Sunday, March 7, 2010

Obama pursues Immigration reform

One thing I did like about then President George W. Bush is that he really did seem committed to immigration reform in a way that didn't demonize the illegal crossers and attempted to treat them with dignity. Too many Republicans hated the idea of rewarding even law-abiding illegals (that is, law-abiding except for their continued illegal stay in the US) and too many Democrats just couldn't stomach cooperating with Bush on anything.

President Obama, against what appear to be long odds, is working with two senators — one Dem and one Republican — to try to regain some traction on this campaign promise:
Obama and members of his Domestic Policy Council outlined ways to resuscitate the effort in a White House meeting with two senators -- Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- who have spent months trying to craft a bill.

According to a person familiar with the meeting, the White House may ask Schumer and Graham to at least produce a blueprint that could be turned into legislative language.

The basis of a bill would include a path toward citizenship for the 10.8 million people living in the U.S. illegally. Citizenship would not be granted lightly, the White House said. Undocumented workers would need to register, pay taxes and pay a penalty for violating the law. Failure to comply might result in deportation.

Nick Shapiro, a White House spokesman, said the president's support for an immigration bill, which would also include improved border security, was "unwavering."
While I think there should be a practical way for long-term illegals to stay, we need to do something to block new illegals from coming back in. Sure, the economy is largely doing that for us, but there need to be other efforts, as well, such as harsh punishments for people who employ undocumented workers. And, I dare say, we might have to consider a national ID or at least a nationally implemented ID standard across the states and territories.

I'd like to see former President Bush get involved with this effort, which could go a long way toward salvaging his legacy.

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6 comments:

  1. I'd like to see former President Bush get involved with this effort, which could go a long way toward salvaging his legacy.

    Salvage his legacy? Are you serious? Democrats will continue to hate him, and all it will do is make even more Republicans hate him than already do.

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  2. As long as unemployed white collar workers are looking to Six Flags for employment, this doesn't have a chance of going forward.

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  3. Robert wrote:
    Salvage his legacy? Are you serious? Democrats will continue to hate him, and all it will do is make even more Republicans hate him than already do.

    Democrats today, who still feel a visceral hatred toward him for — as they see it — lying us into one war while grossly mishandling the one he already had, but the whole thing with legacy is that it's a long-term, history books, what-will-they-say-at-your-funeral kinda thing.

    Most young people today know of Carter, for example, as the guy who builds houses for the poor, not the malaise guy.

    As for the Republicans, well, ...

    John from Taejŏn wrote:
    As long as unemployed white collar workers are looking to Six Flags for employment, this doesn't have a chance of going forward.

    True up to a point, which is why any real effort aimed at true reform must also find ways to plug up the borders, something Republicans tend to favor, and dry up the opportunities for the illegals who have made it inside, which is more of a mixed bag (because it involves arresting and/or fining business types — a GOP constituency — and it would place restrictions and fines on the illegals who come forward — like forcing them to leave and come back and possibly even staying in the job they already have instead of taking a newly provisional-legal status and moving to a better job they wouldn't have had access to before).

    This is why a bipartisan effort is necessary, and even if a lot of GOPers would hate Bush more (initially, at least), at least he'd be putting in enough GOP ideas that the eventual result would be palatable to many of them.

    In the long run, if GOPers who understand the problems with legal and illegal immigration (and I would count Bush among them) work with Democrats to come up with a tough but fair and humane bill, in the end that would be Bush's Habitat for Humanity-type legacy.

    I should get ahold of Bush's original proposal and see where I think it's a good starting point.

    Also, John, I should add that I think the economy is going to improve faster than it takes for this bill to be hammered out, so I'm not so concerned about the very issue you describe.

    But I agree that that kind of sentiment is real and is a political game changer in many ways. Look at the nascent congressional effort to pull the US out of NAFTA, which I mentioned in Loose Change a couple days ago.

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  4. "I think the economy is going to improve faster than it takes for this bill to be hammered out"

    Back down to 5% within a year is impossible. Millions of jobs will never return.

    It also didn't help than NBC's Dateline ran a 2 hour special on Friday about the crime, corruption, kidnappings, and killings terrorizing Mexico right now and how a lot of it is creeping north of the border thanks to illegal activities, some of which involve illegal crossings ("The Desperate Hours"). You can find a link to watch these horrifying stories at Dateline’s website ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032600/ ).

    I recently went into the interior to visit my relatives and couldn’t believe how nervous and scared everyone is in the country as crime and corruption has inundated the police forces from the local to federal levels. Enough so, that when some cousins returned to Texas with me for a visit, they urged my nephew not…not…to take his Spring Break in Mexico at this time as everyone is a target. Even poor people are being kidnapped and their families shaken down for as little as $1,000.

    These types of extreme violence, and murder, creeping north of the border from Mexico were even fictionalized this week in the second season premiere of “Southland” on TNT.

    I was planning on taking a month-long vacation in Mexico when I return at the end of the year, but watching the noticias while in Mexico, I don’t think I will be going back for a very, very long time. Tragically, many who try to report the news end up making the news themselves in the obituary column.

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  5. John from Taejŏn wrote:
    It also didn't help than NBC's Dateline ran a 2 hour special on Friday about the crime, corruption, kidnappings, and killings terrorizing Mexico right now and how a lot of it is creeping north of the border thanks to illegal activities, some of which involve illegal crossings ("The Desperate Hours").

    I was just talking about that the other day.

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  6. In California way, we've got much the same problem as what you're saying. Not even the touristy part of Tijuana seems safe anymore. Even parts of San Diego near the San Ysidro border crossing are ill-advised too long after dark.

    Back in the day, we would take the light rail all the way down to the border and then walk across, get some food, do a little shopping, and then take the train back up the coast.

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