I guess it's as good a time as any to let whoever reads this find out where I really stand on immigration, one of the issues on which I don't agree with Ron Paul
Commenter "daveg" writes:
"Alan, when illegal aliens are not allowed to send their kids to school receive medical care, and their offspring are not entitled to citizen ship and therefore all these benefits are no more, and when they pay full restitution for any crimes they commit we can talk. Until that time we need to control our borders. Even Ron Paul agrees with that. "
There's little question that the 12 million or so illegal aliens now in this country pose serious social problems that will plague us for some time to come. And it is also true that the fact that most of them come from an adjacent country rather than from across a wide ocean means that this wave of immigration is different from what the country took in from about the late 1800s until the 1920s or so, in that the earlier wave had to make a large commitment to leave the old country behind and "become Americans" to a greater extent than the current wave -- or than the current political culture is willing to demand. There were enclaves of German-speaking or Italian-speaking neighborhoods back then, but the pressure to learn English and become "Americanized" was greater (and not always in a kindly way).
But we have to ask why -- beyond the obvious complaints about incompetent enforcement and lukewarm attitudes -- there are so many illegals in this country. The core reason is that the quotas for legal immigrants have been dramatically lower than the economy can absorb. We may be moving into a slump right now that could effect construction seriously before long, but for the last decade or so unemployment has hovered at near-record lows and the economy has been humming along. So it's hard to argue that the illegals are taking many jobs from Americans that Americans really want (though they may have had the effect of reducing wages at the lower end of the scale, though I'm convinced it's been only a marginal effect).
Since it takes decades, literally, standing in line to arrive here legally (and ICE, formerly the INS, is notoriously inefficient), and the opportunities in the U.S. are so much greater (even in jobs most native-born U.S. citizens would consider low-end), people come here illegally. It's what happens whenever government intervenes in the economy to limit supply -- in this case of legal immigration slots. A black market develops. I don't think the economy is "dependent" on illegal aliens as some advocates claim, but there's little question that they fill slots that employers are willing to pay for, and many employers would be notably less profitable without them. Some -- who knows how many? -- would go out of business. And there's little question most of the illegals come here to work, rather than to suck up welfare, although some get involved in crime (perhaps more so than if they had legal status) and welfare is marketed shamelessly to them.
I think those are pretty indisputable facts.
To me, the obvious solution is to increase or even eliminate the quotas on legal immigration. Let the marketp[lace decide how many immigrants we "need." You can increase enforcement all you want, and while it might have a marginal effect, it wouldn't eliminate the problem any more than decades of conspicuous enforcement have seriously reduced the usage or trafficking in illicit drugs. The only other way to reduce illegal immigration seriously is to have a depression, thus eliminating the jobs magnet.
If it were up to me, we would have welcome stations along the border at which authorities would check for communicable diseases and membership in terrorist organizations -- real ones, not being part of a democratic opposition in authoritarian regimes. That might require detention for a few days while such things are checked out. Then immigrants would be asked to sign a form promising not to apply for any government benefit for a reasonable period of time -- five years, 10 years, 50 years, I'm open -- on pain of instant deportation.
The Supreme Court decided back in the 1980s that illegal immigrants' children were entitled to go to government schools on equal-protection grounds, but both states and the federal government have limited other government benefits without successful legal challenges. In my utopia, of course, we would have separation of school and state, so the issue wouldn't arise, but I don't expect to get to that utopia soon.
If we didn't have such an extensive welfare state there would be much less resentment of immigrants, legal or otherwise. A good deal of the resentment Americans feel should be directed at the welfare state rather than at illegal immigrants -- I think Ron Paul would agree with that -- but the conservative movement (and all too many libertarians) have come to terms with the apparent inevitability of the welfare state or don't want to be considered "mean-spirited."
I have nothing against restitution or even deportation for criminals. I'm agnostic on automatic citizenship for those born here; I think under my preferred policy it wouldn't be a big problem. While there's little question illegals have put a strain on emergency rooms, the medical "crisis" as supposedly caused by illegals is overblown, and the best way to approach what's real about it would be to legalize them.
There's more, but that's enough for now. Have at me.