mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Immigration musings....

Immigration seems to be one of the hot topics of late, hot enough for the President to get up on the TV and for people to be marching in the streets.

I haven't written about it because, well, I've been busy. But it's also a subject I'm a bit torn on.

On one hand, we can't have totally open borders. Terrorism is a very real threat, and we need to know as well as possible who is coming into our country and take steps to keep out those who would do us harm.

There are also clearly negative economic effects to letting in illegal immigrants - people who don't pay taxes, but consume government resources.

But we do need immigrants- our country was built on immigration, and there are a number of jobs that most people don't want to do, or don't want to do at all but an uneconomically high price. If we want our poultry processed and our yards cut cheaply, that is going to mean immigration.

Of course, much of that immigration is from Mexico. And it's hard not to be sympathetic to someone who lives in Mexico and wants to get the hell out - it's a country with a notoriously corrupt government and few opportunities. When even your own goverment gets annoyed when people start leaving, as has happened with Mexico going as far as to hire PR firms to oppose building a wall, it's not a great sign. Mexico is in such bad shape that it's economy is dependant on the money sent back to family membersin Mexico by illegal and legal immigrants to the US. That is not a country I would want to live in. It speaks to the sucess of capitalism, to the fact that the American way works pretty well, that so many people want to come here if we want them or not.

Much of the reaction to Bush's immigration speech is that he's playing politics, trying to find a middle ground between the people who want to build an armed fence and deport anyone who is in the US illegally and jail anyone who has ever hired an illegal immigrant, and those who would like borders with no control and free money for illegal immigrants. But I would guess most people are somewhere in between.

And yes, the process that Bush has proposed is not perfect, not totally fair. Illegal immigrants will still come, and giving them the right to eventually become citizens may unfairly put some of them ahead of those who have chosen to follow the law. But the geography that we are dealing with, the fact that Mexico is adjacent to us, mean that the people immigrating from there are always going to be at an advantage, as well as more able to sneak in. So I don't think it will ever be fair.

So I have no problem with building a fence (although I'm not so sure about the National Guard thing). But I don't advocate the extreme sides some on the right have advocated and Bush's proposal is probably a fairly reasonable if imperfect compromise.


Post a Comment

<< Home