Hot Button Issues

I only saw part of the Democratic candidates “debate” on PBS tonight.  Any sort of forum like this, this early in the campaign season is just so much hot air.  More so in this show, as it was humorous to see all the candidates playing to the audience at Howard Univeristy.  Sure, they covered all the topics in the current news cycle, and “reacted” to some developments earlier in the day.

Let’s get the hot topic of the moment out of the way.  Today the US Supreme Court ruled that race cannot be the sole factor in school determining school assigments.  This directly impacted districts in Seattle and Lexington, which had been using race as the primary factor.  In far too many instances in both districts, this often meant students were bussed up to three hours each way from their homes to school.  Yes, this was the extreme, but it was happening, and the districts turned a deaf ear to the parents.

While policies such as this once served a purpose, it is now being used for political purposes rather than correcting any inequalities.  Further more, it has allowed the districts to create “ideal schools” which can be shown to the media and special interest groups and make for good press.  All this while other schools get less funding, have deteriorating facilities, and become “gulags” of sorts for trouble and troubled students, with no consideration of geography.

The claim of “promoting diversity” is just so much bunk.  Diversity is wonderful and great and all.  But it should not ever be the be all end all of an education system.  If that becomes the mantra of the district, then the actual education of all the students is not only in jeopardy, but creates a sort of caste system with in the district.  It is unfair, arbitrary, and does not serve the needs of the students, let alone the community at large.

 Then there’s the no cloture vote in the Senate on the Immigration bill.  I hear a lot of back and forth on this from Liberals and Conservatives, with some on each side crossing over.  This has not been so much a partisan issue, but more one of regionalism, as each state has unique issues as regards illegal immigration.

No, this was not a perfect bill.  Given the way our Congress works, there will rarely, if ever be a perfect bill that gets signed into law.  Even so, this bill had a lot going for it, and should have received an up or down vote.  Yet, some people are so hard up on some of the specifics, that the over all effect of the bill has been lost in the debates over the details.  The old adage of “Can’t see the forest for the trees” applies here.

One of the key carping points has been what to do with the some 12 million illegal immigrants already here.  The cries of “no amnesty” are just so much rhetoric.  The fact is, we are not going to deport 12 million plus people from this country.  Not going to happen.  It would be a serious waste of money, manpower, and the courts.  Not to mention it would take years upon years to actually do it. 

A few notes here just to get some things clear.  First off, there seems to be a public perception that all the illegals in this country are from Latin America, mainly Mexico.  This is not true.  Certainly the majority are from south of the border, but not nearly all.  There are plenty of others from China, SE Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and from Europe.  If we only target one group, it will correctly be seen as biased.  So, it is not just an issue for Latinos, but one that effects all groups.  Secondly, think beyond the short term here.  Sure, we could deport all 12 million.  But what would the consequences be?  Think about the impact on the US economy, the tax dollars that would be spent on doing so, the bureaucracy needed to administer such a program, the time tied up in the courts processing them, and now think about our relations with other nations.  It won’t just be Mexico and China that will be upset with us, but many otherwise friendly European nations, as well as the rest of Africa and the Middle East.  One last point here.  If we did deport all the illegals, it would be one of the largest forced removals of people since Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China.

Now, this is not say that amnesty for these illegals is the answer either.  They are in violation of the law, and thus need to be punished in some fashion.  This needs to be tempered by a bit of pragmatism, so that we don’t just end up bouncing between extremes on the issue.  The concept of fines, as opposed to jail time, providing the person in question has no criminal record, is IMO, the right route. 

Now, I would propose a flat rate fine scale, say $1000 per year here illegally.  So, we’d have a process where by an illegal immigrant would register with the proper authorities.  They would be allowed to remain in the country pending the outcome of a background check, and then would be fined accordingly.  Once the fine is paid, they would be granted a special category status, which would give them a short period of time, say 3-5 years, in which to achieve the normal green card status.  Not perfect, but it does reflect the realities of the situation on the ground.

The other component often railed about (both for and against) has been about border security.  This is perhaps the one aspect where more debate is going to only generate more useless legislation and unworkable programs.  We can talk all we want about fences, and McNamarra type lines along the borders, but this won’t solve a thing.  People will find ways around any of these things.  They’ll dig under a fence, or cut through it, or build something to get over it.  Electronic sensors can be defeated (just ask the VC).  The simple fact of the matter is that the only way to secure the borders is to literally put more men on the job.

Currently our Border Patrol agents are over worked an understaffed.  We don’t have enough manpower to properly patrol the borders in a way that would deter illegal crossings.  And it’s not just our southern border where this is an issue, but to the north (Canada), as well as sea routes.  We should increase the number of Border Patrol agenst by at least 50,000 personel, and increase recruiting for the Coast Guard, and increase the budgets for both to provide the equipment they will need.

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4 thoughts on “Hot Button Issues

  1. Some of your relatives were likely illeagal as were many people in this country. Without them we would not be the nation we are, so imposing fines on illeagal immigrants is useless and short sighted. Putting 50,000 on the borders and what 49,999 with Mexico? Or do we go and block up the borders with Canada for the sake of making us feel ‘safe’. I think we should just ignore illeagal immigrants. No matter how hard you try and stop them, they will still come in one way or another. If you want them to pay thousands of dollars to immigrate your crazy. They don’t have the cash (oh, wait that’s the idea!)if they did, they wouldn’t have the overwhelming desire to move. People don’t immigrate because they have money… Think of all the famine Irish who arrived in this country, do you think they could affford $1,000 per year? This is just a case of Xenophobia, might as well go and join the ‘No nothing Party.’ Ramble complete!

  2. Xenophobia? Hardly that at all. You choose to over simplify the situation because it happens to fit your world view, regardless of what the consequences are beyond that “happy place” you’ve reached in your thought process. In no way shape or form am I opposed to immigration. Quite the contrary in fact. We should encourage orderly and legitimate immigration, but not have the open borders as in Europe. Or haven’t you paid attention to all the problems that has caused? This is not about setting quotas, or denying any specific group the ability to immigrate here, like the Chinese in the 19th Century. It’s about giving those who do it right the support and help that they deserve, and not pouring good money after bad to support people who are for all intents and purposes, criminals.

    Now, you want to just ignore the problem. Ok fine. So you’ve opened the door for ignoring any and all crimes. A crime is a crime, and those who break the law should suffer some sort of consequence. Or would you prefer to allow child molesters and serial killers to roam loose, just because it’s too much effort to enforce the law? It’s a very dangerous precedent, and one that should never be allowed to happen.

    Now, as for your specifics, the personal story is a so what? If they got caught, they would have paid a price, as it should be. Just because they didn’t is irrelevant. And I’m not in favor of mass deportations, as has been proposed, or did you miss that part? Oh, andthe $1000 bit was for those who are already here illegally, to give them the opportunity to become legitimate immigrants. And there was a time frame for that as well if you bothered to notice.

    And I take it from the nonsensical ramble, that you don’t support having our borders more secure? Why? Are you in favor of allowing cheap imitation goods to flood into the country, many which will pose a health hazard {just look at the recalls of Chinese goods, and they are regulated!), allowing narcotics and whatever else to be brought over with no control, or other contraband items, like oh say, a nuclear device?

    It’s this sort of knee jerk response that is short sighted. It fails to follow the logic beyond a certain point, because if you do, you realize that the happy place you think is the ideal is anything but.

  3. No matter how hard you try you will never curb illeagal immigration, not without restricting the rights of American Citizens.

    If you want to try and curb immigration you have to attack the problem at the source. Building fences and walls only delay things. The barbarians will still be at the gates. To curb it, you have to make it worthwhile for people NOT to leave home. As I said, people who can afford to pay fees to immigrate are not the ones immigrating and secondly if we really want to stop it, stop hiring them to work… No work = no reason to come, but thankfully that will never happen because Americans are lazy and have no idea what manual labor is anymore (myself included). Therefore your only real option is to ignore it, where is the harm? As for narcotics and Nuclear devices, they would find a way in as well. Face it you will never be 100% secure and that’s a good thing.

  4. Once again, you’re missing the point. I never once claimed it would be possible to make the border 100% secure, nor did I ever claim to want to curb immigration in general. The idea was to allow those already here a way to become legal wih out having to be jailed or deported.

    Now, I only addressed the illegals already here. I said nothing about those that hire illegals for cheap labor. They too are in violation of the law, and should suffer appropriate consequences. A truly comprehensive reform of the immigration system would cover that as well.

    Ignoring this, or any other problem, will solve nothing. In this case, it will only make things worse. It’s already an all too real problem with human smuggling, not just to get in here, but as sweat shop work, and for the sex trade. Do we really want to ignore that? Would you truly want to turn a blind eye to that? I doubt it. So you have to stleast try to stop it, and that means a bigger presence on the borders.

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