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Tilting at Windmills

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June 8, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

IMMIGRATION REFORM DEAD....It looks like the immigration bill is dead. That surprises me. It seemed as if there were enough people on both sides of the aisle who would benefit from putting this behind them that it was likely to pass. But in the end, it wasn't even close.

The defeat came almost entirely at the hands of the hardliners, and I confess that I can't figure out what they're thinking. Sure, they think the current bill is worse than doing nothing at all, but when do they think they're going to get another crack at this? It's going to be years, and at this point it looks to me like the political environment in the future is more likely to be more liberal than it is to be more conservative. My guess is that the hardliners aren't going to get a better deal in 2010 than the one they voted down on Thursday.

Beats me. I'm in the "better than nothing" camp, though, so I'm disappointed it went down to defeat.

Kevin Drum 1:12 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (84)

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Frist? Whatever the heck this means.

Posted by: SS on June 8, 2007 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with the illegal immigration issue is that too many people on the Left and Right delude themselves into thinking that illegal immigration is about race. On the Right, too many pundits are blathering about how Latino culture will "change" America. This is not only stupid, stupid b.s., it misses the point.

Likewise, many on the Left are pushing the simplistic line that, if you are against illegal immigration, you are therefore against Latinos. Which, although it is not as dangerous as the whole "Invasion of the Latino Culture" line, is still stupid, and misses the point.

The point about illegal immigration and border security is that these are issues of life and death for many Americans, and could be for a lot more.

There are countless cases of Americans who have been robbed, raped, or murdered by illegal immigrants. In short, there are dead Americans, or Americans scarred for life, because our cowardly leaders don't have the guts to secure the borders. If our leaders put American lives ahead of cheap labor, then the borders would have been secured a long time ago.

And this has nothing to do with race. If all the illegal immigrants crossing over illegally were white and spoke English, it would still be wrong that a kid has to see his mother in an open casket because of a crime committed by an individual who would not be in our country if only our leaders simply enforced the law.

And there may not only be conventional criminals crossing the border among the migrant workers. Documents have been found in which Al Qaeda has discussed our open borders. Individuals from Iraq, Syria, and other Middle Eastern nations have been found crossing the border. And, as Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit correctly notes, our failure to secure the borders has left State and Local agencies completely in the dark as to who exactly is in our country. Attempting to secure America with a multibillion dollar Department of Homeland Security will do no good as long as our front door is left open.

American lives are at stake because of our leaders disgusting failure to secure the borders. But no one seems to talk about that, as the Right is too busy reviving racism and the Left is too busy using the race card. Clinton, Bush, Democrats, Republicans, all will eventually pay the price in how history views them for their failure to secure the border. If only the Americans who lost their lives or loved ones could pay such a small price instead.

Posted by: brian on June 8, 2007 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Beats me. I'm in the "better than nothing" camp, though, so I'm disappointed it went down to defeat.

I'm happy to see Bush handed a huge domestic policy defeat when he sorely needs a victory, any kind of victory. I'm also happy to see his right flank turn their guns on him.

Posted by: Old Hat on June 8, 2007 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Pfft, brian. The only delusion is that immigration is a problem.

This is the right fighting itself, all alone, and it's been fun to watch. The left has no reason to do anything--the status quo isn't a problem, and it's not hurting them. Kennedy must be chuckling to himself right now. This was mischief at its best.

And look, dude, in the grand tradition of Republican populist dimwittery, a group to which you seem to belong, it's better to keep this non-problem alive to distract the you and the rest of the xenobase. Leaving it 'unsolved' is the gift that keeps on giving for that set. As for the party leadership, not reaching a vote has saved them before they split their party. I was shocked they even were doing this, considering how it could've fractured them at a time they could little afford it.

The good news is that Bush found yet another lose-lose situation to spend a few coins of political capital on, and it shaved another four points off his number.

Posted by: djangone on June 8, 2007 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

"It's going to be years, and at this point it looks to me like the political environment in the future is more likely to be more liberal than it is to be more conservative. My guess is that the hardliners aren't going to get a better deal in 2010 than the one they voted down on Thursday."

It may well be that in 2009 there is a Demcoratic President (as well as a Democratic Congress) but (s)he seems more likely to concentrate on health care than on immigration. The hardliners will not be able to get a more favorable bill than the current one, but they should still have at least 40 votes in the Senate to block a *less* favorable one (the reaction to the current bill will scare away most Republicans who were willing to support Bush this time--indeed, it has *already* scared away soem previously pro-legalization Republicans). And they really do think that doing nothing is a lesser evil than anything invlving legalization.

Posted by: David T on June 8, 2007 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

Old Hat nails it.

No reason not to wait for a Dem POTUS to get a good bill.

Posted by: Disputo on June 8, 2007 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

Pfft, brian. The only delusion is that immigration is a problem. -- djangone


At Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, a seven year old underwent surgery necessary to save her life after she was raped.

In Milwaukee, Kenosha County Sheriff's Deputy Frank Fabiano was murdered.

In Annaville, Texas, a sixty-four year old woman was raped and beaten in her home.

In northern California, Kent Boone, a father of five, was killed when an illegal alien, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, collided with Boone’s vehicle.

These are just a few examples of countless cases in which Americans have lost their lives or have suffered immense pain at the hands of individuals who would not even be in the country if our borders had been secure. Even if these men were white and spoke English, it would still be wrong that we sacrifice our fellow Americans’ lives for the sake of open borders and cheap labor.

No, djangone, illegal immigration is a problem, and it is a big one. You might smugly dismiss all who believe in the enforcement of the law as xenophobes, but what your argument ignores is that Americans are dying because our borders are not secure. Is cheap labor worth this much?

Posted by: brian on June 8, 2007 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

My guess is that the hardliners aren't going to get a better deal in 2010 than the one they voted down on Thursday.

Kevin, you should know by now that being a hardliner means never having to say you're smart.

Posted by: Vincent on June 8, 2007 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

There is no crisis. Just like social security. It could be improved, but there is no crisis.

Pointing to isolated crimes is a pretty pathetic attempt to create the illusion of crisis. There is nothing about the immigration reform bill that would have necessarily stopped those crimes, and it is of course impossible to determine how many crimes are prevented or dissuaded by an illegal immigrant.

Crack down on the companies that hire them. that is the only policy that makes any sense at all. "guest workers" are treated awfully in almost every country that has such laws, and America doesn't need a caste of near permanent non citizens.

Posted by: mysticdog on June 8, 2007 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Old Hat nails it.

Liberals must master wedge politics.

Posted by: Old Hat on June 8, 2007 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

This is wonderful news. We just avoided making one of Germany's mistakes (probably the only one). My wife's friend in Germany says everybody is leaving because there are no jobs there anymore. The whole country is clogged with poorly paid guest workers.

The guest worker shit was too big of a poison pill. We really don't need a caste system in this country right now, with poorly paid guest workers imported en masse by the elite to further cheapen the cost of labor for the middle class. We don't need a law legalizing such a thing, allowing companies to do this out in the open. It could really bring back feudalism.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on June 8, 2007 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

There is no crisis...Pointing to isolated crimes is a pretty pathetic attempt to create the illusion of crisis. -- mysticdog

mysticdog seems to believe I should have sat at my computer for hours and typed out descriptions of every crime involving an illegal immigrant that ever occured.

mysticdog's misleading remarks, however, do not obscure the truth.

The truth is that Americans are dying. Americans are dying, but their lives would have been saved if the borders were secure. If the borders were secure, many of their killers would not have been in this country in the first place.

There's no crisis? American lives are being sacrificed so that the flow of migrant labor can continue, and there's no crisis? We are opening our back door to terrorists, ignoring the most important example of homeland security of all, and there is no crisis?

No, there is a crisis, a crisis of life and death. The worst price the pro-open borders elite will likely pay is that history will frown on them. The worst price many Americans have already paid is that they lost their lives. How could we, in a just society, demand that Americans sacrifice their lives so that corporations can have higher profit margins and politicians can have more bountiful campaign funding?

Even if those four crimes I mentioned were the only that occured in all of history, and that is definetely far from reality, it is a hell of a thing that we would say to the victims, "Your rape was worth it. Your death was worth it. A CEO now has more retirement money, and a politician has more money to spend on T.V. ads".

America is a better nation than this. And the American people, Republican and Democrat, are better than this.

It is just that many of us have been blinded to what the true cost of open borders is, and we have been blinded to who truly pays the price.

It is not time for us to treat this like a public smoking ban or the institution of school uniforms. It is time for us to look at the facts, not in order to call each other sinners, but to end this great sin against our American family.

Posted by: brian on June 8, 2007 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

Current law is fine. It simply needs to be enforced. That is, employers who seek to circumvent US labor laws by hiring illegal aliens should be fined, heavily and often enough that they no long hire illegal aliens.

Then the problem would go away.

The driving force here is the corporate interests who want to preserve their abilities to hire labor and not have to pay minimum wages, provide workman's comp, conform with OSHA and otherwise follow US law regarding labor.

Creating a guest worker program won't solve the problem. Such programs have had a very negative effect in Europe.

Posted by: jayackroyd on June 8, 2007 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

"The defeat came almost entirely at the hands of the hardliners"

Get a load of those ruthless hardliners who voted no on this last resolution: Susan Collins, Norm Coleman, Mary Landrieu, Olympia Snow, Max Baucus, Lamar Alexander.

Add in Saxby Chambliss, John Sununu, and Gordon Smith.

What do they all have in common? A tough re-election campaign in 2008.

I think it's just barely possible that the politicians are a whole lot smarter than Kevin is and knew where their constituencies stood on the issue.

Unless, of course, the majority of the American public are "hardliners".

Posted by: Cal on June 8, 2007 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

It failed because the public wants enforcement, not amnesty.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on June 8, 2007 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

Cal, it was always a given that those in swing states would vote against it. The (not such a) surprise is that the hardliners in safe states also voted against it.

Posted by: Disputo on June 8, 2007 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of the Mort Sahl joke: A conservative Republican is someone who thinks that nothing should ever be done for the first time. A mainstream Republican is someone who thinks it should be - but not now.

Posted by: Ward Wilson on June 8, 2007 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK

I'm in the "better than nothing" camp, though, so I'm disappointed it went down to defeat.

What about that bill appeals to you, is "better than nothing"?

Posted by: Maeven on June 8, 2007 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

You know whats even better then nothing and this horrible attempt at "reform"? Enforcing current laws and putting boot to corporate neck. You know what happens when people who are here just to work don't have any chance of getting work? They mostly go home.

If passed this current reform will do nothing but make sure that illegal immigrants undercut temporary workers, instead of lower class Americans(who in this case would get to enjoy being undercut by both temporary workers and illegal immigrants).

If we really feel the need to engage in some immigration reform then we should concentrate on making legal immigration easier by trying to find solutions to things like the current backlog.

The other thing is that this attempt at reform was nothing more then the senate attempting to give a blowjob to corporate America. Fortunately enough senators were in a weak enough position to have to listen to their constituencies, and enough republican senators were racist types to derail it's imposition.

Posted by: L.0 on June 8, 2007 at 4:33 AM | PERMALINK

I worked as a janitor and a construction after I got out of high school and all the way through undergraduate years in college. Construction jobs in particular paid well. Apparently, the days of blue collar young people getting these jobs are long gone. Now, I keep hearing that companies have to continue hiring illegal aliens because American workers don't want these jobs.

I don't believe it. All of the job sites I walk past where Spanish is the predominate language must have plenty of jobs Americans would love to have. It makes me think employers just want to pay the lowest wages possible, even though plenty of American workers would be happy to get a job that paid the prevailing wage (as it existed before the flood of illegal workers).

Posted by: DevilDog on June 8, 2007 at 5:06 AM | PERMALINK

I never understood why we needed the bill.

If the laws, on the books now, were enforced, that is all that is needed.

I also don't believe we need more Mexican underclass. Anyone see the Latino TV Awards the other day... guy said somethign in Spanish, said if you can't understand it, "Learn the Language of this country."

How reassuring.

Posted by: Clem on June 8, 2007 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

This immigration bill was another of the policy goals of George W. Bush.

That should be enough to tell anyone who's been paying attention that it's almost certainly a very bad idea.

A far simpler solution that would undoubtedly be far more effective was espoused quite eloquently by Sen. Claire McCaskill on the Senate floor yesterday afternoon.

If anyone recorded CSPAN during this speech, i hope they'll post the video.

Posted by: Elvis on June 8, 2007 at 6:27 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, immigration was not a serious problem anyway. The Republicans will now have to look for a new set of scapegoats.

Posted by: bob h on June 8, 2007 at 7:32 AM | PERMALINK

Wonder how long brian will perpetrate this boogeyman of illegal immigrants coming over and killing our childruns in the face of the reality that, apart from immigration law, illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes than the native-born. So if brian had his way, there would be just as many of those horror stories, and more.

Posted by: Mithrandir on June 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM | PERMALINK

Cal nailed it. Republicans don't care what the legislative environment will be like in two or three years--like Democrats, they care about whether or not they'll be a part of that environment. The Republican base was as crazy as brian on this issue, and any Republican who supported this bill was itching for a primary fight.

Any bill with guest workers in it deserves to die, so this is good news.

What our country needs is an Executive Department in charge of enforcing our laws. It could have on its staff lots of competent attorneys who care about the rule of law, and those attorneys could bring lawsuits against people who break the law. We could call it the Department of Justice. As a matter of fact, if I remember correctly, we used to have a Department of Justice when I was younger. Perhaps Bush could make that his next agenda item: restore the Department of Justice.

Posted by: reino on June 8, 2007 at 7:46 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think it's that hard to explain. Everyone could see (and hear) how upset this bill made the xenophobes in the base of the Republican party. No doubt polling said the same thing. That's all they've got left at this point, so alienating them would have left the Republicans with nothing.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on June 8, 2007 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

Sure, they think the current bill is worse than doing nothing at all, but when do they think they're going to get another crack at this?

Kevin: you're not under the impression that the hardliners actually care about improving the immigration system or securing our borders, are you? Clearly their primary concern is making sure their name is not associated with legislation loathed by their nativist constituents. Their concern, as always, is reelection.

At the end of the day the status quo is fine for lots of players. There was an article in The Economist the other day that reported illegal immigration is actually quite efficient from an economics perspective. So the market, at least, gets what it wants. And each year thousands of poor Latin Americans get what they want (better wages). And American consumers and businesses get help keeping costs down. And varying levels of government in American get out from having to spend money on benefits. And landlords and Wal-Mart get more customers. The system, in its own way, works. So, despite all the bloviating, there simply wasn't a sufficiently big constituency for reform. The Latino community is about the only loser in all this, and I predict the GOP will ultimately pay a steep price for being seen as obstructionists.

But the senators in question are competent vote counters, and no doubt most of them correctly estimate the nativist vote in their states (and especially in their state party organizations) is more important than the Latino vote.

Posted by: Jasper on June 8, 2007 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it might as well be dead as it provided no real immigration reform.

I think the current bill ended up being the status quo with amnesty.

The impetus for immigration reform is to cut down on "illegal immigration". In order to do that you must eliminated the cause of illegal immigration, and the cause is not the lack of guest worker programs or slots. The cause is low paying jobs where employers are willing to look the other way with regard to immigration status.

So to solve the job problem you must:

1. Significantly increase the penalties for highering illegal (undocumented) workers. This should include jail time, since fines are a cost of business.

2. Provide employers a simple way of checking employement status. An employee must have a social security number or EIN to work in this country. Employers should be able to get an account on the SSA system to check Social Security numbers, this could be used to mitigate an employers exposure to criminal liability.

3. Increase the allowance of immigrant workers, this could be a "guest worker program", but do it in such a way that allows the worker to change jobs at will so that the worker is not held as an indentured servant by his employer.

Posted by: Steve on June 8, 2007 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Not to commit common sense in public again, but: how about we fix LEGAL immigration first?

Here is Senator Kyl from this past week, opposing Senator Clinton's amendment (which was eventually defeated on a partisan parliamentary trick) -- the wait for LPR spouses and kids is "not substantial" (Senate speech, Monday) because like citizens, LPR spouses and kids come in "almost immediately" (PBS, Wednesday night).

The MINIMUM wait for the spouses and kids of green card holders -- LEGAL immigrants -- is more than five years. For Mexico, it's SEVEN.

There are 1.5 million people in that line. LEGAL immigrants, exiled (or outlawed) because they made a commitment to the US.

Here is an example of what this most anti-marriage, anti-family provision of US law means:

"Arizona Republic
August 5, 2004

DOUGLAS - Irene Ayon Velazquez lived her entire life on a ranch in Mexico with her parents, cooking homegrown food and watching soap operas, or telenovelas.

The churchgoing housewife with three young children had one wish: She wanted to see the United States. The desire grew each year that her husband, Arturo Dominguez Ocampo, a legal immigrant, spent working on a Pennsylvania farm.

"She just wanted to know what it was like," Dominguez said as he sat in a funeral home waiting room decorated with silk flowers.

It turned out to be a death wish.

On July 24, Ayon's body was found in a remote mountainous area southeast of Douglas. She was one of 50 known undocumented immigrant casualties in July, the deadliest month on record for border crossers crossings in Arizona.

Crossing illegally through the southeastern Arizona desert was not Ayon's first choice...."

Remember, Ayon's husband is a LEGAL immigrant. She was his LAWFUL wife.

Anybody agree with Kyl that a seven year separation from a wife or husband is "not substantial"?

Let's fix legal immigration first. Why would Democrats make families like this hostage to Republican divisions over amnesty?

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 8, 2007 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

re: 2. Provide employers a simple way of checking employment status. An employee must have a social security number or EIN to work in this country. Employers should be able to get an account on the SSA system to check Social Security numbers, this could be used to mitigate an employers exposure to criminal liability.

Nice try. But it's isn't really a solution because there are at least two side effects:

1. It drives illegal immigrants out of the "employee" segment of the workforce and into the "subcontractor" segment of the workforce. In effect, it disperses those currently in an aggregate situation, making them much harder to locate.

2. It also causes illegal immigrants to steal somebody else's identity instead of using fake IDs. That's exactly what happened at the Swift meatpacking plant, which DID participate in the current system ("Basic Pilot"), yet had many illegal immigrants working there when it was raided last year.

The bill before the Senate would have required employers to keep copies of all identification documents on ALL employees (including US citizens), and keep those copies for several years. Verification itself can be a "leaky" process, but keeping copies of the actual documents is far worse. What a treasure trove that would be for identity thieves.

The Feds had no trouble figuring out who the illegals were when they raided the place, but the employer wasn't penalized.

Most employers already know when they have illegal immigrants working for them. We know that they know. They know that we know that they know. So why do we pretend otherwise?

One of the side effects of the system in place as it is NOW enforced is that illegals who work as employees using fake social security numbers pay 15.3% FICA "payroll" taxes (including the employer's component), but those taxes go into the "earnings suspense file" which means the government keeps the money. So one beneficial side effect of the current "system" is that illegals who work as employees help subsidize the social security & medicare systems, which will start to have a revenue shortfall within 8 years or so. (Don't pretend that there's anything in the "trust fund" but IOUs that will have to be repaid by the same group who paid the payroll surplus in the first place - the taxpayers). In effect illegal immigrant employees are paying a 15.3% of their wages as a penalty to be here. That's got to be at least as significant as the monetary penalties proposed in the immigration bill before the Senate.

Most of the schemes proposed in the current legislation are merely pandering to one special interest group or another, all of which intend for illegal employment to continue.

We don't need a system that infringes upon the civil liberties of nearly 290 million Americans in order to find 12 million illegals.

If you want a practical solution that works, see the speech made yesterday by Sen. Claire McCaskill. I hope someone will post the video online.

Posted by: Elvis on June 8, 2007 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Kyl does have strange priorities - Better to stop internet horse race betting than fully understanding that the seven year wait is beyond the pale.

But, Kevin, why are you surprised? No wind to test down there in Irvine? Don't underestimate the mood of the public on this matter - This issue is starting to create some very strange bedfellows. cmDicely tried to pass this off a few months back as well - This issue is huge, because it has affected so many of the working class - Yeah, no wonder the Reps and Sens up for reelection are indeed very concerned about the shift in winds.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 8, 2007 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

The defeat of this bill simply demonstrates that Republican elected officials listen to their conservative constituents.

Just as the fact that we're still in Iraq after the midterm elections demonstrates that Democrat elected officials completely ignore their whackjob political base. Smart move, by the way.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 8, 2007 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

I notice that Brian confuses a handful of anecdotes with data to support his xenophobic blathering. Ah, well.

For those who want enforcement, ask yourself if you want to have a national identification card. The other reason we won't get real enforcement is because there is a huge constituency -- businesses that don't mind cutting corners -- for people who aren't authorized to work in this country.

Posted by: freelunch on June 8, 2007 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

"Cal, it was always a given that those in swing states would vote against it."

I know. That means that moderate voters were opposed to it.

Which means it was hardly the "hardliners", xenophobes, and racists that killed it. Unless that describes the majority of the American people.

The bill didn't pass because most Americans didn't want it to pass. So how can that be the hardliners' fault?

Posted by: Cal on June 8, 2007 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Americans can't agree on the problems and benefits associated with current patterns of immigration (or even admit there may be problems and benefits). How do we expect to craft policy to address these issues? Therefore, I'm happy to see the defeat of an approach supported by GWB since I am confident that his approach would just create more problems.

Nevertheless, I keep waiting for someone progressive to admit that current high levels of immigration might not be sustainable. For example, the government of Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, recently predicted that Minnesota will have water shortages within 25 years, due to a 25% increase in the size of the population produced by current rates of immigration.

I am still waiting for someone to tell me why, knowing this, I should support current rates of immigration.

Posted by: PTate in FR on June 8, 2007 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

You shouldn't made the perfect the enemy of the good. But I think it's quite fine to make the good the enemy of the mediocre, and this bill is (was) mediocre at best.

Posted by: Crag on June 8, 2007 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

It was absolutely imperative that Bush provide cover for this bill - the Dems are smart enough to know they would never get away with a cram-down of this nature without Republican cover, that's why you are not likely to see a bill like this in 2010. The primary problem with this bill is it said eat your ice cream first and we'll get around to the broccoli later - Z-visa legalization and Social Security cards in 24 hours, but enforcement sometime down the road. Americans are the most generous people in the world, but they're tired of being treated like chumps. If we get legitimate enforcement first, then the people already here will be treated well.

Posted by: minion on June 8, 2007 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

I'm happy this went down in flames if only because of the guest worker provision.

Posted by: Stefan on June 8, 2007 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

I see the bills supporters are still conflating legal and illegal immigration. Nice to see that muddying the water didn't work this time.

It's a bad bill. Quoting Atrios, who says is more succintly than I can: "...there's amnesty (bad) and nothing serious to prevent or change the incentives for illegal immigration from scary scary Mexico. The point system rigged towards better educated immigrants and away from the family system will change the character of legal immigration somewhat, but won't change illegal immigration at all. A guest worker program without any path to citizenship will just lead to lots of people entering the country legally and then overstaying their visas."

And, there's nothing in this bill that can appeal to the poverty striken illegals that so many people here want to help. The path to citizenship will cost them hard cash. Why pay the money when it's so easy to just keep doing what has worked all these years?

Posted by: zk822 on June 8, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes than the native-born.

Most of the immigration violations are not even crimes - deportation is an administrative remedy.

Posted by: Xenos on June 8, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

So I ask again: why not fix LEGAL immigration first?

(cue crickets)

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 8, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Unless, of course, the majority of the American public are "hardliners".

Well, according to the war supporter the majority of the American public are radicals, so why not?

Posted by: just sayin on June 8, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK
The defeat came almost entirely at the hands of the hardliners, and I confess that I can't figure out what they're thinking.

That's because you aren't really thinking through what you are saying.

Sure, they think the current bill is worse than doing nothing at all, but when do they think they're going to get another crack at this?

Maybe never. So what? If the current bill is for them, as you describe it, "worse than doing nothing at all", it would be better to never do anything than to pass the bill now and then never get another crack at it. Indeed, the longer they think they are going to be stuck with the results, the stronger the already strong argument is against doing something worse than the status quo.

It's going to be years, and at this point it looks to me like the political environment in the future is more likely to be more liberal than it is to be more conservative.

Which is another reason for them to do nothing now, especially if there is a risk that, as much as they dislike the bill, the public might see it as working, or at least feel like it should be given the chance. All the right has to run on is fear, and defeating an immigration reform that might be seen as working is a way to keep the fear of the hordes of evil brown people swarming over the border to steal Americans jobs as a tool of fear to run on.

My guess is that the hardliners aren't going to get a better deal in 2010 than the one they voted down on Thursday.

My guess is that the "hardliners" in Congress, for the most part, don't care about the substance of the bill, they care about their ability to posture on the issue.

Beats me. I'm in the "better than nothing" camp, though, so I'm disappointed it went down to defeat.

I think its a monumentally stupid, mean-spirited, and counterproductive bill, overall, for reasons other than those that the "hardliners" don't like it, so I don't mind that they killed it. I'd get something decent in a couple of years than that festering piece of crap now. And I don't think they'll get the political advantage they are seeking from the failure of this bill.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK
The MINIMUM wait for the spouses and kids of green card holders -- LEGAL immigrants -- is more than five years. For Mexico, it's SEVEN.

Anyone who has been around this board for a while will know that there is no love lost between theAmericanist and me, but the one thing we agree on is that that, right there, illustrates the heart of the fundamental problem in the status quo system, and any reform needs to deal with that problem.

Unfortunately, the proposed reforms never seem to even recognize the problem.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

"Sure, they think the current bill is worse than doing nothing at all, but when do they think they're going to get another crack at this"-- Kevin Drum

Kevin does know that question makes absolutely no sense, right? If you think something is worse than nothing, you really don't care about the next chance to fix something. You just want to stop others from making it worse. A lot of us hate the idea of guest workers, don't want a national work permit created, and are scared as hell at the idea of a federal employment database. An Amnesty program that was too stringent to be effective didn't outweigh these factors. Overwhelming, the people who supported this bill either ignored, or did not know, of the bills other provisions.

As an aside, perhaps if Kevin Drum knew people who made under 50k a year and didn't live in California, he'd understand why this bill failed. Outside of the elite, it had very little hard support. The 35% of the population that hated this bill care more than the 25% that really wanted it and the 40% that didn't really care that much one way or another. So despite the polling on the issue, this was a very unpopular bill.

Posted by: soullite on June 8, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

We already have immigration laws. There is no need for new ones.

If Washington is too corrupt to enforce existing laws, exactly what is the point of new ones for them to ignore.

It's disgusting that the Fourth Estate has become an advocate for government corruption. Is political correctness so much greater a value than rule of law and sovereignty? You can understand the corruption of Washington politicians. The Demoniacals benefit from long term massive Democratic voting from immigrants and illegal aliens (who have superb fake ID's and do vote) and the Reptilians reward business cronies with inexpensive labor, but what does the liberal media get out of it? The usual, I suppose. Displaying love for dark skin like a peacock in heat.

Posted by: Luther on June 8, 2007 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK
We already have immigration laws. There is no need for new ones.

Well, aside from the fact that the existing ones aren't all that good, and don't acheive the ends for which they are established.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

I am in the nothing is better than something camp. Our legislators cannot make good law, so were are better off if they do nothing. We need to eliminate the racist vigilantes and demilitarize the border, though.

Posted by: Brojo on June 8, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

The defeat of this bill simply demonstrates that Republican elected officials listen to their conservative constituents.

Just as the fact that we're still in Iraq after the midterm elections demonstrates that Democrat elected officials completely ignore their whackjob political base. Smart move, by the way.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 8, 2007 at 9:16 AM

I agree with sportsfan79 here. This is a perfect illustration that so many in the "realty based political community" i.e., liberals are the ones who are looking at the world through their rose colored glasses.

Despite all their claims that they represent the true views of the American people, they are pushed aside and ignored by their elected officials once the voting is over and they are safely in office.

Contrast this with conservatives who have the ability to punish their elected officials who piss us off and those elected officials know it. This latest fiasco has doomed McCain and probably Rudy from getting the nomination. Look for Lindsey Graham to get defeated in a primary.

And after the Wall Street Journal's editors insulting dismissal of conservatives objections to the bill, I can only hope Murdock does take them over and fires every one of their sorry asses, which is a shame since I've always liked Paul Gigot.

Posted by: Chicounsel on June 8, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

The MINIMUM wait for the spouses and kids of green card holders -- LEGAL immigrants -- is more than five years. For Mexico, it's SEVEN.

Why is this a bad thing? It sounds cruel, I know, but if one knowingly immigrates to a country where it takes a long time to acquire permission for loved ones to follow, I don't see how it's unfair. In fact, it seems like a fair trade to me: people get to come here, work hard, contribute to the economy, and then, eventually, family members can follow. If you don't want to wait, then choose Australia.

Posted by: Nate on June 8, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Why is this a bad thing?"

Because marriage and parenting are good things.

It sounds cruel, and it is cruel.

Posted by: reino on June 8, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

There are countless cases of Americans who have been robbed, raped, or murdered by illegal immigrants.

Hyperbole.

Illegals commit crimes at a much lower rate than the rest of general population. I'm not defending the crimes that illegals do commit, but it is this kind of disengenuous rhetoric that clouds the real issues surrounding illegal immigration.

Posted by: Simp on June 8, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

What Kevin Drum forgets is that things can get better no matter how "liberal" the climate gets. There's no good argument for any form of IllegalAlienAmnesty, we "hardliners" just need to point that out. And, if we do that enough, IllegalAlienAmnesty supporters will eventually be completely discredited and no one will believe them.

Say, is there a WalterDuranty of blogging yet?

Posted by: TLB on June 8, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Nate: Why is this a bad thing? ... In fact, it seems like a fair trade to me: people get to come here, work hard, contribute to the economy, and then, eventually, family members can follow.

Yeah, who are these people anyway? They want to see their spouse or kids more than once a year?! Fuck 'em - that's not the American way. Besides, how could they possibly work hard and "contribute to the economy" (whatever that means) if they come home to a wife and kids? If most people worked that way, the economy would grind to a halt.

America: we're pro-family (oh, except for immigrants).

Posted by: alex on June 8, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

A firm majority of the American people opposed this immigration bill. That's why it failed.

Americans first and foremost want the nation's southern border secured.

Secure the southern border and then introduce a bill through committee to solve other problems.

Will this happen?

No way. The corrupt and venal Bush Administration will renege on building an adequate fence, will renege on support for the Border Patrol and will continue to weaken the INS through personnel cutbacks in such vital areas as clerical staff.

The Bush Administration -- which is crossswise with the American electorate on almost every issue and doesn't care anymore -- will continue to receive backdoor support from such as John McCain -- the architect of the illegal immigrant problem in the first place on behalf of his big business financial contributors.

What is so difficult about securing the border?

Related question: Will the national media begin covering the border war? Will the national media station reporters on the border to provide the coverage? Forget it.

BORDER FIRST!

And all else will follow.

Posted by: reason on June 8, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

It does not matter if illegals commit an overall crime rate. What does matter is that Americans have died at the hands of individuals who would not even be in the country if the borders were secure. This is an indisputable fact.

None of you who wish to simplify my position as "xenophobic" have provided any evidence that the various Americans who have been murdered or rape by illegal immigrants would have still been murdered or raped by those same people, or murdered or raped at all, if the borders had been secure.

It is an old saying that in Washington, D.C., when the politicians do not like a message, they shoot the messenger.

A lot of people have been saying that if you want the borders secured, you are a "xenophobe". They are attacking the messenger because they do not have the ability to argue with the message.

The truth is that, if the borders had been secured, there are Americans who would have been alive today, or would not have been raped. Whether or not illegal immigrants commit an overall lower crime rate is besides the point. The point is that, among the many honest workers who cross the border, there will be criminals, and potentially terrorists, crossing over, too.

Posted by: brian on June 8, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Bush on enforcement:

Enforcement of immigration law
Illegal Hiring Is Rarely Penalized

The Bush administration, which is vowing to crack down on U.S. companies that hire illegal workers, virtually abandoned such employer sanctions before it began pushing to overhaul U.S. immigration laws last year, government statistics show.
Between 1999 and 2003, work-site enforcement operations were scaled back 95 percent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which subsequently was merged into the Homeland Security Department. The number of employers prosecuted for unlawfully employing immigrants dropped from 182 in 1999 to four in 2003, and fines collected declined from $3.6 million to $212,000, according to federal statistics.
In 1999, the United States initiated fines against 417 companies. In 2004, it issued fine notices to three...

There is a national identity card. There are requirements to obtain valid card.


Posted by: Mike on June 8, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

You're the voice I've been looking for, someone who is not completely polarized on this issue. In fact, I'm posting a blog today at http://blogs.ardmoreite.com/blog on how both sides of the coin are so static in their positions, reason can't really be drawn in a balanced fashion. Well, said, and I couldn't agree with you more.

Posted by: Tiara Etheridge on June 8, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

brian--

Read the thread again, this time slowly. Your message has already been discredited. Please go live in a hole so that you can avoid the possibility of ever being raped or murdered.

Posted by: reino on June 8, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter brian: The plural of "anecdote" is too "data"!

Posted by: Gregory on June 8, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Drawing arbitrary frontiers on paper and then making distinctions of which human beings are and are not legal is not a result of reason. It's a result of nationalism.

Posted by: Brojo on June 8, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper: Clearly [the hardliners] primary concern is making sure their name is not associated with legislation loathed by their ... constituents.

Wow, cowardly congress-critters actually voting the way their constituents want them to vote. The horror! That's tantamount to actually representing their constituents.

If I drop the ellipsis from the above quote:

Clearly [the hardliners] primary concern is making sure their name is not associated with legislation loathed by their nativist constituents. [emphasis added]

Another wow. According to the poll:

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/support_for_senate_immigration_bill_falls_49_prefer_no_bill_at_all

23% of voters now support the bill while 50% are opposed ... Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters prefer no bill over the Senate bill. Just 32% prefer the legislative compromise over inaction

Who'd have thought that half of all Americans are nativists? What other possible reason could there be for opposing this bill? Maybe some misguided people believe supply and demand leads to lower wages for Americans who didn't make much to begin with? Nah, who cares about them. What really matters is not burdening poor Long Island couples scraping by on a mere $200k/yr.

Posted by: alex on June 8, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, cowardly congress-critters actually voting the way their constituents want them to vote. The horror! That's tantamount to actually representing their constituents.

That's right. It is most assuredly cowardly to violate one's conscience in order to garner votes. It may be common, but that doesn't make it right. Or are you a fan of Mitt Romney?

Who'd have thought that half of all Americans are nativists?

I sure don't. Though I suspect in many deep red districts they are indeed in the majority. Funny, though, a little googing found ol' Jasper a poll that seems to be at odds with your cherry picked one:

http://www.townonline.com/ipswich/opinion/x477504991

Maybe some misguided people believe supply and demand leads to lower wages for Americans who didn't make much to begin with?

No maybe about it. Economic illiteracy is nothing new. If you allowed opinion polls to dictate economic policy, we'd all be paying $50,000 for Detroit junk cars.

Posted by: Jasper on June 8, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

My take is that this is "law and order" writ large. The sector of the American public that REALLY cares about this issue (other than immigrants who want to bring their extended families in) is reacting to letting someone get away with something "illegal."

As in "What part of 'illegal' don't you understand?"

Too many people really hated too many parts of this to get it passed.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 8, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

brian--

Read the thread again, this time slowly. Your message has already been discredited. Please go live in a hole so that you can avoid the possibility of ever being raped or murdered.

-- reino

Read the thread again, reino. No one has stated that, if the borders were secured, the Americans who lost their lives at the hands of individuals would not even otherwise be in the country would still be dead. No one made that point. No one discredited my message.

Extremism is a plague that affects individuals of all ideologies. In this case, many on the Left are affected by an extremist viewpoint on the issue. Their view is that everyone who wishes that our borders be secure are automatically racist and xenophobic. Thus, the idea of border secure is to be ignored and belittled.

What is especially ironic is that the Left, if they are to be ideologically consistent, should support border security. Our failure to secure the borders has led the poorest Americans to pay a hefty price so that the most powerful Americans can benefit. In short, the rule of law is being abandoned so the powerful can become more powerful. There have been times when environmental laws have not been enforced, and Americans have died as a result. Liberals rightfully understand the moral outrage that this deserves. Why, then, do liberals act as if the lack of border security is any different?

Posted by: brian on June 8, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper: It is most assuredly cowardly to violate one's conscience in order to garner votes.

Then perhaps we should change the name of the House of Representatives to the House of People-who-vote-their-conscience-despite-opposition-from-the-unwashed-masses. It's a little verbose, but I'm sure that people will understand that the word "conscience" is meant tongue-in-cheek. The Senate can keep its name though, as the Roman Senate from which it derives its name was never meant to represent the plebeians.

Thankfully we have these elites who vote their "conscience" (and their major campaign contributors wishes) rather than listening to the great unwashed masses of our fellow citizens.

Perhaps it would be safest if we eliminated the danger of these election things (in which almost any mere citizen is eligible to vote) and instead simply put our legislators out for bid.

I suspect in many deep red districts [nativists] are indeed in the majority.

No prejudice on your part there. BTW, do you even know the difference between a nativist, a xenophobe and a bigot, or all they all just bad names that you call people who disagree with you?

Funny, though, a little googing found ol' Jasper a poll that seems to be at odds with your cherry picked one

I see. Any poll I cite is "cherry picked", but any poll that you cite is (implicitly) representative. I wasn't aware of that.

Oh, but you didn't actually cite a poll about the immigration bill, did you? No, you cited an editorial which cherry picks (oops, I mean representatively selects) points from a poll that asked about certain issues which this omnibus bill purports to address, but (at least as cited in the editorial) doesn't address the desirability of this actual bill itself. Perhaps the great unwashed masses of our fellow citizens are hurting their little brains by looking at some of the details of this bill, rather than accepting at face value that it adequately addresses the policies that concern them.

Economic illiteracy is nothing new.

So belief in supply and demand is "economic illiteracy"? I guess that goes for the specific application of Stolper-Samuelson as well. Poor unwashed masses - they should just have faith that our legislators and their formidable consciences have only their constituents best interests at heart.

If you allowed opinion polls to dictate economic policy ...

We'd have balanced trade, and a better balanced budget. If we extended that principle to policy in general, we'd also get the hell out of Iraq and have UHC. My God, what a nightmare that would be!

Posted by: alex on June 8, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Why is this a bad thing?"

Because marriage and parenting are good things.'

It is also TO MAKE AMERICANS out of 'em.

Legal permanent residents are just that: PERMANENT residents.

They have made a commitment to the United States, which temporary visa holders (students, H-1B visa holders, etc.) have not. Yet when a temporary visa holder marries, he or she can bring their spouse immediately.

Only legal PERMANENT residents are punished when they marry. (They can't leave for long, or they lose their residency.)

Moreover, the most effective way to Americanize an immigrant is raising a family here.

This isn't simply the most anti-family, anti-marriage provision of US law, it is also directly contrary to our national interest in citizenship, not to mention the rule of law.

Conservative opposition to the idea is based on the notion that only CITIZEN's marriages are sacred, but more than that, the opposition is simply stooopid as a defense of citizenship itself: we should treat permanent residents BETTER than temporary workers when they want to raise a family here, precisely because it is the permanent resident who is on the path to citizenship.

Contrary to what Dice added, this WAS part of the immigration debate this past week: Senator Clinton's amendment, defeated Thursday night on a procedural vote.

And where were you guys? Kevin?

So, I ask again: why not fix LEGAL immigration first?

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 8, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

brian--
As people have stated, immigrants commit fewer crimes than natural born citizens. Therefore, if your goal was to lower the crime rate, it would be more efficient to kick all of the natural born citizens out of our country than it would be to kick out all of the illegal immigrants. I am not advocating that we should kick out the natural born citizens; I am just demonstrating how idiotic your point is.

Nobody on the Left is saying that everybody trying to decrease illegal immigration is racist and xenophobic. People on the Left are saying that there are smart ways to lower illegal immigration and dumb ways to do it. When Clinton enforced laws against hiring illegal aliens, that was smart. When Bush stopped enforcing those laws, that was dumb. When people on the Right connect immigrants with crime despite statistics showing that immigrants (other than the act of entering our country illegally) commit less crime than the rest of the country, they are being racist, xenophobic, and idiotic. I'm talking about you. Do you think that we should get rid of water because it sometimes causes people to drown? What would you say to the parent of a child who died from drowning because people like you think there should be water in our country?

Border security is important, and you should make no mistake that if Democrats controlled the White House and the House and had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, they would get something done. Pay attention and notice that more Democrats supported the immigration compromises than Republicans. However, Democrats were not going to give full support to an unpopular bill that was going to get filibustered anyways. The lack of progress comes thanks to the Republican Party. I won't hold that against the Republicans, since it wasn't a great bill anyways.

Americanist--
Find 70 House Republicans and 20 Senate Republicans who want to fix legal immigration, and it will be fixed. From a practical political point of view, however, after this week all attempts to deal with immigration issues are over for 2007 and probably for 2008 as well.

Posted by: reino on June 8, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Steve wrote:

"So to solve the job problem you must:

"1. Significantly increase the penalties for highering illegal (undocumented) workers. This should include jail time, since fines are a cost of business.

"2. Provide employers a simple way of checking employement status. An employee must have a social security number or EIN to work in this country. Employers should be able to get an account on the SSA system to check Social Security numbers, this could be used to mitigate an employers exposure to criminal liability."

I disagree in part. To effectively deter employers from hiring illegal aliens, a system must (a) apply to all employers, that is, housewives hiring nannies as well as Fortune 500 companies, and (b) only punish employers who know that they are doing something wrong. A system tied to the immigration or citizenship status of the employee will always give the employer a defense of "I didn't know." My alternative suggestion would be to give everyone legally in the US (native born citizens as well as legal immigrants) a federally issued, secure ID card and make it illegal to hire anyone who does not present such an ID card. That would be a very easy system to enforce (sting operations would be a breeze to set up) and enforcement over time would encourage illegal aliens to return to their countries of origin.

I would also greatly increase the number of visas - immigration is a net good thing and we should encourage it, but those who break the law to come here are by definition lawbreakers and we ought to encourage them to return home.

I would also adopt the "point" system instead of the family unification system. The reason we allow immigration is because of the benefits it brings to the nation as a whole, not the benefits it brings to the individuals involved. So I would encourage immigration of those who can contribute the most to the US in terms of work skills, etc. Shifting immigration from law-wage peasants and day laborers to higher skilled workers would also relieve some of the wage pressure on the working class that has lead to increases in income inequality in recent years.

Posted by: DBL on June 8, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK
Only legal PERMANENT residents are punished when they marry.

Legal permanent residents are not "punished" when they marry. Nothing becomes worse for them than it was prior to marriage.

Their marriages are, to be certain, not accorded much respect in practice, and their treatment vis-a-vis other admitted aliens is not particularly rational, but that's not "punishment", though it is bad policy.

Conservative opposition to the idea is based on the notion that only CITIZEN's marriages are sacred

I think you are stretching hard to find an pleasant-sounding though misguided conservative defense of the policy that isn't that widespread in reality.

In reality, I suspect conservative opposition to the idea is based more on the political utility of cultivating ignorance and hate. And liberal opposition (of which there is considerable) is based on the fear of fighting the ignorance and hate cultivated by conservatives head on.

Contrary to what Dice added, this WAS part of the immigration debate this past week: Senator Clinton's amendment, defeated Thursday night on a procedural vote.

I would agree that my "never seem to ..." would have been precisely accurate only if modified to "rarely seem to..., and when they do, generally don't get very far."

And, FWIW, Clinton's proposal was a good one, as far as it went. Not sure it was worth the baggage the bill still would have contained aside from her amendment, but it would have made it a harder to decide whether to be glad that the bill had failed, at least.

So, I ask again: why not fix LEGAL immigration first?

Kind of a dumb question; it buys into the false concept that there are two distinct, unrelated problems of "legal immigration" and "illegal immigration". The problem is the immigration policy as a whole is broken, and needs fixed. Its not a matter of fixing "legal immigration" and then "illegal immigration", or vice versa. Its a matter of fixing immigration policy.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to pose a couple of questions to the left-of-center commenters here:

Have you dropped your opposition to a tamper proof national ID card? Many comments hint at that possibiity.

Do you feel the illegals that have jumped the queue owe anything to the chumps that have been waiting 9 to 12 years for a legal green card?

Do you believe felons, even rapists, should be denied amnesty? The US Senate voted 50 to 46 to block "discrimination" against this group.

Posted by: minion on June 8, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

minion--
I still don't support the ID cards. If people get hired, verify their social security numbers. Businesses have computers with modems, and the US Government has databases, so this should be doable without cards. Companies that hide the illegal status of their employees should be held accountable, as they were to some extent during the Clinton Presidency. You could make the ID cards optional--something somebody could get if they wanted to have less paperwork when they get hired.

Illegals who jumped the queue don't owe anything to people who wait. Our policy should be utilitarian--provisions should benefit people who are here properly, which means that illegals should not get credit towards social security and should pay fines that fit their crime. If we lower illegal immigration, we can increase legal immigration, which will cause the waiting times to go down.

Rapists and other felons here illegally should spend an appropriate time in prison, such as eight years or whatever, and then be deported back to their country of origin. Nobody on the Left or Right is coming to their defense, and it is silly to argue otherwise.

Posted by: reino on June 8, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

It is simply amazing how stoopid Dice is. No wonder he went to law school.

Dice 1: "Legal permanent residents are not "punished" when they marry. Nothing becomes worse for them than it was prior to marriage."

Foreign student A and foreign student B come to America. They both start careers, fall in love with fellow foreign students, and marry them. A has an H-1B visa, so his wife can come here immediately, or remain indefinitely, as a practical matter. She can even leave and come back.

Foreign student B has gotten on the path to US citizenship by getting a green card. So HIS wife, as soon as they marry, becomes an "intending immigrant", and presumptively ineligible for any temporary visa. That means if she leaves, she can't come back -- and if she stays (as many a wife of an LPR and mother of a US citizen would stay), she is illegal and, should she ever leave, she will be BANNED for a decade.

But Dice doesn't think the green card guy is "punished".

Which is yet another reason why I've concluded Dice is stoopid, or an asshole, or both.

LOL -- and as for the "false concept" that there is legal (which means one thing) and illegal (which means another thing), well: did I mention that Dice went to law school?

And he has SUCH important political opinions, too.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 8, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK
Foreign student A and foreign student B come to America. They both start careers, fall in love with fellow foreign students, and marry them. A has an H-1B visa, so his wife can come here immediately, or remain indefinitely, as a practical matter. She can even leave and come back.

Foreign student B has gotten on the path to US citizenship by getting a green card. So HIS wife, as soon as they marry, becomes an "intending immigrant", and presumptively ineligible for any temporary visa. That means if she leaves, she can't come back -- and if she stays (as many a wife of an LPR and mother of a US citizen would stay), she is illegal and, should she ever leave, she will be BANNED for a decade.

But Dice doesn't think the green card guy is "punished".

You claimed the green card holder was "punished for getting married". That would be true if and only if the green card holder was disadvantaged as a consequence of marriage compared to his status before getting married.

This is not the case.

It is true that the green card holder is treated worse than holders of non-immigrant visas with regard to seeking admission for their new spouse. You'll note I already agreed with this, and that this is not a good result (IMO, non-immigrant visa holders should have no right whatsoever to bring in anyone other than themselves subsequently, though it might be reasonable for them to have certain people, particularly a dependent spouse or child, admitted concurrently, and, for that matter, the H-1B category ought to be eliminated altogether, and existing spouses and minor children of LPRs ought to be admitted concurrently with the LPR, and new spouses and minor children after the LPR is admitted ought to be immediately admitted.)

LOL -- and as for the "false concept" that there is legal (which means one thing) and illegal (which means another thing),

I never said that it was a "false concept" that there is "legal (which means on thing) and illegal (which means another thing)". I said it was a false concept that there were two distinct problems of "legal immigration" and "illegal immigration" that can be addressed independently and sequentially. While "legal immigration" and "illegal immigration" exist as distinct things, the problems that manifest in both are problems of immigration policy, and the two cannot be separately addressed, the problems that manifest in either can only be addressed by correcting their common source in policy, thereby addressing both supposedly-distinct problems concurrently.

I'm not sure if your misrepresentation here is a result of dishonesty or inability to read, because you show signs of both.

did I mention that Dice went to law school?

You are misleadingly using the past tense when the present would be more accurate.

But that's about the smallest of the problems in your post.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

> My guess is that the hardliners aren't going to get a better deal in 2010
> than the one they voted down on Thursday.

Please please please tell me this is tongue in cheek!

You known: "owww those *pooor poor* extreme right wingers... Now all they can do in the very tough next election is pound themselfs on the chest for being the principled anti-Mexican ones. But they can do this without a fight with their backers and without any of the expensive measures. Remember the measures for which litterally the only argument to make it to the talking point stage is that they are "just common sense"? You know, a scattered 700 mile of fence along a 1,951 mile border to stop people who apply for visa`s at the crossings... its just common sense. (Only Frist thinks you are okay if you come up with something like that)

The idea that to the "hardliners" this is a real issue rather than another opportunity for fine tuned and calculated xenophobia mongering needs to be stamped out. Sure there is plenty of room for nuance but until you start out from the fact that this is, in the words of PSYOPs people "leveraging the xenophobia response" there is no way to make sense of this "debate"

Posted by: rtytry on June 8, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

reino--

brian--
As people have stated, immigrants commit fewer crimes than natural born citizens. Therefore, if your goal was to lower the crime rate, it would be more efficient to kick all of the natural born citizens out of our country than it would be to kick out all of the illegal immigrants. I am not advocating that we should kick out the natural born citizens; I am just demonstrating how idiotic your point is.

When people on the Right connect immigrants with crime despite statistics showing that immigrants (other than the act of entering our country illegally) commit less crime than the rest of the country, they are being racist, xenophobic, and idiotic. I'm talking about you. Do you think that we should get rid of water because it sometimes causes people to drown? What would you say to the parent of a child who died from drowning because people like you think there should be water in our country?

My goal is to take a very obvious, practical step toward saving many American lives, which is securing the borders. And kicking the native born population out wouldn't make our country safer for the native born population. And it is the needs of Americans we need to address and address alone. It is the duty of the U.S. federal government to defend Americans; it is not their duty to defend the economic needs or ambitions of foreigners. The federal government was not given this wide reaching, imperial power in the Constitution.

It is not the U.S.'s duty to lower the world's crime rate, but to reduce the amount of crimes affecting her citizens.

It is not racist to say that the U.S. government must serve Americans first, before all other people of the world. It's Constitutional to say this, and that is more than can be said of the imperial philosophies of the "we're citizens of the world" crowd.

Your water analogy is inaccurate for several reasons. 1) Water is necessary for life, illegal immigrant labor is not. 2) There is a practical, Constitutional method for the federal government to prevent deaths that could have been prevented with sealed borders: seal the borders. There is no practical method for the federal government to prevent all drowning deaths, at least not one that could be executed within the limits of the Constitution. 3) Water can be protected by property rights, but there is no right for businesses to have the ability to exploit foreign labor.

Posted by: brian on June 8, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

The defeat was inevitable and further emphasizes the ineffective, lame duck status of the presidency, and the need for change. Only the scandals persist...endless scandals and hypocrisy and the unpleasantness of the number of months that remain.

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 8, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote:
"The defeat came almost entirely at the hands of the hardliners"

However, from Forbes were are told:
Voting yes were 37 Democrats and 7 Republicans and one independent.

Voting no were 11 Democrats and 38 Republicans and one independent.

To be accurate, Kevin should revise his post to read something like:
"The defeat came almost entirely at the hands of the Republican hardliners"

(After all, there were about 3.5 Republican "hardliners" for every Democratic "hardliner".)

Posted by: Jim Bales on June 8, 2007 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

As the GWOT loses its organizing magic, the "populist" right-wing that bush mobilized and that stood behind him needs something else. brian's posts show exactly how this works.

The right-wing local radio network is promoting this angle very hard. They're sponsoring showings of movies that just happen to be about exactly this theme, and I'll bet dollars to donuts they're concentrating especially hard in areas where individual illegals have committed high-profile crimes. I live in one such area and I'm seeing this promotion first-hand.

The right-wing hardliners don't want to "solve" the "problem," Kevin. They want a supplement or substitute for that deliciously palpable dread of terrorists who will murder us all, in the midst of all our little towns and quiet lives. Instead of, or in addition to, terrorists, it's immigrants they're mongering fear about now.

Fear mobilizes active voters better than hope. Hey: it's the card they've got.

Posted by: Altoid on June 9, 2007 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

The immigration bill was probably doomed from the start, and rightly so. The bill was cobbled together by a group of Senators for various reasons. Had the bill gone through the usual channels of committee, subcommittee it might have had a chance if it survived the committee process. As it was, only a few staffers, if any, had read the complete bill. The ramifications of enactment of the bill had never been seriously considered as they might have been had extensive hearings been held.

Posted by: r. thornton on June 9, 2007 at 5:40 AM | PERMALINK

brian--
If your goal is to save American lives, you are going about it in a very ineffective manner. Because relatively few murders are committed by illegal immigrants, you are proposing that we spend billions of dollars to save a small number of lives.

If your goal is to save American lives, then you would be better off spending that money on hiring more police, fully funding our legal system and jails, giving everybody better health insurance, cracking down on people who drive while drunk or on the phone, and/or supporting more medical research.

Posted by: reino on June 9, 2007 at 7:19 AM | PERMALINK

ROFL -- I should charge this guy tuition.

Dice wrote: "You claimed the green card holder was "punished for getting married".'"

What I actually wrote was: "Only legal PERMANENT residents are punished when they marry."

Evidently you're going to one of those law schools that sells a diploma without actually teaching students how reasoning and logic work.

It is already the law that when a married foreigner is granted permanent residency, so is the spouse. (If you knew enough to recognize when you're ignorant, Dice, you wouldn't have to be schooled all the time. You're constantly forming opinions from ignorance, and it is useless to sort out the how little you think from the even less that you know.)

In a strictly technical sense of the logic, the legal PERMANENT resident (which was the emphasis of the post) isn't punished FOR the marriage, but for making a commitment to the US. But the MEANS of that punishment is through the marriage -- which level of reasoning is the basis of much law, so I frankly despair of you ever doing much good if you even succeed in getting a law degree, much less passing the bar.

That's why I gave, ya know, one of those highly complex things called "an example".

A smarter guy than you (getting educated beyond your intelligence is a bitch, ain't it?) would have noticed that the key distinction between A and B wasn't that each was married. (When a condition applies to both, that's not a distinction: am I going too fast for you, Dice?)

It's that one had made a commitment to the US by acquiring permanent residency, and the other had not. (When a condition applies to one, but not the other, that's a distinction: ya with me so far, Dice? Perhaps you should read it again, with a dictionary. Sound out the words if you like.)

As noted by the example, when the legal PERMANENT resident marries someone who is not already a US citizen or permanent resident, this imposes conditions on the marriage that do not exist for a temporary foreign resident's marriage, NOR for that matter, on other romantic arrangements that often exist between consenting adults, one of whom is a permanent resident and the other, as in the example, a foreign student.

I realize this is a tricky part for you, Dice, involving as it does an understanding of how two things can be like in part and unlike in part. But do try, it's fun to watch.

I suppose (if you thought about it, which I realize is beyond your capacity), you might argue that it isn't the legal PERMANENT resident who is 'punished' for the marriage, but rather the spouse, since it is he (or she) whose relationship to immigration law changes so drastically: presumptive ineligibility for any temporary visa (so the spouse cannot leave with any assurance of being allowed to return), etc.

But I expect that even you aren't so stupid as to insist that a husband is not punished when his wife is exiled.

But feel free to prove me wrong, asshole.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 9, 2007 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

To clarify for the record: I have never managed to over-estimate just how dumb Dice can be. This may push the envelope, though -- any takers that he can stooopidly go further than his knuckleheaditude has ever taken him before?

We wait, with 'bated breath.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 9, 2007 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

What I don't understand is why there's not more outrage over the fact that the employee verification system as currently proposed would create a huge risk for identity theft.

The bill before the Senate would have required employers to keep copies of all identification documents on ALL employees (including US citizens), and keep those copies for several years.

Inevitably, a lot of those copies would end up getting lost or stolen. And the fact is, most cases of identity theft result from physical theft of documents containing personal information.

Anyone who deosn't object to this apprently wouldn't mind the equivalent of making copies of their birth certificate, Social Security card, Driver's License & Passport, and then leaving those copies in public trashcans.

Verification itself can be a "leaky" process if the information can be intercepted in transmission, but forcing employers to keep copies of the actual identification ocuments is far worse. What a treasure trove that would be for identity thieves.

Such a system would cause illegal immigrants to steal somebody else's identity instead of using fake IDs. That's exactly what happened at the Swift meatpacking plants, which *DID* participate in the current verification system ("Basic Pilot"), yet had hundreds of illegal immigrants working there when it was raided last year.

When the Feds raided the Swift plants, they had no trouble figuring out who the illegal immigrants were, but the employer wasn't penalized.

Most of the schemes proposed in the current legislation are merely pandering to one special interest group or another, all of which intend for illegal employment to continue. No matter what the law is, they would see to it that enforcement would be gutted, just as is the case with current law.

We don't need a system that infringes upon the civil liberties of nearly 290 million Americans in order to find 12 million illegal immigrants.

Posted by: Elvis on June 10, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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