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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Exile for Speeders Too?

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John McCain made headlines last week for a contentious town meeting where immigration policy was discussed. The Arizona Republic reported on one statement that I thought was interesting:


During his at-times raucous town-hall-style meeting in Sun Lakes last
week, U.S. Sen. John McCain compared immigrants now in the United
States illegally to traffic speeders, saying they should be allowed to
get straight with the law by paying a penalty and taking other steps.

"All of us, from time to time, I think with rare exception,
unfortunately, have broken the law," McCain, R-Ariz., on Tuesday told
the crowd of more than 150 people in the retirement
community near Chandler. "Mine was while driving an automobile at an
excessive speed. I paid a fine. I paid a fine. I had to go to (traffic)
school. Some of us might remember that experience."




I've made this point over the years that the simple answer to those who say we can't reward lawbreakers is to agree and simply note that in America we believe in the principle that the punishment should fit the crime. Is violating immigration law something that should be dealt with by charging people significant fines, forcing them to pay back taxes, requiring them to learn English and making them get to the back of the line for green cards enough? Or do we have to instead mandate exile.


McCain's analogy is helpful because it reminds people that there are alternative forms of punishment available that will help us better assess the problem. Maybe the analogy can be taken a step further by asking whether we should suspend the driver's licenses and impound the cars of speeders? Arguably, that would make the roads safer and would have a huge deterrent effect. But I doubt that's the kind of society in which we want to live. I'm not saying we should never deport people. But we should at least have the possibility of alternative punishments for less serious immigration violators who can otherwise meet a functional immigration system's reasonable visa requirements.

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Comments

  1. Another Voice's Avatar
    Jack?? give us a little stickler for the rule of law stuff.....come on just a little LOL!!!!
  2. CIR2013's Avatar
    JACK HAS GONE UP THE CAPITOL HILL TO FETCH A PAIL OF WATER TO JUMP IN HAHAHA
  3. George Chell's Avatar
    "JACK HAS GONE UP THE CAPITOL HILL TO FETCH A PAIL OF WATER TO JUMP IN HAHAHA"

    No! JACK FOUND HIS JILL AND THEY WENT UP CAPITOL HILL. ON LEGISLATION TO THROW COLD WATER...JACK FELL DOWN AND BROKE HIS CROWN AND JILL CAME TUMBLING AFTER!!!
  4. George Chell's Avatar
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/us/immigrants-released-ahead-of-automatic-budget-cuts.html?_r=0

    Pay up your taxes or this will be the result.
  5. JoeF's Avatar
    Jack of course never speeds... He's the one guy in the left lane who is driving slow and who's always in front of me
  6. Nice's Avatar
    damn George you're good with those limericks
  7. George Chell's Avatar
    Back in the old days I used to make fun of our teachers by changing songs and poems..those were the days..that is the worst we ever did in schools...these days all over the world it is mostly knives, guns and violence!
  8. Jack's Avatar
    "the simple answer to those who say we can't reward lawbreakers is to agree"

    Getting to stay is the reward--so you do not agree.


    "violating immigration law something that should be dealt with by charging people significant fines, forcing them to pay back taxes, requiring them to learn English"

    So why even have an invitation system (many of which are only non-immigrant visas) when except for threat to public safety/national security types, whoever and however many uninvited foreign nationals show up would get instant immigrant visas and an avenue for citizenship? With or without the invitations, it adds up to indiscriminate and unlimited immigration, thus rendering the invite system superfluous. Why would anyone bother with a non-immigrant visa when they can just illegally enter or overstay and get permanent residency?
  9. Hill2013's Avatar
    "...the simple answer to those who say we can't reward lawbreakers is to agree and simply note that in America we believe in the principle that the punishment should fit the crime. Is violating immigration law something that should be dealt with by charging people significant fines, forcing them to pay back taxes, requiring them to learn English and making them get to the back of the line for green cards enough? Or do we have to instead mandate exile."

    That is just completely erroneous. Removal is not a legal "punishment." It is the restoration of the status quo ante. Punishment would be the fine or jail term the illegal immigrant would be made to pay/serve under section 275(a) and/or (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act before being removed. Removal would undoubtedly be perceived by the alien, on an emotional level, as a "punishment", but it is not. You can't be exiled from a country you have no legal right to be in.
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