Tag: Immigration reform

The Latest Trump Flop

I can’t say I’m surprised that Trump has now flipped his opinion on immigration, now supporting a plan that is not a mile distant from the plans promoted by Rubio and Bush, which he previously denounced as amnesty. In fact, his speech on this change used many of the exact same words Bush used (this isn’t amnesty, they will pay back taxes, etc.). Trump has no deeply held positions; he has a series of publicity stunts. And now that he’s down in the polls, he’s trying to tack left to pick up votes from moderates. Or, equally likely, pick up wavering conservatives who were bothered by his rhetoric on immigration.

What makes this really delightful, however, is that he did this on the same day that Ann Coulter released her latest book “In Trump We Trust”. Coulter has been having a fit over on Twitter. Viz:

If Trump did this just to fuck with Coulter, I may have to reassess my opinion of the man. That would be Olympic caliber trolling.

The Amnesty that Dare Not Speak Its Name

So Obama gave his big speech last night about immigration. The big change is he will extend temporary legal status to about 4-5 million illegal immigrants. To qualify, they will have to have been here five years, have US citizen relatives and have not broken the law (I mean, other than the ones they broke getting here). There is no path to legal status, a green card or citizenship (at least, not yet). And, of course, the next President could undo it.

I’ve made it clear where I stand on this: we need to make it easier for people to legally come here and work; we need to make it harder for people to come here illegally; people who came here illegally should not be moved to the front of the line when it comes to getting legal status. The underlying problem is that we have a broken immigration system. We have a system where coming to America to work involves a long, drawn-out, frustrating and expensive process and becomes a big driver of illegal immigration. Until we fix that, illegal immigration is still going to be a problem. I’m also sympathetic to the arguments that our immigration policy shouldn’t break up families or send people back to countries they’ve never lived in.

But …

All that having been said, I still don’t like what the President is doing.

First, he is doing this by executive fiat without any consultation with Congress. Now I absolutely agree that Congress has dropped the ball on this. Over and over again, they have refused to do anything about our immigration mess. But this does not make the President’s unilateral action wise or even constitutional. Our Constitution does not have a “Congress are being assholes” clause. In fact, the Justice Department informed Obama, they day before his speech, that his actions were of dubious legality. When your own justice department tells you that, that translates into plain english as “this is fucking illegal.”

Even if you assume that he has the authority to act here, that still doesn’t make it right. He’s not even giving Congress a chance to do something about immigration. Obama told the last Congress to stall on immigration until after the election. He has not given the lame duck Congress a chance to act nor has he given the new Congress a chance to act. If he were doing this six months into a Republican Congress, he might have a point. But then again, the new Congress is unlikely to give him the kind of immigration reform he wants. Thus, the petulant act.

Second, Obama can dress this up all he wants. He can claim this isn’t an amnesty. But as noted Matt Welch — a supporter of massively expanded immigration — this is amnesty. When you say you will not deport people who break the law, that’s pretty much the definition of amnesty.

My fellow supporters of vastly increased legal immigration to this country do not, I believe, further their cause by retreating into soft-focus euphemism (DREAMers!) or sidestepping uncomfortable language just because it has proven politically effective for people on the other side of the issue.

If you recognized the existence of more than 10 million unpermitted residents in this country as the product more of prohibition than of criminality, and acted upon that insight foremostly by expanding and deregulating legal immigration, then I predict the word “amnesty” would start to lose some of its negative potency. People really resent line-jumpers when the queue stretches back as far as the eye can see; speed up that process and our national debate would look a lot more reasoned and thoughtful.

Exactly. I lived in Texas for four years. We had a lot of people who did work for us that I’m sure were of questionable legal status. They worked hard, they took care of their families, they obeyed any laws unrelated to immigration. But they were still law-breakers. I want to see them get a chance to come to this country legally. I do not want to see them get that chance ahead of people who have obeyed the law.

The laws against illegal immigration aren’t like a law against free speech or for discrimination. Coming to this country illegally is not an act of civil disobedience. This is a serious business.

Finally, the President’s verbal gymnastics did not persuade me; they annoyed me. He argued very well that we need immigration reform. He didn’t persuade me at all that this was what we needed McArdle:

As an act of rare semantic derring-do, this was a towering achievement. As a political speech, I don’t think it was very effective. It puts one in mind of the debate in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which ends when one side manages to prove that black is white — and gets themselves killed at the next pedestrian crosswalk.

To be honest, it’s not clear to me that the president was trying to be persuasive. He seemed, rather, to be triple-dog-daring Republicans to jump off the bridge with him, and if history is any guide, they will probably oblige. But there’s a real risk that Democrats will come to regret having the president jump first.

(McArdle also points out the significance that his speech was only broadcast on Univision. And that is a key point. A lot of this speech wasn’t about advancing policy; it was about trawling for latino votes. Expect the ability of the next President to undo Obama’s amnesty to become a big issues in 2016.)

So what should Republicans do? The most common tactic I hear is recession — using the budget process to defund the President’s actions. I would support that but I think it’s small. A better idea would be for the Republicans to pass their own version of immigration reform and dare the President to veto it. Force his hand. Force him to choose his executive fiat over the legal and constitutional moves of the Congress. Show that Republicans are not a bunch of anti-immigrants racists; they just want the law to be obeyed.

A topic we have not discussed here.. much

None of the authors here at this blog have paid much attention to the horribly misnamed immigration reform initiative. Yeah, our government calls this thing immigration reform, but like the Affordable Healthcare Act – a.k.a Obamacare – had absolutely nothing to do with making healthcare affordable, good, or more accessible, this immigration reform isn’t about reforming the broken US immigration system as much as it is an attempt to reward some 11 million border jumping illegals for doing just that, with citizenship and lots of government cheese in return for their votes. We don’t even have to play the “guess which party is doing this” game. If you still have issues figuring out which political party is the master at using US tax payer money to buy themselves votes, power, and line their pockets with wealth, you haven’t been paying attention. Especially for the last 5 years.

And no, I am not giving republicans a pass on this issue. There are quite a few of them willing to go along with this terrible plan to reward these illegals and help the democrats get a lot of new voters, for whatever insane reason. I do laugh heartily at the people that say those of us that do not want to go along with this “noble” effort by donkeys to buy themselves some votes on the backs of the American tax payers, because we are racists or want to exploit these poor people, since it is utter bullshit. My main problem is that this done back in the 80s already, and we were promised then that we would actually fix our immigration policies and never have to do this again, and we find ourselves doing it yet again. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. And have no doubt that this immigration reform bill that these fuckers are pushing now, like the one from the 80s, does nothing to prevent a repeat some 20-30 years down the line. More importantly, it doesn’t fix our broken immigration system that leaves those that actually follow the legal requirements to come here in limbo for years, and more often than not then denies them their request anyway.

What we really need is reform that streamlines the immigration process for those that follow the law and makes it easier for qualified people – those without a criminal background, that will not show up to suck at the government’s teat, and especially those that come with special skills – to come to this country. A bill that is totally7 focused on rewarding 11 million border jumpers for breaking the law, isn’t a good deal for the American people. Especially since it is blatantly obvious how easy it is for the politicians to later, once they get this terrible bill passed, to strip out any of the language they had to add to buy support for their maneuver, that restricted these illegals, once made into citizens, from becoming freeloaders sucking on the government’s teat.

Look, I am not crazy enough to think we can deport 11 million plus people. Even if our government actually wanted to do that, something that is definitely not the case today, I think they couldn’t. But we can’t reward them for breaking the law and expect that there will not be more of that law breaking down the line. I, and many like me made that same argument back in the 80s, and the fact that we are here today, with an even larger number of illegals now on the path to getting rewarded for breaking our laws, proves us right. If we do this like the people that only see this maneuver as a quick way for them to garner a few million extra votes want us to, we are domed to end up repeating this mess again down the line. At a minimum, whatever solution we have should serve as both a deterrent to more illegal immigration and, and this is the big and t me, a deterrent for our political master to encourage the illegal immigration followed by the amnesty gimmick.

Let’s fix legal immigration first. Make the path to citizenship easier for those that follow the law. Especially the highly skilled and hardworking people that right now seem the ones hardest hit and punished by our failed existing system. Encourage immigration from people that are going to come here and not become dependent on the American tax payer for subsistence. Definitely keep out the criminal element as much as feasible possible, since we do an awesome job creating our own home grown ones already. And make it unpalatable for illegal immigration to occur at the current rate. I am not crazy enough to think we can stop it all, but we can stop most of it. The first move is to stop rewarding the law breakers and expect them to pay for their crime in cash or otherwise. After we do these things, we can discuss what we do with all these illegals. Rewarding them with amnesty and tax payer funded largess just so politicians in either party can get more votes is a disservice to the American people. And most important of all, let’s make sure that our immigration policy doesn’t harm Americans as much as the current plan does.