Immigration Follies

1. If America’s leaders really want to create a political culture where comprehensive immigration reform (aka “mass amnesty”) is received more warmly than it has been so far, they need to prove that they can run the government without steadily diminishing the quality of services accessible by the regular folks who play by the rules and ultimately pay the bills. Glenn Reynolds has touched upon this idea…

More than hostility to illegal immigrants, I think a lot of the backlash is driven by the sense that Washington insiders don’t really value what ordinary law-abiding people do by way of living their lives and, you know, abiding by the law.
Right now, the Washington elite is offering this deal to the country: Business will get a regularized supply of cheap labor. Democratic pols will get more voters. In return, ordinary people will get an increased strain on the already buckling systems that they rely on and/or pay for in areas like education, health care and social services.
Could the increased strain turn the buckling into a full-scale collapse? The answer from the political class seems to be “who cares”; “our job is to take care of our special interests”; “it’s someone else’s job to worry about regular citizens”. That is not much of a deal for the regular citizens.
2. The expressed motivation noted by Don for removing requirements that illegal immigrants pay back taxes before becoming eligible for amnesty is especially troubling…
A provision requiring payment of back taxes had been in the initial version of a bill proposed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat. But the administration called for the provision to be removed due to concern that it would be too difficult to figure out which illegal immigrants owed back taxes
“It is important that the reformed immigration system is workable and cost efficient,” [White House spokesman Scott Stanzel] said. “Determining the past tax liability would have been very difficult and costly and extremely time consuming.”
So our government officials looked at a problem, weighed the needs of bureaucracy against the needs of the larger society, and decided the needs of the bureaucracy were more important. Contrary to what Queen Padme Amidala may have tried to tell you, this is how democracies die.

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