It's Time for Freedom of Immigration

The immigration reform proposal from a bipartisan group of Senators takes reform in the wrong direction. It fails to defend our borders, expands the federal bureaucracy, and further entangles the government in economic decisions it has no business making.

Some of the proposals we will hear in the coming days and weeks will be made in good faith. Others will be made to gain political advantage. None will be designed to make people more free.

Both Conn Carroll and Michelle Malkin conclude that the bipartisan Senate plan is fundamentally the same as the failed 2007 Bush-McCain-Kennedy plan.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued this statement:

I appreciate the good work that senators in both parties have put into trying to fix our broken immigration system. There are some good elements in this proposal, especially increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border and also improving and streamlining legal immigration. However, I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.

The elements of the bipartisan Senate plan are:

1. Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;

The way to think of immigration reform is not as amnesty, but as an admission that our laws and policies have failed. When a law isn’t working, you don’t keep it in place just because it’s in place, you change it. When no one drove 55 MPH on the highway, we changed the law. When Obamacare fails, we will change that law, too.

“But they broke the law!” people will say. Yes, they did. So are you, right now. We have so many laws that it’s impossible not to break them. When they come for your gun, are you going to give it up, or claim it’s been lost or stolen? You’ll be breaking several laws if you do.

Accompanying the admission of failure must be enough change in the law to keep the failure from recurring. In this case, we don’t have that.

Missing is any mention of a border fence or objectively verifiable border security.  The plan creates a commission of governors and others to report on border security. But border security is a federal responsibility, and must serve national purposes. Governors — and especially, the others, may be politically served by sacrificing border security for the flow of people through their state, or for some other local priority.

The addition of resources to border security sounds nice, but it’s really just an expansion of the DHS bureaucracy. Doubtless the missing fence will be replaced with drones, presumably armed, flying over US soil. Those resources can be cut back in any budget year or the first time some drone operator gets careless and does something dreadful.

In any event, President Obama is said to oppose tying the timetable for citizenship border security, believing it should just happen.  He will bully Republicans into accepting a blanket amnesty without even the phony promise of increased border security.  They will probably give in, rather than be seen as anti-immigrant.

2. Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;

This is the worst part of the proposal, from my perspective. I would like the federal government to check the criminal status and background of those entering the country, and if they are found not to be terrorists or criminals, they should be allowed to enter and get on a path to citizenship. The government should not try to decide what will help the economy, because that is something the government is unable to know.

3. Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,

Civil libertarians are sounding the alarm over the plan’s reliance on E-verify, calling it a thinly-disguised nationald ID. A major problem with a national ID is, briefly, that the source documents used to establish the ID are less secure than the ID.

4. Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.

This is further Soviet-style economic central planning, ordering up “workers” as one orders bulk raw material. It is a despicable “guest worker program”, which formalizes the same underclass of non-citizen that immigration reform is designed to eliminate.

The plan would “Allow employers to hire immigrants if it can be demonstrated that they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American to fill an open position and the hiring of an immigrant will not displace American workers;”.

My Solution, for what it’s worth:

  1. Build a series of connected fences, walls, ditches, causeways, or other physical barriers along our borders. Equip each with every type of sensor needed: video, sound, seismic, etc.  Make sure no one enters the country who intends us harm.
  2. Let everyone else in, and let anyone apply for citizenship without any impediment or quota for race, creed, or even marketable skill. Deny them benefits until they are citizens.  Ideally, I’d rather drastically cut back on our entitlement state to care only for the truly helpless, regardless of citizenship.
  3. Delay citizenship applications for those here already until the backlog of foreign applicants is cleared.

Opening immigration to anyone who wants in and is willing to try to support themselves is good policy, it’s good politics, and it’s good tactics. President Obama will be forced to oppose it by his union cronies. If nothing else, it’s leverage.

Unfortunately, the people writing our laws believe it is their job to tinker with the economy and control the makeup of our population.  This reform opportunity, should they be successful, will extend the scope and reach of our government and deny people freedom, in the name of a false equality and partisan political advantage.