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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

The Washington Post has an opinion piece called "Foolish Fences" today, written by Douglas S. Massey, a sociology professor at Princeton. (The Fix has poll data on immigration)

Mr. Massey tries to make the point in his article that a border fence with Mexico is a bad idea, and that just reforming immigration policy will fix the problem of illegal border crossings.

I'll say straight out, he's wrong on that point. He makes some good points on the "how to's" of fixing immigration policy, noting that a well managed policy is key to protecting American jobs and enhancing security.

Here's where he's wrong, the fence should be an integral part of that policy, not something tossed aside because of expense, or the "image" that it might represent. As the old saying goes, good fences make good neighbors.

Immigration reform needs about four parts. The first is some sort of guest worker program, so that the folks coming in are documented. It needs to be an intergovernmental agency, with Mexico handling background checks from it's side of the border, and providing names, and the US providing lists of companies requiring workers.

The companies need to be held partly responsible, reporting to the agency when a worker is fired, or quits, so they can have their visa revoked. The workers would be given social security accounts, and be required to pay US taxes on the income earned here. If later on they immigrated and naturalized, they'd have a start paying into the system.

The second part, which is more controversial, but I think necessary, is a Constitutional reform removing citizenship as a birthright. In other words if you are in the US on a temporary visa, be it student, temporary worker, or vacation, or here illegally, and have a child, that child is no longer given citizenship to the US. If you are here with permanent resident status, naturalized, or a US Citizen, it wouldn't affect you. That would immediately remove one large incentive for border crossings.

Third, we need to make the penalties for coming here illegally painful. As the President has pointed out this week, "catch and release" isn't working, it should be limited to bass fishing, not immigration. The penalties need to be for both the immigrant, anyone caught employing them, and anyone harboring them.

Finally, the fence needs to be built. I'd prefer a 12 foot chain link, double wide electric fence filled with concertina wire, just like prisons. Make it tough to get through. If you want to come into the country, use a regular border crossing. Just like your neighbor doesn't hop the fence to come to a BBQ, our international neighbors will need to use the gate.

I don't believe there should be an amnesty program anywhere in this. If you are here illegally, you are removed from the country, and your fingerprints and identity stored so that you can be kept out for a minimum amount of time.

That's my rant on it, what's your opinion?


Blogger Michele said...

My Gosh!
I don't follow nearly 1/16th of the politics you do.
Where do you find the time?

Just consider my comment invisable.
I wanted to just drop by and say HI, I do check in now and again, but am...basically "blonde" when it comes to these topics.
Still, reading them is good for me.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

M, I live alone, and only need about 5 hours of sleep a night, so even when I work 11 hour days (yesterday) I still have 4 or 5 to blog.

Thanks for stopping by.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see your picture has been upgraded to "Possibly Respectable".

I didn't care for the slant of the article. Where I live there is no such thing as a temporary worker. Once you're in Arizona you're good to stay unless you get busted by the police for a crime. In Arizona being an illegal alien is not a police enforcment issue, it's immigration's problem.

We've had coyotes shooting it out on the freeway's here and we've had officers killed by illegals -- anyone who tries to pull this "honest people simply looking for work" crap is blowing smoke up your outgoing portal.

And what a huge hole for terrorists to exploit..

2:16 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Thanks for the "compliment?" on the picture, Mark.

On the border, I understand your thoughts. I spent 9 years in San Diego, and saw most of what you are talking about. That's why I'd much rather have a documented guest worker program, and stiff penalties that what we have now.

Whatever we do is going to have to involve both governments, though, or it won't work. Right now Mexico basically encourages illegal immigration.

3:20 PM  
Blogger asacan said...

There is a minimum period that illegals who are caught are barred from this country. It's LIFE.

And if we're going to get rid of citizenship as a birth-right, I suggest doing that with caucasians, also. I would suggest starting someplace like New Jersey or Massachusettes. Make everyone take a citizenship test, and anyone who fails it gets to hit the road.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Ascan, the problem with the "barred for life" is it usually ends up as "barred until the next coyote brings me across the border".

Don't like your idea on citizenship, just wanna give the boot to illegal immigrants and their offspring. I'm tired of medicaide paying for them to have kids here, then them getting to stay because the kid is a citizen.

Wanna show up legally,that's fine. Do the paperwork, get the visa, come to America.

7:04 PM  

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