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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Checking in on the Campaign

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The NY Times lead editorial this morning concerns immigration as a campaign issue in the 2012 primaries. Not surprisingly, the paper has some choice words for the Republicans, particularly Mitt Romney:

Mitt Romney has moved farthest to the fringe. His scheme for fixing immigration is mass expulsion: a fantasy of ridding the country of 11 million unauthorized immigrants by making their lives unbearable. The key to his harsh vision is "self-deportation," the deceptively bland-sounding policy that he introduced at a debate. It accepts that arresting and expelling so many millions would be impossible -- like deporting the State of Ohio. But it replaces that delusion with another: That people can be made miserable enough to leave on their own.

Mr. Romney lifted this scheme from a campaign adviser, Kris Kobach, the mastermind of a host of crackdowns that seek to leave unauthorized immigrants not just unable to work, but unable to drive, rent or heat a home, afraid to take children to school or the doctor. In states where "self-deportation" is official policy, the results have been deplorable. In Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County sweeps neighborhoods making mass arrests, and people are afraid to leave home. In Alabama, farm and construction workers have fled by the thousands; tornado victims are afraid to go to a shelter.

These laws hijack the federal government's responsibility for immigration and have caused a civil-rights emergency. But Mr. Romney's response has been to condemn the Obama Justice Department for fighting them in court.

Romney's opponents don't come off much better, but they're also not blatantly pandering as much as Romney nor have they shifted their positions to the same degree.

Primary seasons in both parties are traditionally about playing to the base and then trying to pivot back to the middle for the general election. But it's hard to see how any of the Republicans can do this now that they've said much of what they've said on immigration. Santorum probably has been smarter than Romney on this front, though barely. He's no softie on immigration, but he's also not made it a big issue in his campaign as Romney has. He's not going to get a great share of the Hispanic vote in November, but he may not get hurt as badly as Romney would.

The President gets a mixed review:

President Obama has hardly been inspiring on this issue. He has pushed deportations to record levels while failing to reform immigration more humanely. But he, at least, understands that the right immigration solution is one that doesn't reward illegality but channels immigrant energy and aspirations to fruitful ends. It is the hard-won compromise that combines tougher border and workplace controls with a legalization path and a well-designed future flow of workers to meet our economy's needs.

I think that's about right. The President goes from a C- to a B in my book based on his efforts over the last year. But he still has not managed to get his agencies to act in a manner consistent with the rhetoric and he has left many options on the table that need to be taken (especially when it comes to legal immigration measures aimed at skilled workers).  

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  1. gg's Avatar
    It is to hope against hope to see any meaningful immigration reform in the next few years. Though the President is publicly known to support Immigration Reform he has clearly stated many times that he does not have the executive powers (this can be debated) to implement any reform, meaning without any legislative action there will be no reform. So from immigration point of view it does not matter much who will be the next president Democrat or Republican, the end result seems to be the same ie Status Quo.

    Here is the link to a recently concluded GOP immigration debate - House republicans main obstacle to meaningful immigration reform :
  2. George Chell's Avatar
    While the House GOP is the main obstacle to CIR, Senate Republicans led by Charles "Assinine" Grassley is the major obstacle to any reform regarding skilled immigration. Romney says he wants to pin a Green Card on the certificate of every foreign graduate...with the Assinine sitting in the senate, I say good luck with that!
  3. Another Voice's Avatar
    Good article here on the subject
  4. George Chell's Avatar
    "Good article here on the subject."

    As I said earlier, if there were no illegals they will go after non-white legals. All that is fair, if you are a creditor country and can dictate terms. The fact is Beggars cannot be choosers. You want your country to remain white, pay back your debt first and before it is too late for you...and this message is for Pat Buchanan, Peter Brimelow and everyone else who spoke at CPAC.

  5. Jack's Avatar
    "But he, at least, understands that the right immigration solution is one that doesn't reward illegality"

    Obama's against legalization now? Or are they saying that legalization isn't a reward? That can't be, can it? Just too absurd. But I guess that's what they mean. If they think they're going to convince people that legalization is not a reward, good luck with that. Why can't they just be honest for once and not insult people's intelligence?

    "a well-designed future flow of workers to meet our economy's needs"

    Whose needs? The employers or the workers? "Future flow" always sounds more like a flood. And there is no design to mass legalization: We'd get everybody regardless of whether we "need" them.

    Poll after poll shows only a very small percentage of Americans want higher immigration. They don't like to come out and say it, but the desired fix for a lot of the things people complain are broken seems to be higher immigration. Apparently they intend to never slow down and act as if the population can grow forever.

    It's a tragic unconsciousness of basic ecological science. We have already exceeded our carrying capacity and are in overshoot. It can't go on forever so it makes sense to address the issue now, before the crash/die-off. We must not let greed, hunger for power, and ideology drive us over a cliff.

    Some open border people mean well and wish everybody could be an American. But they can't. It's simply not realistic. They say it's not fair. Maybe so, but that's the reality. And the more we degrade our environment, the less people will be able to be Americans in the future and the quality of their lives will be diminished.

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