:

JK, it seems to me that we are all in agreement that we want this to remain the land of opportunity for those who wish to come here and abide by our laws, work hard and contribute. We also seem to be in agreement, at least for the sake of argument, over JGVII. So what is left to argue about but "seal the border?" You said in an earlier post that you want a "lawful and regulated" border. Fair enough. To me that means a closed border with a combination of concrete fencing and electronic surveillance. It also means a military presence. What would you do differently to provide for " a lawful and regulated" border.
I would also add that I know we are vulnerable in other places, but twelve million plus came into this country illegally across our southern border so I think that is a good place to start placing limited resources.

Posted by: sugarchuck at November 14, 2006 2:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I want to change the situation from being illegal and chaotic to being legal, moderatable, and auditable. That will make it more fair and humane, and make America more secure. I think we really do agree there.

I don't think that we either can or want to do it by enforcement only. Hugh (I think) says Let's close that baby down, tight as a drum. Then we can talk about how many to let in and how. I think the ThreeSources naitivist wing is pretty close to that and I say "No, baby, not gonna work!"

I really see it as an engineering problem. Put up the fence, yes, but without a guest worker program or increased visas, the pressure will be too great for the fence to contain. Companies, citizens and farmers up here want labor That's a vacuum on the North half. Workers down there want employment, that's pressure on the South wall. If you don't provide a valve to moderate that pressure differential, the wall is going to blow over. I've tortured that analogy but I mean every word of it.

The part of the status quo I do like is the generous amount of labor it has made available. A fix that breaks this does not appeal to me. I'm not being evasive on purpose. I want to fix it, but I don't want to spoil the economy. I get the sense Bill Kristol is in my camp there. The status quo sucks but is better than a bad solution. My mind is drawn to Sarbanes-Oxley here...

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2006 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Stop Swift Boating me!

Posted by: jk at November 15, 2006 4:05 PM

November 13, 2006

Internecine Grudge Match, Round 4 (or so)

Last week, in JK's latest installment of "border security is a political loser" he appears to remain convinced that campaigning on border control hurt the GOP candidates who did so. Or perhaps he's only suggesting that it didn't help them. Either way, it appears the same is also true for the new Democrat majority.

WaPo reports today in Democrats May Proceed With Caution on Immigration:

But when it comes to immigration, things are never easy. In the days after the election, Democratic leaders surprised pro-immigration groups by not including the issue on their list of immediate priorities. Experts said the issue is so complicated, so sensitive and so explosive that it could easily blow up in the Democrats' faces and give control of Congress back to Republicans in the next election two years from now. And a number of Democrats who took a hard line on illegal immigration were also elected to Congress.

Hat tip: Rush.

JK also applauded the "JG seven points" [7th comment] for immigration policy reform but added, "You think Tommy Tancredo would go for it? Wait let me answer that -- no way in hell!"

Well, here's the latest from "Tommy:"

Anti-immigration Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), who was distraught after the election, believing a guest worker program was inevitable under the Democrats, now says he's changed his mind.

"It seemed to me that it was not going to be as easy for them as I had anticipated or feared," Tancredo said. "They're not putting it out there as their number one, out-of-the-box issue."

The more he thought about the issue, the more cloudy the future seemed.

"I don't know," he said. A temporary guest worker program "could certainly happen. I may be just skipping past the graveyard."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

1. I should not refer to an elected representative of the US Congress by first name, certainly not a diminutive. I apologize, Johnny, for calling Rep. Tancredo "Tommy." That was bad form and I will not repeat it.

2. It most definitely hurt the GOP as a whole to head into elections without a solution to the emergency they had concocted. This was underscored nicely on the Journal Editorial Report this weekend. (scroll to bottom) Some individual races were won in spite of candidates' embracing enforcement-only, but I've yet to read a convincing case of one who won because of it and there are many examples of candidates' losing with that as a chief or high priority.

3. That Rep. Tancredo has himself tossed in the towel on his signature issue after last week's drubbing indicates that he realizes what a loser issue it is. Saying the future is cloudy and that it might happen someday does not strike me as a ringing endorsement of the JGVII.

Posted by: jk at November 13, 2006 3:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, sorry about the scare quotes around Tommy. I didn't mean to imply that it was disrespectful. I think Tommy is a fine name for him! Don't know what I was thinkin'.

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2006 1:07 AM
But sugarchuck thinks:

As to point two, the crisis on the border was not concocted; it is real. The emergency is the failure to do anything about it. If JK is correct about a majority of people opposing a border fence and a muscular security presence and voting on their opposition,then so be it. The "folks" are wrong and all the situational populism in the world won't make them right. The southern border needs to be controlled, period. The rest of it, amnesty, worker programs, etc..., is another topic.

Posted by: sugarchuck at November 14, 2006 9:55 AM
But jk thinks:

Tommy is a very fine name. I try to always address every member of legitimately elected office by his or her title. The most difficult two for me are Vice President Gore and Rep. Tancredo. Al and Tommy just slip through.

We perhaps need to fly everybody out and hash this out over beers or cappuccinos. I don't feel my points are getting across and I feel frustration on your parts.

We all want law and order. We all want to know who is crossing the border. I think that addresses the emergency.

I think my blog brothers and the Tancredoites and the Bill O'Reilly brigades are wrong to seek enforcement only. It would require a level of militarization and aesthetics that would be unpalatable to most people.

I also believe that enforcement-only would damage the economy. I started with economic arguments. Bastiat's "Seen and Unseen" hold the day: these people contribute far more to our economy than they take out. Even with the illegal chaotic nature, the influx has made us wealthier.

Since I want to fix it and do not believe enforcement-only works, I champion "comprehensive" reform. I said a November ago that enforcement and increased immigration are complimentary, not exclusive. For this reason, I thought a compromise House-Enforcement/Senate-Guest Worker could be done in conference.

All hail the seven points! Science be praised!

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2006 10:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't heard any blog brothers argue for enforcement ONLY. We ask for enforcement FIRST.

It can be argued that this amounts to enforcement only for the period until immigration reform passes but don't forget about the 12 million already here. They'll keep their jobs and any negative effect on the supply of labor will be gradual and discernable. This will apply the proper market pressure for the political solution you earnestly seek.

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2006 3:53 PM
But jk thinks:

We're talking compromise, committee legislation. Congress cannot legally bind another Congress and intra-congressional staging requires more trust than 535 legislators can generate or sustain.

You have to bargain: "Tommy," says Senator McCain(he can use first names) "you approve guest workers and a path to citizenship, we'll add 200 miles to your fence." The whole thing gets sausaged up and placed on the President's desk for a signing. No first, no later.

As far as the current residents sustaining the labor pool, I seek a plan that will allow them to leave and come back legally.

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2006 4:30 PM

November 8, 2006

Pickin' at Scabs

I respectfully suggest that the populist wing of ThreeSources -- well, everybody not named "jk' -- takes the opportunity to do a little immigration soul-searching today.

First, I would direct you to the news pages (not those crazies on the Ed page) Hispanic Voters Shift Allegiance to Democrats

In fact, just months after House Republicans used a crackdown on illegal immigrants to energize their party's conservative base, Hispanic voters responded yesterday at the voting booth, shifting decisively toward Democrats.

Exit polls showed more than seven in 10 Hispanics voted Democratic in races for House seats. Meanwhile, some 27% voted Republican -- an 11-percentage-point drop from the prior midterm election in 2002.


This is a loser guys. Besides Hispanics, it offends the business community, free-marketeers, and damages religious vote. The same article points out that that GOP advantage among religious voters is reduced.

My uber-liberal niece is working for Catholic Charities in California. She's about as religious as JohnGalt but told me that she has found one thing to agree with the Church on: California Catholics have taken an anti-Tancredo position as a moral issue (of course, they're right).

Exhibit B is TCS Daily's Walls Are For Losers. Nathan Smith remembers the Ming Dynasty's Great Wall, The Maginot Line, the Berlin Wall, and points out:

Republicans had held the House of Representatives for twelve years. After the fence bill was signed, they lasted just twelve days before the voters gave them the boot. Of course immigration wasn't the only, or the main, issue; Iraq was. Nonetheless, the "walls are for losers" pattern has claimed another scalp. Meanwhile, even the Republican Senate, which, before the fence bill, hardly anyone thought was even in play, looks at present writing like it may have fallen to the Democrats.

Can we chase away the fastest growing minority group, the business community, an important swing constituency, and ideological fellow travelers? Yes. But can we replace them with Pat Buchanan/Lou Dobbs/Bill O'Reilly angry pitchfork warriors? I say that 's a bad trade.


UPDATE: Okay, I'll add something from those crazies on the WSJ Ed Page. Here's John Fund in Political Diary:

This summer, as polls showed GOP House incumbents increasingly in trouble, the talk in closed-door meetings of GOP members was that the party needed to use opposition to illegal immigration to deflect voter anger on other issues. "The issue is a magic carpet to victory for us," was the memorable way one anti-immigration member put it. Later that same month, the House GOP pushed through a bill that authorized the building of a massive border fence without adding a sensible guest-worker program to provide a legal means for needed workers to enter the country.

Well, the returns are in and the strategy was a clear failure. GOP candidates who ran almost exclusively on the immigration issue lost in districts that President Bush easily carried in 2004. The most surprising loser was Rep. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, who wrote a book on immigration called "Whatever It Takes" and yet managed to lose a district Mr. Bush won with 54% of the vote two years ago. Another Arizona GOP candidate, former state legislator Randy Graf, did ride the immigration issue to a plurality win in the GOP primary only to lose badly in a Tucson district last night that Mr. Bush had won with 53%.

The biggest bellyflop on the immigration issue came in Indiana, where Rep. John Hostettler, the hardline chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, lost by a stunning 22 points in a district that gave John Kerry only 38% of its votes just two years ago. "Immigration has never been an issue that brings people to the polls in single-minded desire to vote on that one issue," says political analyst Michael Barone, co-author of the Almanac of American Politics. "Voters end up having other concerns, and anti-illegal immigration polling numbers are more often than not political fools' gold."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:37 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

I absolutely want a lawful and regulated border.

I don't think that enforcement-only will work without a level of spending, aesthetic disturbance, and human rights infringements with which few in our country would be comfortable. Thirty foot barbed wire fences and shoot-em-on-sight will not fly; much less extreme measures will not be effective.

What would be effective is to provide legal means and improve border security at the same time. Like an engineering problem, reduce the pressure and reinforce the barrier. I am open to any combination of guest-worker, path-to-citizenship, and increase in Visas that will accomplish this. I'll let the politicians decide.

We could have HAD SOMETHING JUST LIKE THIS THIS YEAR and celebrated it as a legislative win. That would have helped in Minnesota, where good people want to see other people treated well and in Arizona where people want to see laws enforced. Instead, the Tancredoites said "no deals, no compromise!" and the Republicans ran on one more unsolved problem.

We haven't looked too much at morality of immigration around here. Bastiat says just law must be avoidable and understandable. I don't think it is avoidable to watch your family starve in squalor when you can go 100 miles north, sneak under a fence, and make a living wage from somebody who wants to employ you. I think this "lawbreaking" is akin to stealing a loaf of bread for your starving family -- only you're buying it from somebody who wants to sell it!
I'm not trumpeting the status quo at all. I think we would have something more economic, more humane, and 1000 times safer if the Tancredoites had followed the lead of the President and created compromise comprehensive immigration reform in a Senate-House conference.

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2006 4:25 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

Won't fly with who? OK, I am not suggesting any kind of shoot em on sight policy but if it takes a thirty foot fence with barbed wire, or some other combination of bricks, mortar and cyberfencing, then so be it. It's not just the guy looking for a loaf of bread I'm worried about, it's the guy coming in after him who is looking to cause us harm. The very meager efforts at border control now in place have cut illegal entry dramatically. We should follow up on this. When the fence is up and solid we can let those looking for better lives walk through the gate.

Posted by: sugarchuck at November 8, 2006 4:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Invoking terrorism prevention to prevent the crossing of Mexican workers is specious. We've apprehended much scarier people coming over the Canadian border, yet the good people of Minnesota still don't see a thirty foot barbed wire fence in International Falls as an election issue.

The half-measures you suggest that make it harder will increase the price, profit, and danger of a coyote-aided crossing for the bread customer. You can fly in from the EU, get a visa at the Saudi Embassy, or drive across from Canada.

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2006 4:52 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

Again, I am not sure what it is, exactly, that you want. You say you want a lawful and regulated border, yet it must be porous enough to allow enough coyote activity to keep human trafficking safe and affordable and unguarded enough to allow those in dire economic circumstances to walk across in search of work. This doesn't sound lawful and regulated to me. This sounds like what we have now. Going back to Reagan we have had laws on immigration and policy galore and those laws have been breached some 12,000,000 times. This time we should enforce the laws we have, place a very muscular emphasis on border security and then create the policy to allow for legal immigration. I might add that if 12,000,000 illegal aliens had come through Minnesota from Canada I'd be all for putting a fence up there too.
I'd add that I am not invoking terrorism to prevent the crossing of Mexican workers. I am invoking terrorism to prevent the crossing of... terrorists. That we have other holes in the system is no reason not to close this one. As long as we can't control our border there is no hope of a guest worker program or any type of workable amnesty. People will enter illegally and wait for the next amnesty to roll around. I very much believe in the words on the statue of liberty. I want us to be the shining city on the hill. I just want those who come to obey the laws, use the front door and sign the guestbook.

Posted by: sugarchuck at November 8, 2006 7:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I want the same things as you, sc. I think the way to get there is to have a legal program of guest workers or heightened immigration that supplies enough workers to fill available jobs. By enough, I suspect I mean about as many as come today, just making them sign the guest book.

If you give somebody a legal, rational way to register and come legally, nobody will use coyotes at all. This will also give us the economic and moral reason to pursue strict enforcement. Institute a guest worker and you can build all the fences you want.

Without a legal way to come here and work, stricter enforcement will just make it costlier and less humane for those who will continue to cross to feed their families.

Then, the border is controlled, the economy keeps humming, and border authorities can pursue terrorists instead of agriculture workers.

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2006 9:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Go Sugarchuck! You've done a good job carrying the flag for we "populists" is it? But JK makes a rational case for whatever it is he's making a case for as well. (I say "whatever it is" because he's willing to "let the politicians decide." This reminds me of the famous scientific proof with reams of complicated mathematical equations followed by the phrase, "then a miracle occurs" immediately prior to the answer.)

No, JK, we are not "populists." For one thing, if our position is so popular then how can you claim it cost the GOP their jobs? The positions we've taken on individual immigration related topics are based upon principle, not populism. Immigrants should be subject to our nation's laws just as citizens are, and immigrants must not disenfranchise citizens by voting in our elections without first becoming citizens.

And then there are the entitlements. I think I can speak for all of us (the principled wing) in saying government enabled handouts to citizens are as wrong as those to immigrants, but the existence of the former makes it impossible to eliminate the latter - not operationally, but politically.

So the people who support mass immigration into our welfare state are those who are not harmed by the added burden: Democrat politicians and business interests already accustomed to a workforce partially supported by the state. The strange bedfellows we know so well.

I am on record supporting elimination of quotas for legal immigration, yet I opposed the Senate "compromise." I did so because of it's emphasis on a path to citizenship (i.e. enfranchisement) for ALL of them, it's seemingly endless list of new government expenditures, and the absence of truly innovative solutions to the entitlement question. I saw nothing in the compromise that would create a new paradigm for immigration and equal justice under law in this country.

What do I want? Any plan I conceive is hampered by the social welfare state in which we live, but here are some key points.

- Unlimited immigration for identifiable non-criminals.

- Social Security numbers and Green Cards issued at no cost at border crossing centers, linked to individuals biometrically.

- No limit on time of stay in country.

- Issuance of the same documents to illegals already here on demand, subject to the same identification and criminal requirements.

- Immediate deportation of undocumented aliens after a grace period following implementation of the new system. Say, 12-18 months.

- Immediate deportation of documented aliens upon conviction of a crime (or other sentence appropriate for the act) said crimes to include false identification or multiple identities, said deportation to be irrespective of minor children of the offender. (If the kid must be yanked out of school because mom screwed up then so be it. "Objective and avoidable" laws must also be inescapable.

- Minimum wage laws applied (or abolished) equally for citizen and non-citizen workers.

- Biometric voter ID cards required to vote. (This is a debate in itself and I reserve the right to flop around on it for a while.) The crux here is, "only citizens vote."

- An objective and lengthy "path to citizenship" for all documented immigrants willing to learn English, renounce all other citizenships, and swear allegiance to the flag and the constitution.

That ought to about do it.

Posted by: johngalt at November 9, 2006 1:37 PM

September 30, 2006

Apologies to Neil Diamond

An emailer shares a parody of Neil Diamond's 'Coming to America' that has been customized for, ahem, "extralegal" immigrants. It's called "Snuck into America." Enjoy.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:44 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Mdmhvonpa is right. The comity and agreement on the oil peak (no) and noocyoolar power (yes) post was getting out of hand.

I think this parody supports my side of the immigration argument: good people coming here to work and add to our culture. Just that they "didn't fill out a form."

And here I thought Neil Diamond was somehow beyond parody. These Internets prove you wrong everyday.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2006 1:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, I noticed that. It clearly highlights the best and brightest of the illegal immigrant "swarm."

Posted by: johngalt at October 3, 2006 2:38 PM

September 22, 2006

House's "Last Gasp Measures" on Immigration

The WSJ editorial page and a beloved blog brother are deriding the efforts of republicans in the House of Representatives to "do something about this immigration problem about which they've whipped everybody up." FNC's Major Garrett gave a detailed report on events in the legislative body during Thursday's 'Special Report with Brit Hume.'

Here are the highlights -

Republicans "steamrolled" three bills through the House:
Bill 1- Imposes a 20-year prison sentence for anyone constructing or financing the construction of a cross-border smuggling tunnel.
Bill 2- Allows for longer detention and swifter deportation of illegal alien felons or illegals who belong to criminal gangs.
Bill 3- Encourages local and state police to find and apprehend illegal immigrants.

"Democrats say the bills have little chance of becoming law."

Republicans Hastert and Boener presented a chart entitled, "House Republicans' Border Security Now September Agenda" which listed the following bullet points:
- More Border Fencing and Improved Surveillance Technology
- "Catch & Return," not "Catch & Release"
- Detention and Deportation of Alien Gang Members
- Expedited Removal of Alien Criminals
- Increase in Prosecution of Alien Smugglers
- Criminalization of Construction and Financing of Border Tunnels
- Detention of Dangerous Aliens Unable to be Deported
- Reaffirm Authority of State and Local Law Enforcement to Enforce Immigration Laws
- Funding for Secure Border Initiative
- Funding for More Border Patrol Agents

Personally, I fail to see how any of these individual measures are "bad politics, bad economics" or "bad imagery." Better yet, taken as a whole they give the appearance of a "comprehensive" approach.

While detractors share common cause with representatives John Conyers and Sheila Jackson Lee who decry the failure to pass "comprehensive immigration reform," the three house bills passed today with large bipartisan margins, as Democrats hasten to put themselves on the politically popular side of these obvious steps.

Bill 1- Passed unanimously. Bill 2- Passed with 100 democrat "yea" votes. Bill 3- Passed with 62 democrats piling on.

The three bills have no companions in the Senate, but House leadership hopes to roll them into the "must pass" Homeland Security spending bill scheduled for hill action next week.

This is shaping up to be quite a mighty "gasp."

And don't forget the 700-mile border fence the house already approved, which is also scheduled for a Senate vote next week.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:28 AM | Comments (3)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

"Democrats say the bills have little chance of becoming law."

The Dems said that,.and YOU believed them???

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 22, 2006 9:53 AM
But jk thinks:

All of these measures would be good politics, good economics, and good imagery were they combined with some legislation which would give American business the labor it requires and provide a way for those honest laborers to cross and take those jobs. Then it would be a sign of a secure America that welcomes workers but not lawbreakers.

I'm proud to stand with Reps. Conyers and Lee but I suspect their motives are different than mine.

The old line is that a House majority can pass a ham sandwich. The key has always been, is, and will remain the flexibility of the House in conference. As they now seem to confuse intransigence with toughness, I am not confident.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2006 10:14 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

jk,..America has plenty of labor out there. Its up to the Dems to get them off the welfare addiction and the so-called "urban leaders" to stop telling them welfare is better than working for "da man!"

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 22, 2006 12:24 PM

September 21, 2006

Mr. Sensenbrenner, Tear Down This Wall

Here we go again. The Wall Street Journal Ed Page wonders about the message and politics of the Congressional GOP's last gasp measure do something about this immigration problem about which they've whipped everybody up.

I hope they'll move it to the free site this weekend. It is a very thoughtful piece. It runs as the lead editorial today, The Great Wall of America, which opens with "It wasn't so long ago, during the Reagan era, that Republicans sought to tear down walls, not erect them."

Now that they've created this frenzy, they have to show how tough they are:

Here's one example of how tough they are. Steve King of Iowa suggested in front of the C-SPAN cameras that at the top of this new fence "we electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it." Then he added: "We do this with livestock all the time." Equating people with cattle: There's an inclusive political message for you.

Nor is a "sealed border" desirable, even if it could be achieved. More than nine of 10 of the three million net new jobs created from 2000-05 have been filled by immigrants, according to Census Bureau data. With many regions of the country now suffering from a shortage of workers, not even Pat Buchanan could argue with a straight face that immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans. The fence itself will probably have to be built by immigrants.


I'm the lone voice 'round these parts, but this is bad politics, bad economics, and as this article reminds, bad imagery.
Republicans cite polls indicating that Americans want a secure border, but the political appeal of walls and fences is exaggerated. Just last week Don Goldwater, the man who held a press conference at the border urging, "Mr. Bush, build this wall now," was defeated in a GOP primary for Governor of Arizona -- in the very border state where these policies were thought to be most popular. The Arizona Republican who won a Congressional primary on immigration in the Tucson district is expected to lose in November.

The only real way to reduce the flow of illegal Mexican immigration is to provide a legal, orderly process to match open American jobs with workers who want to fill them. Mr. Bush is for that, and so is the Senate, but House Republicans have concluded that they're better off building fences. When Ronald Reagan spoke of America being a "shining city on a hill," he wasn't thinking of one surrounded by electrified barbed-wire fences.


Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Fair points, brother, but as Dennis Miller said on "More Heat, Less Light" tonight (Hannity and Colmes), "I don't have anything against Mexican people but for God's sakes, sign the guestbook on the way in."

And where has Sensenbrenner or any House republican ever said the wall should have no gates?

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2006 10:52 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said (you and Dennis). I just hope Committee allows the Senate to put gates in.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2006 11:55 AM

September 14, 2006

Logan's Run, The Home Game

Sanctuary isn't just a myth in some cheesy seventies sci-fi flick.

It's the here and now.

    While other cities in the county aggressively attempt to rid their communities of undocumented immigrants, local activists are planning to turn National City into a sanctuary city.

    Such a classification means city funds will not be used to enforce federal immigration laws, which is already the case in National City.

    Mayor Nick Inzunza declared in an interview on National Public Radio last week that he wants National City to be a sanctuary city, a designation being promoted through a grass-roots effort in other parts of California and the country.


I look forward to the day some town out there declares itself a sanctuary city from federal income taxes. There's a sanctuary I can get behind.

But seriously, are there any cases like this? I suppose medical marijuana is sort of like this... or Alaska's repeated attempts at legalization. But in regards to a border / security issue?

Would a city say it's airport is not going to do any X-Ray screening?

I'm down with the Tenth Amendment, but isn't this the wrong direction?

Tip to Allahpundit, who writes, Federalism, baby. It's not just for conservatives anymore.

Posted by AlexC at 12:59 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I've spent some time in National City. They have a large enough filipino community to support a food court. Everybody was nice to me but rude to my wife, who didn't speak enough Tagalog for their high standards.

They've used the commerce clause in Raich v Gonzales to enforce national drug laws over state. I think that's overreaching. Grow some weed in Bakersfield and ship it to Tehachapi, where's the interstate commerce?

I don't see National City on nearly so firm ground. A closer parallel would be San Francisco (and Boulder I think) refusing to enforce the Patriot Act.

Nor did I see teenage heartthrob Ms. Jenny Agutter in National City...

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2006 10:16 AM

August 28, 2006

Internecine -- The Home Game

I had a spirited discussion with my brother-in-law yesterday. He and I agree on much, but not on immigration. I got a little cranky and thought I should share it with all of you.

We have argued the merits and the economics around here but the politics are now becoming clear. I'd like to ask my more restrictionist blog brothers if they have buyers remorse on their intransigence, which is a rhetorical device for me to suggest that they should.

Congress will come back from an August recess for a short session before heading home to campaign for the midterms. My nine months of optimism are coming to a close. The idea of a conference committee hammering out a bill of this size and divergence in a month -- two months before an election -- is preposterous. Ain't gonna happen. That, my brother-in-law and I can agree on.

A few months ago, Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard asked the House GOP members if they were going to follow [Rep.] Tom Tancredo over a cliff by insisting on an enforcement-only solution, against the wishes of business, free-traders,, minority groups, and high-ranking party politicians. The answer, many weeks later is a resounding "well, gee, I guess so...the water down at the bottom of those rocks looks pretty warm."

By refusing to compromise, the Tancredo wing of the party has prevented an immigration bill and helped make the party look feckless right before a six-year midterm which is historically difficult for the President's party. So my questions to the Tancredoites around here are:

  • By preventing any bill, you have kept the status quo on immigration for at least another year, more likely many depending on the vicissitudes of elections and public opinion. Do you believe the status quo is better than a compromise security + guest worker + citizenship path that might have some elements you don't like? Are your interests better served with no bill?

  • Failure and intransigence will clearly hurt the GOP in the November elections and contribute to the severe risk of losing at least the House. Do you believe you'll get a better bill out of a Democratic -- or at least less Republican -- House?

  • Chances are slim, but perhaps not yet none. Seeing the real danger, would any of you get behind the Pence compromise (which includes much we both hate) just to get something done to give the GOP an achievement to run on and not wait for the Democratic 110th to write?

Rep Tancredo is one of 535 legislators. Let him influence a compromise but don't let him derail the train.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM | Comments (9)
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the candor. But I will not join you in choosing the status quo. The border is lawless and porous, we have no idea who or how many are coming across and for what purpose; honest people who just want to work must pay coyotes and risk their lives in crossing; it seems foolish to enumerate all the problems. Yet you and my friend Rep Tancredo will not compromise anything away to get additional security. I just don't see who is served.

We differ on election predictions and I hope you are right. My point, however, is that under no serious scenario will you have a 100th that is more devoted to border security than the 109th, so your intransigence will cost you two years of status quo lawless immigration or result in a worse bill.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2006 4:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ummm, that's the ROYAL you, right? If it was up to me you can bet there would have been a bill!

As for 2 more years of "lawless" immigration, by my estimation that's been going on in earnest for closer to 80 years.

Reagan compromised in '86 and it took 20 years for the issue to regain traction. I'd rather keep it on the front burner.

Posted by: johngalt at August 29, 2006 4:52 PM
But jk thinks:

I always consider you noble, yet never monarchic, jg.

My point was that the failure to compromise did not do any of the enforcement-only people any good. They could have achieved great gains in border security.

They all are presumably grownups who know legislation is about compromise and deal-making. Thats Madisonian Democracy. I want to teach Iraqi Imams and Mullahs that it's worth it to give up something to get something sometimes -- and I cannot even convince a Congressman of my party from my home state.

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2006 10:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Major Garrett reported on 'Special Report' last night that both houses are expected to put $270 million for additional border fencing into security bills before the end of the session. And we didn't even have to agree to give 12 million more dubious votes to the DNC!

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2006 10:59 AM
But jk thinks:

As a dues paying mmeber of the VRWC I saw it too. Two hundred seventy whole million, huh? Then the problem is fixed! Now all I need is a new gardener.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2006 12:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That's right, because your old gardener Ernesto can now earn more per hour building fence by the mile near Tijuana! Skip and Buffy finally have the opportunity that's been denied them lo these many years by unfair competition from "those who will do the jobs Amer'cans won't."

If we're going to throw money at a problem then hiring illegals to do federal work is the most efficacious. I recently heard Senator Allard talking about the cost estimate for the Senate plan: $210Bn, if I remember correctly.

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2006 6:50 PM

August 7, 2006

Back to Internecine Strife

The serious situation in the Middle East has brought the freedom lovers of ThreeSources together. Allow me to fire a rhetorical Katyusha somewhere into the comity.

Virginia University professor Larry Sabato is a pretty serious guy in reading and interpreting polls. While he is not expressly partisan, he is obviously sympathetic to conservatives and Republicans.

Friday night on Larry Kudlow's show, Sabato said if the election were held today, Republicans would lose the house by a wide margin and would lose five Senate seats, keeping the Dick Cheney majority unless the Democrats found a lucky sixth. Rep. Harold Ford was on the same show. He's not one of the five, and he is a very impressive candidate whom the party will back to the hilt.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn was on as well. She is convinced the answer is border security. Her constituents in Tennessee are swamped (really?)

I like Rep Blackburn, but I have to go with the Wall Street Journal Ed page. Today they wonder if Rep. Pence and Sen. Hutchinson will be able to "talk the party down from the ledge."

GOP Representative Mike Pence of Indiana has been pushing an immigration compromise that he hopes will end the stand-off between the House, which has passed a bill focusing entirely on enforcement, and the Senate, whose bill combines more security with a guest-worker program.

This is compromise sausage, the editorial and I find much to dislike about it Yet Rep Ford presaged the campaigns to come, accusing his GOP colleague of "getting nothing done on Immigration, even though you control both houses of Congress and the White House.

The Tancredo wing is still convinced that obstructionism is a winner.

These objections aside, we'd consider it progress if the House and Senate ever reached the point of discussing these details. And thanks to Representative Pence and Senator Hutchison, there's still a chance that might happen. First, however, they must convince their GOP colleagues that voters would prefer a solution to divisive rhetoric. That will be a tough sell, especially without the help of Democrats who are only too happy to use the stalemate as a campaign issue in November.

Meanwhile, Republican House leaders have announced that they'll spend the rest of the summer holding more immigration "hearings" like the one last month titled, "Should We Embrace the Senate's Grant of Amnesty to Millions of Illegal Aliens and Repeat the Mistakes of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986?" That sounds more like a Lou Dobbs ratings ploy than a GOP interested in compromise.


Sounds like "Speaker Pelosi" and "Majority Leader Reid" to me...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:33 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

No need to worry, JK. The Dems thought they had the '04 races all locked up even as late as just before the actual votes were counted. If D candidates get more votes we'll just place a call to the CEO of Diebold to dial in a few more R's. (snicker)

Seriously though, I doubt that the same security voters who've kept the Republicans in power since 9/11 will vote Democrat because Congress can't engineer yet another grand compromise. (Most voters know that the mechanics of legislation are stacked in favor of stalemate anyway.)

A genuine threat is voters deciding that the Democrat way is worth a try in the Terror War, but that's not bloody likely either.

I don't know what Sabato is thinking but I suspect he's influenced by the polls that show Dems stronger than usual on defense issues, but as I believe I said earlier... voters talk a good game until it's time to vote. Then they pull the "R" lever.

Posted by: johngalt at August 7, 2006 10:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Whistle past that graveyard, friend. Even Taranto is admitting that the once-thought-safe Senate is in Jeopardy:

"In this year's Senate races, things are looking up for the Democrats. Republicans failed to field serious candidates against several incumbents from red states (Florida, North Dakota, West Virginia). Most observers give the Dems a better than even chance of holding seats in Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey and Washington against serious challenges. Only in Minnesota does the GOP have an even chance of picking up a Democratic seat.

"Meanwhile, the Democrats have a reasonable shot at beating five GOP incumbents--in Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island--and an open GOP seat in Tennessee isn't completely out of reach. If everything falls the Democrats' way, their current 45-seat minority will become a 51-seat majority."

Scary times. I expect the 1994 Democrats thought that in the privacy of the booth, people would certainly pull the D.

Posted by: jk at August 9, 2006 5:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You're taking Taranto out of context. He made that case as the best possible scenario for the Dems, as an argument for Harry Reid not acting immediately to marginalize (and burn bridges with) Lieberman.

And after witnessing the Lamont-Lieberman primary, do you really believe voters in MO, MT, OH, PA, RI and TN are going to punish Republicans for failing to "do something" on immigration? Hate to say this, but Lebanon has put illegal immigration back onto its usual back-burner position.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2006 12:47 AM

July 25, 2006

Not Crazy About It, But I'd Sign

So, what does everybody think of the Pence-Hutchison compromise? If it will bridge ThreeSourcers, it might keep the GOP together for a couple more years.

Speaking for myself, I'd pretty anxious for compromise and am willing to not get everything I want. Most any compromise would be an improvement over the status quo.

The WaPo reports that "White House officials, including presidential adviser Karl Rove, have been told of the framework but not the details. A Republican close to the White House said President Bush 'won't be crazy about it, but I think he would sign it.'"

The best thing about it is a chance to get conference committees talking again. I'm not calling for more talk in the MidEast, but I think the Senate and the House might do better by talking.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I suppose this could be a step in the right direction. I endorse the measures to delay citizenship for 17 years but then to allow applications without leaving the country. The biggest flaw I see is the requirement that applications for the new visa be made from outside the US. Unless this legislation includes mandatory exportation of illegals I doubt that a sizeable number of them will leave the country just to "get legal." This is something that can be addressed later though.

Maybe it is an improvement on the status quo after all. It's definitely better than the Senate plan. Citizenship for a fee was a horrendous idea.

Posted by: johngalt at July 26, 2006 1:57 AM

July 12, 2006

Sweet Land of Liberty - Please Take a Number

06.07.11.StarsBarred-X.gif

Here's a cartoon for JK. The Allen Forkum analysis that accompanies it on the coxandforkum.com site is also excellent. He cites the same WSJ editorial that JK did two days ago, and singles out the arbitrary legal immigrant quota as largely responsible for the ongoing crisis. Forkum also challenges the WSJ assertion that "the conservative silent majority is pro-immigration" by referencing a blog poll of right leaning bloggers who favored the House bill to the Senate's 44 to 6. I can't see the connection between "conservative silent majority" and bloggers, but the result is strikingly similar to the tone on right leaning talk radio.

Personally I suspect that many conservatives would temper their opposition if given the conditions on legal immigrants that I offered in my comments yesterday:

1) That they learn English, some basic US history, and show personal initiative to assimilate themselves into "The American Way." [...] 2) Reverse America's drift toward democracy, i.e. "mob rule" and the "tyranny of the majority." America is a "Republic madam, if you can keep it."

Forkum speculates that many of these right leaning bloggers are primarily concerned with American security in a post-9/11 world, but I suspect a general fear of negative unintended consequences of more and more immigration, legal and otherwise. Conservatives rightly distrust the government to prevent these consequences, given the track record of the last 20 or more years. The most threatening of these consequences is the one addressed by my condition number 2: As things stand today, there is a genuine risk that one day a majority of Americans will vote to make Spanish our official language, not to mention scores of other initiatives that would effectively make the US more like Mexico than the land of liberty we grew up in.

The opposition is not, therefore, to immigration per se, but to the threat of statism that illegal immigrants are a visible component of. The less visible elements include John Dewey's postmodern educational system, the widespread acceptance of altruism as a moral code, and the mythical belief that America is governed by democracy. All of these elements are promoted to varying degrees by one or both of the two dominant political parties, so they have become mainstream beliefs. (Worse yet, one party promotes ALL of them, all by itself!)

Unless Americans defend the ideas that American exceptionalism is real, that every man is entitled to his own property, and that the Constitution limits the powers of the government to infringe the rights of individuals, the forces of statism will destroy the beloved institutions that empower those ideas. The Americans who make up the so-called "conservative silent majority" understand this threat, though perhaps not its causes or champions. The simple fact that they're willing to fight against it in whatever way they can is encouraging.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:53 AM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm talking about Joe six-pack, Fred the UPS guy and Billy Bob with a gun rack in his pickup truck. These aren't militia members, but they are representative of the conservative silent majority. They are the reason talk radio and conservative blogs survive and thrive.

I'm not sure that 52 bloggers are representative of their views any more than 33 conservative elites, but I do stand by my analysis of what gives them the jitters on immigration.

Incidentally, if the Senate bill did what you proposed in your prior comment it would not be such a non-starter in the House. The US Senate, as with the Colorado legislature, is not about to allow any meaningful voter reform.

Posted by: johngalt at July 12, 2006 11:22 AM
But dagny thinks:

Normally I'm all for the philosophy but in this case I find myself compelled to point out the practical. Hormonally deranged no doubt.

I refuse to send my beautiful and genius daughter to the Fort Lupton public schools where her education would be sadly neglected in favor of the majority hispanic speaking population. Nevertheless, I am required to PAY for the Fort Lupton public schools.

I get furious just thinking about it. This is what illegal immigration means to me and many others I expect.

Posted by: dagny at July 12, 2006 11:32 AM
But jk thinks:

I think the elites track closely to the shared philosophies you and I espouse.

The talk radio crowd joins us on patriotism and support for our troops and their mission. I thank them for that. (Hey, I'm the big tent guy.)

I know that the populists follow Bill O'Reilly into a price-gouging witch-hunt as soon as gas hits #3. They'll support limiting "outrageous" CEO pay. I think we need the principles of the elites.

Remember that I am not so much endorsing the Senate Bill as President Bush's idea of a compromise including the Senate's liberal immigration and the House's enhanced enforcement. Juntos podemos, President Bush said in his first inaugu4ration. Together we can.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2006 11:44 AM
But jk thinks:

Likely the blogging equivalent of getting between a bear and her cub, but I'm going to proceed...

Dagny, you cannot claim that you would be happy sending your beautiful, genius daughter to the Fort Lupton Public Schools were it not for immigrants. I know for a fact that you could find ten things wrong with it, and I wonder whether Spanish-speaking immigrants would grace the top five.

No ThreeSourcer I know sends a child to traditional public school. I refuse to believe that you would be the first except for immigrants.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2006 11:54 AM
But dagny thinks:

10 things?, I could probably find 50, up to and including errors in the textbooks. Just because there are other things wrong with the public schools does not mean that illegal immigration is not a large problem to address. But, that is not my main issue. I clearly phrased it badly. My main issue is that I am expected to PAY for the FLPS. Money that I could spend to educate my child as I see fit is spent to teach philosophical nonsense (not even in English) to illegal immigrants.

Additionally, part of my point was the feelings engendered by the debate which do not change even if I would not send my child there. Furthermore, I try not to vote based on feelings but I am a rare individual in that regard.

I do claim that there are probably a few remaining public schools that I would consider sending my child to. However, I dont want to move to Highlands Ranch. There is no room for the horses.

Finally, no ThreeSourcer? Silence, Lattesipper, no support for our wonderful public school system?

Posted by: dagny at July 12, 2006 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

I understand. And I sympathize. And I would fix it your way if I could. The pragmatist in me says that train left the station a long time ago, no sense worrying about the martini olives in the club car. At least a voucher would allow you to get some money back. I pay for the bi-lingual school across the field from me (Motto: educating tomorrow's Burger King workers today!) and I have no kids.

I think you are unfair to oppose liberalization and normalization of immigration (sounding like a good rap song) because you are frustrated with coerced public education. My point is that you'd be coerced either way, you might as well be wealthier.

I shouldn't speak for everybody but I know ThreeSourcers' kids' being in Catholic schools and public charter schools, and some others are too young. I could be wrong. My little Skylark was graduated from obedience training at the Humane Society. I received no public funds.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2006 2:47 PM

July 11, 2006

How Much Immigration Costs

It is all happening here in Colorado, as Governor Owens has called a special session to recraft a bill to pass the state supreme court. Brendan Minter of the Wall Street Journal examines the politics and economics of the debate. His short column is far more informative than the daily stories on local TV news (recent storms have forced me to watch). He discusses the GOP's hopes of retaking the state legislature and speculates that Owens might use the issue to re-ingratiate himself with the party faithful after he stood with the tax raisers in 2004.

What caught my eye and that of an emailer was this attempt to calculate the costs and benefits of illegal immigrants to the state:

The one good thing to come out of the political wrangling in Colorado is that voters have been treated to a state-wide debate over how much illegal aliens actually cost in government services. Estimates range from as high as $1 billion a year to as low as $31 million. The Denver-based Bell Policy Center issued the latter estimate after finding that illegal aliens receive about $225 million a year in non-mandated state services, but pay between $159 million and $194 million in property, sales and other taxes. The issue is too hot for anyone to point out that illegal immigrants working as day laborers cost the state what the working poor as a whole cost the state--a bit more than they pay in.

I have read a bucket of these studies now, and I flatly reject that an accurate accounting is possible.

Bastiat talks about the seen and the unseen. The scourge of my life is that my positions always seem to rely on the unseen. You can't possibly compare an economy without illegal immigrants to the one we have and compute any realistic numbers . There are too many variables. Here's my seen and unseen:

Seen. Immigrants cost money in public schools and emergency services.

Unseen. Immigrants fueled the housing boom (call it a bubble if you want, it has created trillions of dollars of wealth). Immigrants rent lower cost housing, providing income to those who with to move up. Immigrant labor reduces the cost of larger homes, facilitating the opportunity to purchase something larger. The trade generates income for financial services and brokers. Most importantly, the higher values allow people to refinance and use the income to start business or purchase consumer goods.

You cannot tell me that anybody has successfully and accurately tabulated how much wealth that has added to our economy. So I tell people, but I am swimming upstream.

My emailer suggests I am doomed because of cultural arguments as much as economic. Crime committed by a Spanish speaker plays into a narrative and reinforces a concern. The same crime committed by "Dirt Bag Dick and his motorcycle meth buddies on their way to a Klan meeting isn't going to have the same impact in Iowa or Minnesota or Green Bay as someone from somewhere else bringing that behavior in. It's not fair, but that is what you are really fighting when it comes to illegal immigration." (I get pretty good email. He had me until he tried to sell discount Cialis...)

My optimism is predicated on the inefficacy of legislators -- they will have to compromise, and a compromise will be mostly good. More enforcement IS better; higher legal immigration IS better; a legal path to citizenship would be better.

I liked Brendan Minter's piece because of the caution to GOP candidates hopes of riding this train to stardom.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Despite our repeated sparring on this issue, I'm really closer to your side than you may think. I say bully for higher LEGAL immigration, and more (I actually pine for 'effective') border enforcement.

I oppose entitlements for illegal immigrants but, of course, I oppose entitlements for ANYBODY. (In fact, I think liberals who shout for closing the border, like Peter Boyles, do so to help protect the golden entitlement goose for those already here.)

But my greatest concern is voter reform. As American government drifts more and more precariously toward a Democracy, the disastrous consequences of millions more poor voters raised in a collectivist society casting votes here is magnified.

I note with great sadness that the "compromise" measure from the Colorado legislature does nothing to address voter fraud.

I'm willing to accept a deliberate "legal path to citizenship" for virtually unlimited numbers of immigrants but I request a couple of conditions. 1) That they learn English, some basic US history, and show personal initiative to assimilate themselves into "The American Way." (That one's for you, Superman.) 2) Reverse America's drift toward democracy, i.e. "mob rule" and the "tyranny of the majority." America is a "Republic madam, if you can keep it."

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2006 3:34 PM
But dagny thinks:

That is an excellent summary JG.

I would add this clarification: The biggest problem with the millions more voters is NOT that they are poor. It is that they are irrational. This often stems from being uneducated or worse, miseducated, and yes, often goes along with poverty.

Posted by: dagny at July 11, 2006 7:05 PM

July 10, 2006

Thirty Three and 1/3

Thirty three leaders of the modern conservative movement signed a statement endorsing Reagan's vision on immigration.

Jack Kemp (former congressman from New York);
George P. Shultz (distinguished fellow, Hoover Institution);
Jeanne Kirkpatrick (former ambassador to the U.N.);
Tamar Jacoby (senior fellow, Manhattan Institute);
Cesar V. Conda (senior fellow, FreedomWorks);
Ken Weinstein (CEO, Hudson Institute);
Grover Norquist (president, Americans for Tax Reform);
Jeff Bell (board of directors, American Conservative Union);
Larry Cirignano (president, Catholic Alliance);
Bill Kristol (editor, The Weekly Standard);
Arthur B. Laffer (chairman, Laffer Investments);
Linda Chavez (chairman, Center for Equal Opportunity);
Elaine Dezenski (former acting assistant secretary for policy development, Department of Homeland Security);
Lawrence Kudlow (economics editor, National Review Online);
John Podhoretz (columnist, the New York Post);
John McWhorter (senior fellow, Manhattan Institute);
Joseph Bottum (editor, First Things);
Max Boot (senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations);
Vin Weber (former congressman from Minnesota);
Richard Gilder (partner, Gilder Gagnon Howe & Co., LLC);
Ed Goeas (Republican strategist);
Martin Anderson (senior fellow, Hoover Institution);
J.C. Watts (former congressman from Oklahoma);
Ed Gillespie (former chairman, Republican National Committee);
C. Stewart Verdery, Jr. (former assistant secretary for border and transportation security policy, Department of Homeland Security);
Diana Furchtgott-Roth (senior fellow, Hudson Institute);
Robert de Posada (president, the Latino Coalition);
Clint Bolick (winner of 2006 Bradley Prize);
Steven Wagner (former director, human trafficking program, Department of Health and Human Services);
Steve Forbes (CEO, Forbes Inc.);
Gary Rosen (managing editor, Commentary);
Michael Petrucelli (former acting director, U.S. citizenship and immigration services, Department of Homeland Security);
And John C. Weicher (senior fellow, Hudson Institute).

I'm doing myself a favor calling myself one third, but I proudly add my name to their paper.

The WSJ Ed page carries their letter and a lead editorial detailing its support.

Our own view is that a philosophy of "free markets and free people" includes flexible labor markets. At a fundamental level, this is a matter of freedom and human dignity. These migrants are freely contracting for their labor, which is a basic human right. Far from selling their labor "cheap," they are traveling to the U.S. to sell it more dearly and improve their lives. Like millions of Americans before them, they and certainly their children climb the economic ladder as their skills and education increase.

Both of those links are free, check them out.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:02 PM

June 23, 2006

Speaker Tancredo

Dont even joke about it! The WSJ Ed Page points out that "On immigration, Mr. Tancredo is now the real speaker of the House."

The lead editorial (free link) today points out that Tancredo Republicans' do-nothing strategy is not a winner. Looking at the vulnerable races, it is more likely to hurt than help. And that's just the 2006 politics.

Even if all of this somehow works this election year, the long term damage to the GOP could be considerable. Pete Wilson demonized illegal aliens to win re-election as California Governor in 1994, but at the price of alienating Latino voters for a decade. The smarter Republicans--President Bush, Karl Rove, Senator John McCain, Colorado Governor Bill Owens and Florida Governor Jeb Bush--understand that the GOP can't sustain its majority without a larger share of the Hispanic vote. Making Mr. Tancredo the spokesman on this issue is a surefire way to make Hispanics into permanent Democrats.

Every poll we've seen says that the public favors an immigration reform of the kind that President Bush does. That's because, whatever their concerns about border security, Americans are smart enough to know that immigrants will keep coming as long as they have the economic incentive to do so. They also don't want the social disruption favored by the deport-'em-all Tancredo Republicans.

On policy, the country could do worse than pass nothing this year on immigration. We've muddled through for years, and at 4.6% unemployment the U.S. economy is easily absorbing the illegal workforce. But having turned the immigration issue into a rallying cry, Republicans have put themselves at political risk if they do nothing. If the GOP finds itself in the minority next year, we trust its restrictionists will stand up and take a bow.


I disagree with the WSJ Ed Page that this is unprecedented. The Democrats thought obstructionism on judges was a winner. If you catch former leader Tom Daschle in a coffee shop in South Dakota, you can ask him how that worked out.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM

June 20, 2006

Immigration Consensus

Not at ThreeSources! But the WSJ Ed Page credits a consensus among economists. Here's the editorial. stolen posted in full:

Finally a consensus has been reached on immigration. No, not among politicians, who can't agree on a rational immigration reform. The agreement is among professional economists.

In an open letter to President Bush and Congress last week, more than 500 prominent economists, including five Nobel laureates, proclaim that "immigration has been a net gain for American citizens." The letter adds that "while a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to the economy, including lower consumer prices. As with trade in goods and services, gains from immigration outweigh the losses." Alan Greenspan often made this same point about the benefits of immigration while he was Federal Reserve Chairman.

What is striking about this immigration letter is that it is signed by economists from different fields of research, political affiliations and ideologies. It is possible that no other issue in the economic field, with the exception of the benefits of free trade, inspires such unanimity of professional opinion as immigration does.

Several years ago the Cato Institute surveyed the past presidents of the American Economic Association and the past chairmen of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Eighty percent agreed that immigration has had "a very favorable impact on the nation's economic growth," and 70% said that even illegal immigrant workers "have a positive economic impact." These experts agree that on balance immigrants don't displace native workers, depress wages or abuse welfare. If only these economic facts could break through an immigration debate that is dominated by emotion and political fear.


Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM

June 8, 2006

Viva La English

Krauthammer

    One of the major reasons for America's great success as the world's first "universal nation," for its astonishing and unmatched capacity for assimilating immigrants, has been that an automatic part of acculturation was the acquisition of English. And yet during the great immigration debate now raging in Congress, the people's representatives cannot make up their minds whether the current dominance of English should be declared a national asset, worthy of enshrinement in law.

    The Senate could not bring itself to declare English the country's "official language." The best it could do was pass an amendment to the immigration bill tepidly declaring English the "national language." Yet even that was too much for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who called that resolution "racist."

    Less hyperbolic opponents point out that granting special official status to English is simply unnecessary: America has been accepting foreign-language-speaking immigrants forever--Brooklyn is so polyglot it is a veritable Babel--and yet we've done just fine. What's the great worry about Spanish?


Read it All

Posted by AlexC at 7:56 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Si.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2006 11:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Funcionario!

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2006 3:36 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Just remember: buy your cheesesteaks from Joe Vento at Geno's Steaks!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 9, 2006 9:16 PM

June 4, 2006

On the Web

BBC

    A US state is to enlist web users in its fight against illegal immigration by offering live surveillance footage of the Mexican border on the internet.
    The plan will allow web users worldwide to watch Texas' border with Mexico and phone the authorities if they spot any apparently illegal crossings.

    Texas Governor Rick Perry said the cameras would focus on "hot-spots and common routes" used to enter the US.


This is a clever idea, except for the one tragic downfall.

The toll-free call in number. How long before it's rendered useless by crank calls?

Posted by AlexC at 9:43 PM

Canada 2, Mexico 0

Not hockey. Not soccer. This would be the score for massive foiled terrorist attempts.

Alleged Canadian terror plot has worldwide links

Well before police tactical teams began their sweeps around Toronto on Friday, at least 18 related arrests had already taken place in Canada, the United States, Britain, Bosnia, Denmark, Sweden, and Bangladesh.


Why it is a national security emergency to close the southern border?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:55 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

Volume.

Posted by: AlexC at June 4, 2006 9:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Why? Because the police, the army, and every other element of the government across our southern border is completely corrupt. Despite widespread socialism, Canadians still have enough selfishness to investigate and interdict terrorist plots against themselves OR us.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2006 3:37 PM

June 2, 2006

Our Southern Border

I agree with Harry Binswanger when he says:

The problem of "illegal" immigration can be solved at the stroke of a pen: legalize immigration. Screen all you want (though I want damn little), but remove the quotas. Phase them out over a 5- or 10-year period. Grant immediate, unconditional amnesty to all "illegal" immigrants.

Though we damn well need to screen, as the story below, from the Counterterrorism Blog, shows -- or take politicization and lies about Islamofascism out of the process, and let the CIA and FBI actually do their jobs. (And we don't need people coming over, bringing diseases with them, either.)

Thanks to IT expert and CT Blog regular reader Timothy Thompson, we learn the deportation case in Seattle against an African Muslim Imam is proving to be yet another indicator the US - Mexican border poses a very real threat to the Nations counter-terrorism efforts. Abrahim Sheikh Mohamed is the Imam of the Abu Bakr Mosque in Rainier Valley, Washington and was arrested by ICE agents in November for immigration removal (deportation) violations, allegedly stemming from his falsifying an application for asylum, per reports
.
Mohamed is now reported to have agreed to give up his fight against deportation. There appear to be issues, however, concerning his true citizenship...whether he is really Kenyan or Somali, and to where he may actually be deported. As previously noted here, and here, while deportation to Somalia is legally possible for the US Government, physically accomplishing such a task is problematic.

That issue aside, the deportation case against Mohamed, who is suspected by the Government of having ties to and supporting radical Islamists, identified that he originally entered the United States by being smuggled in from Mexico in 2000.

On June 15, 2005, Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, a Lebanese citizen and illegal alien, was sentenced in Detroit to 54 months imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to provide material support to Hezbollah. The investigation leading to Kouranis prosecution and conviction, that was conducted by ICE and the FBI, revealed that Kouranis brother was the chief of security for Hezbollah in Lebanon. The investigation also revealed that Kourani sponsored Hezbollah fundraising meetings in his Dearborn, Michigan home.

The Kourani investigation identified that he, too, was smuggled into the United States from Mexico.

Posted by Cyrano at 8:29 PM

The Cooling Saucer

Nathan Smith, at TCS, suggests that the US Senate is playing its intended Constitutional role in the Immigration debate.

It is also a reminder of why the framers of the Constitution were wise to establish a Senate in the first place. Mark Steyn lampoons senators like John McCain and Arlen Specter as "presidents-for-life of the one-party state of Incumbistan." But that was the point of the Senate all along. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Paper No. 62:

"The necessity of a senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions... [A] body which is to correct this infirmity ought itself to be free from it, and consequently ought to be less numerous. It ought, moreover, to possess great firmness, and consequently ought to hold its authority by a tenure of considerable duration."

A recent example of an "intemperate and pernicious resolution" motivated by "violent passions" is the Sensenbrenner bill, HR 4437, passed last December, which would build a big wall along the southern border and declare illegal immigrants "felons." Because senators are fewer, with more scope to deliberate -- and because they are elected less frequently and so are less vulnerable to the voters' knee-jerk reactions -- they disdained HR 4437 and instead passed the far wiser and more ethical Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act.


It's a very good piece that also congratulates the Democrats for choosing the right side of an important issue.
Millions of libertarian and compassionate conservative Americans have a new reason to take a look at the Democratic Party.

(Memo to Democratic websites and bloggers: Over the next few weeks, you will be getting visits from people who had previously written you off, but who were impressed by Senate Democrats on immigration reform. Try to be hospitable. Clean up your language. Also, since House Republicans have now moved into what immigration foe Mark Krikorian calls "loyal opposition" to the White House, Bush-supporters may be the swing voters in 2006. So you might want to tone down the Bush-hatred a bit.)

Since the health of democracy is served by party competition, the resurrection of the Democrats is another reason to cheer the passage of CIRA.


He has some negatives to offer as well, but I'm going to make you find those for yourself. jk is Merck; you're the tort bar. You know what to do.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 AM

May 26, 2006

VDH on Immigration

We're entering a brave new world according to Victor Davis Hansen.

    Many Americans - perhaps out of understandable and well-meant empathy for the dispossessed who toil so hard for so little - support this present open system of non-borders. But I find nothing liberal about it.

    Zealots may chant Si, se puede! all they want. And the libertarian right may dress up the need for cheap labor as a desire to remain globally competitive. But neither can disguise a cynicism about illegal immigration, one that serves to prop up a venal Mexican government, undercut the wages of our own poor and create a new apartheid of millions of aliens in our shadows.

    We have the entered a new world of immigration without precedent. This current crisis is unlike the great waves of 19th-century immigration that brought thousands of Irish, Eastern Europeans and Asians to the United States. Most immigrants in the past came legally. Few could return easily across an ocean to home. Arrivals from, say, Ireland or China could not embrace the myth that our borders had crossed them rather than vice versa.

    Today, almost a third of all foreign-born persons in the United States are here illegally, making up 3 to 4 percent of the American population. It is estimated that the U.S. is home to 11 or 12 million illegal aliens, whose constantly refreshed numbers ensure there is always a perpetual class of unassimilated recent illegal arrivals. Indeed almost one-tenth of Mexico's population currently lives here illegally!

Posted by AlexC at 8:55 PM

The President's 'Balanced' Plan for Immigration Reform

Days after the Presidential Address to announce 6000 National Guard troops sent to "back up" the border patrol for 1 year, JK asked if I would call myself "supportive of the president's outline [of a "balanced plan" describing a "rational middle ground" on immigration.] My answer at the time was that it seemed more like the Reagan amnesty than a sustainable solution to an on-going problem. You see, I hadn't actually listened to the entirety of the 16 minute address... until last night.

One factoid I learned was the one about the National Guard. Irrespective of their assigned duties, they will be there for only a year before being "reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online." Then there was this stunner:

"Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program. The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life. They walk across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of 18-wheelers to reach our country. This creates enormous pressure on our border that walls and patrols alone will not stop. To secure the border effectively, we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across."

Memo to President Bush: We already have a temporary worker program. It's called the H1B Visa. But there aren't enough of them and they aren't temporary. And, if I'm not mistaken, the latest version of the Senate bill actually reduces the number of visas available. [Actually, this may have referred to a reduction from the prior proposal to treble them.]

Look, if "the reality is there are many people (...) who will do anything to come to America and work" and if you want to "reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across" then just give legal work visas to all of them. And for NED's sake, don't make seeking a job a felony, criminalize the failure to seek a job! (Not really, but you get my point.)

But this is the one that really pisses me off:

"Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are here already. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair to those who are here lawfully, and it would invite further waves of illegal immigration."

No, Mr. President, this is not amnesty. Amnesty is giving people a pass for breaking a law without repealing said law at the same time. What you've described is lunacy.

You say, "There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant, and a program of mass deportation." That is true, but this is also a false dichotomy. Since when has citizenship been required for permanent resident status? Just let legal immigrants live here and work here, and be subject to each and every one of our laws, but without the voter franchise.

In conclusion,

1) Secure the goram border, using armed guardsmen if necessary;
2) Revise H1B visas to include assignment of Social Security numbers, allow unlimited renewals, and make far more available each year;
3) Issue these new visas (with all your biometric whiz-bangery) to every illegal alien in the country. (And make damn sure no visa holders remain on the voter rolls.)
4) Eliminate citizenship as a birthright unless one or more parent is a citizen but other than this, make little if any change to the citizenship process.
and
5) Start drafting wholesale entitlement reforms now, in secret, to be put forth after the GOP holds congress in '06.

Any questions?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:32 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Yeah, what are you smokin'?

Entitlement reform in the new GOP 110th Congress will be pretty difficult to pass after the President has failed on Social Security, failed on immigration, and Congress has a smaller Republican majority.

I asked if you could support the President and the answer, I suppose, is "no." You've crafted your own plan, weeks after the President. The armed guards are not palatable to most Americans and do not constitute good politics (cf. Pete Wilson, former Governor). The additional Visas are workable to me but will be fought by unions. The change in citizenship for native birth is not on the table anywhere.

Entitlement reform will be up to Speaker Pelosi. I know you read an article that says it's improbable, but few serious people this month are calling it impossible.

Posted by: jk at May 26, 2006 5:10 PM

May 23, 2006

The Politics of Immigration

I've been holding on to this since the weekend. It seems I cannot convince my blog brethren that the President's plan is right and true, that it provides both for enhanced security and to allow the free flow of labor required to make us all richer That it is decent to human beings who just wish to work. That it gives us far better visibility of who is here and what they're doing.

I guess I have failed, although two friends of mine are showing a glimmer of interest. I will tack into the wind, put my blog pragmatist hat on and link to Fred Barnes. In this week's Weekly Standard (and free on the website) he makes the political case for comprehensive immigration reform.

PRESIDENT BUSH AND REPUBLICANS are staring political disaster in the face on immigration. The problem isn't that they might enact a bill allowing illegal immigrants living in America to earn their way to citizenship, inviting foreign workers to come here, and beefing up security on the 2,000-mile border with Mexico. No, it would be a disaster for Republicans if they didn't pass such a bill.

Like me, he sees this as a big win for the GOP. He sees the risk in the dark underbelly of failure. If the President fails on Social Security (a good plan which a GOP controlled Congress could not pass) and then fails on this cornerstone of his first and second terms, the rest of the term will not be pretty.
There really is an immigration crisis. In fact, the very Republicans who want an immigration bill limited to enforcement are largely responsible for having brought to the attention of all Americans the fact that a crisis exists and must be dealt with urgently. For them to prevent a bill now would be political suicide. It would all but guarantee Democratic capture of the House on November 7. "We're in control," says Republican senator Mel Martinez of Florida. "We're in charge. And if we don't produce, it would be a terrible failure. It would be handing the other side a win." A big win.

Imagine the effect it would have on Bush's presidency. Bush is struggling as it is. It was bad enough when his lonely effort to reform Social Security last year flopped. Failure to deliver on immigration reform, the single biggest domestic issue of the decade, would mark the end of the Bush presidency as an effective political force. Bush would become the lamest of lame ducks. His final two years in the White House would be painful.


How about it guys. Take one for the team here. Support the President who gave us tax cuts and the thoroughly impressive Roberts court. Get behind and win one more for the malopropper!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:38 AM

May 22, 2006

Thought Experiment

Chicago Boyz

    One day you notice that you've been going through multiple bags of cat food per day. Then you look outside and notice that there are entirely too many stray cats in the yard. You've successfully deduced that the stray cats coming in your yard from all over the neighborhood are eating all of the extra cat food you've been buying. Now how do you solve this problem? Do you:

    a) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Round up as many stray cats as you can find and drop them off next door. Repeat as necessary.

    b) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Build a large wall around your property to keep the stray cats out.

    c) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Patrol the perimeter of your property with a gun to keep the stray cats out.

    d) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Adopt the stray cats that are currently in your yard, but this is it! After this you aren't taking in any more, and that's final. Repeat as necessary.

    e) Stop putting cat food in the yard. Feed your cats and only your cats in a place where the strays can't get access to the food.


Anyone?

Posted by AlexC at 10:08 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

If you're Rep Tancredo or Bill O'Reilly, I suppose you light bonfires in your backyard, set landmines, and leave several lawnmowers running on their side. I mean, who cares if you ruin your yard -- as long as you get that cat problem cleared up!

The analogy is tortured and tenuous. These people are human beings who contribute to our economy. If you want to set out less cat food (reduce government assistance) I am with you all the way. But let's not wire up the electric fence.

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2006 10:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Very well, then try this analogy instead:

"If your basement is flooding from a broken pipe, do you wait until you return from Home Depot with all the materials you need to fix it "permanently" before you turn off the supply valve?"

I contend the answer is the same whether or not the rising water also happens to be watering the petunias bordering your foundation.

Posted by: johngalt at May 24, 2006 3:37 PM

Bananas

Marc Steyn

    Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, in a quintessentially McCainiac contribution to the debate, angrily denied the Senate legislation was an "amnesty." "Call it a banana if you want to," he told his fellow world's greatest deliberators. "To call the process that we require under this legislation amnesty frankly distorts the debate and it's an unfair interpretation of it."

    He has a point. Technically, an "amnesty" only involves pardoning a person for a crime rather than, as this moderate compromise legislation does, pardoning him for a crime and also giving him a cash bonus for committing it. In fact, having skimmed my Webster's, I can't seem to find a word that does cover what the Senate is proposing, it having never previously occurred to any other society in the course of human history. Whether or not, as Mr. McCain says, we should call it a singular banana, it's certainly plural bananas.

Posted by AlexC at 10:03 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Steyn is in good form as usual. And I can't not enjoy a little bashing of the U.S. Senate.

But everybody who's paying attention knows that this is now about a conference bill, not the Senate bill. I feel he ignores that for entertainment value

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2006 5:23 PM

For the Wall, Before He Was Against It

I'm so glad this f'ing guy wasn't President.

    Sen. John Kerry joined most of his Democratic colleagues last week in voting to build a wall along 370 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border.

    But he now says that after the wall is built it should be taken down as soon as possible.

    "I voted for it," Kerry acknowledged Friday while speaking to the New England Council breakfast.

    But in quotes picked up by the Boston Herald, the Massachusetts Democrat added: "If I were making the long-term decision, Id announce, you know, hopefully its a temporary measure, and we can take it down as soon as we have enough people" to guard the border.


That doesn't even make any sense. ... and how positively wasteful it is. Build a wall, then tear it down. Do it, or don't do it. But don't waste our money with something that stupid.

Tip to Blonde Sagacity, who writes, "John Kerry Rules" for being "wonderful blog fodder."

Posted by AlexC at 12:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Damn, that's nuanced!

Posted by: jk at May 22, 2006 12:52 PM

Kruthammer vs. JK

The phone rang early today. It was my oft-mentioned relative who is pro-Bush but wants a far more enforcement oriented solution to immigration than the President. He pointed me toward Charles Krauthammer's column today. It speaks to his side, we both discussed our respect for the good Doctor.

I don't want to fisk Krauthammer -- he's not lying or wrong. There are just some issues I feel he does not pay sufficient attention to. He gets right to the point. Nobody accuses him of circumlocution:

I do not doubt the president's sincerity in wanting to humanize and regularize the lives of America's estimated 12 million illegal aliens. But good intentions are not enough. For decades, the well-traveled road from the Mexican border to the barrios of Los Angeles has been paved with such intentions. They begat the misguided immigration policy that created the crisis that necessitated the speech that purports to offer, finally, the "comprehensive" solution.

Hardly. The critical element -- border enforcement -- is farcical. President Bush promises to increase the number of border agents. That was promised in the Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty legislation in 1986. The result was more than 11 million new illegal immigrants.


Time out! The security elements of the President's plan are not "farcical." The President has proposed physical barriers where needed (300-700+ miles, depending on who eats their Wheaties on conference day) and the use of technology to replace barriers in other locations. I know Krauthammer wants a TJ - Neuvo Laredo wall, but I think he is wrong to call anything less farcical.

The President also calls for more border patrol agents and suggests the National Guard during transition. As the WSJ pointed out, and Krauthammer admits, more boots is not the magic solution.

The President also offers mitigation for the supply-demand pressure. Biometric worker IDs and increased legal workers would both reduce the demand (and concomitant price) of illegal labor. The normalization of present workers would increase the legal labor pool as well.

Krauthammer's main thesis is very strong (mirabile non dictu). He asks why it is Conservative to support enforcement in that illegal workers compete for work with the poorest Americans, whom liberals claim to champion. He does not mention another point of contention: that illegal workers pose more threat to the environment than a middle-class American driving his 1.25 children around in a hybrid. His best point is likely American exceptionalism:

And is it just conservatives who think the United States ought not be gratuitously squandering one of its greatest assets -- its magnetic attraction to would-be immigrants around the world? There are tens of millions of people who want to leave their homes and come to America. We essentially have an NFL draft in which the United States has the first, oh, million or so draft picks. Rather than exercising those picks, i.e., choosing by whatever criteria we want -- such as education, enterprise, technical skills and creativity -- we admit the tiniest fraction of the best and brightest and permit millions of the unskilled to pour in instead.

Krauthammer makes a good point, but ignores the little exigency of geography. We have this long border with a much poorer country. Sure we have every right to militarize, barbed-wire, whatever. But Mexican citizens have grown used to finding employment here and our economy has grown used to the advantages they provide. If I believed that a million gardeners would be replaced by 500,000 doctors and 500,000 programmers, I'd be in.

Krauthammer, and many of his ilk, seem unwilling to compromise. Three hundred more miles of fence are about 210 miles too much for me, but I will support the compromise. Yet Krauthammer wants every inch of the border walled (boats?) and calls 1/3 farcical.

The President is not a legislator. The House can toughen enforcement and the Senate can broaden the welcome mat. Yet the President has proposed a balanced approach that I can support. And as you've noticed, I do not tire of asking others to support it.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:37 AM

May 15, 2006

The President's Speech

I had the President's speech on, but really can't say I was riveted.

But my friend Dr Rick @ the American Checkup paid attention.

Here's what he says...

    Though I am an ardent supporter of President Bush I feel that he could have taken a more brazen position and challenged Congress to secure the borders immediatly with troops and fences. His approval would surely be catapulted into more popular opinion rather than the 29th percentile where he's recently found refuge. His base would have renewed faith in a President re-elected to pass his agenda which he has been less than stellar in furthering.

    This was truly a missed opportunity in some regards and an employment of appropriate measures in others. The President surely didn't compromise his already lack luster appeal. But he didn't capitalize on a tremendous opportunity either.


Hugh Hewitt says...
    President Bush did exactly what he had to do tonight: Hit the middle, agreeing to the fence, to a large increase in Border Patrol personnel and funding, tamper-proof identification, National Guard back-up of ICE for at least a year, the end of catch-and-release, blunt talk on the impossibility of mass deportation, an insistence on English, and a commitment to a guest worker program that will take pressure off enforcement by funneling large numbers of immigrant workers into the legal line.

In related news, CNN ran Bush's rehearsal "mistakenly."

Posted by AlexC at 9:26 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I was riveted. I thought it was pitch perfect and that it will launch the GOP immigration win I have been looking for.

No, the enforcement-only folks are not pleased. Rep Tancredo was on Bill O'Reilly's show right after the speech. Of course he's not happy. (Though he made O'Reilly look sane and measured, everybody has a purpose in life).

Exigencies dictate that a lot of folks are not going to get exactly what they want. Compromise legislation is frequently weak and, well, compromised. The opportunity here for a good, comprehensive reform is very good.

I will gladly accept more stringent border security than I'd choose, I'd like to see some of the enforcement-only crowd accept victory-plus as well.

The President's enforcement plan is superb: National Guard troops to back up the Border Patrol while they recruit and train new staff; technology over militarization; employer enforcement without betting the whole program on it; tools to help employers comply; and guest worker program and citizenship path to allow enough workers to keep the economy going.

I give the President an A+. The grace note at the end of the young Marine and his respectful tone toward all immigrants was just right as well.

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2006 10:53 PM

April 30, 2006

Two Wrongs make a ???

Notwithstanding the leftist groups who've organized tomorrow's "immigrant strike" day, the temperature has cooled on the immigration debate since the April recess. But it will heat up again soon. In November JK predicted "an immigration win for the GOP" that included a compromise between senate and house immigration reform bills. In general terms, the senate measure is the "guest worker" program and the house brings the "border security" element. I don't doubt JK's prediction, but I do fear the result of a compromise between these two bad plans.

The senate plan to spend lots of money and create a new "citizenship scavenger hunt" program has been knocked around here quite a bit already. But what about the house's "hard line" approach? JK is critical of it as isolationist. I'm not sure though that he knows just how right he is. Robert Tracinski, one of the guys I "truck with" calls it "Americans against the American dream."

So why are so many Republicans coming out against the American dream?

Look through the rationalization that these Republicans are only against illegal immigration. These same politicians have spent decades erecting barriers against legal immigration, and they are still doing so today. That is why they have refused to link their crackdown on illegal immigration with any provision to allow existing immigrants to legalize their status, or to allow new workers to come to the US under a "guest worker" program. They are not for legal immigration; they are against all immigration, period.

Also look through the rationalization that the anti-immigrationists are concerned that foreigners come here to mooch off of the American welfare state. Why, then, are restrictions on immigration aimed precisely at those who seek to work?

I agree with Tracinski that the house has got it wrong. I hope that much of it, like the provision to make illegal immigration a felony that Dennis Hastert promises is already DOA, will be excised from the compromise bill but that's a heapin' helpin' of wishful thinking. I still hold that Charles Krauthammer had the right approach and we'd all better hope that any compromise looks a lot like his "wall first, questions later" solution.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:19 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Twelve years of predications, and one is gonna come true, I ain't giving up.

I like Tracinski (know how to pronounce that?) and agree with his piece. He questions people's motives, however, and though many of them deserve questioning, you cannot look into a man's heart.

I know people who are not racists, leftists, or afraid of competition who question whether the huge influx of workers is good or bad. I spend my rant time, therefore, highlighting the economic benefits these workers provide to us.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2006 4:11 PM

April 11, 2006

Day by Day

Posted by AlexC at 11:49 PM | Comments (1)
But LatteSipper thinks:

They're both right.

Posted by: LatteSipper at April 12, 2006 10:30 AM

April 10, 2006

Huh?

dallasdemflyer.jpg

Can someone explain to me what, exactly, I'm looking at?

(Tip to Michelle Malkin)

Posted by AlexC at 2:50 PM | Comments (10)
But AlexC thinks:

JK, how about the distinct disadvantage?

Namely, if it were so great, people wouldn't be fleeing it.

At least before the the Civil War, our union was a voluntary one, so people could petition to join it (ala Texas)...

But could you imagine the enormous sh!tstorm that would erupt? Depending on how you gerrymandered the states/provinces you could give a bunch of seats to Dems or a bunch to the GOP. It would make the Missouri Compromise look like cupcake time.

Posted by: AlexC at April 10, 2006 8:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I can imagine, but we are encouraged to think big at ThreeSources.

I always contend that people are poor because of bad government. If we brought our far-less bad government, their economy would skyrocket. Folks aren't leaving because the Tequila is bad; they're searching for American opportunity.

It would be very tough to add all those likely Democrat districts, yup. That's why you need Canadian provinces and subdivision of Texas (for the Senate). Most of our oil comes from these places -- it'd be Nafta on Steroids!

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2006 8:52 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

But LatteSipper thinks:

51st state? Holy cow! Are we invading Mexico?
Posted by: LatteSipper at April 10, 2006 04:22 PM

Why not? Those people are obviously leaving for the US because life in Mexico sucks under the current regime.

I think its high time GWB took charge and set things right south of the border! Maybe then, those people will leave us alone!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 10, 2006 9:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Before I'm accused of "going all Sam Houston" on our neighbors, I agree that it is a right and a privilege to be admitted into the Union and I want nobody who doesn't want to go and doesn't prove it by referenda.

Nobody pointed out that if we need more GOP districts, we can always offer statehood to Iraq...Silence? LatteSipper?

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2006 10:34 AM
But LatteSipper thinks:

(rising to the bait ...) After all we've done for Iraq, I don't think they'll be anxious to receive any more gifts from us. Perhaps Iran would be interested.

Posted by: LatteSipper at April 11, 2006 2:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If Mexico joins the union you can bet it will be voluntary, because you can also bet they'll get more out of the deal than the other 50 states will. I just hope the public restrooms in Mexico become more like ours instead of the other way around.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2006 3:12 PM

April 7, 2006

Name for This?

None dare call it sedition.

    Mayor Gavin Newsom said Thursday that The City will not comply with any federal legislation that criminalizes efforts to help illegal immigrants.

    The mayor also denounced a bipartisan congressional proposal that would beef up border security and allow as many as 12 million illegal immigrants to gain legal status.

    Newsom, who has not been afraid to wade into controversial national issues such as gay marriage, appeared with a group of elected officials on the steps of City Hall to support immigrants, documented as well as undocumented.Newsom also signed a resolution sponsored by Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, and passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, urging San Francisco law enforcement not to comply with criminal provisions of any new immigration bill.

    San Francisco stands foursquare in strong opposition to the rhetoric coming out of Washington, D.C., Newsom said. If people think we were defiant on the gay marriage issue, they havent seen defiance.


What are the state's rights / federalism issues involved in something like this? I have no idea where to even begin.

Posted by AlexC at 5:27 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

I bet his eyes were closed when he said it!

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2006 6:07 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Well,...maybe this is why that city Supervisor stated that the US doesn't need a military. If it were sedition, Bush would be within his rights to sic the Army on SF!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 7, 2006 7:15 PM
But AlexC thinks:

JK, I'd like to know if he was smelling his own farts.

I'm thinking I'd like to rent of the planes you see at the beach pulling an advertisement.

I'd fly it over the Mexico-California border.
In spanish it would say, "The city of San Franscisco welcomes you! Kids stay free!"

Posted by: AlexC at April 7, 2006 9:26 PM
But LatteSipper thinks:

So when a mayor says his city's government won't abide by a some portion of pending legislation, that's sedition, huh? What is it when a president signs a bill into law and adds an addendum that he is not obliged to obey the requirements of the law?

Posted by: LatteSipper at April 9, 2006 12:43 AM
But jk thinks:

I'll concede that it is not sedition to abjure enforcement of a law that doesn't exist yet.

We have a very complicated power sharing arrangement between cities, states and federal government that is constantly tested and adjudicated. You'll find most of us siding against the Feds on Federalism grounds (Raich v Gonzales is second only to McConnell v FEC for worst SCOTUS decision of my lifetime).

But when the laws are settled, we expect both sides to honor them. Mobile, Alabama cannot outlaw abortions, Coeur d' Alene cannot allow chattel slavery. Cities like SF (and Boulder?) that refuse to recognize the Patriot Act or prosecute Federal laws are, well, um, seditious.

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2006 11:12 AM
But LatteSipper thinks:

Yet that appears not to apply to our beloved president. Bush signed the Patriot Act extension with much fanfare, then the Whitehouse quietly issued a signing statement in which Bush said he was not bound by elements of the law. Shouldn't he have vetoed the law if felt there were elements he couldn't abide by?

Posted by: LatteSipper at April 10, 2006 12:13 PM

Huge Breakthrou...SCREEEEE!

Yesterday's hastily called press conference to announce a "huge breakthrough" in the Senate immigration bill was supposed to presage a rubber-stamp vote last evening. But Republicans who thought the bill should be more than another "immigration bill to end all immigration bills" insisted upon amendments. Frivolous things like,

"One amendment would require the Department of Homeland Security to certify that the border was secure before creating a guest worker program or granting legal status to illegal immigrants. Another would have the legalization program bar illegal immigrants who had deportation orders or had been convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors."

This issue is way too important to rush into another band-aid compromise measure. The serious dialog in the comments to 'Immigration Politics' below have been illuminating, and promise more enlightenment if the conversation continues.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:59 PM

Wall First, Questions Later

Krauthammer

    Forget employer sanctions. Build a barrier. It is simply ridiculous to say it cannot be done. If one fence won't do it, then build a second 100 yards behind it. And then build a road for patrols in between. Put cameras. Put sensors. Put out lots of patrols.

    Can't be done? Israel's border fence has been extraordinarily successful in keeping out potential infiltrators who are far more determined than mere immigrants. Nor have very many North Koreans crossed into South Korea in the last 50 years.

    Of course it will be ugly. So are the concrete barriers to keep truck bombs from driving into the White House. But sometimes necessity trumps aesthetics. And don't tell me that this is our Berlin Wall. When you build a wall to keep people in, that's a prison. When you build a wall to keep people out, that's an expression of sovereignty. The fence around your house is a perfectly legitimate expression of your desire to control who comes into your house to eat, sleep and use the facilities. It imprisons no one.

    Of course, no barrier will be foolproof. But it doesn't have to be. It simply has to reduce the river of illegals to a manageable trickle. Once we can do that, everything becomes possible -- most especially, humanizing the situation of our 11 million existing illegals.

Posted by AlexC at 2:57 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Except for his perpetuation of the "11 million" myth (some estimate 20 million or more) this is a great column. Krauthammer advocates for the same thing JK has for weeks now: "Radical legalization of those already here." Except, like me, he insists on concrete (pardon the pun) measures to end illigal immigration. But as neither JK nor I has done, Charles observes that resistance to the former will nearly vanish if the latter is effectively achieved first. He proposes a year or two interval between the two.

This is a compromise solution that works - both sides get the result they want. Presuming, of course, that Krauthammer's prediction on the part of security advocates holds and that legalization advocates really are willing to allow illegal immigration to be stopped.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2006 3:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Further, kudos to Charles for elevating the idea of serious and deliberate border security from "Tancredo quackery" to mainstream (media, at least) legitimacy.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2006 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Speaking of inside baseball, I watched an hour of the Senate floor debate this morning. Some speeches were very good (Sen. Craig, R-ID!) but it was about a cloture motion for the Martinez-Hagel amendment, Minority Leader Reid calling the Republican's obstructionist, I was agreeing with Sens. Feinstein and Kennedy, Sen. Jeff Sessions from Alabama will play the part of Tom Tancredo today...

I'm surprisingly calm. Things are happening according to plan. I will get what I want in the end and publish an indecent I told you so to my GOP Immigration Win piece.

The Senate will pass a bill that is very light on enforcement, but includes a guest-worker provision. The House passes a tough enforcement bill (I'll take a little more wall, but am not up for a Krauthammer/Israel wall if we can avoid it).

Conference will hammer out a "comprehensive" bill that will be a little tough for the Wall Street Journal and too lenient for Rep Tancredo, but we'll all move along.

Looking for that seed of disagreement, it occurs to me that I do not see illegal immigrants as the security threat that others on this page do. It concerns me that N million people are here illegally but that terrorist threats are more serious from domestic sources or other countries.

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2006 6:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Small security threat? Tell that to the wife of Boulder County motorcyclist Dale Englerth who was run over by an illegal who, instead of being prosecuted, was deported to Mexico by Boulder police because of a "scheduling snafu." Or the wife of Denver cop Donnie Young, who was shot in the back of the head by an illegal who worked at one of Denver mayor Hickenlooper's restaurants. These are individual examples meant to show the horror of the problem, not the magnitude.

How about the Mexican drug gang MS-13? 11,000 organized Mexican illegals conducting business with impunity in 33 US states. Or Mexican army patrols crossing miles into US territory and firing upon US border officers. One editorialist I read claims "a full 30% of illegals fill our prisons." I'm not sure of this stat, or what this is a percentage OF, but it's clearly troubling.

But the greatest threat from the current state of immigration policy is the near complete ignorance of our current laws. When some laws go unenforced, other laws are soon ignored. Particularly by those with little or nothing to lose and everything to gain. The current debate is not about changing the law, but about whether we'll try to enforce it or, through abandonment, effectively repeal it. I say we MUST enforce this law. We need to be brave if we want to be free.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2006 11:22 AM
But jk thinks:

Tragic examples of crime. When I say small security threat, I suggest a small threat of terrorism.

People want to tie the global war on terrorism onto their favorite projects, be it midnight basketball, multicultural education, whatever. I hear the protectionists and the close-the-border crowd using this and I think it is equally risible.

Illegal immigration, as you point out, has many of its own problems. But I reject the call to include it as national security.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2006 12:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't close the border - control it. (This is my new broken record track.) New York congressman Pete King said yesterday that intelligence reports of terrorism activity at the southern border are troubling, and that waiting for a tragedy to occur before doing something about it is irresponsible. Seems to me you'll have a hard time convincing voters that idea is some kind of extremism.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2006 3:07 PM

April 2, 2006

Immigration Politics

"The Republican Party is Split on Immigration" scream the headlines. We certainly have some disagreement around here. I don't see Democrats providing real leadership here, and I question that a united front is doing them much good.

I have had to face opposition to my views from Thomas Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson. A friend emailed this article with the Subject "Hanson." I thought it was the band. Of course, VDH has written a whole book about adverse effects of rampant illegal immigration and unassimilated Mexican people in has native California.

I have repeatedly made the case for a guest worker program, and said early that it could be packaged as a compromise with stricter security, resulting in a GOP win. I have faced the squeamish task of defending those who broke the law, those who refuse to assimilate, and even the ridiculous marchers who flaunted their ignorance and opposition to this country's ideals.

That's tough work for a law-and-order guy but I think that the economic advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, and that a guest worker program is a step toward a legal, controlled process that recognizes the exigencies of 11 million folks who are, well, here.

A very good point made by the other side was poll numbers showing overwhelming support for enforcement. As blog pragmatist, I have to look toward victory but feel that the support is "a mile wide and an inch thick," and that leadership could show people the benefits and overcome the demagoguery that has plagued this issue.

Bill Kristol seems to back me up in this week's Weekly Standard." In Y is for Yahoo, Kristol indulges in some name calling to a Representative from my state. But he also repeats the truth that the electorate has not been that kind to those who espouse policies that can be thought anti-immigrant.

The leaders of what he calls "THE HOUSE CAUCUS TO RETURN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO MINORITY STATUS--also known as the House Immigration Reform Caucus" all happen to be from safe seats. Statewide office holders have to be more moderate.

Dana Rohrabacher has represented a safe GOP seat in Orange County for almost two decades. He's chosen never to run statewide. In California, Republican governor Pete Wilson exploited the immigration issue to help get reelected in 1994, and the voters passed a Republican-backed anti-immigration measure, proposition 187. No Republican candidate except the idiosyncratic Arnold Schwarzenegger has won statewide since.

Virgil Goode has a safe GOP seat in Southside Virginia. He's never run statewide. Last fall, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Jerry Kilgore, tried to exploit illegal immigration by denouncing a local community that wanted to build a shelter that might accommodate some illegals. He lost, in a red state, a race he had been favored to win.

Anti-immigration yahoo Tom Tancredo carried the sixth district of Colorado comfortably in 2004 (though running slightly behind pro-immigration George W. Bush). But in Tancredo's state, the GOP did miserably in 2004, with Democrat Ken Salazar winning the Senate seat and Democrats gaining control of both houses of the legislature. Meanwhile, in the safe fifth district of Iowa, Steve King did run two points ahead of George W. Bush in 2004. King was able to outspend his challenger 10-1, while Bush faced a huge Kerry effort in that swing state.

Four GOP senators voted in the Senate Judiciary Committee for the comprehensive immigration bill these blustering House members believe is electoral suicide: Arlen Specter, elected and reelected in blue state Pennsylvania; Mike DeWine, elected and reelected in swing state Ohio; and Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, and Sam Brownback from Kansas--both very popular in their red states. John McCain, lead sponsor of a bill that resembles the Senate Judiciary Committee bill, has a pretty impressive electoral record in Arizona, a competitive state. George W. Bush, a pro-immigration Republican, has won two presidential elections--as did another pro-immigration Republican, Ronald Reagan.


Adding these examples to Pete Wilson's temporary gains but long term GOP minority in California, I do not see this as an election winner.
The American people are worried about immigration. In a Pew Survey released last week, 52 percent of Americans saw immigration as a burden, while 41 percent said it strengthened the country; 53 percent support sending illegals home, while 40 percent endorsed a path to citizenship. Given the hoopla about illegal immigration, this division is in fact surprisingly close. In any case, it means GOP senators and congressmen--and presidents--have plenty of room to show leadership and to resist demagoguery. Most Republican officeholders know that the political--and moral--cost of turning the GOP into an anti-immigration, Know Nothing party would be very great. It could easily dash Republican hopes of becoming a long-term governing party. How many Republicans will have the courage to stand up and prevent the yahoos from driving the party off a cliff?

UPDATE: An AP/Ipsos poll shows support for guest worker programs.
The survey found 62 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans favored temporary worker status.

"If I were in the White House, I would be pretty pleased about this," said Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political science professor who studies public opinion. "It does suggest pretty strongly that the president has the opportunity to drive public opinion on this."


Posted by John Kranz at 12:13 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

VDH's last two paragraphs say about everything I believe on this subject.

I'll be your huckleberry, JK: "How does a 'guest worker' program stop the future flow of illegal immigrants?"

It will do that, won't it? Isn't that a problem that needs to be solved? Do we agree on that?

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2006 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

I agree with almost all of VDH's last two paragraphs. I said in an email the other day that a permanent underclass is a concern with a guest worker program. I think that the advantages outweigh this risk and Im not sure Professor Hanson agrees.

Huck? The guest worker program does three things to reduce illegal immigration:

1) Given a safe and legal method, most legal workers would abjure the dangerous coyotes and illegal crossings;
2) Given access to legal guest workers, companies would hire these legal workers at a premium over illegals;
3) This would give the US a more solid economic and moral footing to toughen border security.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2006 4:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

First of all, "reduce" is a weasel word. One percent is a "reduction." I said "stop." By this I mean cut by 95% or more. Isn't that the goal? Efficacy?

To analyze the rest I tried to find the links to the Senate subcommittee bill I was reading over the weekend but couldn't put my mouse on it today. I wanted to look for definitive measures that would address each of your points. Failing that, for now, I'll wing it.

1) Wouldn't this be simpler and more effectively achieved by merely raising the quota on legal immigrations from Mexico?

2) If this were true then wouldn't companies be hiring legal citizen and resident alien workers now, also at a premium?

3) I disagree with this one at its root. Our moral footing is nonexistent as long as we refuse to officially acknowledge the premise I put forth in your first elevator talk. Beside that, what makes you think if border security isn't tightened now that it will be in the future? It's not just terrorists that need to be kept out, its anyone who's not willing to follow our laws. The first one they're faced with is, you don't get to come in without scrutiny, due process and intent to assimilate. Sorry, that's just the way it is (and the way it has to be.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2006 3:34 PM
But jk thinks:

By reduce I mean greater than 50%, likely towards 80-90. The efficacy will be determined by the other part of a "comprehensive" immigration package, which is increased enforcement. I know that Congress will provide heightened enforcement enough for me, I lobby for the part that is up in the air: the guest worker program.

1) Yes, a dramatic increase in H2-B visas would meet most of my needs, I consider that equivalent to a guest worker program. A large difference is what to do with 11 million people who are already here.

2) I assume that there is currently a premium for legal workers and know there is a huge premium for assimilated, English speaking workers. This would provide more workers that are cheap and legal, which is good for the economy.

3a) If we close the border tomorrow and send everybody home, jobs will go unfulfilled, that is the economic footing. When we supply sufficient legal workers, we can enforce the border without economic damage.

3b) As for moral footing (I propose jk's law: you and I will never agree on anything that has the word "moral" in it), I find it immoral to tell people who want the work that they cannot have it. Right now, we have this crazy anti-Bastiat way to look the other way when some come in. Give me your lucky and shifty enough not be caught masses... A legal method would be moral to those who came and give us every right to be tough on those who ignored these new legal means.

3c) I gave up on the Elevator Talk, it was shot down by shoulder guided missiles from a rogue philosopher junta. I'm back to rambling and dissembling...

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2006 6:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK now, please forgive me if I wander a bit here but this is a complicated subject I'm learning more about every day.

You liken the guest worker program to an H2B visa given to some or all of the millions of illegal immigrants already here. That implies that, as with the H2B visa, these workers are here TEMPORARILY and are coming for a job with an expressly stated duration of 1 year or less.

But your explanations of points 2 and 3 above imply that the worker is already here and available to employers looking for help. But when an H2B visa expires the worker is REQUIRED (save for up to 2 years of extensions) to leave the country, ostensibly to return home. Will this be the case with "guest worker?"

Please don't be so despondent over our differences friend. We certainly agree it is immoral to "shoot a man in Reno, just to watch him die." We also agree that individuals have a natural right to create and to take jobs without permission from the government. But there is also an important tool for self-preservation known as citizenship that must sometimes trump the rights of individual NON-citizens. That's what's at issue here after all.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2006 3:00 PM

March 31, 2006

The Marches

usflagupside.jpg
Just a few pictures from this week's marches.

mexica-movement.org

    Our signs helped to counter the American flags. Our people expressed their agreement with our message.

...
    Racist Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R of California 4th district) of red-neck Orange County said that he didn't care how long people had been in "this country" illegally, if they were here illegally for 5 or 50 years that they should be deported. Fine! Europeans have been here illegally since 1492, START THE DEPORTATIONS NOW! First one to go should be this Nazi Rohrabacher!

    Sensenbrenner, Schwarzenegger, Rohrabacher, funny how they all have Germanic names! .....No, it's not funny at all!

stolencontinent.org
aztlan.net

    What does the immense success of "La Gran Marcha" mean to Mexicanos and other Latinos? It simply means that we now have the numbers, the political will and the organizational skills to direct our own destinies and not be subservient to the White and Jewish power structures. It means that we can now undertake bigger and more significant mass actions to achieve total political and economic liberation like that being proposed by Juan José Gutiérrez, President of Movimiento Latino USA. Juan José Gutiérrez is proposing that the coalition that organized "La Gran Marcha" meet in Arizona or Texas on April 8 to "organize a mass boycott (huelga) against the economy of the USA" to take place on May 1, May 5 or May 19.

(tip to NRO)

Victor Davis Hanson (read the whole thing)

    If many thousands of illegal aliens marched in their zeal, many more millions of Americans of all different races and backgrounds watched--and seethed. They were struck by the Orwellian incongruities--Mexican flags, chants of "Mexico, Mexico," and the spectacle of illegal alien residents lecturing citizen hosts on what was permissible in their own country.

    If the demonstrators thought that they were bringing attention to their legitimate grievances--the sheer impossibility of deporting 11 million residents across the border or the hypocrisy of Americans de facto profiting from "illegals" who cook their food, make their beds, and cut their lawns--they seemed oblivious to the embarrassing contradictions of their own symbolism and rhetoric. Most Americans I talked to in California summed up their reactions to the marches as something like, 'Why would anyone wave the flag of the country that they would never return to--and yet scream in anger at those with whom they wish to stay?' Depending on the particular questions asked, polls reveal that somewhere around 60-80% of the public is vehemently opposed to illegal immigration.

Posted by AlexC at 12:05 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I think the poll numbers show a lack of leadership. The polls were against the Dubai ports sale as well.

The Wall Street Journal lead editorial today asks whether the GOP wants to be the party of Ronald Reagan or Tom Tancredo: ?do Republicans want to continue in the Reagan tradition of American optimism and faith in assimilation that sends a message of inclusiveness to all races? Or will they take another one of their historical detours into a cramped, exclusionary policy that tells millions of new immigrants, and especially Hispanics, that they belong somewhere else?"

The marches and the Mexican flags and the upside down flag are all counter-productive. That's not too far from Republicans being thrown in with Pat Robertson and David Duke. I recognized these problems in a blog entry on March 27: http://www.threesources.com/archives/002568.html

I don't defend these people or the quotes you post, but I'm not going to choose to be poorer to spite them.

I want to be the party of Reagan: optimistic, welcoming and seeking greater wealth. Rep Tancredo has my permission to ignore comparative advantage and to mow his own lawn.

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2006 2:15 PM
But AlexC thinks:

JK, you're missing the point. My argument is NOT "close the borders". Take immigrants. Welcome them. But assimilate them. Countless millions have done that. What were seeing lately is not assimilation, but special treatment, and even worse DEMANDS for special treatment.
http://www.ocobserver.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060331/NEWS01/603310307/1007

You're right about the party of Reagan. But he wouldn't approve of those signs, and that behavior. America is a melting pot. Not a multiple course meal.

Posted by: AlexC at March 31, 2006 3:09 PM

March 30, 2006

Security & Immigration

With 11 million undocumented people in this country how many are anti-American? Would it be possible that perhaps as few as say, 19 are the really dangerous trouble makers?

... and it fully 3% of people on American soil are here without the consent of the nation, how long before a group hostile to our interests gets a few of their compatriots in?

The immigrants who come to work in this country for the opportunities, I really don't worry too much about. They understand and appreciate America for what it is. The land of boundless opportunity for those with sufficent motivation.

It's the ones that come for the opportunity to do damage that you can lose sleep over.

Posted by AlexC at 11:39 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

I worry about our nation's security as well, AlexC. But worrying about 19 people out of 300 million, I don't see why your concern is the Mexican border.

The Canadian border is more porous and has already been used by terrorists, the student visa program is out of hand. The Mexican border has not been a crossing for terrorists yet protectionists and xenophobes are ready to use national security as an excuse to shut it down.

If the concern is security, it seems we are in a lot more danger from Wahabist chaplains in US prisons and terror sympathizers already here.

Yet the call is clear: we must shut down the border -- for national security. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2006 12:02 PM
But AlexC thinks:

JK, I never said Mexican border.

And I was thinking of the millenium bombers that were caught coming through the Canadian border in Washington State.

I'm talking borders in general, not individuals or countries.

The actual crossings. The lines cut through the woods, student visas, regular over-extended visa stays, etc.

... and how do you know the Mexican border hasn't been used for a terrorist or sympathizer crossing? Maybe they're already here, waiting.

It's disappointing that I'm immediately labelled a xenophobe. That's a cheap way to change the debate. It's not xenophobia.

Like I said, the ones that care about this country, I don't mind. It's the ones that don't, that I do mind.

Posted by: AlexC at March 30, 2006 12:20 PM
But jk thinks:

One step back. I had no intention of calling you a xenophobe. And, perhaps, my comments were not well directed at this post. Yet I see an alliance of a protectionist left with a xenophobic right that scares me greatly.

To come back to your post. I would not use the word immigrant to describe a terrorist. Immigrants come here to participate in the economy (and yes, might do it some harm) but the ones who come to destroy our way of life are called "terrorists" and are not a part of the immigration debate.

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2006 1:06 PM
But AlexC thinks:

How can you say they're not part of the debate?

Our defacto "open border" policy does not discriminate by ambition!

Posted by: AlexC at March 31, 2006 12:31 PM
But jk thinks:

We're software guys, let me try patterns:

1) I favor decriminalization of most drugs, and -- not to become Amsterdam or anything -- legalized prostitution.

2) I support the right of honest citizens to own firearms.

Both of these have severe consequences for abuse. Yet I would like to see my local police have the resources to find and prosecute those who drive drunk/high and commit crimes with firearms. Triple those penalties. Get tough.

Likewise, if we allowed the OVERWHELMING majority of those who just want to participate in our economy to come legally and orderly and traceably, we could devote far more resources to stopping, finding and removing terrorists.

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2006 6:03 PM

March 27, 2006

The Immigration Rallies

Mickey Kaus did great reporting on the pro-immigration rallies in L.A. He predicted an anti-immigrant backlash and caught the LA Times papering over the large numbers of Mexican flags in the parade. In the spirit of fairness, I provide a link to this coverage.

In Kaus's spirit of fairness, he provides a link to a Marc Cooper posting that disagrees. Much as I dig the Mickster, I have to go with Cooper on this one.

I'm struck by several aspects of this story. Primarily by the way neither party can properly get a hold of this issue. Demographics and global economics are simply racing ahead of any practical political response. The Republicans are deeply divided over the issue. Even as the half-million or so were marching in the streets Saturday, President Bush was on the radio more or less endorsing the protestors' two key demands: that a legal channel be created for the immigration already happening and that some legal acknowledgement be given to the 12 million "illegals" already living here. Viva Bush!

The Democrats are less divided and generally more inclined toward reform. But can you name even two prominent national Democrats who have taken up this cause in a serious way? (One is Ted Kennedy who along with John McCain has co-authored the most sensible reform proposal currently under consideration).


The other point is that I refuse to back away from my contention that compromise is possible. I think you can increase enforcement and provide a legal channel and make most of the people happy.

In the Kausian spirit of fairness, I will include another link. Arnold Kling, whom I respect greatly, seems to minimize the economic benefits of immigration (which I claim). Kling is not against me by any stretch, but he is not quite so sure about the economic benefits:

I believe that illegal immigrants bring relatively little economic benefit and cause relatively little economic harm. I believe that there are substitutes readily available for the work done by illegal immigrants. Legal residents could do some of the work. Other labor could be replaced by capital or by alternative production techniques. By the same token, because there are many substitutes available for unskilled labor, the salvation of American workers does not lie in immigration restrictions.

Kling says "The Battle of the Borders is a distraction. While he is on my side on immigration, outsourcing, and foreign ownership of US Assets, (for all three), he thinks other issues are more worthy of effort -- on both sides.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:49 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

And After we end all welfare and eliminate taxation, we can start on the really important things...

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2006 6:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, if it was easy it would have been done by now!

My idealistic goals are an easy mark for flippancy but I have to correct you on one point. There was plenty of taxation prior to the 16th Amendment and there always will be. I'm merely asking to repeal the anti-Constitutional revision that allowed taxation "without regard to the enumeration of the several states" or, some animals get taxed more than others.

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2006 11:28 PM
But jk thinks:

It's a far cop, guv! I considered your taxation point after I posted, you are right.

The flippancy is not so much about the scope of your goals -- I dig that. I am flip because you are always willing to postpone immigration reform until you have eradicated welfare. The interrelation is clear, but you have effectively put yourself out of an important debate.

"I'll clean the garage as soon as I learn to teleport matter." Yes, that would help but some might see it as a cheap excuse to not clean the shed...

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2006 9:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You're probably right JK that I haven't had much to say on the matter of immigration reform directly. I have definitely been torn between competing principles on this one: Individual liberty on one hand and law and order on the other. There are solutions that will give us both, but I contend that none of what's on the table now does much good at improving either.

The most distasteful aspect of the situation is that our government's reckless disregard for the last number of decades has put us in a situation that almost insures that a pragmatist solution will be required. I can't bring myself to endorse such a thing, so I just focus on what really IS morally justifiable and leave the sausage making for others.

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2006 3:57 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Donde estan sus tarjetas verdes??

;)

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at March 29, 2006 6:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Enviado a la oficina de senador Juan McCain con la caja de Toasties de dos postes remata en el intercambio para una visa de H5-A!

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2006 3:13 PM

March 17, 2006

Those jobs "Americans won't do"

I clearly represent the most pro-immigrant economic voice at ThreeSources, and immigration is one of the most contentious topics around here.

Perry Eidelbus (Der Eidelblogger) has a great post on When conservatives don't get it about illegal immigration. He takes some whacks at National Review's Rich Lowry (no complaint here!), but his argument could be thrown at any of the social conservatives.

Actually, and this is not being racist in the least, there are jobs Americans shouldn't do. As I wrote in my entry on price-setting and illegal immigration, Americans have incredibly high opportunity costs. Even without taxpayer-funded social safety nets, it's not worth our time to pick strawberries for $2 per hour, or do a lot of dangerous construction at low wages. Americans should be thankful that there are so many immigrants, legal and illegal, who can only do the most menial of jobs because they lack education and/or English proficiency.
[...]
If it's such a good thing to restrict jobs to "legal labor," because citizens and legal residents can get paid better wages, then why don't we just command higher wages in the first place? Why not push the minimum wage to $20 per hour, or $100, or $1 million? I'm sure Lowry is familiar with the fallacy of minimum wages, but the same principle applies when government prevents illegal immigrants from working. A section of the population is perfectly willing to work for less, but they can't because that's been made illegal. Meanwhile, the rest of us pay in the form of higher prices for those same goods and services.

Lowry might have had a point had some of his assertions been factual and from the real world. As McQ at QandO observed last December, after the crackdowns on illegal immigration, farmers in California and Arizona can't get enough legal labor, even offering $8.50 per hour! It's not necessarily that Americans are lazy; it's just that we place a much higher value on our non-work time. Our opportunity cost was not as high during the Great Depression, when it was so low that people would accept a dime an hour to pick cherries. American society has grown much wealthier since.


Great stuff (and his blog carries a picture of Monsieur Bastiat in the heading)! I would only add that this specialization and Comparative Advantage is simultaneously providing Americans with safer, less-exhaustive, higher-paid work.

I have relatives who, like Lowry and NR's John Derbyshire, say "why can't everybody mow their own lawn?" I reply that I don't want the person who's gonna cure Cancer, or build the next nanotech material out mowing the lawn.

Lowry says it's okay to be poorer, and pay more for things (Eidelbus wonders if Lowry will personally reimburse him). But it's not up to Lowry, or my family, or even -- morally -- the government. Folks want to work, folks want to hire, folks want to make things to sell, folks want to buy. Get the hell out of the way, gub'mint.

I respect Derbyshire and Lowry immensely. But they would eloquently inveigh against government intercession into so many areas, it is a shock when they think Nancy Pelosi and Duncan Hunter should be empowered with out wealth creation.

Hat-tip: The Everyday Economist

Posted by John Kranz at 6:06 PM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Tamar Jacoby has made some jaw-dropping comments on the state of illegal immigrants in the US.

http://www.tvnewssearch.com/coms2/docview_0293-447083_1

Jacoby's POV is that we need these illegals to do the "living wage" jobs that Americans seem unwilling to perform.

In my not-so humble opinion, why would anyone want to make a "living wage" pushing a broom and improving the quality of life in a particular area when our government's welfare system pays them more to sit around all day and watch Oprah, MTV and a series of judicial shenanigans?

We need to clean up our own problems first and dry up this employment gap!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at March 19, 2006 12:38 PM

March 13, 2006

Immigration Concern

Carlos Mencia, in a special on The Comedy Channel, makes a good point about immigration that some of the "enforcement-first" crowd around here may have ignored.

"They're going to kick all the Mexicans out, then build a wall so they can't return," explains Mencia. "But who's going to build the wall?"

Posted by John Kranz at 5:04 PM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:

We could sub it out. Halliburton!
I hear there's a company out there no longer in the ports business. Maybe they do fences?

Posted by: AlexC at March 13, 2006 5:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This whole "Americans won't do those jobs" thing really pisses me off. Make the kids buy their OWN video games and they'll start mowing lawns and shoveling snow again. Stop the entitlement pablum and just watch the lines at the job centers queue up.

Besides, we can always pay the illegals to build the wall on their way out. You think they're going to turn down the greenbacks?

Posted by: johngalt at March 14, 2006 4:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Umm. Joke, guys, joke.

Besides, Mencia beat you to it. He said "Have them build it, then suggest they check out the other side to make sure it is level -- then you can lock the gate while theyre out!"

Yet I must engage. It's not about whether or not the work will be done, it is about comparative advantage. We are richer when we provide that work to somebody else.

Posted by: jk at March 14, 2006 5:38 PM

December 26, 2005

Limones Verdes

I've been in San Antonio Texas since last friday celebrating Christmas, and came across this story in today's San Antonio Express-News.

    San Antonio's leading Spanish-language radio station could be forced off the air or face fines over a quirky controversy juxtaposing immigrants and green limes.

    A recurring segment started five years ago by KROM-Radio "Estreo Latino" involves people calling in to report sightings of immigration agents in the city. The station's disc jockeys then alert listeners, particularly undocumented immigrants, to steer clear of the named locations.

    No actual mention of federal agents is made DJs speak of limones verdes, or "green limes," a euphemistic reference to Border Patrol agents, who traditionally don olive-green uniforms and drive green-lined SUVs.


That's actually a pretty clever bit.

As luck would have it, KROM is operating with an expired license because a Houston-based attorney is gumming up the process.

    Stopping in San Antonio in 2000, Joe Ray Blalack read an article in the San Antonio Express-News about KROM's agent-spotting segment. Fuming over what he interpreted as the station's obstruction of the work of federal agents, Blalack wrote the FCC, demanding it deny the license renewal.

    Since then, the FCC has received 38 additional citizen complaints against the station, all from outside Texas.

    The FCC, which regulates the broadcast industry, declined to comment on the case. The station's renewal application is under review, and there is no timetable for a decision, spokeswoman Rebecca Fisher said.


It's nothing personal of course.
    "It should serve as a stern warning. People can't engage in any activity against our national interest," said Blalack, 69, who also would like a law forcing Spanish-language TV stations to use English subtitles.

I would normally file this kind of activity under "sticking it to the man," but I'm agreeing with Mr. Blalack.

You wouldn't want to find yourself alerting criminals to pending busts by the boys in blue. Just because they're wearing government issue olive green doesn't make it any better... or legal.

Posted by AlexC at 8:31 PM

December 9, 2005

Internecine, Part XLIV

Pick a little fight on a Friday, shall I?

The Lead Editorial in the WSJ Ed Page today (free link) is a call for GOP politicians to reject the restrictionist elements in its party. Despite Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and Rep. Tom Tancredo, the special election in California proved traditional GOP issues to fare better than immigration restrictionism by a wide margin.

Mr. Campbell, who ran on traditional conservative themes of lower federal spending, tax reform and national security, won the five-man contest in a walk with 45%. Mr. Gilchrist is a co-founder of the Minutemen citizens' border patrol promoted relentlessly by CNN's Lou Dobbs and his Fox running mate, Bill O'Reilly. Mr. Gilchrist made militarizing the Mexican border the centerpiece of his campaign, raising some $600,000 and getting extraordinary media attention. Yet he still came in third with 25%, trailing a Democrat who won 28% despite spending only one-fourth as much money.

This in a very conservative locale very near the border. The better political ploy would be the better economic ploy, a jk supported plan to combine enforcement improvement with a guest worker program.
A recent story in the Sacramento Bee led with this: "A growing labor shortage in California's agricultural industry has local farmers bracing for a tough--and expensive--winter harvest." Among the causes: "increased border enforcement that is reducing the number of illegal immigrants entering the country," competition for workers from other industries, and "the lack of a guest-worker program to allow undocumented immigrants to work legally."

We get the same message from nearly every business executive who comes through our offices: Without immigrants, they couldn't possibly find enough willing workers to do the available work, no matter what the available wages. Yet Republicans seem intent not merely on increasing border patrols but also on further harassing law-abiding businesses that happen to hire illegals, as if anyone can tell the difference between real and fake immigration documents. Only Republicans would think it's smart politics to punish their supporters for hiring willing workers.


Posted by John Kranz at 12:50 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

I find it ironic that those who support closing the border are on the same side of the battle lines as big labor and its democrat supporters, for they know that more people on the bottom of the wealth redistribution pyramid means less for those who are already there. I don't think Dobbs and Gilchrist are trying to protect union interests, but the private property rights of those along the border whose homes and land are routinely overrun, looted and vandalized by illegals.

The ultimate moral solution is to close the border to unfettered immigration, allow virtually unlimited LEGAL immigration of anyone without a criminal record, and eliminate all the welfare programs that attract deadbeats - both immigrant and resident.

I could support a guest worker program if I thought it might ultimately lead to the situation I just described, but since I doubt it'll lead there I fear that "guest worker" would be just another regulatory band-aid with greater unintended consequences than the original problem. If it can be shown to disincentivize gold bricking then I might jump on board.

Posted by: johngalt at December 9, 2005 3:34 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Eliminate welfare programs? Johngalt have you lost your mind? There is no politician on earth who has the testicular fortitude to even broach that subject.

Sadly, I think the only way to end government programs is to let them atrophy from disuse.
Of course they won't totally go away. It's government. But shrinking it that way might be easier. It's certainly not happening the more direct way.

In a way, this is the Bush Social Security plan, which is now seemingly relegated to the dust-bin.
America's youth can save better than the government. They're not going to want the government SS in 30, 40 years. They'll have their own... and it'll be better.

The generation(s) that are currently suckling on the teet of the nanny state are immovable. We need to concentrate on those who aren't yet on welfare, but perhaps "aspire" to it. They can be educated in self-relance.

Otherwise, we'll just keep on going. It doesn't stop.

Posted by: AlexC at December 9, 2005 11:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I asked Dagny, "Who would you consider to be an 'anti-welfare' politician." She replied, "Are there any?" So your point is well taken, but that doesn't prevent legislative advances like the 1996 welfare reform act. I don't expect welfare to go away overnight, but I do argue for a gradual move toward LESS welfare instead of MORE. There's nothing that says all able bodied Americans won't support themselves if given a fair chance to do so, and disabled Americans will be supported VOLUNTARILY and PRIVATELY by the rest.

And without a European welfare state in that giant space between Mexico and Canada there will be much less attraction for warm weather deadbeats to make such a great effort to come here illegally.

And another thing - To my three point plan outlined earlier should also be added: Stop granting unearned citizenship to the illegal immigrant children born in the US, and to illegals who marry citizens. Citizenship must be earned (but MAY be earned by everyone).

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2005 11:38 AM
But jk thinks:

With all due respect, jg, you've done it again.

By making "elimination of welfare" a prerequisite for meaningful immigration reform, you have changed the debate (right here) and postponed any fixes to the serious problem of illegal immigration until hell freezes over.

You have to fix immigration in the context of our current welfare system. And I posit that a guest worker program, combined with tougher enforcement will do that.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2005 10:22 AM
But jk thinks:

As blog pragmatist, I'll answer Dagney & Alex's question.

Where are the anti-welfare legislators? They all lost and their colleagues who held sympathetic views quickly found other things to talk about.

Johngalt is dead-on that a brave war exists around the margins. We can and should fight for fewer and less-intrusive entitlements, but there is no plurality for a serious reduction or elimination.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2005 11:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

In fairness JK, please note that I did make a pragmatic concession at the end of my first comment.

Now, let me borrow from this morning's WSJ lead editorial: "We realize that our views on this subject won't carry the day, at least not until the U.S. suffers a more serious attack. (...) We still wish the President would take his case to the public, and perhaps even request hearings next year on Capitol Hill, because Americans are more sophisticated about the reality of what it takes to break these terrorists than are most journalists."

There's that word again... REALITY.

Posted by: johngalt at December 13, 2005 3:10 PM

November 29, 2005

An Immigration Win for the G.O.P.

You read that right, I'm the only one calling it and I'll be collecting I-told-you-sos next November.

The Conventional Wisdom states that immigration is a portentous train wreck for the GOP. Tommy Tancredo will split off the populists, Bill O'Reilly will stir up the pot, and the WSJ Ed Page crowd will splinter and the Grand Ol' Party is to be rend in twain. Until last night, I believed it. We cover the whole spectrum here at ThreeSources and it seems unlikely to pull us all together.

Sure, there is hand-wringing today after the presidents speech yesterday. Pat Buchanan was unhappy last night (there goes the Palm-Beach-County Vote!), Michelle Malkin is displeased this morning, Glenn Reynolds has a list of P-oh'd bloggers.

The limb
The immigration debate will close successfully because the two sides' desires are not mutually exclusive. You can't raise and lower taxes, can't pull the troops home and send more -- but you can strengthen border security and institute a guest worker program. In fact the two are complimentary and I cannot see either working without the other.

The President sends the House troops in to craft a Tancredo-esque enforcement bill. The Senate opens debate on McCain-Kennedy (Love the bill, hate the name), and (I am borrowing from Fred Barnes here) the final compromise is crafted in committee.

The President, to my dismay, has shown that he will sign anything, so an immigration bill with security and legality will be passed. The Wall Street Journal folk and I will wish it went further to provide labor, and the isolationists will wish there were more emphasis on mines for the Rio Grande. But both sides will shrug their shoulders, be glad they got a Republican bill, and move on to the next election.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:38 PM | Comments (4)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Is it just me, or is all a reasonable compromise plan gets you these days is denigration from both sides?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 29, 2005 4:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Again, I think the compromise is possible here because the two desires are complimentary.

You'll not hear me talk so keenly about reasonable compromises on tax cuts or free trade. I think in this instance, legislators can craft a compromise, the Administration can declare victory, and government can move on to next thing it decides to ruin...

Posted by: jk at November 29, 2005 4:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But anything that approaches a policy success for the president (read that: anything that is popularly supported) will be - MUST be - torpedoed by congressional democrats. This "criminal" administration must not be allowed any semblance of accomplishment.

Posted by: johngalt at November 30, 2005 12:23 AM
But jk thinks:

True. But this will be tough. The GOP does control the House (if we get the Hammer's focus back), the Senate (kinda sorta) and the Executive.

It will be very hard for all Democrats to oppose a popular legislative compromise. Most will of course reflexively oppose, but in an election year, you'll be able to peel off some for border enforcement.

Posted by: jk at November 30, 2005 9:48 AM

November 9, 2005

4 Ways to Handle Immigration

Dick Morris, former political advisor to the Clintons, lists what the President needs to do to get serious on immigration.

  • Back the fence.

  • Establish a legal guest-worker program.

  • Prosecute visa overstays.

  • Regularize cash shipments home

Mr Morris ends...
    Combating illegal immigration need not smack of racism. It is important to all American citizens Latinos and Anglos and is in the national interest. But it is also in our interest to allow immigrants to come and settle here legally.

    Immigration is keeping America young and vital. If not for the annual flow of 3 million people about half legal and half illegal we would be much like the nations of Europe, losing population and watching their populations age. But we cannot afford the current chaotic flow of immigrants over a theoretical border. We need to enforce the law and make it fair.

Posted by AlexC at 12:00 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

I'm going to agree with AlexC on immigration, write this date down. And I'm going to agree with Morris.

My vision of "the fence" probably differs from both of these guys', but heres mine: we legislatively empower the border patrol and INS as needed to construct barriers to illegal entry. I do not want a 3000 mile wall, but would accede to a virtual legislative wall that manages flow at popular crossing points.

The wall could also include technology to track, trace and alert without being a 12-foot concrete and barbed-wire structure.

This wall is a serious commitment to the crowd that demands more enforcement (not a show a legitimate effort). And that gives the President the bona fides to enact the guest worker and payment regularization options.

Enforcing Visa overstays is a no-brainer, that is not an economic or moral matter, it is pure law-enforcement and we have every right -- especially in present circumstance -- to prosecute it fully.

Posted by: jk at November 9, 2005 3:40 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Hmmm, need to penalize companies who hire illegals as well. Knowingly hire. Make it not very worth-while to do so, you know?

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at November 10, 2005 11:03 AM
But jk thinks:

I hesitate to make corporate america an arm of law enforcement. Willful hiring of illegals is disturbing, but are you going to ask the foreman of a painting crew or assistant department manager at Target decide if an identification is forged or not?

The guest worker program would provide employers with credentialed guest workers and obviate the need for illegals at legitimate businesses.

Posted by: jk at November 10, 2005 11:43 AM
But AlexC thinks:

I think in some ways corporate America is already a branch of law enforcement. Particular the revenue collecting side.

Some people carry "tax-exempt" cards which exclude them from paying sales taxes.

I think that having checks on citizenship / visa status should be part of a company's due diligence when hiring.

You wouldn't hire someone a pilot without checking he's got a license right? (extreme example, i know).

Posted by: AlexC at November 10, 2005 4:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Great example. The question is who benefits (or Cui Bono? if I may be the blog pedant).

For Alex's High-Flyin Jet Charter(tm), you have cause to evaluate a pilot carefully. You have legal liability and are trusting him with expensive planes. You will perform checks for your benefit.

For jk's Temp-O-Rama(tm), I need a guy who can carry out drywall in a demolition project. I'll perform reasonable checks but I am not an arm of the INS. If Jean-Michel shows me a credible looking ID, I shouldn't have to spend a day and half checking him out for the government's benefit.

Posted by: jk at November 12, 2005 11:20 AM

July 26, 2005

1st Sign of the Apocalypse

From the Washington Post...

    A new study by a liberal Washington think tank puts the cost of forcibly removing most of the nation's estimated 10 million illegal immigrants at $41 billion a year, a sum that exceeds the annual budget of the Department of Homeland Security.

    The study, "Deporting the Undocumented: A Cost Assessment," scheduled for release today by the Center for American Progress, is billed by its authors as the first-ever estimate of costs associated with arresting, detaining, prosecuting and removing immigrants who have entered the United States illegally or overstayed their visas. The total cost would be $206 billion to $230 billion over five years, depending on how many of the immigrants leave voluntarily, according to the study.


Whoa whoa whoa... liberal think tank?

I don't think I've ever seen a think tank labelled liberal. Conservative, right leaning, yes. Liberal? No.

Repent! The end is nigh!

Obviously the mass deportation option is not on the table, and I'm not sure it was ever seriously on the table.

    [Rajeev K. Goyle, senior domestic policy analyst for the center] said that he conducted the study, in part, to respond to conservative officials who have advocated mass deportations, in some cases immediately. Earlier this year, former House speaker Newt Gingrich advocated sealing U.S. borders and deporting all illegal immigrants within 72 hours of arrest.

    Will Adams, a spokesman for Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), an outspoken advocate of stronger immigration laws, called the study an "an interesting intellectual exercise" by liberals that is "useless . . . because no one's talking about" employing mass deportation as a tactic.

    "No one's talking about buying planes, trains and automobiles to get them out of the country," Adams said. "The vast number of illegal immigrants are coming for jobs. Congressman Tancredo wants to go after the employers."


I like Tancredo's idea, but he shot his credibility right in the ass with the nuking Mecca remark. If only there was someone else in Congress willing to carry the flag on this idea.

Gingrich's idea is also very practical, if we could get local law enforcement to check on immigration status.

Bust them, then ship 'em out. It's a start.

Posted by AlexC at 12:25 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I offered up a simple and thorough plan for ending the illegal immigration problem in "JK Supports McCain-Kennedy" below (http://www.threesources.com/archives/001841.html) but Tom's idea is at least productive, if not the final solution.

As for his credibility, any smudge on it is not his own doing. If a good man like AlexC in Pennysylvania believes that Tancredo said, "nuke Mecca" or "nuke" anything else, that belief has been carefully and deliberately inculcated in his brain by the MSM. (Denver's KHOW radio Peter Boyles interviewed a Denver Post columnist this AM and challenged her similar characterization of Tom's remarks. He closed with, "The next time you write a column like this, for Christ's sake, get it right!" After a pregnant pause she said, "Thank you Peter, I've gotta go.")

Tancredo started his hypothetical answer by saying that instead of just deciding what we would do in the event of a NUCLEAR TERROR ATTACK ON THE U.S., we should WARN the world that such an event would precipitate some "ultimate" response. Such a response might be, for EXAMPLE, to "take out their holy sites."

I've got more to say on this but I think I'll continue to reserve it for a blog post that I've been planning since this story first broke.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2005 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll wait for your post but choosing sides between media and Rep Tancredo is going to be difficult.

Nobody should be misrepresented, but I enjoyed seeing him get in a little trouble. He is trying to split the GOP in 2008 and I would like to squash his hopes as soon as possible.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2005 11:54 AM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Tom Tancredo wrote his own editorial in last week's Denver Post where he offered a similar explanation for his remarks as that johngalt states. My problem is more with the underlying attitude and strategy that brought forth the remarks. First, Tom made several comments regarding our war against Islam, and yes he did further clarify his meaning of Islamic extremists, but his plan to either deter the extremists themselves with a plan for retribution or force moderate Islam to act against them due to fear of retaliation against holy sites shows to me outdated 20th Century thinking. Are we still so naive as to expect a country, religion, or other target owning entity to stand up as the home or sponsor of the terrorist organization so that we may have classic method to strike back? Does Tom further feel that the concept of deterrent will be successful against extremists, or that such threats will provide the power to the people required to topple or change governments such that an Islamic uprising within the ranks will quell the terrorist menace? If he really expects his remarks not to be taken as throw away rhetoric then he needs to stand up with a real thought out plan. Otherwise I have to lump him in with Ward Churchill.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 28, 2005 3:53 PM

July 20, 2005

JK Supports McCain-Kennedy

Wait, did I really write that headline? Call the paramedics!

First, two of my favorite Senators have introduced a bill that is heavy on Enforcement.

After nearly 20 years and numerous enforcement escalations, the undocumented immigrant population continues to grow -- and restrictionist lawmakers continue to insist that throwing ever more money, men and material into border enforcement is the key to fixing the problem.

Yesterday, Senators John Cornyn (R., Texas) and Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) introduced legislation that would authorize $5 billion over five years "to acquire and deploy unmanned aerial vehicles, camera poles, vehicles barriers, sensors" and other technologies. They'd also create a new 10,000-man army to raid businesses across America and make sure there are no illegal chambermaids working at Marriott. For this, we need Republicans?


The WSJ Ed Page and me -- mirabile freakin' dictu -- prefer a bill introduced by --ahem-- John McCain and Ted Kennedy.
A more promising reform was introduced in May by Senators John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Ted Kennedy (D., Mass.). Their approach is a welcome acknowledgment of certain realities -- namely, that enforcement-only policies have failed repeatedly and that wiser uses of limited government manpower and tax dollars are in order.

Based on the fact that the vast majority of migrants come here in search of work, Senators McCain and Kennedy aim to lower the level of illegal immigration by expanding our relatively few channels for legal entry to meet the demand. Giving economic immigrants legal ways to enter the U.S. will reduce business for human smugglers and counterfeiters. Moreover, it will allow our border authorities to concentrate their resources on chasing down real security threats instead of nannies and gardeners.

In short, the McCain-Kennedy bill would enhance homeland security without harming the immigrant labor market so essential to the country's economic well-being. But the measure's guest-worker initiative, which would allow undocumented migrants already here to work legally if they first pay sizable fines and undergo criminal background checks, has brought charges of "amnesty" from Republicans who call any "work and stay" provision a poison pill.

This "amnesty" charge may be potent as a political slogan, but it becomes far less persuasive when you examine its real-world implications. If paying a fine isn't good enough for illegals already here, what are the restrictionists proposing? Mass arrests, raids on job-creating businesses, or deportations? No illegal settled in a job or U.S. community is going to admit his status if he will then immediately be jailed or sent home to wait in line for years before he can get his old U.S. job back. Those who wave the "no amnesty" flag are actually encouraging a larger underground illegal population.


McCain-Kennedy. I'm going back to bed...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:49 AM | Comments (3)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Every once in a while a little pragmatism creeps into our ever more contentions political arena. Don't feel to bad JK, it is not a common occurrence so you should not have to hop on McCain or Kennedy's bandwagon again, hopefully saving your conservative head from a splitting headache. Now at the risk of exposing more of my liberal underpinnings I got stuck on one phrase in your post, "...the immigrant labor market so essential to the country's economic well-being." By this do you mean the use of legal immigrants paid legal wages and benefits or illegal immigrants with neither? I have to call into question the foundation of a business that cannot be profitable without illegal workers.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 20, 2005 1:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. I absolutely mean legal immigrants and legal wages. The thing that bothers me so much about the status quo is the illegality.

A single business that cannot prosper without illegal labor is likely flawed. By discussing "the immigrant labor market" in aggregate, the focus is shifted from a single business model to the economic issue of comparative advantage. Comparative advantage makes the whole country wealthier with the addition of lower cost workers.

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2005 2:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So, we're expected to believe that an illegal settled in a job or U.S. community is going to admit his status because he'll "only" be asked to pay "sizable fines?" Or, if the benefits of this "legalization for sale" plan are sufficient to encourage the vast majority of illegals to opt-in, in their own self-interest, it's still supposed to be "good enough" to satisfy the restrictionists? Consistency alert!!

If the McCain-Kennedy bill doesn't secure the border against illegal entry, it's just another brick in the bureaucratic morass we call immigration policy. No amount of made-to-order government programs are going to correct the system we have now, where many immigrants make such a great effort to get here illegally so that they can get stuff for free.

- Secure the borders.
- Stop the handouts.
- Institute "official English" nationally.
- Allow unlimited numbers of non-criminal individuals to immigrate at will.

Problem (domestic immigration) solved.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2005 2:45 PM