The amount of horse hockey being thrown around on the immigration issue during this campaign is pretty staggering, so I thought I’d throw around a bit of my own. This is going to be from the perspective of a longtime citizen of Los Angeles who has known and hired many illegal aliens… undocumented workers… call them what you want… for decades and is (full disclosure) currently hiring some, I think (I don’t normally ask). Also, I speak Spanish and have found almost all of these people to be kind, decent and hard-working. In some cases, I have helped them get citizenship and find immigration lawyers.
All discussion of immigration must begin with the obvious. We have lived for decades under a “Wink System,” meaning we claim to have a closed border, but we know and they know we don’t. It’s all a charade. Millions of Central Americans have been slipping over our border forever to do our domestic labor, pick our fruits and vegetables, jobs most legal Americans don’t want to do. It’s part of the fabric of our lives and theirs.
This must change and be rationalized and honest, but it must change in a decent and moral way. We are as much part of the problem as the people slipping over our borders. So…
1. Build a secure fence. There seems to be a consensus for this for both national security and immigration reasons.
2. Have a high tech national identification card. I know some libertarian types find this frightening, but explain to me how in the real world we will ever solve this problem without it… unless you believe in a psychic police force.
3. Deport all criminal illegal immigrants.
4. Give amnesty to the rest…. Ah, now everyone’s going crazy. I’m just being blunt. You can call it amnesty, shamnesty or late for lunch… It comes to the same thing. These people came here under the “Wink System.” If you’re going to end the “Wink System,” you have to be fair. You can’t punish people retroactively for a shell game they didn’t invent.
Moreover, the candidates currently recommending deporting ten million people (at whatever rate) are just full of it and pandering. It ain’t gonna happen. Consider the logistics alone. Ever been to the Tijuana border on a weekend? Now multiply that mess by tens of thousands. And consider this as well – how is it going to play to our own populace and the world to watch millions of poor families being deported on television? And watch it you will and watch it the world will. Good-bye the America of “give me your tired, your poor.” Hello, the nation of self-righteous xenophobes.
5. Have a real and straight forward immigration system that encourages immigrants because we need a constant infusion of labor for a whole variety of reasons. But make the English language a firm requirement for citizenship. Beyond all the other obvious reasons, English is now the language of science and technology. You can’t rise up in society without it. Those who back bi-lingual education are pseudo-liberal reactionaries with vested interests in keeping their own people down.
Okay, now have at me.