Sunday, May 20, 2007

Immigration thoughts

Inspired in part by Matt at Debriefing the Boys, I decided to go ahead an put my thoughts on immigration out there.

Rather than describe the actual issue, which to me is astill very complicated, I am going to start by noting my skepticism of the current bipartisan immigration bill. I am not prepared to comment as to whether it is amnesty, but I am concerned by the dead-of-the-night manner in which the "compromise" was reached. I don't think I am alone when I say I don't trust backroom Senate deals that are pushed to a vote circumventing the ordinary debate procedure. That's true even if Ted "Would you like to ride in my car" Kennedy wasn't involved. The fact that this is HIS bill makes me exceptionally wary. Call me partisan, but Ted Kennedy is on the wrong side of more issues than I can count, and nothing suggests that this is the million monkeys with a million typewriters situation in which he and I would agree.

Now, I mentioned that I am not prepared to comment on whether the bill constitutes amnesty, but I am prepared to say that given the moral hazard of amnesty, I would oppose the substance of the bill should it anmount to amnesty. Amnesty, like debt forgiveness only, reinforces bad (or at least undesirable) behavior by saying that if things get bad enough, there will be no consequences.

That said, I am a huge fan of legal immigration. I still think that we make the process too difficult for those who wish to immigrate legally, and as result coming over illegally seems like a much simpler and more attractive option. Border security aside (have we evidence of any terrorist who came through the southern border yet? I am not being snide, I'm just asking), a little streamlining of our immigration process would ameliorate this problem a great deal while allowing productive people to enter our country and contribute to our economy. If, on the other hand, we as a society do not want this many immigrants, then certainly we should do more to secure the border--but that decision should come after considerable debate and dialog. At any rate, I will not tolerate anyone coming to this country merely to leech off our overly generous welfare state.

Anyway, those are my initial, gut reaction thoughts on this issue that has finally exploded to center stage.

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