Well, here’ s a hot-button. And I expect to be called nasty things. Fine. I’m not President to make friends. Let me first define the situation:
1) I would assume that any nation, tribe, or family has the right to decide who becomes a part of it, and who does not. This would seem to be pretty close to a universal, and America isn’t lower than whale shit if it claims the same right. Period.
2) We have a huge border, hard to patrol properly.
3) There is a real differential between style of life in America and Mexico. We’ve been broadcasting the wonder of our lifestyle for a century, it is hardly surprising that people would crawl across broken glass to get here. There is nothing intrinsically evil about people trying to improve their lives by going to a new place.
4) We already have 10-12 million illegals here now. We cannot deport them all—it would make no sense. So we spend uncounted billions getting them south of the border. And they come back. So we spend uncounted billions more to ship them again, and they come back again, ad nauseum?
5) We can’t jail them. Our penal system couldn’t support it.
6) Not that anyone sane would suggest it, but just to be clear, we can’t kill ‘em either.
Those are the basic components of the situation. In general, nobody’s bad here. Mexicans have the right to seek a better life, and Americans have the right to define the terms under which someone becomes an American. No evils, just a matter of utility. An organism that cannot define the “edge” of its body cannot live, and in a very real sense, a society is an organism. Remove the shouting and emotion, and let’s see what we have…
We can’t have unlimited immigration. We have to address the underlying causes, and also see that there will be no simple solutions. Some of this won’t be fun at all. I see it as a carrot-and-stick approach.
1) Clearly define a road to citizenship for illegals already in the country. Include fines, taxes, language requirements, etc…but actually create that road.
2) Fence the most porous parts of the border, and increase the patrolling.
3) Fine employers who hire workers without proper identification. The fine should be escalating based on number of violations, and ramped up over a 10-year period. The identification cards will have to be tied into our Social Security system and general citizen identification system.
4) A worldwide campaign to slow population growth is vital—for general environmental purposes if nothing else. But this single factor, population growth, will screw all of our attempts to heal the world if it is unstemmed.
5) A renewable energy program might call for billions of acres of ethanol-producing grasses and vegetables. A flourishing crop-base in Mexico, supported by America, could create a flood of decent jobs, reducing border pressure.
6) The draconian Science-Fiction writer part of me would like to take repeat offenders (those who have snuck across the border, been returned, and snuck across again) and have them implanted with the equivalent of dog-training “shock collars.” The discomfort signal is broadcast all over the Continental United States, and would grow more and more painful the longer you stayed…ah, I’m just kidding.
I think that the above covers most of my thoughts: fair play for those already here, a plan that doesn’t involve endlessly shipping people back across the border, an acknowledgement that as long as there is a better life here than there, good and honorable people will seek to reach it.
As YOU would, my friends. As the Ancestors of about 85% of the population did. But mark my words—the humanitarian concerns DO NOT include an open border. I see no reason to hold America to some higher spiritual standard than the rest of the world. It simply doesn’t work that way.
I can see a world meshed together sufficiently to make borders irrelevant. But that is a better, more evolved world, and you can’t just sprint there, or pretend that there are not economic, cultural, and security concerns. As President, I cannot close my eyes to any of that…although I refuse to demonize those simply seeking a better life.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:25 AM