May 18, 2007

Captain Ed On the Deal

Hatched by Dafydd

Captain Ed linked our post on the comprehensive immigration-reform compromise; but that's not why I'm linking him here. This post of his does an excellent job of refuting some of the most common arguments against the bill:

  1. Congress will never enforce the border-security provisions/triggers
  2. The bill will prompt a flood of illegals
  3. It rewards illegal behavior; the penalty for illegal entry should be deportation
  4. Once we start cracking down on the border and on employers, the illegals will self-deport

This is not to say that there aren't good arguments against the bill; but first we must clear away the poorly thought-out dross, so we can focus on the logical worries -- for example, that there aren't enough "triggers" or safeguards built into the current version, and we should have more.

Here are two other irrational non-reasons against the bill:

This bill is so bad, even doing nothing would be better

"Doing nothing" means no fence, no increased Border Patrol, no prosecution of employers for knowingly hiring illegals, and no federal law requiring automatic deportation of illegal aliens arrested or charged with committing crimes.

Hey, wait! That last one isn't in the current bill, either. Well, yeah... and wouldn't that be a much better negotiation point than "let's do nothing instead?"

During our long phase of "doing nothing," the number of illegals permanently residing here has grown by millions and millions. Hidden among those millions -- as we have just seen with the Fort Dix Six -- are jihadis preparing horrific attacks on us. But we can't find them, because there are so many illegal immigrants who aren't plotting any attacks inadvertently functioning as human shields.

Yeah. Let's do nothing. That will be much better.

If we defeat this bill, the next one will be just enforcement only

Hint for those who aren't good on current events: The Democrats control both houses of Congress. They control the agenda. They control committee chairmanships and how many of each party gets to sit on the committees.

The committees generally write the bills.

The committee membership picked by the majority Democrats does not include many Blue Dogs (conservative Democrats); rather, it's far more left-liberal than the Democratic Party itself, and even more liberal than the Democratic conference in Congress. Liberal Democrats oppose border security; they are ideological true-believers in totally open borders... and they also believe that immigrants (both legal and illegal) who vote (both legally and illegally) tend to vote Democratic.

And you know what? They're right. Hispanics in general tend to vote, oh, 55-45 for Democrats; but among recent citizens, the ratio is much worse for Republicans.

Finally, the nutroots, which drives elections for Democrats much more than the rightroots does for Republicans, is 100% against securing our borders, for a variety of reasons. Thus, the very people who write the bills have an ideological reason, a practical reason, and a political reason not to enact border security.

So why did they support it this time? Because there is a ton of border-security pressure coming from Main Street, and the Democratic leadership was afraid to buck it. But lo! If they were to offer this bill with lots of border security, and if the Republicans defeat it by filibuster -- then the Democrats are off the hook: They can blame the lack of border security entirely on the GOP, and we'll get hammered even harder in 2008 than we did in 2006.

But that's all right, because the GOP leadership all have safe seats... so they're not worried. Most of them spent many, many years in the minority before and may actually be more comfortable there; in the minority, you get to fulminate and make grand gestures, but you needn't do the hard work of actually governing.

Believe me, the immigration dynamic is exactly the same as that of the troop-funding bill: Whichever side is seen by the voters as making impossible demands, thus killing the bill, is the side that gets hammered. Killing a bill because it dares to address a problem -- the illegals already here -- that most people do want to see resolved (however they want to resolve it) is an invitation to catastrophe.

And the next immigration bill won't be anywhere near as good for the GOP as this one.

Jihadi screening

Finally, let me address an intelligent argument that Hugh Hewitt is making this very minute in his discussion with Tony Snow on the former's radio show: Hugh wants to know why illegals from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan will receive the same treatment as illegals from Mexico and Nicaragua. He wants the bill modified, it appears, to include a list of "suspect" countries whose immigrants, when they apply for provisional Z-visas, will be held up while the FBI performs full field background investigations.

Hugh worries that if some undercover jihadi comes up and gets a provisional Z-visa, this will lend "legitimacy" to his cover story. Tony Snow responded that in order to do so, he would have to make himself (and his location) known to federal authorities... and the array of terrorism-intelligence programs will thus make it more likely that he will be identified and captured.

You mileage may vary, but I honestly believe that our jihadi would have to be an idiot to bring himself to our attention: He knows that biometric characteristics will be recorded and compared to our database -- but he does not know whether we've already picked up intel that incriminates him.

Hugh argues that he can operate better if he's above ground, but I say that's silly: The more visible he is, the more chance someone will notice, e.g., his attempts to obtain bomb materials.

Finally, if we make it clear that people from Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries will receive special immigration screening... then al-Qaeda will throw Jose Padillas at us by the bucketful. The jihadis are not utter fools.

Thus, I would much rather expand the NSA-al-Qaeda intercept program, the SWIFT surveillance program, Total Information Awareness, and other terrorism surveillance and intelligence programs... and then hook the terrorism-intelligence database up to the USCIS along with the National Crime Information Center. Then, as part of the records check -- not full field background investigation, which takes months, as I know from personal experience -- every illegal seeking a provisional Z-visa will be checked against every possible datum that might identify a terrorist.

Even if he comes from, oh, I don't know... England.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 18, 2007, at the time of 3:48 PM

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Tracked on May 23, 2007 3:42 AM


The following hissed in response by: Terrye

Ed is a brave man.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 19, 2007 3:42 AM

The following hissed in response by: Watchman

Why does no bill mean no fence? Didn't they pass a bill last year authorizing the fence? And surely we can trust them to do what they said they were going to do...oh wait, never mind.

And that's the problem with your argument. Yes, there may be some good points to this bill (I'm still looking), but there is no real-world, evidence based reason to believe that the open borders crowd at either end of Pennsylvania is going to enforce the good parts. It's a scam, and should be opposed. And yes, I do sincerely believe that, while the system is indeed broken, no bill is better than this piece of work.

The above hissed in response by: Watchman [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 19, 2007 8:01 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


I get the feeling that people think the government can wave a magic wand and hundreds of miles of fence appear. The turth is even if they do it, it will take years to complete. The President signed the bill a few months ago. Now that border has been open for 140 years and no one gave a damn. The Bush adminstration has put more people, more resources and more technology on that border than any president in history and all he has gotten from the hardliners is crap.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 19, 2007 12:04 PM

The following hissed in response by: Watchman

Terrye, can you give me one reason--based on actions rather than words--to believe that the President (for whom I voted twice and generally support) actually wants to close the border? Yes, we sent the National Guard down there to do their "training" for a few weeks, but they're gone now and weren't allowed to do anything while they were there. The hands of the Border Patrol are still tied, and God help the agent who actually goes after illegals. As I've noted before, in Arizona they're required to give businesses three days advance notice before showing up to check the workforce. The government right now, both parties, has a vested interest in keeping the border open.

I oppose legalizing those already here, but even that might be acceptable if it were combined with actually closing the border so that we don't have to do this yet again in another 20 or so years. I mean you not see the pattern?
There's no reason to believe this one will be any different.

The above hissed in response by: Watchman [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 19, 2007 3:44 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


Well tell me why that border has been open for 140 years if so many people really want it closed? It is not as if Bush invented this problem.

And btw, Bush made it plain when he ran for Governor of Texas that he was a supporter of guest worker programs. He made it plain when he ran for President in 2000 that this was how he felt. He has been completely up front about his proimmigration feelings. All along.

Now if Republicans want Buchanan for President they should nominate him and then get their butts kicked in the general election. But no, they would rather pick a guy like Bush or Gulliani and then complain when he does not do their bidding. This is where the hardliners are in no position to complain about other people being honest.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 19, 2007 5:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: Watchman

What happened in 2001 should have changed everyone's approach to the border. Controlling immigration is a national security issue. Have you looked at the provisions of this bill? 24 hours to do background checks? By the same people who mailed Mohammed Atta a visa six weeks after 9/11? Immediate legalization prior to any real improvements in enforcement?

I have much more angst regarding the Senators than toward the President. I think he's wrong on the issue, but he didn't put a gun to McCain's head to jump in bed with Kennedy and try to push this thing through in a week.

The above hissed in response by: Watchman [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 19, 2007 9:47 PM

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