Understanding the Two Parties on Immigration

Frequent readers know that I am a strong supporter of immigration**.  Unfortunately our two major political parties have more mixed feelings, at best, about immigration.   Here is your one-sentence guide to the two parties' positions on immigration:

Republicans want immigrants to work but not vote, while Democrats want them to vote but not work.  Latest proof here.

I will add that I don't understand this line from the linked article:

I don't personally care all that much about the level of illegal immigration. The current numbers strike me as reasonable.

I am not sure how anyone can consider the levels of illegal immigration reasonable.  Some Republicans obviously consider these numbers unreasonable because they want the immigrants gone.  But I, even as a strong immigration supporter with many immigrant acquaintances, think the number is unreasonable as well.  If we are going to de facto let these folks stay, why should we make every step of their life, from driving to banking to working, a total hassle?  Why make all these hard working and generally law-abiding people afraid every moment that they may get deported, or make them subject to the harassment whims of some jerk like Joe Arpaio?

There seems to be a large portion of the country that is willing to allow these folks to stay but want to create some kind of lower-tier immigration status for them.  Fine, then let's do that.  Let's create a lower-tier (e.g. reduced access to government services and benefits) of legal presence in this country -- guest worker, whatever -- that is simple to obtain and does not involve waiting on lists for a decade.

 

** This is something I have probably moved the furthest on in my life.  At sixteen, when I was a traditional Texas Conservative Republican, I supported immigration restrictionism.  Since then, I have found such a position incompatible with my belief in individual rights and free markets, and through my experience in life have come to appreciate the value immigrants bring to this country.

  • Brad Richards

    Without discussing immigration at all: The level of *illegal* immigration is unreasonable if it is significantly above zero. Either enforce the laws, or change them. Leaving laws on the books that tens of millions of people violate - not only the immigrants, but their employers and all the other people who deal with them, knowing that they are illegal. This creates a huge underground of people accustomed to violating the law, which is not exactly conducive to an orderly, law-abiding society.

    What makes the whole situation idiotic is the amnesty granted in 1986: That was sold on the premise that the illegal immigration had gotten out of hand; grant amnesty, and then start enforcing the laws to prevent the situation from arising again. Those of us against that amnesty said at the time that, without structural changes, enforcement was a fantasy. Worse, the amnesty would just encourage an even larger wave of illegal immigration. Sure enough: That amnesty covered around 3 million illegals; today, the best guess is that there are around 20 million.

  • http://contraniche.blogspot.com/ August Hurtel

    I was all for open borders all the time, until about a decade or so ago. I am also all for private property, and there were stories coming from the border about private property owners having trouble with both immigrants trespassing (and worse) and the government interfering with their right to defend their land.

    Eventually I realized the two positions don't work together- we don't think about it like this because it doesn't scale well in our minds, but a new immigrant must, necessarily, physically exist within certain spaces, and many of those spaces are private property. Indeed, the idea of 'public property' is crap, and is usually just a cover for a bureaucracy to extract value while pretending to be caretaker for 'the people.' Somehow 'the people' can never hold these bureaucrats accountable like a real owner could.

    But anyway, it shouldn't be a policy decided in Washington, but an agreement worked out by private property owners. The simplest version would be those who want immigrants taking on some liability insurance just in case anyone brought a case against them because of the immigrant's actions. It could be more complicated, with employers, renters, and various business owners cooperating, but the same issues apply. You've got to take care of people's property rights, even if it seems silly. Repeal these equal housing rules and let owners do what they want to do with their own stuff, and eventually this anger will quiet down.

  • marque2

    " Why make all these hard working and generally law-abiding people afraid every moment that they may get deported, or make them subject to the harassment whims of some jerk like Joe Arpaio?"

    Note that this premise is false. The drug dealers and criminals coming in, is closer to the truth. Crime among illegal immigrants is grossly under-reported, because criminals don't report crime to police, and because Hispanic community members are reluctant to turn them in. Also, because of sanctuary laws, police are also reluctant to report them, because they are just released so they aren't deported.

    We have forests in the San Diego, where they sell drugs, and teen (even preteen) prostitutes, and because of sanctuary city status, police don't bother to go in, except every few years when one of the pre-teen prostitutes gets seriously hurt, or killed, and illegals can't cover it up.

    Parts of San Diego, and huge parts of LA, are turning into third world slums, due to these immigrants, but the pro immigrant types are oblivious, because they just drive over the areas in the raised freeways, and wouldn't even think to take one of those slum exits.

    But live the dream. The propaganda is similar to the vote fraud propaganda, Well the WP only found 32 cases of prosecution of voter fraud in 10 years, it must not be happening (ignoring congressional investigations finding at least 800 easy to find fraudulent votes in one congressional election).

  • Richard Harrington

    The part about liberals ignoring the immigration laws is unsurprising given the difference in thought processes - the laws are unfair, so ignore them. The conservative mind generally can't get past the first word in the phrase "illegal immigrant".

    The key problem is that employers like the control they have over illegal immigrants and H1B visa holders because they can get more work done for less money. It's a demand-side problem.

    If we made it trivially easy to work here, in essence rewrite the laws to cut that first word out, and then started actually enforcing the laws then the demand would dry up.

    Change the laws so that all it really takes to work in the US is passing a background check. In return they get a card with an identity number. Any employer who pays anyone without that card gets punished. The "illegal" immigration problem will go away.

  • Nehemiah

    I am also a huge supporter of immigration, legal immigration. We should do more of it by bringing in skilled workers who can help us build a stronger economy. Illegal immigration? Not so much.

  • http://onthenorthriver.wordpress.com Kurt

    Assimilation. It works, tried and tested. Better for us, better for them.

    Illegal immigration. Not so much. Drugs, rapes, money flowing out of the country plus zero taxes collected to pay for the burdens placed on schools and hospitals, voter fraud. Large areas of this nation that are now effectively 'Conquered Territory' and no-go zones.

    It's why Donald Trump was elected.

  • FelineCannonball

    Zero isn't a possible outcome. California's "zero trash" TMDLs under the clean water act aren't actually achievable. You can't eliminate all tax evasion in the country. There's a "reasonable" level of failure in any regulatory regime. With immigration, we're stuck with the regulatory structure we have. There won't be amnesty and their won't be 10 million deportations.

    Border crossings are down to the lowest levels since Gerald Ford. That's probably about as low as they can get without some sort of omnipresent system of big-brother business audits. Trump's billionaire cabinet won't allow that.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    Regarding legal immigration: the problem isn't immigration per se. The problem is this:
    1. The Democrats are using immigration to de-Americanize the country. It is their intent to bring in enough immigrants that your vote and my vote won't matter. Once they succeed on that it's over. Free stuff for all the Democrat voters and confiscatory taxes for the productive.

    2. We have had massive immigration over the last 50 years as part of this agenda. Why? We don't need people. Arguably we would be better off with fewer people in the country. Most of our social ills are a direct result of a large and growing population. The middle class is being taxed out of their homes to pay for schools which are largely costing more because of immigration. Almost half of working age adults don't work and there aren't jobs and still we are bringing in more immigrants to take your job. Why?

    3. The immigrants aren't assimilating. Certainly some are and just as certainly many are not. Else why would we need Spanish and Mandrin speaking teachers and ballots printed in 84 different languages.

    4. The immigrants are rewarded handsomely from your taxes. An immigrant/refugee family can get as much as $5000 a month in cash and benefits. YOU pay for it and your SS and retirement is at risk and why? Because our government spends billions and billions and billions on immigrants.
    5. Many diseases we rid ourselves of decades ago are making a comeback. Your children are exposed in schools and you are exposed when you go out to eat. Why? We have the ability to quarantine immigrants but we choose not to. It's almost like spreading diseases is intentional or something. AND we are even letting in immigrants with diseases you never heard of except from biblical times. Why???
    6. Our government knows that soon (as soon as interest rates rise and we can no longer borrow more money or pay the interest on the money we already borrowed) .that our government will be bankrupt. We will no longer be able to pay welfare and food stamps and all the other free stuff. What do you think those people in the inner cities will do then? What will the immigrants do, the ones who never assimilated, when the free stuff runs out?

    7. I don't see how this can end well. A collapsing economy, immigrants who hate America and are just here for the free stuff and a government that is ready to take your assets, your bank accounts, your house and your retirements to keep the free stuff flowing. There will be a breaking point; a civil war or revolution. AND I DON'T THINK IT IS BY ACCIDENT. I think that was always the plan of the left and Soros. Flood the country with immigrants, tax and spend, and overwhelm the system and when it breaks take it over.

    Could the left have done this without immigrants? I'm not sure they could have. Ted Kennedy saw the writing on the wall back in the 60's, conservatism was on the rise and he knew he needed to flood the country with a counter revolution. He and his fellow Democrats opened up the flood gates. At this point I don't believe it can be stopped or reversed. It's just a matter of time. It is/was a perfect trap set by Democrat politicians and ignored by the MSM and most people. I don't think we can get out of the trap now. About all we could do is spring it early and have the civil war sooner rather than later. But too many people are simply unaware, not paying attention. That will change...

  • Mercury

    How many "undocumented" students does Harvard University have? You know, students that weren't officially admitted into the college but are living in Cambridge and going to Harvard classes and using Harvard resources?

    How many "undocumented" family members is Warren supporting and/or giving shelter to in his home?

    And, other than the fact that we're talking about different people from different cultures in far greater numbers, with access to easier/cheaper transportation and a bigger welfare state....this is just like the romantic, Ellis Island era.

  • http://onthenorthriver.wordpress.com Kurt

    If they hadn't buried Teddie in Arlington I'd have pissed on his grave.

    If it gets bad enough, well we have the guts to nuke our own cities? From orbit of course, only way to be sure.

  • David in Michigan

    "We should do more of it by bringing in skilled workers......."

    There may be a few, mainly in the Silicon Valley (Santa Clara) of California who think that there are too many H1-B "immigrants". Yes, these are immigrants who are educated and skilled ...... but they work for less money, will not rock the boat because..... and they displace U.S. citizens who are equally qualified..... but cost more. Oh, and one more thing, they never "go home" again. This H1-B system is in need of serious reform. I have hopes that under Trump there will be reform of this.

  • Seekingfactsforsanity

    Just to be clear, are you talking about immigration or illegal immigration? Just letting anyone in who wants to cross the border illegally is dangerous - and its dangerous to individual rights and free markets. Does an individual have the right to work with others to provide a productive and protected system and cultivate customs that encourage freedom of speech, free markets, and the pursuit of happiness? Yes they do! Does an individual have the right to create laws that are to be honored and enforced, including by politicians? Yes they do! I am witnessing the devaluation of laws, free markets, free speech, and the right to protect oneself. And this devaluation appears to be promoted by those who want us to suppress our own values and culture to the benefit of other cultures. If illegal or legal immigrants are unwilling to pledge allegiance to The USA's culture of individuals rights, freedom of speech, free markets, and each citizen's pursuit of happiness within our laws, they should not be allowed to become voting citizens in our country. And for the most part, illegal immigrants should be deported.

  • Seekingfactsforsanity

    Just to be clear, are you talking about immigration or illegal immigration? Just letting anyone in who wants to cross the border illegally is dangerous to individual rights and free markets. Does an individual have the right to work with others to provide a productive and protected system and cultivate customs that encourage freedom of speech, free markets, and the pursuit of happiness? Yes - they do! Does an individual have the right to work with others to create laws that are to be honored and enforced, including by politicians? Yes - they do! I am witnessing the devaluation of laws, free markets, free speech, and the right to protect oneself. And this devaluation appears to be promoted by those who want us to suppress our own values and culture to the benefit of other cultures and values. If illegal or legal immigrants are unwilling to pledge allegiance to The USA's culture of individual’s rights, freedom of speech, free markets, and each citizen's pursuit of happiness within our laws, they should not be allowed to become voting citizens in our country. And for the most part, illegal immigrants should be deported.

  • buanadha

    wouldn't be a bad thing to go after some of those companies for their abuse of the H1B programs also. I'm sure Trump owes them after they went all out to defeat him.

  • buanadha

    this is the crux of the problem. The illegal immigration problem is a law enforcement issue, both for those who come here and commit crimes and for those companies who see it as a source of cheap, controllable labor.

    The legal immigration problem is different and reverting to the rules that were in place pre-1960's would bring a policy that emphasized more common sense in regards to immigration.

  • pouncer

    Every job offered to a worker who walked across the southern border without paperwork is a job that can not be offered to another worker, with paperwork, who would have arrived at some sort of "Ellis Island" traditional port of entry. Every apartment rented to an undocumented walker/tenant who may struggle with the English language is an apartment unavailable to a documented port-crosser from Hong Kong, or India, or Uganda, who DOES speak English. Every desk offered to the "Dreamers" -- children who were carried in by paperless pedestrian parents -- is a school desk and teacher's assignment and assimilation challenge unavailable to those who dream, and still wait, of documentation and those desks for their own children. Many dollars from wages paid to those who send remittances back to Mexico and other Latin American nations are dollars not invested by those who would pay, and wait, and do the paperwork and learn the language and become citizens in order to invest, in the U.S. economy buying homes and farms or gardens and businesses and tutoring for their children...

    We have, de facto, privileged trespassing pedestrians and penalized passengers on formal legal transportation. Is this a state of affairs anyone here would care to defend?

  • marque2

    This is kind of interesting, because Silicon Valley is complaining they can't get enough software engineers (at least at the price they want) and yet software engineering wages today are lower than in 2000, seems like if wages are stagnating, the demand for software engineers is dropping off. But they want to abuse the programs so that prices can drop off even more.

    Of course with the low H1B pay vs the cost of living in NorCal, we now have the H1B's sleeping in cars in the company parking lots.

  • marque2

    Rich people in their gated communities, tend to like to let in the cream of the crop of illegals, to do yardwork, housekeeping and acting as nannies for the kids - which they think is great, because their children are learning Spanish too! Even a bit of slavery going on as well. So they look around at the top tier of illegals around them and say, they are all hard working people, we should have more of them.

    Of course these same rich people don't ever go en el Barrio, where **American Citizen Hispanics** are having a hard time, because the 90% who are not worthy of being in a gated community are causing trouble. They are absolutely oblivious to the problems, middle class and lower middle class people, especially Hispanic experience from having the criminals and moochers run over the border and invade those neighborhoods. Also they should check out how the illegals are totally defacing, and robbing people, and forming gangs in the California Central Valley. Farmers can't even water crops any more because their equipment keeps getting stolen. In CA it has gotten so bad, even rural people who are usually unaffected, are having problems and moving away, leaving just more wasteland.

  • marque2

    "Every job offered to a worker who walked across the southern border without paperwork is a job ..."

    Every welfare benefit that is given to a person who walked across the southern border without paperwork is a benefit that is costing American taxpayers, and can't be given to another legal US resident.

    I am still dubious about they are all hard working, unless you consider drug trafficking a job.

  • marque2

    We aren't stuck, we really aren't trying very hard. We have programs like E-verify, and then tell employers not to use it. We have border patrol, but tell them to release the people they catch ...

    If jobs and welfare, and drug/prostitution money weren't available, they wouldn't come, and they would self deport.

  • FelineCannonball

    Lets see if those I-9 audits go up. I kind of doubt it. CEOs don't like it.

  • John Moore

    We already bring in way too many H-1B workers, who really do displace American jobs. Here in Phoenix, I watched my friends at two different companies get replaced by them, and the new workers were less productive and less skilled, with a few notable exceptions.

    The "we need more skilled immigrants" is a scan, foisted by Silicon Valley billionaires who just want cheap labor.

    That is not to say that are never cases for skilled immigrants. There are a bunch of extremely smart Indians and Chinese, for example, and a lot of them have helped our economy.

    But, and this is something Coyote just doesn't grasp properly, a country is a whole lot more than an area enclosed by lines on a map. A country is a common culture with a common set of laws. Our country is the greatest on earth, and that is due to our laws and, very importantly, the culture we inherited. Too many immigrants do not grasp the importance of this, and as a result will damage that proven outstanding culture.

  • Not Rick

    There is no such thing as illegal immigration. You can have illegal entry into the country - in which case you are an illegal alien or invader. Or, you can have legal entry in which case you are an immigrant, or a visitor. I know that sounds like nitpicking - but it's not. It's clarity of speech - something the left abhors because it gives them no wiggle room. They are not undocumented immigrants nor are they illegal immigrants because they never went through the immigration process at all.

    I am not a fan of open immigration. We live in a welfare state and open immigration is an invitation to disaster. I have no problem with immigration quotas. I happen to think both New Zealand and Australia have the right idea. If we have an actual shortage of workers in some area, then fine - although I can't find anyone I'd trust to make that determination. Corporations are notorious for their use of H1B Visas to create cheap skilled labor that amounts to indentured servitude. if someone has that skill, and no criminal record - fine let them in. I have no problem with some non-quota immigration but the number should be one that we can manage and assimilate.

    If we didn't live in a welfare state and a country where non-property owners get to vote on property taxes. Maybe then I wouldn't care if the only immigration process was proof of clean record.

    But to have a de facto immigration policy of - if we don't catch you right next to the border, it's all good - is insane.