Monday, June 18, 2012

Obama's Little Dream Order





On Friday, President Obama announced that by executive order, the I&NS will offer an amnesty loophole to undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children (before age 16), have lived in the U.S. for at least five continuous years, are under age 30 and either enrolled in high school or have a high school diploma, and have not been convicted of a serious crime or pose a national security threat. Such individuals, if they voluntarily step forward and self-identify, will not be deported, but will be granted "work permits" and be put onto a track for possible citizenship. It has been estimated that there may be between 800,000 and 1,300,000 individuals who might qualify for this exception.

Obama's order seems an obvious public relations move, designed to bolster his image to the Latino voting constituency, and is a premonitory hint of what he intends to do on immigration, should he be elected to his second term. The Latino community has expressed satisfaction that Obama has decided to simply sidestep the Congress, which failed to pass his Dream Act, by simply enacting the legislation by fiat. The order is, in effect, an amnesty. Having already been rewarded with a free elementary and secondary education paid for by the American taxpayer, these same people will now be rewarded with legal residence, work permits, driver's licenses, and other kinds of documentation. The order will allow them to attend American universities and colleges as legal residents, at preferred residential rates, and even to qualify for financial aid and loans. At a time of particular stress in our educational institutions, when both our public schools, and our advanced institutions of learning are struggling to maintain standards of performance in a time of squeezed funding and shrinking state and local budgets, it seems painfully inequitable to create set-asides and preferences for foreign nationals--not even highly qualified ones like those from Europe and Asia who have come here as graduate students--who have already benefitted from every conceivable advantage, including bi-lingual instruction.

As readers of this blog know, I am a hawk on immigration. Though a liberal on most issues, this is one where I cross the line to join those on the side of enforcement, and a strict policy with respect to legal residence. I have always had Hispanic friends and colleagues whom I respected and liked, just as I have Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and African Americans, etc., and my feelings and positions with respect to illegal immigration are in fact color blind and ethnically neutral. Most apologists--especially in the public media--think that by demonizing, by branding you as a bigot--or someone driven by racial or ethnic prejudice--they can undermine the other arguments against uncontrolled immigration, as if these were all simply deductions from a primary principle of unreasonable, or irrational, hatred. No sensible person accepts that argument, which is nothing more than a cheap debater's trick. Being against uncontrolled, runaway immigration is a perfectly reasonable position, which any thinking person can understand. I see runaway illegal immigration in these terms:

Population control. Most of the world's present problems are the result of out-of-control population growth, in one way or another. That would be true of the so-called "civilized" Western bloc countries, as much as it is of the so-called Third World. The world's resources are finite, not unlimited, and humankind's consumption of water, energy, arable land, food and open space has already outstripped supply. For good or ill, we are still a world of nations, and nations can only have legitimate control over that land that lies within their own borders. The uncontrolled movement of people across borders is a symptom of disequilibrium among nations. Rapid, uncontrolled movement of large numbers of people is really a form of refuge-seeking--from war, privation, drought, economic hardship, ethnic conflict etc. The larger the numbers of refugees, the more pressure that is brought to bear upon the destination country. Large, rapid transfers of population create intolerable burdens upon society. Any nation which wishes to manage its own population, its own resources, the welfare of its own people, must limit uncontrolled growth and influx, lest it be overburdened and overwhelmed by needy newcomers. The United States once stood, empty and vast, as an inviting open-space. Our immigration policies of a hundred years ago were an explicit expression of the capacity to absorb new population. But that condition no longer applies. Domestic population, and world population, have been expanding in ever-growing, even exponential, rates. Almost no country in the world now "needs" more population, and most countries are beyond crowded. Sensible immigration policy today must take account of this change, and moderate our regulation of influx, such that we can commit ourselves to a no-growth condition. A sensible immigration policy now should be built around a static population concept. Policies built around a constant growth paradigm of continuous economic and consumer expansion, must end. The U.S. no longer needs more people.

Unlawful Intrusion. Illegal immigration creates large numbers of outlaws. People who are living in America illegally maintain a shadow existence, evading authority, and creating a ghetto-ized network of crime and exchange "under the radar." On the one hand, they present as a large disorganized labor pool, vulnerable to exploitation, without tax liability, legal protections, insurance. Technically, foreign nationals have few rights, and live in constant fear of discovery, prosecution, and deportation. On the other hand, unscrupulous employers are all too anxious to use the cheap labor they represent. Both sides of this equation are bad, a mutually exploitative symbiosis. Cheap labor drags down wage-levels, and undocumented workers inevitably become a burden to society when they use our medical system, public schools, police and fire safety, while they pay nothing for these services. Because they're living outside the law, they tend not to assimilate, but cling to the language, customs and habits of the "old country" for security and guidance. Since they are not able to pursue their lives openly as full citizens, they tend to become alienated and resentful. This resentment and frustration, in turn, then becomes the basis for bitter political partisanship, especially when these sentiments are manipulated for political gain and advantage by unscrupulous politicians and pressure groups. Despite the fact that such illegals have no real legitimacy as citizens, they become emboldened to demand rights and privileges, which they could not enjoy in their own country. All this provocation inspires resentment and impatience among native citizens, who see an increasing body of foreign nationals, technically without legitimate rights, demanding power and concessions from a government whose laws they openly and routinely flout.

We have been having this debate about how to deal with the continued flow of illegal immigration across our southern borders for a long time. Americans have expressed the desire to see it stop, and to have our residency and travel laws and regulations enforced. The general public is tired of the refusal of those in both parties at the national level to respond to their will, choosing instead to court the "hispanic vote" by pandering to those who want open borders , lax enforcement of our residency and voting and labor laws, and a vast welfare infrastructure designed to facilitate massive refugee migration.

Provisions such as the Dream Act encourage and reward illegal immigration. Foreign nationals constitute cheap labor, ready recruits to military service. They exploit and overburden our public school and medical care systems, and commit crimes at many times higher than normal rates. They bring with them the cultural corruption of outlaw nations where bribery and favors are the social order.

Why should the United States, at this point in its history, be fulfilling the dreams of young foreign nationals who have entered our country illegally, and have exploited our generosity by taking hand-outs and freebies, in the full knowledge of their wrong-doing. Advocates of such policies ask us to be sympathetic to the plight of "children" who "through no fault of their own" have grown up inside our society, with the same expectations of the pursuit of happiness and personal fulfillment. But citizenship is a precious right; it isn't something that can be stolen or traded or enterprised. It shouldn't be possible to seize or fake or "negotiate" citizenship as if it were a commodity.

During the Obama Administration, enforcement has increased, and deportations are way up. We're finally sending a message that America will no longer tolerate the scofflaws sneaking into our country. But the message has been made ambiguous by the administration's "dream" policy. Obama has targeted the younger electorate as a major part of his political strategy, and seeking to win over Hispanic youth appears to be a key segment of that platform. He thinks he can "buy votes" by pandering to their needs and desires. But it may backfire on him. If I were a college student today, or a young person trying to find decent work, I would resent attempts to allow or encourage foreign nationals to have preferred access to enrollment or employment.

If Obama loses the Presidency, and I righteously hope that he doesn't, it will be precisely because of actions like this, which alienate those of us who believe in the welfare of our country and its citizens first, before the welfare and rights of foreigners. Americans are by their nature a trusting and generous people, but that trust and generosity has been exploited by the illegals and their advocates. Wanting a thing does not make stealing it somehow justifiable, and squatting can't lead to ownership by default. As unpleasant as it may be to carry out our laws, from time to time, failing to do so only encourages more crime. These foreigners, and their children, need to be treated just the same as other criminals. If they're citizens of Mexico, or Honduras, or Guatemala, or Colombia, or China, or the Philippines, and they have no legal right to be here, they should be processed out, and deported, just like any other illegal. Following our laws can't simply be a matter of voluntary convenience, and the prosecution of crime can't be measured or applied only as an opportunity for compassion and charity. Compassion and charity both begin at home, and before you can entertain guests--especially uninvited ones--you have to put your own house in order. As the American standard of living erodes, our capacity to "save" other nations and other nations' citizens from themselves and their problems, declines.

Dear President Obama: Enough is enough. No more pandering to the illegal voting bloc. No more amnesty. No more rewards for cheating.


16 comments:

Joseph Hutchison said...

There is no such thing as "the illegal voting bloc." People here illegally cannot vote. As someone devoted to the subtle uses of language, you should choose your words more carefully. For example, it would interest your readers, I'm sure, if you would cite any law or regulation that offers "preferred [emphasis mine] access to enrollment or employment" to foreign nationals. Rather than thinking in terms of "blocs," you might indulge in thinking about individuals—especially those who came here before the age of consent. If we were to punish the children of every criminal in this country, we would have to begin, in fairness, with the children of those who acquired and developed this land through deceit, genocide, slavery, and the exploitation of foreign workers.

Curtis Faville said...

Joseph:

In a precise sense, it may well be that there is no such thing as an "illegal voting bloc." But Obama strategists obviously believe that votes can be bought with political favors--our democracy functions precisely in this way, except that indulging factions should be limited to native born citizens, not to foreign nationals.

Offering youths and young adults amnesty residence and a clear path to citizenship creates advantages for these people that they did not possess before, precisely because of their lack of legal residence. This is in fact a legal preference--just the same as releasing prisoners from jail, or vacating convictions.

In an individual basis, each of us can have sympathy and understanding. If I were a poor Mexican laborer, I'm sure that sneaking into America and performing scab labor would be an attractive option. But allowing or encouraging this crime, as the Mexican government does, and as our government tacitly does, is wrong.

Uncontrolled illegal immigration creates complex, and difficult problems. By addressing only the symptoms of the condition--such as trying to seduce young illegals to become your supporters by giving them hand-outs, specifically forbidden by our laws--we can't solve the problem.

Creating safety nets and set-asides for non-citizens who have flouted our laws--for years on end--is bad public policy, and will only lead to further exacerbation. Everyone can feel sympathy, but sympathy, in this case, doesn't solve the problem. It only makes it worse.

Joseph, if you have no first-hand experience or knowledge of the problems created by illegal immigration, I think it might be instructive to familiarize yourself with them. Sitting back at a great distance and pretending to be empathetic, without addressing the issues realistically, is a luxury we can no longer afford.

Ed Baker said...
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Joseph Hutchison said...

I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and attended schools that averaged about half Hispanic. I'm very well acquainted with these issues, up close and personal. None of which has anything to do with your fuzzy language. Seems to be a tic.

"Offering youths and young adults amnesty residence and a clear path to citizenship creates advantages for these people that they did not possess before."

This is quite different from your original statement— that these people receive "preferred access to enrollment or employment"—which is simply absurd.

You also insult our intelligence when you accuse Obama of doing this for strictly political reasons. If this were the basis of his actions, he would already have cut deportations back to George Bush levels, but as the record shows, the Obama administration has deported well over 1 million illegal immigrants as of September of last year, as compared with a total of 1.57 million deported in Bush's 8 years in office. That Obama! What a panderer!

In any case, you confuse Obama's executive order with the DREAM Act. His order means that the U.S. will stop deporting undocumented immigrants who:
• have graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED or served in the military
• have no criminal record
• are younger than 30, and
• have been brought to the U.S. under the age of 16, “by no fault of their own”
These people will have an opportunity to obtain work permits—not amnesty, not citizenship, not "preferred access" to anything.

As for the DREAM Act, it also offers no "preferred access" to anything. To qualify for the DREAM Act, the individual must meet several very strict guidelines. Applicants:
• must have entered the United States prior to their 16th birthday
• must have been in the United States for at least 5 consecutive years prior to the bill passing
• must have graduated from High School, obtained a GED, or currently be enrolled in College, a Trade School, or another type of Institution for higher learning
• must be 30 or under at the time they are applying
• must have good moral standing (no previous or current convictions)

With all of those requirements met, applicants would be granted a temporary, conditional allowance to remain in the Untied States for up to 6 years provided the continue to comply with the above guidelines. Within that 6-year period, they may qualify for permanent residency if they have acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or [have] completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor's degree or higher degree in the United States" or have "served in the armed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, [have] received an honorable discharge".

You are perfectly free to oppose this approach. Perhaps you'd prefer to round up and expel 8 million or so illegal immigrants—which would certainly provide quite a few law enforcement jobs.

Curtis Faville said...

Joseph:

You say:

"In any case, you confuse Obama's executive order with the DREAM Act."

The executive order has been widely interpreted as a fall-back in lieu of his failure to get the Dream Act passed through the Congress. This isn't something I dreamed up, but a commonly accepted interpretation. I think it's folly to argue that it has no political implications or that it's a separate, discrete matter from the Dream Act legislation--please!

Both the Dream Act, and Obama's executive order through the I&NS explicitly exonerates over a million illegal immigrants from capture and prosecution for illegal residency (and eventual deportation) under current law. In fact, his order creates an obvious legal conflict on its face--in direct controversion of U.S. policy and regulation. Such a loosening of U.S. law cannot be seen as anything but a windfall for these criminal foreign nationals. They are breaking the law, and they are being freed from any responsibility whatsoever from having done so. This is a preference, plain and simple. One minute they are criminal foreign illegal immigrants, unable to apply for scholarships and loans and grants-in-aid and work study, the next they get all these things overnight.

If our laws regarding legal residency and access to the benefits of citizenship were upheld, we wouldn't have this problem in the first place. It's precisely the lax complacence with which our policies have been maintained, that the overwhelming waves of illegals have come here in the first place. Once we stabilize the situation by stopping the influx, it's possible that compromises and "comprehensive" alternatives can be explored. But as long as our policies are perceived as capitulating to further incursion, the problem will continue.

8 million today, 20 million by 2015, and 50 million by 2025. With each increment of worsening condition, the issue becomes more contentious. Your solution?--do nothing, or open the borders, or trivialize American citizenship by making it as meaningless as a visitor's visa. Who gives a shit about the cost? The inequity? The exploitation?

And who cares whether we wake up in ten years, and the entire West Coast of the U.S. resembles the Mexico City dump, with open sewers, shanty-towns, widespread disease, poverty, civil strife, and social chaos. People like you will still be wringing your hands and volunteering at the local food giveaway center, handing out free blankets, and referring non-English speakers to free legal advice services and a bloated Welfare Department.

Pardon me while I repair to the john and regurgitate my lunch.

Ed Baker said...
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Joseph Hutchison said...

"[W]ho cares whether we wake up in ten years, and the entire West Coast of the U.S. resembles the Mexico City dump, with open sewers, shanty-towns, widespread disease, poverty, civil strife, and social chaos."

A nightmare to be sure. Especially that part about "the entire West Coast." I can already smell the shanty towns of Eureka, the open sewers of Coos Bay, the civil strife in Aberdeen, where the disease-ridden Mexican outlaws sow their social chaos among the innocent Quinault Indians (trapped as they are between the chilly Pacific and Highway 101).

I get it. You're scared. There are plenty of people with an inner Pat Buchanan who hunches into the wee hours furiously underlining a tattered two-volume edition of Spengler. I wish you well, though I suspect the future will be both stranger and more familiar than either of us can imagine.

Curtis Faville said...

Well, Joseph, now that we've indulged each other's sarcasm and evoked some familiar demons, perhaps we can leave this particular argument for another day.

Stories published in the last week point to new trends in American demographics. As influxes from Central and South American slow, the pace of Asian immigration is growing rapidly.

There's an impotent consternation, such as mine, which sees in the exploding population dire consequences for our quality of life, and for the environment.

Others--are you one of these?--think this doesn't matter, that the size of California could triple, or quadruple in a decade or two, and just keep on bloating until it resembles a Third World miasma.

Democracy doesn't flourish well under extreme crowding and deprivation. But maybe that doesn't matter to you. It's all good. Multi-cultural heyday.

All these problems will simply disappear if we can just learn to live together. Come one, come all. Free schools, free medical care, free legal services, free welfare. Don't speak English? No problem. No education? No problem. No papers? No problem. We're a big country. Come. Come, everyone. It's the tide of history. Get out of the way. Be part of the solution. Be charitable. Be reasonable. Be practical.

So, Joseph, what's your answer? All you've done is shoot your water pistol so far. Easy to do. How about some practical suggestions. Should we open the borders, abandon residence requirements, offer immediate citizenship to anyone who can make an X mark on a piece of foolscap?

Ed Baker said...
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Curtis Faville said...

I like your sarcasm, Ed.

The great thing about America is, we never do anything small. Everything's in excess, including our sins.

Of course, the more bad things we can point to in our past behavior, the more justified we are in the present in doing more bad stuff.

Since we fucked up Iraq and Afghanistan, we have no right to control immigration.

We must be immorally consistent. One mistake justifies another, and another, and another.

Since we found excuses to go into the Middle East, maybe we can promote an invasion of North Korea. Maybe Romney could start another cute little war there, and put us back on a war economy footing.

The answer to the immigration problem is to just ignore it. That will make it go away.

When something drops out of media consciousness, it ceases to be real in our minds. Iraq's okay now, we don't even hear about the dead. Back they come in big black plastic body bags, with little American flags stamped on them. In the words of Bill Knott, "marked PAID".

Since we need more soldiers, why not just hire Mexican soldiers, the way the Germans did in the 18th and 19th Centuries? Want to be part of the solution? Pick up a rifle and man your post.

"You can't handle the truth!"

Ed Baker said...
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Curtis Faville said...

Maybe a solid footing would be a stone shoe.

Statue of Liberty. Old girl's crumbling. Maybe it's time to sell her back to the French. They might need her, with their present "Muslim" problem.

We old farts need to keep focused on the present, lest we fall into nostalgic wallowing in a golden age of false memories.

May I wipe your windshield?

No, just fill'er up with regular and I'll be on my way.

Ed Baker said...
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Ed Baker said...
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Curtis Faville said...

Do you remember laid-back Dave Garroway, he of the blankly be-goggled gaze, wishing each and every one of us back in the day, "Peace"?

Or George Gobel.

Or the panelists of What's My Line?

Bennet Cerf. Dorothy Kilgallen. Arlene Francis. Hosted by John Daly.

Old TV days. Some were good. Some were bad.

I could say that part of my education came from watching all the great old 1930's, 1940's and 1950's movies they showed those days on the tube. Probably more important than the books I read as a child. Welcome to Tomorrow-Land.

Or Crusader Rabbit. Or Betty Boop. Or the bouncing ball atop the lyric rhymes of cartoon sing-a-longs.

It all seems so remote and sweetly clunky now.

Ed Baker said...
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