Illegal Immigration and the Rule of Law

As is usual when I make an immigration post (wherein I am supportive of open immigration and suspicious of gung-ho enforcement efforts) I got mail saying that the real concern here is the rule of law.   People inevitably want to inform me that this immigration is ILLEGAL (usually in caps) and that these immigrants are BREAKING THE LAW and that the law cannot be enforced unevenly.

First, I am happy to listen to this argument from any commenter who has never broken the speed limit or done a rolling stop at a stop sign.

Second, I would like to offer the rule of law folks, especially those on the right side of the aisle, a thought problem:  Soon, it will be illegal to not purchase a health insurance policy that meets specifications set by Congress.  It is anticipated, however, given relatively low fines, that many people will break this law and not obtain health insurance.   This failure will be ILLEGAL.  These people will be criminals.  Do those of you who seek higher penalties, more robust enforcement, police sweeps, and reduced standards of probable cause for people committing the crime of illegal immigration also plan to seek the same higher penalties for lawbreakers who do not buy an insurance policy?   After all, as you have said, this is not about the law itself but respect for the rule of law.

By your immigration logic, we should be ruthless about lawbreakers who do not have the right insurance policy.  We should encourage the Minutemen to patrol for people without health insurance -- after all, they have said that their concern is with people breaking the law, not immigration or Mexicans per se.  There should be sweeps where people can be arrested for suspicion of not having health insurance, just as they can be arrested under our new AZ law for suspicion that they do not have a green card.

If there is a difference, please explain it to me.  I understand that you may be opposed to open immigration or high immigration rates or immigration by poor uneducated people or whatever.  If so, fine, we disagree -- but stop saying that this is all about the rule of law, or telling me we can't pick and choose what laws we violate.  Because we do the latter all the time.  Our willingness to challenge the state is a large part of American exceptionalism.

PS- Just to avoid misunderstandings from trolls who do not usually read this site, of course I do not advocate the above for health insurance violations.  Just as I don't for Mexicans seeking a better life in this country without obtaining a license to do so from the government.

Disclosure: I have several good friends who are illegal immigrants.  They are wonderful, hard-working people who have been in this country for years.  If we were to conduct tests of people's acceptability to be present in this country, they would pass with scores far ahead of many US citizens.

Update:  I find the argument that open immigration and an overly-generous welfare state can't coexist to be moderately compelling, though I don't see why we could tie citizenship narrowly to receiving these benefits.  I have problems saying that a government license in the form of a green card is required for mere presence in the country.  I have no problem imposing this licensing requirement for receipt of unearned goodies.

  • jsalvati

    Rule Of Law is not about making sure that all laws are followed; Rule Of Law is about rule-based enforcement of laws as opposed to whim based enforcement (or otherwise unpredictable enforcement of laws).

  • Art

    I am happy to listen to this argument from any commenter who has never broken the speed limit or done a rolling stop at a stop sign.

    Cute, and I'd be happy to listen to arguments about open immigration when they aren't being made by people who come from countries with some of the most restrictive immigration laws in the world. e.g. Mexico. I'd prefer that they didn't come form racists or ethnic nationalists who claim some portion of my country as their imaginary homeland. Or, from people demanding that I provide them with welfare, health care and education - in their native language and from textbooks provided by their native government - as proof of my "tolerance".

    If you believe in open immigration and you feel that this country is too restrictive in it's immigration policies - even though we take in more legal immigrants than all the nations of the world combined - why don't you emigrate to Mexico, Brazil, China, or wherever you find things more to your liking. Isn't that what your illegal immigrant friends are doing? Why involve us?

  • Roy

    In another forum I once wrote:
    1) Hispanics long ago announced plans to use a powerful not so secret weapon, sex, to reverse the outcome of the Battle of San Juacinto. (I grew up in S Calif, and heard that announcement decades ago, tho I did not understand it at the time.) Indeed, they will join OASDI in colliding with Roe.

    2) Hispanic labor is not actually cheap. Last week the local paper of my present home town in Oklahoma observed that about half the emergency room visits go to “free” services given Hispanics. The medical community does not serve as a deep pocketed source, but merely as a conduit; others pay the costs with inflated insurance premiums, higher priced medical services, etc. One can make similar observations about public education and can reach the exact same conclusion, except that the costs get passed on via taxation rather than via purchase of services. One could multiply examples. But the debate is not whether consumers actually pay more for the labor, only how they pay and how much more they pay.

    Putting this another way: I don’t disagree with a point another made (in debate with me regarding free enterprise) that some employers of low income workers (in this case, Hispanic) steal by transferring costs (contra, eg, biblical injunctions against grazing one’s herd in a neighbor’s field). Instead, I disagree regarding the response. Instead of the suggested response (the employer should pay more), I think society (civil gov’t) can (and should, because it is, after all, theft): a) cease the subsidy, and b) demand restitution (by serious fines of significantly progressive magnitude leveled against any employer involved in the chain of command hiring illegal aliens).

    Not only would such steps make the costs real and visible rather than hidden. Two further results would occur, both imho good. First, making the costs open rather than concealed does not change the costs. It simply means the employer could increase the sale price of now subsidized goods, that the employer could pass on the costs of higher wages for those jobs which some claim only the Hispanic illegals will take.

    Second, a (if not the) major draw (jobs coupled with social subsidies) for illegal Hispanic immigrants would vanish. The disappearance of this one draw would almost by itself resolve the issue of illegal immigration. At no cost to the consumer.

    The steps I propose will not happen. Instead: 1) employers will continue trying to keep that which puts other people’s money in their pockets (right wing politics) while 2) others will continue claiming gov’t must aid the poor by giving direct aid (left wing politics). Meanwhile, Bible fearing Christians who should know better will not wish a pox on both houses, but will choose one or the other.

    3) Currently illegal immigration enables Mexico to avoid dealing with its corruption, its fundamental conflicts with constructing a society and gov’t having economic predictability. By this I do not mean that what the U.S. (or any other country) has “arrived”, that I know in detail all the answers and could provide a blueprint. But I do mean that ignoring the Bible does have practical implications. I also mean that it is in U.S. national interest (in terms of preserving the order and peace that Paul tells Timothy we can pray for) that the U.S. not act as escape valve for Mexican gov’t headaches. Instead, the U.S. should shut that valve and by doing so put pressure on Mexico to take responsibility if it will not improve its condition.

    4) At stake: the rule of law. This is not merely a semantic issue (“illegal alien” vs “honored guest”). Nor is it merely a debate over how U.S. laws will change (in accordance with existing law by the working of a representative democracy vs mob rule). Instead we see contention over what the concept of law will mean in all its practical outworkings. One might observe the same stake surfaces in SCOTUS decisions. But it is the same stake.

  • GU

    Without making a substantive point about the wisdom of the U.S.'s immigrations policies, Coyote used the word "criminal" incorrectly:

    "Soon, it will be illegal to not purchase a health insurance policy that meets specifications set by Congress. It is anticipated, however, given relatively low fines, that many people will break this law and not obtain health insurance. This failure will be ILLEGAL. These people will be criminals."

    Insurance holdouts will be scofflaws, but not criminals. Criminals are people whose actions fall under criminal law. This is not just nitpicking; the legal system treats criminal issues much differently than civil ones. Illegal immigrants are subject to criminal sanctions, insurance holdouts will not be (not yet at least!). This doesn't really affect the substance of Coyote's argument, but it is distracting.

  • Pete Bickford

    As always, you raise fair points.

    I suspect 90% of the resentment directed at illegals comes down to two factors: that the government seems unwilling to control its borders and laws; and second that illegals get to claim scarce resources (health care, schools, social services) from the local citizenry. Let's call these the "I don't mind having you as a guest, but I do mind you breaking into my house" problem, and the "...and now I have to pay for you???" problem.

    In respect to your very fair points, expect the second (the "and now I have to pay for you??") factor to be increasingly grating as the mandatory health insurance issue takes hold on Americans. Just as socialism makes us not only responsible for our neighbor's welfare, it also gives us a busybody's stake in everything they do. I expect this will lead those who are forced to pay for insurance to start increasingly resenting those who don't, since it'll be seen as having a direct effect on us and our taxes and insurance rates.

    In comparison, in last week's world, my not having health insurance was pretty much my problem as long as I eventually found a way to pay my doctor bills, and my speeding 5 or 10 miles over the limit didn't really affect anyone else unless I was riding their bumper at the same time. This week, speeding is still a personal risk, but now my lack of insurance is about to become everyone's problem. Expect demands for enforcement to follow from the local busybody brigade (Believe me, I live in Northern California: I've seen the future and it's incredibly annoying)

    So yes, I do think the folks complaining about lack of immigration enforcement do have a valid point (we have the right to control who comes into the country). Unfortunately, our increasingly socialist/welfare state society is adding a second point to the argument--the citizens feeling that they must now pay the freight for their neighbor. This can make even a fair man begin to resent his neighbor, and resent a non-citizen neighbor twice as fast.

  • Chembot

    I don't think comparing illegal immigration to a California stop is particularly apt. In order to work illegally a good deal of fraud and identity theft has to be perpetrated, which are not exactly minor crimes. But there is a basic fairness issue here as well, first and foremost to the people who work within the system to become resident aliens using any of the various visa programs available to foreign workers. Remember too that lawful citizens also have to show proof of being able to work in the united states (ID's, selective service registration, whatever) before being able to work at a job.

    Tacitly allowing wholesale illegal immigration only sets up a permanent underclass of worker that has less rights and is much more subject to intimidation and unfair business practices. (Either from the coyotes bringing them across or from employers themselves who can use the threat of deportation to squeeze a bit extra from their workers.)

    It would be nice if we could have open borders an unlimited immigration, but there are still a number of practical considerations. I think it is one thing to support unrestricted immigration when you are trying to quickly populate and establish the frontiers (a la the 19th century) and quite another in our modern era of well established communities functioning under a wheezing proto-welfare state. Just as back in the 19th century, the observed migration would mostly be unidirectional influx of new peoples into this country. It is doubtful that even a great and wealthy country such as ours could successfully assimilate the sudden influx of millions of new immigrants without severely straining our present social services and infrastructure, not to mention royally roiling our labor markets. (I have never been a fan of the belief that these people are simply doing "Jobs that Other Americans won't do." [TM] Illegal immigration is merely a crutch for employers to avoid paying the market clearing rate on labor. How hard do you suppose it would be to find more American Citizen apple-pickers, meat packers, and other low skilled labor if they were paid $15-20/hr?)

    All that being said, I do think we should have a better way of bringing these people above board, either through guest worker programs or expanded visa programs. And that is what we should be doing, advocating a benificial change in the system rather than encouraging people to cheat the system.

  • http://stopthebreathing.blogtownhall.com/ astonerii

    At issue is acceptability, as in, what does the majority demand from elected officials. Speeding limits are set based on safety concerns, and the penalties are enforced at a rate that is acceptable to the citizens who elect the officials in charge. Same thing is what will happen with health care mandate, we will elect officials who will agree with us and get rid of the mandate, so long as we are the majority. I do not find that unlimited immigration from inferior cultures is a benefit for the country. Maybe illegal immigrants make great cheap park employees, but so do American Citizens and Green Card holders.

    There are many problems that unlimited immigration from inferior cultures cause. They drive down the value of labor while taking jobs that young and less skilled Americans need in order to survive. Because these labor costs are driven so low, it causes those jobs to be shunned by Americans who would normally be attracted to those types of jobs. They bring a significant amount of communicable diseases that infect American citizens who would not have been infected otherwise. They bring their third world dictatorship corrupted culture with them and they work against the mores of our society. They become a drain on public services such as hospitals, schools, welfare.

    The people of this nation, despite your wishes, want immigration controlled and slowed to a degree in which our nation can get them assimilated quickly so they become more productive and less destructive of our culture. The people in your own state do not agree with you, and demand the government slow the immigration flood, because it causes harm to their interests, and it is their state, they own it, they get to decide when enough is enough as far as allowing illegal aliens to interrupt their lives. Even the people in your own district do not agree with you, and probably all the way down to your very town and block, you are the minority. I am sure you get many Main Stream Media suitors for your position though. Because these people, the large majority in excess of 70% country wide are demanding immigration be controlled better, harsher laws and enforcement is going to happen. Just as when a large majority of Americans were persuaded by MADD that drunk driving needed to be hammered hard, and it happened. Just like when a large number of Americans decided to ban booze, it happened, and then they changed their minds and repealed it. If you are right, and we need all these scum in the nation to make it work, well, we will change our minds and make it easier for immigrants to come here. The only question I have on any of this is, is it within the frame of the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State, if it fits in there, then the majority rules.

  • Ian Random

    I think you are missing the point. A lot of people including myself and my brother, have a big problem with people being here illegally. I am not anti-immigrant, just anti-illegal which is a point that a lot of lefties can't seem to comprehend. My great grandfather was a translator at Ellis Island, speaking 6 languages came in handy. I couldn't watch a PBS show about an illegal that became a doctor and was unapologetic about it. I suspect a lot of them are voting illegally and unconsciously destroying our country by voting they way they did that ruined their home country. Democrats generally are generous in ways that get them votes like unionization and welfare. Why would easy voting be any different? I want easy vetted immigration along with no minimum/prevailing wage law and welfare as easy to get as a building permit in California.

  • zero wolf

    interestingly, the 'wall st. journal' seems to hold pretty much the exact same opinion in re illegals: they'll ALL FOR (yes, that's right: all caps), ALL FOR the RULE OF LAW and LAW & ORDER, by god!!! without laws, we'd be no better than the damn commies, and - worse - our bond ratings might drop!! laws MUST be obeyed! national interest MUST be seen to! our borders MUST be defended!

    **except** of course, when it comes to *immigration* law and *labor* law. then....well.....maybe it'd be ok if we ignore THOSE laws, since doing so allows illegals to flood the labor market and keep wages down - which, amazingly enough, is *precisely* what's happened in the 25 years since we opened the borders in the name of "reform" (no doubt just a coincidence) - and, best of all, it keeps those uppitty UNIONS on the ropes.

    and now, lo and behold, we see a (presumably) prosperous business owner espousing...pretty much the exact same notions. what an amazing coincidence! i guess wall st. guys and business owners are just somehow *better* at seeing the Big Picture when it comes to complex issues like immigration, huh? i wonder how the roughly 20% of the american workforce that's currently un-or-underemployed feels about it? sure, they're all just undereducated racist redneck rubes, but - as american citizens - i suppose we *should* let them have a say. but all that aside, i think it's just super-*great* the some illegals are wonderful, law-abiding people. next time you see them, ask them why does mexico enforce ITS immigration laws so strictly? why haven't all the "good people" who snuck over here under cover of darkness by - you know - "breaking the law" been agitating for mexico - their homeland - to change those laws? why is that? do you know how mayheeco deals with *their* illegal central and south american illegals? it's not pretty.....why post after post bashing sheriff arpaio, that mean ol' law-enforcer, and (near as i can tell) NO posts exhorting mexico to liberalize its immigration policies?

    obama notwithstanding, this is still a sovereign nation, not a philanthropic organization required or devoted solely to taking in the world's excess poor. the notion that we somehow have a noblesse oblige *duty* to allow floods of illegals into our country, AND give them free food, free schooling, subsidized lodging, and free healthcare while at the same time allowing them to flout laws that would get an american CITIZEN in serious trouble - care to take a guess as to the percentage of illegals driving without legally-mandated car insurance? even the "good people"? or the percentage of them engaged in identity theft via fraudulent/already issued social security numbers? or how many have run up a huge hospital bill under an alias and then ran back to mexico when the bill arrived? - is simplistic and childish beyond belief. and fairytales and flying unicorns aside, the fact that some of them are "good people" has no relevance whatsoever to the issue. since your position on laws seems to be, "just follow the ones you agree with", coyote, surely you don't mind when your customers skip out without paying the bill, right? they're just good people down on their luck who need a break, right? or is that somehow - you know - different?

  • artemis

    Many of the comments here attribute a problem to Hispanics, where Hispanics are not the problem.

    The fact that illegal immigrants place a burden on our social services is not a problem with illegal immigrants. It's a problem with A) those social services existing at all, and/or B) a system that allows anyone to walk up and use them.

    This is a perfect example of why free healthcare is bad. It instantly becomes an argument to make something illegal/increase punishment because it "places and undue burden on the system"

    I don't advocate people breaking the law, but increasing harsh punishments are not the only solution. We could also change the laws to be more appropriate.

    Personally I don't care who is in our borders, as long as they (A) pay taxes, and (B) only vote if they are a citizen. A is easily solved by dumping income tax and creating a national sales tax. B is a tricky/hard problem, but just making them "illegals" doesn't solve it.

  • billy-jay

    Thanks for this post. I wish more people felt like this in the "Land of the Free." (sic)

  • tehag

    "First, I am happy to listen to this argument from any commenter who has never broken the speed limit or done a rolling stop at a stop sign."

    This is why I hate our legislatures. How dare representatives who have broken the speed limit make Law! They're completely compromised. No one should obey whatever laws they pass. All their laws must be wrong!

  • Tom Kellly

    This whole illegal immigration thing is not a problem, it's an opportunity!

    Let's set a reasonable price on immigrating to the U.S., say an extra 10% income tax for seven years, and welcome one and all. We can solve two problems at once.

  • Glenn Geist

    This is an area where Libertarians and Conservatives necessarily diverge. The essential point to be made here, and the reason why I can't ever fully embrace Libertarianism, is that there is a difference in treatment between citizens of our country and non-citizens. Non-citizens are given a way to become citizens, and until they take the prescribed path, are not afforded the same legal protections as citizens. Nor, in my opinion, should they be.

  • http://togetrichisglorious.blogspot.com Colin
  • Kevin Kellogg

    I think you miss the point. If you get a speeding ticket and get caught you pay the fine. If you come here illeagally and get caught you get deported.

    You're argument reminds me of the previous amnesty arguement. We'll start enforcing the law after forgiving this group of people a deseperate straits. Only problem is the next wave of illegal will be fleeing the same proverty and we have told them it is more important to come here illegally than legally.

    I would be for open our immigration policy to larger migration with favortitism to Mexico. I think you can make an arguement that it is in our national sercuity to have a stable Mexico.

    I will not be for once again changing the rules for humane reason which afterward will start enforcing the rules. I think it sends mix messages to those who want to be Americans and set another precendent to ignore the rules for those that do come here illegally. Only when we deport illegal immigrants will we make immigration laws matter.

  • hanmeng

    We got here first. Everyone else stay out.

  • http://cardioblogy.blogspot.com/ Jens Fiederer

    Now you've done it!

    As though Sheriff Joe didn't already have enough reason to dislike you (not all of your posts have been supportive), now you've openly admitted to being an accessory after the fact to illegal immigration.

    Please do remember to install that cyanide capsule in that hollow tooth before you are dragged off to be strapped to the chair under the bright light - it would not be gentlemanly to give up the names and locations of your friends.

    I have very much enjoyed reading your blog, and I hope I am wrong about what seems to be your fate.

  • geo

    electronic money would eliminate much of the objection to illegal immigration. there would be no question of taxes or registration. electronic money would also make drug deals and selling stolen property difficult. lots of problems would just go away. make e-money voluntary. use it and get a discount. use it solely and get your taxes done for free. businesses get a rebate for use in payroll etc. eventually cash would become rare. its coming anyway, i didn't see any cash on star trek.

  • Dave

    On the climate skeptic blog, you rightly decry those who only debate their oponents weakest arguments. The pro-libertarian argument against both legal and illegal immigration is that it dilutes the pro-liberty voting bloc. In a country where our freedoms are hanging by a thread, it is nothing short of suicide to ignore the electoral consequences of allowing in more Democratic voters.

    Here's what libertarians should believe:
    Step 1: protect individual liberty
    Step 2: open the borders

    Step 2 CAN NOT proceed Step 1.

  • http://myweeklycrime.blogspot.com Elliot

    You make some excellent points in this article, Warren. I agree with you on open borders and on Health Care Deform.

    If people are worried about illegal immigrants using emergency rooms and other tax-subsidized programs, they ought to be fighting to end these subsidies for everyone, immigrant or not. Then, there is no economic excuse to malign a large group of people because a few take unfair advantage of taxpayers.

    I grew up in San Antonio where Hispanics make up the majority of the population. My experiences with a broad profile of people (economically, time living in America) may be anecdotal, but most Mexicans are very loyal to friends and family, including Anglo friends and (not surprisingly) their in-laws and relatives of mixed ancestry. Most are honest. New immigrants and first generation Americans tend to be very hard working, with good work ethics. Mexicans with solid, traditional families tend to have conservative values and advance economically, sometimes to become wealthy. Those who escape the barrios are no more prone to crime and gangs than than their neighbors.

    Roy's comment about reversing the battle of "San Juacinto [sic]" is rather ignorant. My great+ grandfather was an Austin colonist and his son, my great+ uncle, was at San Jacinto. According to the history I learned, they fought the Mexican regime because it was tyrannical, not to make Texas pure white. While I'm sure there was plenty of racism (on both sides), the honorable aspect of the revolution was freedom. Many in my extended family (in-laws and their children) are of Mexican ancestry. My grandfather was bilingual and did business on the border (where my dad was born). He picked up day laborers all the time, because it was beneficial for both sides of the arrangement.

    I think most people fear or dislike immigrants from Mexico because they aren't familiar with them. Ignorance, suspicion, and even hate of "others" is pretty universal (i.e., such feelings know no ethnic boundaries), but the good thing about America is that the "melting pot" tends to solve these problems (though it may take a few generations for some).

    Most of the problems I've seen in the Mexican-American population are due to alcoholism and drugs (which harm family bonds and the work ethic), and the rabble-rousers tend to have leftist political agendas, sowing ignorant distrust and trying to drive wedges between communities.

  • http://myweeklycrime.blogspot.com Elliot

    Correction:

    "I think most people fear or dislike immigrants from Mexico because they aren’t familiar with them."

    should be:

    "I think most people who fear or dislike immigrants from Mexico do so because they aren’t familiar with them."

  • http://myweeklycrime.blogspot.com Elliot

    Dave, your concern with "dilut[ing] the pro-freedom voting bloc" is well-founded. But as with emergency rooms and other tax-subsidized programs, the solution is not to keep people out. Rather, the solution is to remove the power of government to impose these burdens on taxpayers. I have no interest in voting, because I don't care to give my support to politicians who would presume to have the authority over the rights of Americans. When you vote for the lesser of two evils, is it any surprise that all the politicians are evil?

    Like I keep saying, you can't vote your way back into freedom.

  • http://www.pugsofwar.blogspot.com BlogDog

    When you compare a "rolling stop" at a stop sign to illegal immigration you ignore the difference between malum in se and malum prohibitum. A rolling stop is prohibited because there may be some harm done if someone else is there. I don't think you can make the argument that illegal immigrants crossing the border is similarly without interaction as would be a rolling stop in the absence of other traffic.

    I don't doubt at all that you know many hard-working illegal immigrants but a nation that can not control its borders is no nation at all.

  • Mark ii

    The fact is that there are many different levels of people in the country. Even citizenship has differing levels (if you don't believe that ask your 10 year old who they voted for in the last election or how much they paid for the beer they bought at the liquor store last Friday). The same is true with immigrants, as there are a variety of types of visas that give the holder certain rights in the United States.

    So, with this in mind, what is clearly the problem is that our laws that set up work visas into this country do not conform with the demand for labor from immigrant workers. What we really need to do is create a new system of guest workers who receive appropriate visas that will let them work in the United States. Once we have them "documented" then we can decide what rights they have while in the United States, such as how long they can stay, what taxes they pay, and what services they are eligible for.

    I would suggest the following plan:

    1. All "illegal" immigrants in the United States will be allowed 90 days to obtain a work visa. We will set up offices all across the United States for these individuals to go to receive this documentation.

    2. To receive the work visa they will have to demonstrate that they are currently employed and that there are no warrants out for their arrest. They will have to pay a documentation fee and also pay an additional fee when the visa is updated.

    3. These workers will then be registered with Immigration Services. All employers will need to verify this registration with IS.

    4. With this class of visa it is possible, but not required, to put restrictions on the government services the immigrant and family can receive. For example, a child of a person born with this type of work visa that is born in the United States could be ruled to not be a citizen of the United States or the children could be denied educational services. AN individual who holds a work visa could also be prohibited from becoming a naturalized US citizen without obtaining some other form of visa.

    Now, like anything that can be smuggled and forged, you need to balance out the cost/benefits of such a process. If you put too high of a tax on cigarettes or liquor then they will be smuggled. Likewise, if you put to many restrictions on the work visa then we will continue to have the "undocumented" worker problem. If you balance the restrictions with the benefits then you will get people to comply with the law.

  • the other coyote

    When I was a kid in Texas, as long ago as the '70s, preganant women would wade the Rio Grande from Mexico specifically to give birth in El Paso or Eagle Pass or McAllen. Why? Their children were automatically American citizens. Stopping the birthright entitlement would cut waaaaaayyyyyy down on the drain illegal immigrants place on our social welfare system.

    My father, who has always been smarter than me, suggested a work visa system between Canada, USA and Mexico where anyone can work in any country, but doesn't get any path to citizenship and no children get to be citizens of any country other than where their parents are citizens. I think that solves the "we need the labor" issue but makes it work both ways (Mexico isn't real friendly towards Americans who want to work in Mexico.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the commenters above who note that illegal immigration from Mexico to the US permits the Mexican government from ever having to deal with its problems. I have seen statistics (obviously must take with a grain of salt) that upwards of 20% of the population of Mexico lives in the United States.

    With the expansion of entitlement programs in the US, there is a perverse disincentive for illegals everywhere to flock here. One US born child, and a family would be eligible for Section 8 housing, Medicaid and/or CHIP, food assistance, and a host of other direct and indirect subsidies. A woman with 2 children would have to earn more than $40,000 per year to afford everything she can get for free from the US government. So I also agree that part of the problem is the availability and lack of oversight of ridiculously expensive entitlement programs.

  • Jody

    Clubs and freedom of association.

    If you believe a club has a right to exclude applicants, then why not a nation?

    Do you think all members of all clubs agree with 100% of the laws?

  • Mark Johnson

    Mandatory health insurance is unconstitutional since the government is requiring you to purchase a product you may not want or need if you are young and healthy. It is an illegal method of wealth transfer from the young and healthy to the unhealthy and irresponsible.

    I am against illegal immigration and I would be in favor of police sweeps and jail time for people who don't purchase health insurance since this would quickly destroy any popular support for the unconstitional national disaster the Democrats call "health reform".

  • Lynne

    President Obama addresses the group of illegal immigrants in a video that are protesting & not a single word to the American citizens outside protesting healthcare reform the SAME day.

    Now that Obama (President) and Napolitano (Homeland Security Secretary) are talking openly of pushing a new amnesty program, the border invasion has EXPLODED. Mexicans and residents in Guatemala and Honduras, most of South America have read those stories. If Congress takes up an amnesty bill, the flood across the border will be unstoppable. The United States will be a war zone like the border! It will not be contained to just the West. Take a look around - you ain't see NOTHIN' yet! Border Patrol in the Arizona region confirmed a 25 percent increase in apprehensions over the past three weeks of which 35 percent of those caught have criminal backgrounds & bringing in drugs.

    American Citizens: If you are unaware of YOUR Government Representatives' policies on immigration - you need to TURN OFF THE TV, talk w/friends, family, & neighbors. For the last 45 years, millions of illegal immigrants have come from India, Africa, Russia, South America (Mexico), China - and they ALL have / continue to have 2.8 children. These children ARE voting now (very biased to Americans because how their ILLEGAL parents "struggled" - they will NEVER see that their parents struggled BECAUSE they broke the law. Birthright citizenship MUST be ended now. They have already changed the voting demographic in California. Why do you think all the social programs are approved..?

    That was a clear message indicating Our Presidents priorities. Special interest / minority groups. We have no idea of the real number - it could be 30+ Million illegal immigrants here. Granting Amnesty & citizenship to this group WILL destroy our economy as well as our children's future. These protests are backed by Ultra-LIB media giants (take a look at the news & see how the agenda has become.. HBO Special on Ted Kennedy this week, articles by the 1,000's DEMANDING for reform (which means amnesty!) & associations from across the world.. they are united. This is NOT about a specific race - it is about all illegal immigrants from ALL around the world.
    The U.S. simply does not have the ability to employ the 4+ Billion people in this world that seek the American Dream but they will be HERE regardless if American's do not get organized and DEMAND enforcement of the EXISTING immigration laws. End birthright Citizenship. End ALL social programs for illegal immigrants. (See CASA MD- $500,000 of YOUR tax money to help illegal immigrants GET YOUR jobs! ) Governments & schools have all forms/print material in Spanish along with 1,000's of employees in the court systems & aliens in the prison system - no way the contribution would outweight the cost - NO WAY. It is NOT just about their contributions via tax - look at California.. if they were paying so many taxes already, why is the STATE BANKRUPT. Pensions are gone, food cost has skyrocketed.. America is in REAL TROUBLE & this will NOT help!

    Or, just sit there as your Paycheck dwindles.. keep complaining, "Well, it doesn't do any good to be involved in Politics..". Well, it has worked quite well for the minority groups. THEY ARE THE ONLY VOICES BEING HEARD CONSISTENTLY! They are ORGANIZED! They are relentless because they have been winning! YOU have to make the choice NOW, get informed, get involved & organize - and STAY THAT WAY. If you think it is bad now, just WAIT!

    Please forward this message to all American Citizens that want a change & are actually willing to DO something about it - DO NOT DEPEND ON THE MEDIA for information! Please research what illegal immigration has cost your county, State & Federal Goverment. These are YOUR tax dollars supporting programs to assist ILLEGAL immigrants who at minimum have broken immigration laws. Many times there is also is fraud, Identity theft & document altering to gain employment. And find out how to SHUT THEM DOWN!

  • Lynne

    President Obama addresses the group of illegal immigrants in a video that are protesting & not a single word to the American citizens outside protesting healthcare reform the SAME day.

    Now that Obama (President) and Napolitano (Homeland Security Secretary) are talking openly of pushing a new amnesty program, the border invasion has EXPLODED. Mexicans and residents in Guatemala and Honduras, most of South America have read those stories. If Congress takes up an amnesty bill, the flood across the border will be unstoppable. The United States will be a war zone like the border! It will not be contained to just the West. Take a look around - you ain't see NOTHIN' yet! Border Patrol in the Arizona region confirmed a 25 percent increase in apprehensions over the past three weeks of which 35 percent of those caught have criminal backgrounds & bringing in drugs.

    American Citizens: If you are unaware of YOUR Government Representatives' policies on immigration - you need to TURN OFF THE TV, talk w/friends, family, & neighbors. For the last 45 years, millions of illegal immigrants have come from India, Africa, Russia, South America (Mexico), China - and they ALL have / continue to have 2.8 children. These children ARE voting now (very biased to Americans because how their ILLEGAL parents "struggled" - they will NEVER see that their parents struggled BECAUSE they broke the law. Birthright citizenship MUST be ended now. They have already changed the voting demographic in California. Why do you think all the social programs are approved..?

    That was a clear message indicating Our Presidents priorities. Special interest / minority groups. We have no idea of the real number - it could be 30+ Million illegal immigrants here. Granting Amnesty & citizenship to this group WILL destroy our economy as well as our children's future. These protests are backed by Ultra-LIB media giants (take a look at the news & see how the agenda has become.. HBO Special on Ted Kennedy this week, articles by the 1,000's DEMANDING for reform (which means amnesty!) & associations from across the world.. they are united. This is NOT about a specific race - it is about all illegal immigrants from ALL around the world.
    The U.S. simply does not have the ability to employ the 4+ Billion people in this world that seek the American Dream but they will be HERE regardless if American's do not get organized and DEMAND enforcement of the EXISTING immigration laws. End birthright Citizenship. End ALL social programs for illegal immigrants. (See CASA MD- $500,000 of YOUR tax money to help illegal immigrants GET YOUR jobs! ) Governments & schools have all forms/print material in Spanish along with 1,000's of employees in the court systems & aliens in the prison system - no way the contribution would outweight the cost - NO WAY. It is NOT just about their contributions via tax - look at California.. if they were paying so many taxes already, why is the STATE BANKRUPT. Pensions are gone, food cost has skyrocketed.. America is in REAL TROUBLE & this will NOT help!

    Or, just sit there as your Paycheck dwindles.. keep complaining, "Well, it doesn't do any good to be involved in Politics..". Well, it has worked quite well for the minority groups. THEY ARE THE ONLY VOICES BEING HEARD CONSISTENTLY! They are ORGANIZED! They are relentless because they have been winning! YOU have to make the choice NOW, get informed, get involved & organize - and STAY THAT WAY. If you think it is bad now, just WAIT!

    Please forward this message to all American Citizens that want a change & are actually willing to DO something about it - DO NOT DEPEND ON THE MEDIA for information! Please research what illegal immigration has cost your county, State & Federal Goverment. These are YOUR tax dollars supporting programs to assist ILLEGAL immigrants who at minimum have broken immigration laws. Many times there is also is fraud, Identity theft & document altering to gain employment. And find out how to SHUT THEM DOWN!

  • IgotBupkis

    > Many of the comments here attribute a problem to Hispanics, where Hispanics are not the problem.

    AS Hispanics, I'd concur with you -- it's not an ethnic issue, per se -- The problem is NOT the fact that they are Hispanic.

    It's with the fact that there are too many of them, that they overwhelm and override the existing social structures (Press one for English), and thus weaken the fabric that binds the nation, and finally that all too many are, thanks to multiculti, led to believe that they have no reason to adopt the concept of "Americans" as opposed to whatever culture they originate from. I don't believe that the majority of illegal immigrants since around 1970 onward are being assimilated into the USA. Their children are just barely "Americans" at all. And that's very much not a good thing.

    My paternal GF was a full Italian immigrant who came here following WWI. My father was of full italian descent, but I guarantee you he never thought of himself as anything but an "American" if you asked him "where he was from". I am half-Italian by descent, but I am entirely and utterly an American, and have never, ever thought of myself as anything but. I only speak a few words of Italian picked up at random from my first and second gen relatives. This has been true of most of the various waves of immigration -- third gen Germans often don't speak a lick of German, third gen Swedes don't speak a lick of Swedish. They were ASSIMILATED.

    I'd ask you to really prove that third-gen Hispanics generally don't speak Spanish, because I'd sure as hell bet you can't do that successfully.

    The point is -- Hispanics are not the problem. Their failure to become assimilated IS a major problem. If you want to see how this affects any nation, just look at Canada's difficulty with Quebec over the last 100 years.

  • Jim

    My biggest problem is fairness. People who want to come here and who play by the rules face long waiting times (years!). Those who cross the border to come here jump the queue. I'm all in favor of a guest worker program which allows vetted individuals to work here. But my idea of amnesty is that those who came here without authorization be allowed to return home to apply for the work permits along with the rest of their citizens.

  • IgotBupkis

    Warren, I find your tactic to be remarkably liberal in its form. Find where the argument might have a hole, show how there are failures to follow that argument across the board, then use that failure to claim the entire point in consideration is invalid...?

    First off, the notion that rule of law isn't significant because people run stop signs and speed is ludicrous. This, of course, can be used by the same extension to justify MURDER:
    "Hey, you ran a stop sign, I killed somebody. We both violated the law, what's the big deal?"

    Really? REALLY? That hoary libtard excuse for an argument is the best you could come up with? I expect better reasoning of you. Just so you know. You are, of course, under no obligation to match my expectations, but the point still stands.

    Your argument is "wronger than wrong" -- it violates Asimov's Axiom:
    "When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

    When people violate the law, then, yes, they do wrong. But when you equate all violations of the law as equal, you, sir, are "wronger than wrong".

    There is a difference between immigration laws and traffic laws. The former are about non-citizens who have an interest in becoming citizens, and/or people who have an interest in obtaining some of the wealth produced by America. The latter are about assessing proper operation of a vehicle in a manner related to public safety. Minor violations of these rules is simply a recognition that laws represent a definition of ideal behavior for an infinite number of possible circumstances. The laws in question provide more coverage for extreme violations of public safety, repeated somewhat extreme violations, and/or provide clear indication of the dividing lines when a failure results in public harm. Few people actually believe that there ought to be traffic nazis out enforcing every jot and tittle of the law, but that does not mean they don't respect the underlying purpose of the law. Put them on a jury to assess an individual for violating the crime, few would reject convicting them if the facts were there and the punishments proportional to the crime.

    As I note in your previous entry in this field:
    Assume you were maritally unencumbered... simple question:
    Do you want to have sex with a rich, charming, and beautiful woman? (use your definition of beautiful, rich, and charming).

    You DO? Really? Because, you know, there is no other man on the planet who has the same feeling.....

    OK, well, no, actually there are. A whole hell of a lot of them, in fact, unless your definition of "beauty", etc., is well outside the norm.

    Now, if the woman in question were unable to discriminate between those widely varied and different suitors, to say to some of them "yes" and others (hopefully, most of them) "no", then the net effect would be to destroy her and her beauty, because the result would be some obscene self-destructive mass gang-shagging, wouldn't it?

    And America is, in fact, in many ways, much like that rich, charming, and beautiful woman to people outside of America. They, quite understandably, want to come here and partake of her wealth, charm, and beauty (further: others may resent her beauty, charm, and wealth, and wish to destroy her as a result of it, even though she may well have done them no harm at all of any kind -- they just resent the fact that she creates a desire within them and thus holds power over them, power she never sought or wanted -- inability to grasp this is one of the worst failings of liberal notions of foreign policy).

    But America needs the option to say "no", or the result would be much the same as were that woman unable to say "no". The destruction of America, her wealth, her charm, and her beauty.

  • Bill

    The ideologies differ, but a compromise is possible. I think a system that allows for between 1 and 3 million documented extended-stay visitors to come here per year, with some staying on to become citizens, could be done politically. We should be debating amnesty provisions, re-defining natural-born citizenship to require a mother and/or father who is a citizen, national I.D. cards, etc. Surely it could not be as hard to pass as health care legislation, and, when it is all over, I bet that at least people would agree that it is better than what we have now, even if it is still terrible.

    p.s. the earth isn't spherical?

  • DKH

    Bill,

    Since I don't want to paste links, I suggest looking the the wikipedia article titled "Earth radius," which discusses the "Physics of Earth's Deformation." Asimov was saying there are very different degrees of wrongness in saying that the earth is flat as opposed to saying it is spherical.

    Alternatively, knowing that I can walk up a hill means the earth's radius is not constant; therefore the earth can't be a sphere, even if it can be approximated as one.

  • Kevin Spires

    The main thing about unskilled immigration for me is this... Immigrants that do not bring capital along with them are causing a decrease in the Capital/Labor ratio leading to an increase in returns to capital and a decrease in average wage levels. I also think the socialist welfare state and the ability of immigrants to stay connected to their previous community are two additional negative factors.

  • http://http//www.tinyvital.com/blog John Moore

    I have problems saying that a government license in the form of a green card is required for mere presence in the country.

    What is it about the term "sovereignty" that you don't understand?

    We can have immigrants, if we have a reasonable permitting system, but what you suggest is anarchy.

    Should we let in every Haitian who makes it to Florida? What if some country decides to export millions of its starving citizens to us (sort of a mega-Mariel event)?

    A nation which does not protect its borders and treat its own citizens as special compared to non-citizens is doomed.

  • http://herdgadfly.blogspot.com/ gadfly

    Victor Davis Hanson wrote "Mexifornia" about the effects of Mexican immigration in his hometown of Fowler, CA where his family tended their grapevines in the fertile Central Valley. The Claremont Institute points out that VDH's solutions to Mexican immigration can take four distinct paths:

    He concludes we are faced with four choices. Of the first two, we could insist on rapid cultural immersion; we could take massive steps to close the border. Given current inaction, neither seems realistic. But Hanson prefers a third alternative: do both. The "more radical and holistic solution would be to adopt sweeping restrictions on immigration and put an end to separatist ideology along with the two-tier legal system for illegal aliens." Given our failure of nerve, we are faced with the horror of the fourth possibility: Mexifornia—an "apartheid nation, with great distances between its elite and mass, which threatens all prosperity and turns the state into the poorest part."

    Mass immigration didn't drive out paradise and create the People's Republic of California. But it adds to the momentum toward a socialist state. That is the choice we make by our current policy of doing nothing. As a policy advisor Hanson is resolute—and on target.

  • me

    Folks, you're not listening. Coyote made the point that the argument that illegal immigrants need to be punished for breaking a law because "IT'S THE LAW" is utterly hypocritical. Selective enforcement of laws is a terrible problem, and the US has a bad case of SEL.

    As a nation, we handle immigration badly - there's a whole lot of hassle (the stories I could tell) if you try to go the legal route, and the legal route is rather unforgiving; compare to the idea of shooting people with suspected traffic violations on site - surely a great deterrent, but there is little incentive for being good in the future or coming in from the cold.

  • http://www.two--four.net/weblog.php Billy Beck

    "Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice."

    (Henry David Thoreau)

    "The Rule of Law" is a pernicious and ridiculous delusion. All who fall for it are fools.

  • A_Nonny_Mouse

    I also have an illegal-alien friend. Great human being. His home is in Juarez (across from El Paso, Texas); he can't go home because his house has been trashed, everything of valued stripped out, and squatters are occupying it and selling drugs. So he's here in the US. I don't object because I know he's a good guy.

    There are several million other illegals here, and I assume most of them are just-plain-good-folks, too. But their illegal status makes it easy for unethical bosses to take advantage of them.

    Then there are the ones you hear about: they drink and fight and drive drunk and steal and beat other guys to death, and eventually wind up in jail. Surely deportation is justified for these fellows; the only problem seems to be that our border is so porous that they can wander back in at will. (I've also heard that there are plenty of Husseins and Farouks coming up from South America: learn a little Spanish, pretend to be Mexican, cross into Arizona and join the underground jihad. Swell.)

    I have no problem with working on some "path-to-legality" solution for those already in the country who are not out-and-out criminals, but:

    ONLY AFTER SECURING THE BORDERS.

    As they say: Turn off the water at the main before trying to mop up the flood in the basement.

    Do the "security thing" first; then we can work on the "assimilation thing".

  • DOuglas2

    My fear is that anti-enforcement boosters really just want an exploitable underclass.

  • semi-libertarian

    The latest news from the unreported, certainly on this site, border war in the Southwest. From the Arizona Star:

    A longtime rancher was killed on his Douglas-area property over the weekend, and neighbors worried that his homicide was connected to increasing border-related crime in the area.

    The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office offered little information into the late-Saturday shooting death of 58-year-old Robert Krentz, whose family began the Krentz Ranch more than 100 years ago.

    Krentz’s body was found on his land, which is about 35 miles northeast of Douglas, just before midnight Saturday, said Carol Capas, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office....

    Area residents said Krentz had no enemies, and they could think of no motive for his death other than the possibility it was related to what they called the growing level of crime in the area related to illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.

    And this from the Tucson Weekly:

    As the Weekly has reported, the situation in the so-called Chiricahua Corridor has deteriorated lately, leaving residents fearful that an episode of this kind was inevitable. The grief is great for the Krentz family and their many friends throughout Southeast Arizona; Krentzes have been ranching in Cochise County for more than a century.

    And finally this comment from a neighbor of the Krentz's:

    No one outside the ranching community knows how hard a life this is (in terms of physical work never being done). To those of us who love it, the price is well worth the benefits. But not for Susan Krentz. I cannot imagine what she must feel, knowing they have been robbed before, vandalized and terrorized.

    I really do find the climate, small business, and limited governments posts on this site penetrating and informative. But I really have to hold my nose when the smug, elitist and, frankly, unworldly posts on immigration and foreign, particularly national defense, policies come up. They are nothing but ideological talking points memorized and regurgitated to the unwashed masses. And, yes, I once came to a rolling stop at a stop sign, so obviously this comment has not value.

  • http://dullgeek.blogspot.com dullgeek

    I agree with Coyote's assessment. And I think that this hinges on the moral authority of the law in question. I think the immigration laws have no moral authority, and as such, I think they should be abolished. I wrote more about my inability to understand the conservative viewpoint on immigration here:

    http://dullgeek.blogspot.com/2009/02/i-just-listened-to-another-intelligence.html

  • http://thegameiam.livejournal.com David

    I wrote my modest proposal to solve the immigration issue a few years ago, and I have yet to hear a better solution.

    It's a bad idea to have laws on the books which aren't enforced, whether those are traffic laws or immigration laws. We run the risk of making a scarecrow of the law (to paraphrase Shakespeare), and causing our wonderfully law-abiding society to become corrupt in the process. Yuck.

  • Matt

    ObamaCare - Unconstitutional, and therefore as illegal as illegal immigration. Therefore I am as against the enforcement of Obamacare as I am against illegal immigration.

    For your speeding analogy, it can go the other way: if you are for illegal immigration, would you ever call the cops if someone broke into your house? Of course you would, so you are for enforcement of laws, too. The issue with illegal immigration is that many (not a majority) of them do not want to act as guests. They demand full rights/benefits, and there are those who would require us to give them full rights/benefits. By coming into our country illegally, they are making their first act as our guest is to break our laws. I am willing to live with that, but many have continued to break them. Not a majority, but many. Now, in order to stop the excesses of the few we must enforce a law that was by mutual agreement not enforced for a long time.
    Do I care if people go 27 in a school zone? No, but if there is a rash of people going 35 or 40 when my kids are crossing the road I will not complain about a speed trap that has a zero tolerance policy and gives me a ticket for going even slightly over the speed limit. Maybe your threshold would be 55, but at some point you would be willing for precise enforcement, too. So cut the self-righteous absolutism.

    Is there any point at which you, a man who whom I consider reasonable enough to invest my life in reading your opinion, would enforce immigration laws? I think we have gotten there. I would rather not punish the many for the excesses of the few, but the few can only be stopped by using this one law and unfortunately it will harm many good people

    As a last point, the immigration rights crowds (the extreme ones) use the sheer numbers of immigrants as a reason for requiring rights/benefits for the whole group. So blame the La Raza folks, those who would want voting rights for illegals, and those who would demand welfare.

  • atr

    For those who claim to be "anti-illegal" as opposed to "anti-immigrant," there is a clear policy change that will eliminate their concern: legalize immigration.

  • http://teejaw.com TeeJaw

    I think I am about 85% a libertarian but I’ll never make it the whole distance.

    I won’t ever understand how libertarians can support the idea that poor Mexicans should pay thousands of dollars that took them years to accumulate to some “coyote” to transport them under grim conditions across the border just to leave them in the desert to die of thirst, if the coyote doesn’t actually kill them himself.

    I’ll never understand anyone who thinks this is a good thing that should be continued and expanded.

    I’ll never understand why libertarians don’t think it would be better that these people present themselves at the border crossing with ID in hand and came in legally. [I can hear the screams..."the law won’t let them in legally!” That’s an argument for changing the law not for continuing the present madness.]

    Why can’t we just know who they are and whether they are wanted criminals?

    The attempt to equate minor traffic violations with illegal and anonymous entry across an international border would be laughable if it were not so disgusting. I’ve read that in California a clear majority of open murder warrants are for illegal aliens from Mexico. I know there are thousands of U.S. Citizens who’ve suffered property damage and bodily injury that will forever remain uncompensated because the miscreant who injured them was an illegal alien.

    I’ll say this much, it takes guts to come out in favor of this state of affairs.

  • zero wolf

    there's a quote that sums up the thinking you've described quite nicely, teejaw. it goes something along the lines of "a purist/true believer never allows mere *facts* to stand in the way of a lovely *theory*." yeah, i'll agree with you that it took guts for coyote to come out in favor of the inept, suicidal way we allow things to be. but then, it takes "guts" for college profs to stand up and proclaim the glories of communism, too, never mind those inconvenient body counts of 100 million +. should we respect them for doing so? 'cause i sure don't....

    facts are inconvenient things that can't be wished away by rainbows & unicorns, alas.

  • Ron H.

    TeeJaw, let me help you with some of the 15% you are having trouble with:

    >"I think I am about 85% a libertarian but I’ll never make it the whole distance."

    >"I won’t ever understand how libertarians can support the idea that poor Mexicans should pay thousands of dollars that took them years to accumulate to some “coyote” to transport them under grim conditions across the border..."

    A libertarian won't "support" this idea, but will believe that each of us should be able to determine our own fate. So, if a poor Mexican chooses to save up for transportation to the US, it is their choice and their responsibility, and not yours or mine, or anyone else's.

    >"...just to leave them in the desert to die of thirst, if the coyote doesn’t actually kill them himself."

    This, of course, is wrong, as well as illegal everywhere. The libertarian would recommend that the coyote (not YOU, Warren) be prosecuted for his crimes, and punished.

    Hope this helped.