Sunday, May 28, 2006

Pushing Rope

How do you push a rope?

The liberal establishment continues to be surprised by people actually doing things that they say they're going to do. The government drags its heels on the things that it is actually supposed to be doing and suddenly we're surprised when Americans start getting together and solving their own problems again? How are we supposed to establish a socialist utopia if people are self-sufficient and independent? Damn that American spirit!

The AP was shaking it's metaphorical head at the prospect of the Minutemen gaining mainstream acceptance. Global Security cites polls in its "Great Wall of Mexico" article that Americans would prefer a border fence by about 51%/37%, though Rueters has a poll that disagrees. Y'know, if you put any stock in polls. Am I the only one with in government service who doesn't make decisions based upon what a "randomly" selected group of individuals else thinks? The majority of public opinion reporting I've heard with what little attention I've been paying of late seems to support a barrier of some kind, since 400 miles of desert doesn't seem to be cutting it.

President Bush gave a speech May 15th on the idiot box outlining five goals:
  • First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security.
  • Second, to secure our border we must create a temporary worker program.
  • Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees, because of the widespread problem of document fraud.
  • Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are here already.
  • Fifth, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples.
Well, that all sounds hunky-dory, but if he actually puts actions behind these words (in a way that does not exacerbate the problem), color me surprised. At least he's making it sound like he's trying to do something about it. And at least the issue is being addressed in the floundering, retarded way that government handles everything, but addressed nonetheless. Who wants to start a pool on how soon and for how long it will be forgotten again?

A friend who sits next to me in my Prospective Engineering Officer Course started going on and on about immigration one day while I was trying to study. Fred and his wife are wonderful people (well, his wife is, anyway... ;]) that my wife and I are fortunate to know, and he's an outstanding officer. They are also Puerto Rican, so it's one of those issues that sticks in his craw, I suppose. Particularly since he's had some personal unpleasant experiences living in and driving through border states.

Fred told me about driving through the southwest (might've been New Mexico) about three years ago, when he stopped for gas in a small town. A local who saw him demanded to know "what he was doing here" and that he "go back to Mexico." He said that the guy was with the Minutemen and was demanding to see his papers. The fellow gets more agitated and Fred's sitting there in his Miata with military stickers, his wife in the car and being threatened by this ignorant slob. So Fred tells him, "Look my friend, my gun is in my trunk; you want to see who can get there first?"

So Fred is under the impression, possibly an accurate one, that the Minuteman Project is fostering a bit of hostility toward Hispanics in general. My understanding is that the fellow who Fred encountered, if he was a Minuteman, did not adhere to the Minuteman pledge (.PDF). I hope he is the exception and not the rule, but there are probably more of them than we know. I think it's unfortunate that good people are being harassed in the name of a good idea.

Anyway, he doesn't think a wall or a fence or putting troops on the border are the answer to this particular problem and would much prefer a step which the current officeholders will likely never take: welfare reform.

This option is attractive to me because it doesn't strain the military and it frees up my tax dollars so the government doesn't need to take them in the first place. If someone can make more money sitting at home watching The Price is Right while on welfare than they can washing dishes at a restaurant, what you have is a basic economic decision. So Americans who don't want to work don't have to, illegal immigrants who don't want to work don't have to, and illegal immigrants who want to work keep wages depressed and taxes high with virtually no consequences to any of these parties. Result: undesirable behavior is rewarded.

Additionally, as Crazy P has written, many (if not most) of the illegal border crossings have nothing to with hardworking people coming here looking for the American dream.

However, I disagree that other measures will not work, and that welfare reform alone will do the job. I think people are looking at this through typical either/or mentality. My proposal is let's do it all. Build that wall, reform that welfare, arrest and deport them. You think it's impossible to expel 12 million illegal immigrants from the U.S.? If Mexico can do it, so can we! Remove some road blocks to citizenship for those who truly want to join the American Experiment and let people come here legally via a guest-worker program (don't we already do work visas?).

Here's another novel idea: hold the states responsible for border enforcement? Send the National Guard under operational control of the state governors. Reward states that produce results with additional funding, perhaps... Now there's your tax dollars at work! We have individual states for a reason, and New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California should be taking the lead on this (not to mention the northern border states.

And Mexico, as a sovereign nation, you should be ashamed, passing your problems on to the United States so the rest of your people can live in a steadily deteriorating society the deteriorates slower because your undesirables are up making money on the border.

What I mean to say is that this is a complex issue without an easy solution. The least of our concerns should be the welfare of people breaking the law - how about the welfare of Americans? Perhaps the government needs to start looking at how to make Americans happy. (Particulary the ones with desperate men crossing the desert threatening their families, destroying their property and peeing in their shrubs.) I contend that the best way for the federal government to do that is to keep us safe from criminals and foreign invaders, fix the potholes and leave us the hell alone.

But to the original question: how do you push a rope? You freeze it. Similarly any meaningful solution to illegal immigration must start with border security before any headway can be made, not guest worker programs.

Crazy Politico: Reaction
Reuters: Immigration is Mexico's Disgrace
Yahoo News: Mexico Threatens Suits Over Guard Patrols
Maggie Gallagher: My Day Without Immigrants...
Overall, what the Day Without Immigrants reveals is this: We Americans love hardworking immigrants. America is still a nation of immigrants. But America is not a nation that depends on low-skill immigrant workers for our prosperity. In truth, they need us more than we need them.
What Border Problem?
Connect The Dots



Blogger TexasFred bloody well said...

If you're going to repeatedly use the name FRED in this article, i wish you'd put LAST NAMES in place or Screen Names so folks would know you're NOT talking about me, I am VERY familiar with this incident and I find your posting on this one to be a bit misleading...

28 May, 2006 12:33  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

For the record, let it be known that TexasFred is neither Puerto Rican, nor the Fred who sits next to me in class. If I was going to say something about TexasFred, I would say "TexasFred".

Please feel free to set me straight, as I am relating the situation ancedotally from my... eh, shipmate's point of view. I'd be really surprised if you and I are thinking of the same incident, but stranger things have happened.

28 May, 2006 13:48  
Blogger NEO, SOC bloody well said...

I saw this article is well, robosquirrel and and I thought it was cool in that hopefully this will also spark a flame back into the hearts of Americans; that we need to really make our government understand the need for change. I am not saying go libertarian 1000 but we need to let them know that their decision making has long-term affects!

28 May, 2006 14:55  
Blogger TexasFred bloody well said...

You are a scholar AND a gentleman.. Thanks Robo...

28 May, 2006 21:09  
Blogger David Schantz bloody well said...

Great post. I like the idea of rewarding states that are able to do something about the wide open border problem. It is much better than the amnesty idea, a reward for breaking the law.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

29 May, 2006 20:06  
Anonymous James bloody well said...

If the man he encountered was indeed a minuteman, he was not indicative of the ones I have met. However even if he was that is no reason to take the whole organization to task. There are bad apples in every group.

Also, if you really want to secure the border and not have all the moaning about it being logistically impossible and that it will cost millions, ask for volunteers. You will have more than enough and it will not cost anything. I can hear the screams now. Only the army and police can uphold the law.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state….

31 May, 2006 01:05  

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