Friday, July 07, 2006

No backing down...

There will be no phased implementation of any immigration reform. That's the word straight from the President (via Captain's Quarters).

It is nice to see politicians take principled stands the way President Bush has on this issue, as is the fact he has not turned to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham to provide him with the principles. He is his own person, and he is doing what he feels is right.

The fact that it is not what Hannity, Ingraham, Malkin, or others want is not a lack of principles, selling out, or betrayal as is claimed in this comment to Hedgehog. Quite frankly, those who do make such accusations are doing a very good impression of fanatics. If that is conservatism, count me out.


Pondering American said...

I agree totally with your comment over at hedgehog. The is no way that the people like that commenter will ever allow any sort of trigger to happen

Gilbert_Sundevil said...

And some people on the other side of this issue believe that even if a "comprehensive" plan is passed, there is now way that groups like La Raza will every allow any real enforcement to take place.

Assuming your dream comprehensive approach is passed, what happens if immigrants and businesses choose to disobey the new law? We are right back to where we started with the same people saying we simply CAN'T enforce these immigration laws.

The year is 2012, five years after a comprehensive bill is passed.
"Juan here is just an honest hard working immigrant. He didn't get his paperwork in order because he couldn't find an employer to sponsor him when he first came over and the lines at the immigration office were too long. But he's found plenty of work since he got here. He's just working under his cousin's name. He only wants to provide a living for his young family. You have no idea how bad the conditions in Mexico are. You simply CAN'T send he and his wife back to Mexico. What about their two kids? They are US Citizens."

And on and on it will go. Why can't we try some serious interior and exterior enforcement first before we open up a whole new program/system to potential abuse?

Ken Prescott said...

And some people on the other side of this issue believe that even if a "comprehensive" plan is passed, there is now way that groups like La Raza will every allow any real enforcement to take place.

Then an enforcement-only approach would be equally worthless, so why bother wasting the time and resources on it?

Gilbert_Sundevil said...

Mr. Prescott,

You stated:
"Then an enforcement-only approach would be equally worthless, so why bother wasting the time and resources on it?"

Ummmmm, because it's the law.

Harold C. Hutchison said...

So was the Volstead Act. So was the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit.

Both were eventually widely despised and disobeyed. Is that the path you want our immigration laws to follow?

Gilbert_Sundevil said...

Mr. Prescott,

Yes, I'm familiar with your argument: "If a lot of people disobey the law, we should do away with the law."

Any thoughts on lowering the legal drinking age to 14? How about removing most of the Stop Signs in your neighborhood? And that 15mph speed limit in school zones is just silly. Really, how many people drop their speed all the way to 15mph?

Aitch748 said...

I believe the point was that if massive numbers of people break a law who are otherwise law-abiding for the most part, then that could be a symptom that the law being broken doesn't make sense and needs to be re-examined and perhaps changed or repealed.

Ken Prescott said...

Yes, I'm familiar with your argument: "If a lot of people disobey the law, we should do away with the law."

You've made it painfully clear that you are not familiar with my argument, because that isn't it.

Gilbert_Sundevil said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gilbert_Sundevil said...

Mr. Prescott,

You argue that I don't understand your point about a critical mass a people breaking a law. You cite prohibition and the 55mph speed limit as examples. I re-read your posts here and here You discuss that when the scale of lawbreaking reaches at least 5 times the current prison population a "critical mass has been exceeded". In the final paragraph of your April post on the subject, you say "There comes a point when the law just doesn't do the job".

I believe you are arguing that because the lawbreaking is massive (prohibition, 55mph, illegal entry) then the law should be fixed or done away with. Am I missing anything?

Let's take the underage drinking issue. In Arizona the legal drinking age is 21. At my alma mater, Arizona State University - which is consistently noted as one of the top party schools in the nation, I would guess this law is broken several thousands of times per week. The campus paper reports the occasional citation for underage drinking (oddly, enforcement seems "arbitrary" and probably unjust to those cited), but I would suspect it's only a tiny percentage of the lawbreakers on campus that ever get caught.

Can we put this example into your theory and argue that the minimum drinking age law should be repealed? The economic outlook of bars and beer distributors around campus would greatly benefit if we only changed the law and allowed everyone to drink. These students are otherwise law abiding citizens. They are really only on campus to work hard and get good grades. Besides, would that really be fair if we decided to start enforcing the law now. Their parents and older siblings were allowed to drink their way through school. Why not them? And if you get cited enough times, you could get expelled from school. And we all know that the university simply couldn't survive without the underage drinkers. The whole higher education system would likely collapse (cue "The Sky Is Falling" music here).

Am I mis-characterizing your argument?

Thank you kindly for your response.

Harold C. Hutchison said...

Gilbert SunDevil,

Underage drinking may actually be another case where the law is broken beyond repair.

As an 18-year-old in this country, a person is widely seen as an adult. They are old enough to volunteer to serve in the military and thus can die for this country, they are old enough to vote, they are old enough to face prison sentences rather than the juvenile justice system, they are old enough to sign contracts, and old enough to consent to having sex, among other things.

Yet at the same time, we're saying they can't have a drink "because the law says so". In essence, it's a lesser version of the Volstead Act.

So, yeah, underage drinking falls into the category where we ought to consider repealing or changing the law to where it makes sense.

Gilbert_Sundevil said...

So would we change the drinking law because it's silly that at 18 you can take a bullet for your country but not take a drink of beer (I totally agree here), or are we changing because of massive disobedience to that law?

I think the distinction is important. Because if we are changing due to massive disobedience, then we should do away with the law altogether and not have a minimum drinking age or set a minimum age that is low and subject to being lowered in the future when 10 year olds take up drinking.

However, I think it is important to draw a line in the sand and attempt to enforce a law, no matter how many people have chosen to break it. I'm personally not in favor a setting up AA groups and rehab clinics for kids that are only 14. So I think that and 18-21 minimum drinking age is a good idea regardless.

Similarly, if we change/repeal/choose not to enforce the immigration law because a massive disobedience, we don't have anything to stand on when the new law is also broken. It's a poor argument which I believe has led us to our current situation. When the '86 amnesty rolled around, the system at that time was not working ("There's all these illegals here. What are we going to do with them?"). So the citizens were promised a fix and real enforcement. It never happened.

So now we are promised a comprehensive approach with stepped up enforcement. Um, Sorry. If the feds are only promising enforcement, let's just throw the borders wide open right now because in 10 to 15 years we'll be having this same conversation. Millions of people breaking the law. Giving them a "path to citizenship". And a new promise of enforcement.

Pardon me if I don't feel like running to kick this football as Lucy-FedGovernment holds it for me.

By the way, thanks for the discussion.

Harold C. Hutchison said...

Gilbert Sundevil,

I'd argue that massive disobedience of a law is a sign that something may be wrong with the law itself.

Certainly, I do not think it is possible to look at what has been discussed by Dafydd at Big Lizards, or what I have discussed, and say that the law is working. Yet you constantly refuse to even consider a change in the law until there has been what you deem to be sufficient effort to enforce the law.

What will it take for you to consider changing the law? How much time, money, and effort must be wasted defending a broken system just for the sake of your line in the sand?

Ken Prescott said...

Gilbert, I will, one more time, attempt to explain it to you. If you refuse to get my point,

Let's examine "underage" drinking.

In general, he law holds that an 18-year-old can contract without requiring the consent of his parents; he may enlist in the armed forces, and thus be entrusted with the maintenance and operation of very powerful weapons, including nuclear weapons; and he faces far harsher penalties for violating the law.

However, the law also holds that he is a child, unable to accept the responsibility of imbibing an alcoholic beverage.

The logical disconnect is clear. One cannot be an adult and a child at the same time.

There is a fundamental mismatch between the present immigration law and reality. This mismatch came about because the present law was intended to (a) pay off a political favor to the AFL-CIO, and (b) engage in liberal social engineering. Neither reason comports with reality--it did not do so in 1965, and it does not do so in 2006, after 41 years of demographic change.

Your complaint is that acknowledging the fundamental disconnection from reality inherent in this law would somehow weaken the law as a whole.

OK, I've fenced with you long enough. Please provide a detailed plan of action for enforcing the present immigration law. Please identify the actions to be taken, the resources required (monetary, capital, and manpower), and how those resources will be obtained and allocated. Please understand that your proposed plan of action will need to comport with Constitutional restrictions on law enforcement.

(Cue "Final Jeopardy" theme.)

Gilbert_Sundevil said...

Sheesh... I'm feeling a little hostility here. :)

Look, I don't personally have the resources or knowledge to come up with a detailed plan as you requested. That's why we elect people like Mr. Cannon and our other congressmen. It is their job to hammer all this out.

I have some ideas that I think would be great to implement. I know you two don't think fencing will work, but I would like to see the construction of a physical barrier to the South first (and then eventually to the North). I would like to see enforcement done on the interior. As a financial auditor I learned that you don't have to test all the transactions. Similarly, random audits and enforcement with a small percentage of companies will help keep the rest in line. I recall that a few years ago INS did some audits and enforcement of the meat-packing industry (primarily Nebraska I believe). This was very effective. So effective, in fact, that the business owners called their congressmen. Ultimately, the congressmen told INS to quit enforcing the law. Eventually, we should work with businesses to come up with a temporary/seasonal guest worker program. However, I'm concerned about the feds ability to handle a new program. As you correctly point out, the current immigration system is a mess. I don't know how adding and additional 12 million people to their database is going to help them run more efficiently.

How do we pay for all this? I loathe taxes. But I think we should target those areas that benefit. I think we should HEAVILY tax money transfers (ie Western Union) to foreign countries. There are billions of dollars that flow out of our country. I don't think that 30% or 40% tax on these transfers should be out of the question. We may have to look at a temporary national sales tax on goods and services. Additional tax on housing rental payments? Additional tax on the ag and hospitality industries?

In the absence action by the federal government I think we'll see more and more municipalities and state governments do what they can. Arizona residents passed prop 200 in 2004 by a wide margin that denies all state benefits to illegal aliens and requires that state employees report illegal aliens that try to apply for those benefits. Last year the AZ legislature passed a law making human smuggling a felony in our state. The local sheriff and country attorney are now arresting and prosecuting the coyotes. However, they are also arresting and prosecuting those being smuggled under the charge of "conspiracy to commit human smuggling". The first cases are just now hitting the courts. I've heard of a couple of different mayors in other cities around the country pass local laws that fine landlords for renting to illegal aliens.

Ken Prescott said...

Look, I don't personally have the resources or knowledge to come up with a detailed plan as you requested.

In other words, you want something done, but have no idea what that "something" would be, how much it would cost, how it would be implemented, or how to measure success.

Are you a liberal Democrat, by any chance?

Gilbert_Sundevil said...
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Gilbert_Sundevil said...

Hold your horses there, Ken. If you would have read the rest of my post you would have seen that I offered several suggestions (which you did not comment on).

I suspect a detailed immigration reform plan would span several hundred pages and the resources of hundreds of people that work for the federal and state governments. Hence, we elect a representative government to take care of these details for us.

Do you have a personal immigration reform plan that details the implementation, costs, and how to measure its success?