Friday, June 01, 2007

Immigration Bill Causes Deep Intra-Party Divisions

On almost any given issue in America today, one party takes one position and the other positions itself on the opposite side of the coin, in a diametrical fashion. Most of us all recognize the deep division in this country on the Iraq War, and how most of it follows a pretty strict party line. But the new bill being worked up and promoted on immigration is dividing the nation, yet this one is not falling along party lines. This bill has it proponents and opponents to be sure, but one cannot arrive at any conclusion that it is completely party driven.

In my conversations with a wide variety of people from a wide variety of backgrounds, I have found these divisions to fall mostly along principled values. I do not have polls to support this at this juncture because there hasn't been enough to draw an accurate picture of the party sub-divisions. The criticisms and the accusations are plentiful, and the nature of those will all depend on who is doing the talking and who is doing the listening.

Here's what I have been able to surmise from all of my informal data collections (most of which rests in my head). These are the factions in this issue and the reasonings for their positions:

1. There are the Democrats that oppose this bill for a variety of reasons. But in the interest of simplification, I will say that there are those that want open borders to increase the welfare state, out of some irrational feeling of guilt that we (as prosperous Americans) owe it to the poor people of Mexico and other impoverished nations. Some Republicans are prone to this as well, but theirs is driven more from theological reasonings.

2. There are Democrats that support this bill because creating a path to citizenship will garner more votes for them. More than likely, new immigrants are going to support the party that promotes give-aways at the expense of those that struggle to keep their heads above water, without depending on the government. The Democratic leadership is quite aware of this and knows well that this could seal a string of future victories, if this theory were to be realized.

3. There are Democrats that support this bill because they are bigwigs in the unions and membership in unions is decreasing. More legal immigration means that more laborers can come out of their closets and (potentially) be recruited to organize, which means more dues for the leadership's lavish lifestyles they have become accustomed to supporting.

4. There are Democrats that oppose this bill for fear that allowing immigrants a path to citizenship will create more competition for jobs. They believe that flooding the labor market will drive the price of labor down and cut down on the number of opportunities for all Americans. This will hurt most unskilled workers and maybe some skilled. Supply goes up, demand goes down, wages go down. This is Microeconomics 101 and doesn't take an Alan Greenspan IQ to figure out.

5. There are Republicans that support this bill because flooding the market with more workers will create that very same hirer's market, driving down the cost of unskilled labor in businesses that do not depend on illegal immigrants. Many businesses, both big and small, will benefit greatly from this.

6. There are Republicans (and some Democrats) that oppose this bill because their businesses depend directly on paying low substandard wages to illegals, in order to keep them in business. By creating a path to citizenship, they will be required to pay minimum wage, which means a pay raise for the bulk of their labor force. And that means less profit for them. Those that are already working on low margins, would forced out of business (and the job supply would go down, instantly increasing more demand).

7. There are Republicans that oppose this bill because they believe in the sovereignty of our nation's borders. They see that the government does not enforce the immigration laws already on the books and are very skeptical that they will be enforced if this bill becomes law. These are the people that also tend to believe that open borders present a clear and present danger, for security reasons.

8. There are Republicans and Democrats, alike, that oppose this bill because they are racist and do not like Mexicans. This includes both whites and blacks.

No matter where you see yourself in this issue, there are some things that will become more evident as time goes on.

1. This issue is not going to go away if nothing is done. In fact, it may not go away if anything (to include this bill) is done. The key to this will be enforcement. If the floodgates remain open, this will not solve one damned thing.

2. We cannot continue allow the influx of illegals or it will cause the system to totally crash. Healthcare is already decimated. Think of how much more it will sink, if another 10 million or so are placed on Medicaid in the next five years.

3. If we do nothing, we also run a higher risk of the real undesirables sneaking into this country, which are the ones that wish to harm this nation via terrorism. Somewhere, in the heart of the Middle East, there are classes in Mexican culture and the Mexican dialect of the Spanish language being conducted with one thing in mind: Get into America posing as a Mexican immigrant, and activate a cell. Call me paranoid all day long if you want, you cannot prove this wrong.

These are some things to think about, in all of this. One thing for sure is, no one will get exactly what they want in this. Not me, not you, not Dems, not GOP. Not anyone.

9 comments:

Mary Ellen said...

Great post LA! Immigration is a tough one. I'll take this point by point..and if this comment is a long one, forgive me.

There are the Democrats that oppose this bill for a variety of reasons. But in the interest of simplification, I will say that there are those that want open borders to increase the welfare state, out of some irrational feeling of guilt that we (as prosperous Americans) owe it to the poor people of Mexico and other impoverished nations.

Irrational feeling of guilt about having being too prosperous? I'm not too sure about this, LA. I don't think I've ever heard that any Democrats are just loving the idea of turning our country into a welfare state. Just because some Democrats feel that we need to help those who are left behind, i.e. the poor and uneducated, doesn't mean we want to invite as many poor and downtrodden people into the US as we can, so we can ease our guilt and save the world. Nice stab at the psychoanalysis, though. ;-)

More than likely, new immigrants are going to support the party that promotes give-aways at the expense of those that struggle to keep their heads above water, without depending on the government.

Actually, new immigrants are really against the measure to give amnesty to those who came here illegally and I don't blame them. They took the necessary steps and expense to do it legally and by offering "give-aways" is not a what they want. If anything, I have the feeling that amnesty will hurt the Democrats because the illegals can't vote and probably won't bother to vote once they get what they want. They will lose the votes of those who came here legally.


3. There are Democrats that support this bill because they are bigwigs in the unions and membership in unions is decreasing. More legal immigration means that more laborers can come out of their closets and (potentially) be recruited to organize, which means more dues for the leadership's lavish lifestyles they have become accustomed to supporting.


Wow, that's a first. Where did you come up with this one? Do you have any sources or polls that say that a majority of union bigwigs want to open our borders? From what I heard, the truckers unions are really pissed about this. Maybe you know something I don't?


4. There are Democrats that oppose this bill for fear that allowing immigrants a path to citizenship will create more competition for jobs. They believe that flooding the labor market will drive the price of labor down and cut down on the number of opportunities for all Americans. This will hurt most unskilled workers and maybe some skilled. Supply goes up, demand goes down, wages go down. This is Microeconomics 101 and doesn't take an Alan Greenspan IQ to figure out.


I happen to agree with this to a certain extent, and I've been called a racist because of this view.

I'll just stick with the Democrats views since I don't want to get into the minds of a Republican...too dark and scary for me. ;-)

LASunsett said...

Hi ME,

Thanks for the kudos.

//Do you have any sources or polls that say that a majority of union bigwigs want to open our borders?//

I do not say they want open borders, they want legal immigration/ They would need to be legal in order to organize them. Open borders that lead to more illegals would not benefit unions in the least.

You raise a good point that not all of them feel this way, but how many and who, is hard to tell because they probably aren't the subject of a poll very often. Therefore, I know of no polls current or past, but this article (though it's a little dated) explains more in detail the split in union positions on this.

Mary Ellen said...

LA

Thanks for the link. It all boils down to, there is no easy answer.

That said, wanting to keep our borders closed is NOT just a Republican view. Many Democrats feel the same way. This is NOT a partisan issue. Democrats feel that national security is important, too. The difference is, we don't associate national security to being of a particular party. It's the Republicans (and some Independents like yourself) who like to make statements about how Republicans are the only ones who care about security. Typical Rove tactics, which just don't hold water anymore.

To me, this issue of national security and closed borders lies at the feet of the ever incompetent Homeland Security and Michael Chertoff. Our borders are porous because Bush is so busy throwing money at this war in Iraq that we don't have enough to defend our own borders with enough border control agents, all the while they (Republicans)are talking about how strong on terror they are. Also, how do they think we can get people to become agents when they are kept from doing their job and thrown into jail for their efforts, i.e. the two border patrol agents jailed for stopping a drug dealer from coming into the US...who got immunity while they got jail!

After the borders are sealed shut, we can deal with the issues of those who are here and illegal. First, lay down very heavy fines for employers who are caught hiring illegals or they can have the option of paying a fee to the government to give their workers a 6 month guest pass while pursuing legal status. This might help defray the cost of more people working for the Immigration office. Second, hire more people to work for the Immigration department who can track those who are here illegally. I'm saying to go after those illegals who have broken laws such as theft, DUI's, and other crimes and send them back to Mexico. With tighter borders,they won't get back so easily. It's a two step process from what I can see.

We also need to see what we can do to help steer Mexico in the right direction and get their economy strong enough to support their own people. I'm not saying to hand them money, but work with them and help them grow their economy through business adventures.

Of course, this is all off the top of my head. I'm not an expert and this is a really complicated matter. I do know that this won't be resolved in this administration.

A.C. McCloud said...

LA, great post. I haven't seen anyone lay it out in such easy to follow terms.

It's hard to criticize your comprehensiveness but you left one out--(or I missed it), and that is the Catholic Church. I've wondered for awhile why Priests were taking such an interest in this issue and even had one clergy member come to my blog and argue for open borders. Unlike you I'm cynical-- enough to think it's because membership in the church is down and the Mexicans are primarily Catholic. I'd like to believe it's just simple compassion but the Church is not usually an advocate for law breaking.

LASunsett said...

AC,

I am sure ME (being Catholic) can shed a little more light on this, but if I had to render a guess, I would say it would be a combination of both. The scandals of priestly molestations have hurt the Catholic Church, there's little doubt. But one thing I have always noted about the Catholics is, they historically have shown an abundance of compassion for the poor, sick, and afflicted. (See: St. Vincent DePaul and St. Louise de Merrillac)

Mary Ellen said...

a.c. mccloud

Regarding the church and whether they condone law breaking, I think if they feel it is in the realm of protection of the downtrodden or poor, they will fight for their rights within the law and breaking the law is not condoned, well, at least not publicly. They may turn their heads when they see an individual break the law...as they did in the Catholic Church with the priests who were molesting children.

I'm not sure if I agree that the church is doing this because their numbers are down, what purpose would it serve. Those who are legal or illegal are welcomed into their parish and they will throw a few coins into the basket regardless of their legal status.

I sure wish I were on your blog when that priest was there, sounds like an interesting conversation.

L'Amerloque said...

Hi LASunsett !


Amerloque feels that there is no easy answer to any of this, alas.


One thing, however, particularly rankles.


American is supposedly "a country built on the rule of law, not men" (to paraphrase a Founding Father or two), yet there are something like an estimated 12 or 13 million illegal aliens living in the country. Worse, banks apparently see nothing wrong with opening acccounts for them and providing other banking services, in apparent violation of the law. Their children are even enrolled in schools.


Yet both Democrats and Republicans in the Legislative branch, members of the Executive branch, and, evidently, members of the Judicial branch see nothing wrong with rewarding the lawbreakers with a "path to citizenship".


What happened to the rule of law ? How can anyone state that Amrica is built "on the rule of law" when there are 12 or 13 million people who prove the contrary ?


Amerloque feels very, very, very strongly about this.


All of his grandparents immigrated from "the old country" to the USA, and jumped though all the required hoops to be legal immigrants and then citizens.


As an immigrant to France and a foreign resident, Amerloque jumps through all the immigration hoops at the required intervals, and sees no reason why it should be otherwise. (By the way, try to open a bank account here in France without legal residence papers: the bank simply won't do it, and quite right, too.)


Illegal immigration should not be tolerated. Obviously it's entirely feasible to deport all illegals if there is the political will to do so.


Obviously there isn't.


ME set out some simple and clear steps to remedy the problem. Here are some others …


- Illegal aliens in the USA should be asked to leave by a certain date. If the illegal alien does, then the illegal can apply for legal immigrant status, which can be granted with no prejudice. The illegal may conserve any property owned in the USA.

or

-If an illegal alien doesn't leave by the stated date, her or his property should be forfeit to the state, and the illegal should be deported for life, with no possibility of return.


There are obviously many, many ways to encourage illegals to leave: the above are only two off-the-top-of-the-head examples.


Oh, for those who say "But the illegal immigrant just wants a better life" … that's what the bank robber says, too: "I just want a better life !"


One shouldn't really be surprised that - around the world – America's image is not the one Americans think – or hope - it is.


It's clear to everyone that it's simply not a country where the rule of law applies, alas. (sigh)

Best,
L'Amerloque

LASunsett said...

Hi Amerloque,

//What happened to the rule of law ? How can anyone state that Amrica is built "on the rule of law" when there are 12 or 13 million people who prove the contrary ?//

I wish I had an answer to these questions. What we know to be true versus how it really should be, are two entirely different things. The ironic thing is, if an American tried to sneak into Mexico and set up shop like many Mexicans do here, we would be deported. Those from Central America that sneak into Mexico's southern border are prosecuted and sent back, as well.

If I wanted to immigrate to Mexico legally, I would have to jump through hoops as well. But the clincher is, I would have to prove I could support myself. There could be no living on the public dole.

Mary Ellen said...

LA and L'Amerloque

Looks like we're all on the same page on this one. What frustrates me is when I am pegged a racist for my views. I'm just an American that believes in the rule of law.