Five Years for 'Encouraging' Illegal Immigration

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who never saw a criminal penalty that couldn't be improved by making it harsher, has introduced a bill that would impose a three-year mandatory minimum sentence on anyone who, with an expectation of financial gain, "assists, encourages, directs, or induces" two or more foreigners to illegally reside in the U.S. The penalty rises to five years if the encouragement leads to a crime punishable by more than a year in prison. Families Against Mandatory Minimums notes that "the five-year mandatory minimum will nearly always apply because the bill would also increase the maximum penalty for illegal entry to a year and a day and provides mandatory minimum penalties of one to 10 years for those who reenter the country following deportation." Sensenbrenner's committee is scheduled to vote on the bill today, without any hearings.

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  1. If you picked randomly from the phone book you probably wouldn’t have a worse group of people to run the country than the congress we have.

    I sometimes wonder how long I could last as a congressman, voting no on every single bill, every single one, and likewise never succeeding with any bill of my own since no one would vote for it since most of the voting that goes on is tit-for-tat.

    How long could I keep it up before breaking down and compromising and voting for bills that I know are terrible just to garner votes for my own?

    I don’t see how congress can ever be change for the better.

    nmg

  2. In a closely related story, I read yesterday that the GAO is going to release a report next week disputing that the US government’s war on drugs, especially as it relates to Colombia, is working, as was recently claimed.

    The war on immigrants is the government’s search for commonality–as joe was speaking of about government christmas trees–intended to give most of us warm fuzzies.

  3. Like anything is ever going to happen that would cut off Republican campaign contributors from their supply of cheap labor.

  4. I say it’s just what the doctor ordered. Now if we could only get the government to try to enforce these laws.

  5. nmg: You could be Ron Paul. I don’t know his entire record, but his congressional nickname is Doctor NO (he’s an M.D. OB/GYN). He has been in office 11(?) years and hasn’t been kicked out of the Republican party either!

    His district is in south texas (outside of Houston) and I think the Republicans are afraid a Demogog or a Libertarian (or an Independent) would win his seat. I also have no information on his “bring-home-the-bacon” record either.

  6. Ruthless, I think you’ve got it backwards. The Republicans’ immigration proposals are not “a search for commonality,” but just the opposite: the deliberate use of the issue to sow division among the public. Republicans simply cannot win elections unless half the country is hating the other half, so they deliberately formulate the most extreme and offensive – though usually meaningless and unenforceable – legislation in an attempt to get “Blue Staters” and “Red Staters” screaming at each other.

    Hence, this bill, and Tom Tancredo’s “anchor babies” bill. If they seem outrageous, they’re meant to be. When your 51% is slipping away, you try to work the wedge politics.

  7. I’m thinking this is a topic that relates somehow to the gay marriage debate.

    Can’t quite put my finger on it.

    Ah, yes, the question about the sacredness of marriage. So does this mean that 1) If the gov continues to disallow gay marriage, they should also crack down on people who marry because they’re being paid to do so? or 2) If the gov allows gay marriage, they must allow mercenary marriage as well? I’m not sure it does, but it’s interesting to contemplate. Also, where to maiil-order-brides fit in?

    (I think these two issues go together in my head because a gay friend of mine recently got paid to marry a woman who wanted papers.)

  8. joe,
    I’m sticking with my point.
    All politicians like to stand up and claim to represent the values of every right-thinking, common sense-out-the-wazoo constituent. Every right-thinking person hates them pesky furriners that don’t speak English.

    Does red meat cause masturbation or the other way around?

  9. Neither party can win elections unless half the country is hating the other half, so they deliberately formulate the most extreme and offensive – though usually meaningless and unenforceable – legislation in an attempt to get “Blue Staters” and “Red Staters” screaming at each other.

    Fixed your post joe

    nmg

  10. Ruthless,

    We’re both right. People like Sensenbrenner and Tancredo seek commonality among people who are already just like them. They seek it by pointing fingers at people who aren’t just like them, and encouraging the rest of the in-group to do the same.

    Step 2 is to get all the finger-pointers to take note of who isn’t joining in the finger-pointing, and call them weirdos.

    Step 3 is to get the “common folk” to point their fingers at the weirdos.

  11. nmg,

    Except for Kerry campaign, the Gore campaign, the second Clinton campaign, and the first Clinton campaign – you’re right!

  12. “(I think these two issues go together in my head because a gay friend of mine recently got paid to marry a woman who wanted papers.)”

    linguist,
    The time is ripe for another underground railroad.

  13. “Step 3 is to get the “common folk” to point their fingers at the weirdos.”

    joe,
    This doesn’t require a Karl Rove. It’s as natural as sex.

  14. So if this bill passes will the US be extraditing Vicente Fox…..ROTFLMAO at my own joke.

  15. How long could I keep it up before breaking down and compromising and voting for bills that I know are terrible just to garner votes for my own?

    I had this debate once at Catallarchy. The debate was over whether log rolling is corruption. Politics is what it is. You can either vote your principles and get nothing done, or make compromises. In the end, I’m pragmatic. I’d vote no on core principles but would likely compromise on outliers if I thought I could get something important accomplished.

  16. I’d vote no on core principles but would likely compromise on outliers if I thought I could get something important accomplished.

    Right. And when was the last time Congress got something important accomplished?

  17. I’d vote no on core principles but would likely compromise on outliers if I thought I could get something important accomplished.

    Makes it tough if one of your core principles is that the federal govt should only fund the military and other national incidentals.

  18. joe – um…. gore and kerry lost.

    clinton triangulated. he did a good job of splitting the fundies like that. but he also benefitted greatly from perot. he probably still woulda won. but the backlash was in 1994.

    and i do think kerry tried to go after the anti war vote – the war he was for, that one. he and gore really owe us an apology to let this current fucker win. hrumph.

  19. OTOH could we, under the proposed law, indict Congress for setting up black market opportunities that attract illegal immigration?

  20. Makes it tough if one of your core principles is that the federal govt should only fund the military and other national incidentals.

    True ’nuff. However, things aren’t so clear cut at the state and local level. Although nmg was discussing Congress, log rolling is an issue at any level of politics. I don’t personally feel as though I’ve been “corrupted by politics” by logrolling on issues in the local political scene I’m involved in.

  21. a bill that would impose a three-year mandatory minimum sentence on anyone who, with an expectation of financial gain, “assists, encourages, directs, or induces” two or more foreigners to illegally reside in the U.S.

    Wait a second. At least once a week I encourage the free migration of billions of people on the principle that voluntary association among free people will make society as a whole — including myself — wealthier.

    I realize that First Amendment rights are coming under greater and greater political stricture. But are proscriptions of ex post facto prosecutions still en vogue?

  22. I don’t know where everyone posting here lives, but I drive through the effects of illegal immigration every day in Los Angeles, and I have only two words for you: Pico Union. Google the term if you sincerely want an idea of the more visceral, negative effects of our [lack of] immigration enforcement efforts.

    In an area of Los Angeles that was once a thriving, middle class area known in its heyday for nightlife and socializing, living conditions are now at depression levels. I simply don’t understand why we Libertarians, largely, continue to espouse the one-way immigration policy at the core of this problem.

    See, at least in Europe, if your country allows in migrants from a bordering nation, you likewise have the option to travel to that neighboring nation and have a realistic chance of finding a decent, comparable or even a better job.

    In LA, we are importing poverty and driving out the middle class from Los Angeles. You can’t even find a decent bachelor apartment under $1000 without roosters running around in the courtyard and banda music blaring all night. Does anyone remember quality of life? Or care about it?

    I know that it’s easy to sit amongst the ivy on the East Coast without facing the effects of illegal immigration at ground level in the Southwest.

    Furthermore, it’s tremendously disingenuous for we Libertarians to overlook the basic economic injustice of allowing illegal aliens to take advantage of taxpayer-funded welfare services (that we purport to oppose in the first place!) and to ignore the trouncing of the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law, whereby illegals don’t have bother meeting such civic requirements as serving on juries, filing income taxes or even showing up for court when ticketed or arrested. This makes chumps of American citizens and demeans the value of our citizenship.

    In short, we Libertarians have forgotten what we are about in this debate, that first and foremost we should stand for individual freedom and equality, which translates to fairness and reciprocity.

    All that said, I really wouldn’t have a problem with unrestricted immigration from Mexico if the benefits were cut off on this side and if Mexico would let me cross the border and look for work on their side. But we all know their economy simply can’t offer such opportunities for Americans presently and won’t be able to any time soon.

    Until that’s the case, and until we have a two-way immigration policy, open border advocates are only putting themselves out there as a bunch of suckers.

    Unfortunately it’s LA residents like me who are left with the bitter taste.

  23. “I don’t see how congress can ever be change for the better.”

    Did you ever see Mars Attacks, nmg?

    Right in the middle of the movie Congress is perfected.

    See y’all later. Timmy’ll probably ban me for “inciting violence” or something like that. Let’s hope he’s gotten laid recently.

  24. If they wanted to discourage companies who encourage illegal immigration in order to pay low wages and have abusive working conditions, anti-immigration people – the ones who are great friends of labor, and aren’t at all just trying to latch onto the movement to further a xenophobic agenda – could always just work to improve enforcement of minimum wage, maximum hour, and workplace safety laws.

    Yet somehow, that never seems to come up.

  25. “I know that it’s easy to sit amongst the ivy on the East Coast without facing the effects of illegal immigration at ground level in the Southwest.”

    I live in an ivy covered East Cost city that has the second highest % of southeast Asians in the country, most of whom came here as desperately poor refugees.

    And you can blow me.

  26. In short, we Libertarians have forgotten what we are about in this debate, that first and foremost we should stand for individual freedom and equality, which translates to fairness and reciprocity.

    Wow. Your decoder ring translates differently from mine.

    When I enter “freedom”, I don’t get “fairness”. I get “freedom from the initiation of force” — like, say, not being kidnapped, imprisoned, and unwillingly transported because you crossed a line on a map.

    When I enter “equality”, I don’t get “reciprocity”. I get “equality under the law” — like, say, not legislating discrimination against someone because they happen to be of a different nationality.

  27. Hear Me Out,
    You’re a snob.
    You should be deported.

  28. MikeP,
    How can you have freedom and equality if they are not based on fairness and reciprocity? Current immigration policy and enforcement give illegal residents many legs up over legal citizens.

    These illegals crossed a line on a map illegally. I suppose the property demarcation of your home is just a line on a map? Well then, I’ll be coming over this evening to camp out on your front lawn. Have breakfast prepared for me by 8am and a pair of warms slippers ready.

    Oh, and I’ll need at least $200 cash from you to get me and the ninos through the week.

    It’s entirely fine to discriminate based on nationality, which is nothing more than the passport someone carries. Like, we don’t give out Social Security to those of Latvian nationality. Discrimination based on ethnicity is not appropriate, which is what I believe you meant, but which is not the case with immigration legislation.

  29. what … is juanita channeling lonewacko today?

    or did that william deppert moron get hit with the brevity stick?

    whatever happens, i’m sure stronger adherence to unionization and more corporate welfare will take care of it 🙂

  30. Discrimination based on ethnicity is not appropriate, which is what I believe you meant, but which is not the case with immigration legislation.

    No, I meant nationality. I meant exactly nationality. It is a mostly irrelevant characteristic of individuals and usually an accident of birth.

    Yet somehow people who would detest discrimination based on other circumstances of birth are blinded to the fact that immigration law is exactly that.

    Immigration law is the moral equivalent of apartheid, pure and simple.

  31. Hear me out – I live in Arizona, so I’ve seen below average neighbourhoods become barrios. But it doesn’t really bother me. Hispanics are generally polite and hard-working. I wonder, if we kicked all the illegals out of AZ and CA, who’d wash dishes at our favourite restaurants, among other things (not to mention, some of our favourite restaurants being run by hispanics serving hispanic food – yum!)? Who would help to build our office buildings and houses?

    While I agree it sucks to have much of my state taxes going to people who don’t pay them (and we’re talking both hispanics here illegally and the people that can hire them without paying payroll taxes), the issue is the welfare state, not immigration. The economies of AZ, CA, TX, NM, etc would absolutely tank if we tried to close the boarders, if that’s even anywhere near possible in the first place.

    So, in short, I think you’re wrong.

  32. So if this bill passes will the US be extraditing Vicente Fox…..ROTFLMAO at my own joke.

    I see the Statue of Liberty being led away in handcuffs…

    “Give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

  33. “”Give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!””

    … und zen schoot zem for trezzpazzing…

    ja. jawohl

    lady liberty in bondage. ooooo ja. mit doze kupkakez. und dat merkin.

  34. I like this bill. Now we just need to find two people who came here illegally for the government income-redistribution and we can imprsion most of Congress.

  35. toMikeP,

    It may soothe your worries about illegal immigration if you spent some time to understand the economics of trade.

    Worrying about the one-way migration of workers between Mexico and the US is like worrying about machines taking advantage of human laborers via the one-way utilization of their services in factories. (“If only there was reciprocity and humans could work for the machines, all would be well!” sounds kind of silly.) Automation makes the producer, and therefore the economy, more productive and wealthier. It lowers the costs of the produced goods to the consumer. It raises the real wages of other workers who no longer have to do work that was easy enough for a machine to do.

    Yes, automation does displace those workers who were replacable. But in the healthier and wealthier economy, those people should be able to move up the chain of employment.

    Employing immigrant labor offers exactly the same results.

    Now you do make the fair point that some illegal immigrants consume public services without paying taxes for them. The solution here is, of course, to allow them to work legally! Make them register at the embassy or border. Have them pass their background checks. Then issue them yellow cards granting their status as legal immigrants. Done.

  36. Employing immigrant labor offers exactly the same results.

    Oh, and if anyone brings up immigrants displacing high-end workers such as software developers, I’ve got a comparison with compilers just waiting for you.

  37. I know that it’s easy to sit amongst the ivy on the East Coast without facing the effects of illegal immigration at ground level in the Southwest.

    We’ve got so many immigrants, many of whom are illegal, here in Connecticut that more and more of the help-wanted ads require people to speak Spanish as well as English. And there’s no ivy anywhere in town. But, hey! I know it’s easy to sit on those Western beaches letting the sun bake all the sense out of your head.

    (See how useless geographic assumptions are in debates such as this?)

    Immigration policy: we won’t discriminate against you for being brown, we’ll discriminate against you for being born in a country full of brown people! Vive le difference.

  38. Jen girl,
    Did ya stop to think that maybe I am Hispanic as well — and that I am also criticizing illegal immigration? Actually, by allowing in a flood of people from Mexico illegally, you are discriminating against all the other people of other skin colors who are waiting in line to get in legally — and whose countries are farther away, meaning that they can’t just hop across the border.

    I think all that poison ivy has scorched your brain.

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