Letter Re: Dealing with Illegal Immigration in the U.S.

Saturday, Apr 22, 2006

Jim, I must respectfully disagree with your suggestions for dealing with illegal immigration. You stated:
1.) A stout fence and plenty of sensors, regardless of the cost, to make the southern border less porous. I believe this would be an utter waste of time and money. Here's what I anticipate from that:
Tunnels under, which already exist for the drug trade. I also heard of a case where near 1000 Mexicans just swarmed a border crossing on foot. Perhaps 1 in 10 was rounded up.
Attacking the fence will become a sport--coyotes and dogs will be goaded across minefields, or across sensors to generate false positives. Mines would be pelted with rocks. Mines will be stolen for the explosives therein. Fences will be cut or have vehicles driven through them.
Even people who don't intend to cross the border will find this a sport. Think of your local teenagers--would they enjoy this? Now, how much more peer credit would Mexican youths get in their culture for tearing down the fence?
This will cost billions to build and maintain (And being cynical, how many of those contractors will employ illegal Mexican laborers?) and accomplish less than the Maginot Line.
I heard a suggestion that we should just start shooting people. How very American. If that happens, it is the end of any pretension of morality and due process in this country.
2.) Local police and sheriff's departments empowered to arrest illegal aliens
The problem with this is under what cause? This would require them to stop anyone who appears Asian or Hispanic, and certainly will not help legitimate immigrants integrate. I've heard people recite the classic, "I don't like the idea of having to carry a federal ID, but..." I'd like to refer those people to Edmund Burke's comment. "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
and 3.) A larger staff for the Border Patrol. Without those measures, the gradual demographic of cultural and linguistic change will reach a tipping point in the border states and beyond.The problem here is that for each agent on the border, there is additional support staff and infrastructure needed, and how many suspects can they actually stop? I think the whole concept of sealing the border physically is on par with Canada's insane gun registration scheme that's over a Billion $CAN and rising, with nothing substantive accomplished.
I should mention here that I am by no means a racist. Quite the contrary, I am an anti-racist. But I must concur with talk radio show host Michael Savage: "Borders, language, and culture" matter. They, in part, define a society. If those three underpinnings are not preserved, then we will wake up someday and find ourselves in someone else's society. I absolutely agree with you here.
[some comments on personal experiences with the INS snipped, for brevity]
The INS is a bloated bureaucracy, and even good people can have insane problems getting the paperwork they need.
Recently, I was up in Detroit and got some information from the Coast Guard for a book I'm writing. Here's an example of one area for consideration:
Apart from the shipping channel (23 feet) the deepest part of Lake St. Claire is 19 feet. Half of it is less than 4 feet deep. The river can be crossed by a motorboat in less than 60 seconds. There are native reservations on either side, where CG jurisdiction is awkward. Also, once on US soil, a person can't be stopped without probable cause. Both illegal aliens (usually Asians "vacationing" in Canada) and whole bags of drugs flow across this point. The CG is aware of the problem, and stops a few percent, even with 24 hour patrols.
Illegal Asian immigrants come into LA and NY in container ships. Better security at the docks will help with this, but it's a huge job at Long Beach, and we need the resources to move, not sit in port racking up fees for hours or days. Ships move in, unload while reloading and fueling, and are gone. They're losing money when not moving.
This is a case where everyone knows the problem exists, but not what to do. The trick is to differentiate people with honest intentions from layabouts.
My suggestions would include:
Not allowing anyone without proper ID to get drivers' licenses or jobs. At the same time, the government cannot Constitutionally deputize employers to handle the illegals. And following up on all reports is tough.
Requiring proper ID to register for school and vote. That's how it's done here in Indiana. I have a right to vote. That right implies protecting it from being stolen or diluted by another voter with fake ID. Ditto for my kids going to school. It's not unreasonable or unconstitutional to ID oneself to receive service from the government.
The proposed immigration bill is quite sensible in several provisions: identify aliens. Require those who have ONLY violated the border to pay a fine, and then return if recent. If they have been here some time and are a productive part of the economy, they may APPLY to be permanent residents, if an employer will sponsor them. This means enforcement efforts can be drawn away from the known, responsible parties and aimed at the clandestine and criminal parties.
I don't believe most people realize that's what the proposal says. It's not "amnesty." No one has suggested that 10 million people be granted free citizenship. They may APPLY to be residents, and, if accepted, then may APPLY to be citizens. And naturalized citizens are required to be literate, productive, not have subversive ties, and demonstrate a working knowledge of our form of government. They tend overwhelmingly to be conservative, moral, patriotic and good taxpayers. These types of immigrants should be encouraged, even if they fought their way in as refugees. (Why did Bush win Florida and therefore two elections? Because Cuban Americans have seen socialism first hand and HATE it. So they vote Republican.)
Consider the proposed alternative: an expensive wall that won't stop anyone (has the 90 mile hurricane-ridden ocean between Cuba and Miami had much effect?), billions to round up illegals IF WE CAN FIND THEM, and even if we assume $500 each to deport them (the price of JUST THE PLANE TICKETS the US is chartering to send illegal Central Americans back), we're looking at $5 BILLION. Add in the locating, the acquiring and the processing fees, and we're talking the cost of a war.
We had a war on alcohol. We have a war on drugs. Canada and parts of the US have a war on guns. None have accomplished anything. A war on illegal aliens will simply cost more billions and destroy more rights. - Michael Z. Williamson

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