Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Y'All Come! Si Se Puede!

At the end of the Bush administration and for the first few months of the Obama administration, illegal immigration from Mexico was on a downward spiral. It was a combination of better border enforcement and the calamitous downturn in the American economy. Those illegals who came here for work began to realize jobs were few and far between. Fewer illegals came, many returned home.

Yet with little change in the economy, the numbers are creeping back up. If jobs aren’t the reason for the increases, something else must be. The biggest reason is the illegal-friendly Obama administration and the Democratic Party’s pandering to Hispanic voters. The administration has dodged or reinterpreted Congressional action to set up a lengthy series of rules which make crossing the border illegally easier and staying less uncomfortable. What it couldn’t get in Congress with the proposed comprehensive immigration reform (aka “amnesty”) and the Dream Act it is accomplishing administratively and bureaucratically.

The administration talks about its achievements in deporting illegals, but the record hardly supports the claim. While talking deportation numbers with one side of his mouth, President Obama talks “prosecutorial discretion” out of the other side. Under current law, deported illegal immigrants must remain outside of the United States for a minimum of three years before returning under some legal plan. The administration has acted to change that rule using a “hardship” exception. If the illegal already has legal relatives living in the United States, he can claim his absence would pose a hardship for the family. It’s an Alice in Wonderland kind of reasoning, but you can bet that immigration authorities will find the exception nearly every time as long as this administration remains in power.

Another new rule imposed is that once caught, a large majority of illegals who have not run up a criminal record will go to the end of the deportation line. And while remaining in the country they can build up “longevity credits” putting them closer to the magic legalization goal. In major cities, where most illegals end up, this will mean a large number of very dangerous people being allowed to stay. Most of America’s big city immigration magnets are “sanctuary cities,” or cities so overwhelmed by crime that they simply can’t keep up. In sanctuary cities, criminal activity is not reported to the federal authorities unless there has been a conviction. In San Francisco, youthful offenders are rarely reported at all, and adults are reported only after being convicted of major violent felonies.

And then there’s the simple issue that if you can’t get in through the door, sneak in through the window. The Government Accountability Office reported that in 2011 only 15% of the border with Mexico was under full Border Patrol control. Another 44% is not under full control, but is counted as being under “operational” control. That means that 41% of the border is under minimal or no control. That’s about 800 miles of unprotected border. That would be bad enough. But when individual states have attempted to assist the federal government in enforcing border control, the feds have either ignored their efforts or sued the states for interfering in a federal prerogative.

Arizona has been a primary target of administration ire. While the state is losing $2.7 billion in enforcement and public services losses during the period from 2009 to the present, it has been the whipping boy for the Obama administration for simply passing legislation which is designed to do the job the feds either can’t or won’t do. Yet the Arizona statutes take no power from nor do they create parallel immigration power with the federal government. They simply create the mechanism by which the state can turn illegal immigrants over to the federal authorities.

Still, the Obama administration felt it wasn’t doing enough to support illegal immigration and fast-track legalization. It remedied that lack by appointing immigration enthusiast Andrew Lorenz-Strait to the post of public advocate for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Another czar. And it’s the first time ever that an administration of either party has created a position which essentially advocates for illegals. The very agency charged with the enforcement of immigration law will effectively have a man who will act as a taxpayer-funded lobbyist for illegals.

Lorenz-Strait previously advocated for cuts to the ICE budget of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program which helps states cover the cost of jailing illegal immigrants. The President’s crazed budget announced just after his State of the Union address includes this cut—to the tune of $170 million. Lorenz-Strait is off to a good start.

The pandering appears to be paying off. Obama won about 67% of the Hispanic vote in 2008, and his reelection campaign committee is predicting that number could increase to 73% in 2012. I think that’s an exercise in radical optimism, but surely the pandering isn’t hurting his popularity among Hispanic voters.

Immigration will not be the big issue of the 2012 campaign, but it can’t be ignored. Any Republican presidential candidate is going to need good answers to questions about immigration. A “get ‘em out now” approach may appeal to many nativists, but it could be utter disaster in the general election. Comprehensive immigration reform is an important issue, but the Obama administration will try to paint anything short of amnesty as racism and jingoism. It must be addressed, but in realistic and humane terms. It is quite possible to reassure Hispanic voters without caving in to the open borders crowd.


AndrewPrice said...

Unfortunately, this is an issue that few are looking at rationally. Instead, the Democrats want to open the floodgates and the Republicans pander to the "get 'em out now" crowd, which makes it that make harder for the people with genuine ideas about how to stop the flow from being heard. So they keep coming.

Tennessee Jed said...

this has been an issue both parties have generally shied away from. Certainly Bush, with his Texas experience, tended to pander. That Obama does is hardly a surprise. He has become expert at getting around Congress, though.

Newt appears to be a pander bear as well, and although I haven't checked lately, I felt like Romney was most likely to see the need to enforce our immigration laws. Failure to do so and we become a big California demographically.

tryanmax said...

I keep telling myself that I'm going to try out that Rosetta Stone language program for Spanish. I am super-curious about what the Spanish-language MSM puts out. I imagine it is misinformation like we wouldn't believe.

When I talk to immigrant friends and acquaintances about the issue of illegals, they want the same things as conservatives want. But I am told that lots of more recent immigrants are afraid of deportation regardless of their legal status. Somebody is allowing this lie to propagate. I imagine left-wing Spanish news is just as heavily laced with innuendo as English news, if not more so.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Uncertainty creates chaos. And that manifests itself perfectly in the immigration problem. When all the rules seem to conflict with each other, and two opposite things are being said at the same time, those who want to game the system will do so, and usually get away with it.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: Romney is the only Republican candidate who talked sensibly about "self-deportation" and got roundly laughed at for it. The problem is thorny, but doing nothing only makes it worse. As long as there's the hint of amnesty, the illegals will continue to come. And when the only alternative is mass exportation, the problem will not be solved and Hispanic anger will increase. There must be a sensible policy which somehow punishes illegal entry, has a humanitarian (but realistic) approach to long-term but illegal residents who have contributed to the community and the nation, makes deportation for criminal activity swift and sure and discourages entry for those not prepared for and seeking legitimate work. But the one thing that most everyone agrees on is that we must secure the borders. We're not even close to that goal, and Obama will do nothing to advance it.

Unknown said...

tryanmax: I do read the Spanish-language newspapers from time to time just to see what's up. Like our own MSM, the vast majority are left wing and pro-open borders. MEChA, MALDEF and other irredentist organizations heavily influence the texts. They carry the same message as our open borders crowd with the addition of taking back the Southwest for Mexico. Almost every edition includes instructions on how to enter the US illegally and how to get around the system if caught. And now Obama has a czar to help them.

T-Rav said...

The funny thing to me is, how many Hispanics there are who have come here legally and are very much against illegal immigration. Whenever this subject comes up on talk radio, you can usually count on at least one or two Mexican-Americans to call in and talk about how they followed the system and got through it just fine and all the illegals should be made to do so as well. And yet we're all racists for wanting to secure the borders. Of course.

Unknown said...

T-Rav: My lifelong best friend, my college buddy and both my sons-in-law are of Mexican heritage. They all oppose illegal immigration, and are even tougher on the issue than I am. They're all first generation native-born Americans whose families came here legally, followed all the rules, and became proud naturalized American citizens. But I can also see that hint of offense they feel when the nativists go off on their "get rid of all of them" thing.

Individualist said...


The problem I have most with our country's immigration policy with the country of Mexico (and yes the majority of the illegals are Mexicans so we need to identify this fact) is that the country most hurt byu it is Mexico.

While the Mexican government can claim somehting like a 16 billion dollar beneifit ( I heard once not sure of the actual number) every year in payments made to illegals in welfare or under the table jobs that find their way back top Mexico I beleive the ultimate loss of worker productivity is much worse in the end.

This is hard to see because it is an opportunity cost to Mexico. The workers leave Mexico to provide cheap labor for America. This lowers the productivity of both countries. There is pelnty of fertile land in Mexico I am certain which I do not beleive is fully used.

Furthermore by not providing the services necessary to take care of their population in schools and medicine and what have you Mexico ends up poorer.

The drug cartels have the ability to operate with such impunity I believe because the country is poor and encourages this lawlessness.

Somehow however it is never considered that if America is to have an increase in 10 million Mexicans in this country's poipulation what does that do to the country of Mexico that loses those people.

Even worse the low slave wages illegals are paid on the vinyards and farms picking vegetables and the welfare payments while a one time economic boon for the few Mexicans that recieve them are far less than would be say a job in Mexico if the Mexican Government had the same protections that American worlers do.

Either prospect which is what has been gpoing on for over 80 years is detrimental to both America and Mexico economically but it is much more devastating to the economy of Mexico.

And Mexico itself does have some advantages in trade they could take advantage of. CEMEX for instance has a 40% market share of the cement industry worlwide and is based in Mexico city. There are resources that could be tapped in that country and I think they are not being tapped which makes both our countries even poorer.

Unknown said...

Indi: Corrupt socialist governments rely on having to do little, control much and find a way to use other people's money in a way most advantageous to the government elite without any care for where or how the money is earned. Your summary is an excellent example of how that works. The potential wealth of Mexico is far less important to the ruling elite than the current wealth it creates for them.

Post a Comment