This editorial from the Washington Post sounds sane and reasonable regarding a realistic approach to illegal immigration. In addition to understanding immigration within our own borders, we need a comprehensive approach to improve the economic opportunities for our southern neighbors within their own country. NAFTA is creating very negative consequences in some regions to our south and those adverse effects must be addressed.

CONGRESS’S FAILURE to enact a workable immigration system last year prompted the Bush administration to redouble its previously lethargic efforts at enforcing existing immigration laws. The get-tough campaign — more workplace raids and arrests along the Mexican border, plus a smattering of criminal cases against employers — has two goals. One is to show a doubting public that the feds mean business. The other is to make things so miserable for businesses that corporate lobbyists join in the fight for meaningful immigration reform.

But the basic legal and economic dynamics that created the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system remain largely unchanged. Despite the economic dip, there is still demand for unskilled labor that native-born Americans cannot supply. That demand will perk up when the economy does. The number of visas available for unskilled workers — 66,000 per year — is laughably inadequate. Many thousands of workers continue to enter the country illegally or enter legally and then overstay their visas. A practical approach would acknowledge both the demand for unskilled labor and the fact that 5 percent of the American workforce consists of undocumented workers. It would raise the quota of temporary employment visas, establish a better system for employers to verify the legal status of job applicants and offer undocumented workers a way to register themselves and eventually earn citizenship. Critics will howl about an amnesty, but realists will see it is the way to address the reality of immigration and labor in a globalized marketplace.

21 thoughts on ““A Misguided Crackdown, treating the symptoms, but not the cause, of illegal immigration”

  1. tickle_me_ELVIS

    question, it says the public wants the feds to show action with regard to immigration laws. what’s wrong with having confidence in the government. Personally I hope they step things up a bit, lock up a few pregnant illegals and/or old-people will show the government really means business. but in all seriousnous, a swift ticket (kick) across the border is what these illegals (and the majority) in this country want. get rid of them first, then we’ll talk about “reform” I’ll be more than happy to talk reform, after they have all headed south of the border. so it’s one less person to mow your lawn or flip your burgers, I’m sure most of you need the exercise so get out and mow those lawns and start cooking your own meals for a change.

  2. The way we’re mangling the immigration issue should give pause to wonder what is wrong with our whole society and our system of government. A bunch of people came here to work. Now what?

    That’s what this whole thing is about. A bunch of people who came here to work?

    We were given common sense for a reason. And the Founding Fathers wanted us to use it. The American Revolution, after all, was a pretty commonsensical affair.To that end, they set aside for us a crucial and invaluable right, heavy with responsibility.

    This right has gone missing through neglect. It is a right that we have forgotten was ours. More than a right, perhaps it is a duty in times like these. Our memories were allowed to atrophy not by accident but by design.

    It is very dangerous to talk about this forgotten right because when you do, you mark yourself as an enemy to those in power. In some cases, under certain circumstances, if you talk about this forgotten right, you will literally go to jail.

  3. I promise that I am not on the Washington Post editorial board … but this editorial certainly sound a lot like my recent posts on a previous thread.

    Explanation: anyone who has studied the issue (while aware but not fooled by the various misinformation arms of the Anti-Immigrant Lobby) will come to the same conclusion.

  4. SecondAlamo

    WHWN,

    How amusing that you warn people of the “misinformation arms of the Anti-Immigrant Lobby” by putting out misinformation here on the Illegal-Immigrant Lobby website. Apparently the entire word ‘illegal’ has been stricken from your vocabulary, for it’s the Anti Illegal-Immigrant Lobby to which you refer. So, it appears that misinformation come from all sides. Just a warning as you say!

  5. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Well, WHWN, if you’re not on the editorial board of the Washington Compost, there’s a spot there open for you, that’s for sure! This literary poo from the local fishwrapper is full of mistakes. Americans cannot fill the demand for labor? Please. Their “solution” is to completely give up any notion of sovereignty and allow this country to be pulled into the third world with all speed. There is nothing even remotely sane about the article, save for one point, that the punishment of illegal immigrant employers is inadequate.

  6. Alanna

    Slowpoke Rodriquez,
    If ‘illegals’ make up 8% of the workforce and we have 5-6% unemployment then obviously there’s a labor shortage and that’s not even considering that those who are unemployed wouldn’t necessarily even want the jobs that the ‘illegals’ are doing.

  7. Moon-howler

    Elvis, SA, SR: Morning boys! Nice to see you all weighing in this fine morning for a good round or 2 with whwn. Where is Rick?

    I am curious where you all thing the pool of unskilled American workers are. Where do you think they come from? The older, previous uneducated American workers are too old now to do that kind of work. You know, back in the day when poor whites and blacks could barely read and write.

  8. Why do we ascribe to the concept of allowing bad law, such as immigration law, to guide us instead of us guiding it?

    The law in this case is an obstacle not only to justice but to common sense as well.

    After all, We the People use our power to vote to elect representatives who will craft the law. They are hired by us to produce a product called the law. It is no different than if you hire a tailor to make a shirt for you.

    When that tailor delivers the shirt to you, don’t you have the right to reject his work if it doesn’t fit?

    Don’t we also have the power to declare a law null and void if it doesn’t ‘fit’ the measurements of what we as a society know justice to be?

    Yes, we do. Because the legislators and the laws they create derive all authority from us.

    We hire people to craft the law. They write it up and deliver this product to us. And then, on a case by case basis, we can declare that law as a bad law not worthy of being enforced. It is not only our right but also our duty.

  9. Elena

    Elvis,
    Dying while in excruciating pain, during incarcation by ICE, doesn’t sound heinous enough to you?

  10. Marie

    tickle_me_ELVIS,
    Isn’t too early in the day to have such a bad attitude? Go out and take a deep breath of this beautiful morning air and clear your head. Maybe then you will rethink your earlier statement. You said “Personally I hope they step things up a bit, lock up a few pregnant illegals and/or old-people will show the government really means business.” What an absolutely horrible thing to say. If the government meant business they would enact comprehensive immigration reform that works and is justified.

  11. Marie

    Although there are many undocumented living in the US, there have been indications from the media and other literature that most are from Mexico. I am not sure that is correct but in any event……

    When the NAFTA treaty was signed by the Prime Minister of Canada, the President of Mexico and the President of the United States, it obliterated the farms in Mexico. That meant lost jobs, lost income to Mexican citizens. NAFTA has proved to create very negative consequences in regions to our south. It has robbed people of their livelyhood as I stated earlier. In addition to NAFTA, US companies moved many of their manufacturing facilities to Mexico years ago because the labor was cheaper and the working conditions there are not as stringent as in the US. Many, many Mexicans moved to the northern part of Mexico to work in those plants and factories. When the greedy US companies found they could get cheaper labor where they did not have to worry about poor working conditions they moved the companies to places like China, India, etc. Once again the Mexicans were robbed of their livelihood. Is it any wonder they come here? They need work to support their families. Their hopes and dreams are no different than ours.

    Read about the Mexican/United States history to see exactly what has happened over the years. There is a long history that can not be ignored. Our government has encouraged workers to come to this country for years to work and actually during the 1800’s Mexican’s were literally dragged here against their will to build our railroad system. There are many other examples of the exploitation of Mexican workers.

    Our government has failed. It is too busy trying to tell the rest of the world how to live that it forgot about all the challenging domestic issues we are faced with today.

  12. Elena

    Thank you for your comments Marie, illegal immigration was not created in a vacuum. The least we can do is have an honest conversation about the “why” and “how”.

  13. Lucky Duck

    Marie,
    your post stated that NAFTA was signed by the Presidents of the US, Mexico and Canada, so you should not blame the US or its companies alone for the failure of NAFTA. The elected Mexican government signed those agreements, nobody forced them to do so.

    Their citizens should blame their government. What about Canada’s government, you’re giving them a free pass on any blame you wish to lay about? This is not just America’s fault. If we happened to be at the top of North America in Canada’s place and Canada was located in our location, would you then absolve the US from the blame as your paragraph above does for Canada because we would then have less poor Mexican immigrants? My point is, this situation with NAFTA and economic woes in other countries is not the US fault alone. We’re guilty of some things, but to blame the US for the poor economic decisions of other nations is unjustified.

    Where was the uproar when those companies moved from the US to Mexico? How come that was not wrong or more so then those companies leaving Mexico now?

  14. mygirlboo

    If we need workers in this country in selected industries, so be it. But we do not need every worker to have a wife and 6-8-10-12 children. Why is it they think they should be given a comfortable life here in this country courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer? Why can’t they work here and send money home? After all, we deploy our military for multiple tours of 12-15 months at a time. They have to do their job away from their families, and they haven’t bred themselves off their land and out of their economy. Besides, we are worse than broke. We are in deficits up to our grandchildren, involved in two wars we aren’t paying for, and the boomers are retiring. We need responsible, independent people in this country–not people looking for us to take care of them. If the hyphenated-Americans had any regard for their fellow Americans, they would be telling their people that if they want to breed like the third world, they don’t belong in a modern country and need to go home.

  15. Breed, eh? Interesting. Sounds like FAIR-anti-population-talk to me.

    Amazing.

  16. Censored bybvbl

    Why can’t they work here and send money home?

    Because we don’t offer enough work visas. If we did offer enough visas, workers would feel more comfortable going home for a few months a year because they could return more easily and without fear. I think many people would like to be here only temporarily – especially those who are here not because of war, displacement due to natural disasters, or oppressive regimes but for economic reasons.

    The rest of your comments aren’t worth addressing.

  17. Marie

    Censored,
    You make a valid point.

  18. Marie

    Lucky Duck
    All I am saying is NAFTA did not do what it was supposed to do.

    “Free trade” is the trade policy that always favors the strong over the weak, and through NAFTA the wealth of Mexico has been pillaged and the exploitation of the Mexican people has been expanded. To gain support for the treaty, politicians of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada promised their citizens economic growth that would fuel business and job opportunities, increase trade, extend environmental protection, end illegal immigration, and strengthen democracy in North America. Contrary to the political rhetoric, the impact of NAFTA especially on Mexico, the weakest of the three nations, has been disastrous. CAFTA is having the same effect on Central America.

    Yes, where was the uproar when those US operated industries left Mexico and moved to China, India and where ever? Who would have listened? It is all part of “free trade”.

  19. Lucky Duck

    Marie, I agree with you that NAFTA is not doing what it was expected to do. I guess where we diverge is the belief that your post puts forth of the US being the only demon in the group. It is a shared responsibility of Mexico, US and the Canadian government. They have stains on them too – not just the US.

  20. Elena

    mygirlboo,
    I am wondering, how exactly are we taking care of all these people? Can you share the one sided contribution facts you have? Also, you would have sounded perfectly reasonable had you not equated illegal immigrants to animals who “breed”, now you don’t have much crediblity from my perspective.

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