GOP Senate: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Especially If the Fences Keep Out Mexicans.

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Via Breitbart.com comes an AP account of how the "Senate OKs Border Fence, Mulls Citizenship":

The Senate voted to build 370 miles of triple-layered fencing along the Mexican border Wednesday and clashed over citizenship for millions of men and women who live in the United States illegally.

Amid increasingly emotional debate over election-year immigration legislation, senators voted 83-16 to add fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers along the southern border. It marked the first significant victory in two days for conservatives seeking to place their stamp on the contentious measure….

The high point of the article comes when Alabama Republican channels Robert Frost–or Erich Honecker, whatever–on the subject of fences:

"Good fences make good neighbors, fences don't make bad neighbors," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. He said border areas where barriers already exist have experienced economic improvement and reduced crime.

Hey, Senator, did you know that cities that have more immigrants kick ass in terms of economic growth? And that your president's own press secretary says that immigrants don't cause crime?

But don't sweat it–we're building a wall and sending National Guard troops down there, but it's not like we're militarizing the Mexican border or anything.

One of the defining moments of the 20th century came when the Berlin Wall was pulled down. Here's hoping that the building of a wall to keep people out of the Land of Opportunity isn't one of the defining moments of the 21st.

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  1. The difference of course, is that the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, whereas this wall will be built to keep people out.

    I really have trouble with people equating the Berlin Wall with a border wall with Mexico. The Berlin wall cut off Germans from Germans, and prevented people with legal status (citizens of each German Republic automatically had citizenship in the other) from using that status to their benefit.

    This is a case of apples and oranges on so many levels….

  2. Good points,but a big minus for the gratuitous Berlin Wall reference – which was erected by a Communist dictatorship to keep its “citizens” in what was basically a giant open-air prison.Mexico is,of course,neither.

  3. You’d think these people are trying to sneak in in order to plant bombs in cafes. No, they just want a job. Selfish bastards!

    Well, the silver lining is that this will have a natural selection process to it. Only the smarter, more cunning folks will make it through.

    Or at least the ones with enough money to bribe the border guards.

  4. Are you honestly comparing a fence along the US/Mexican border with the Berlin Wall (or any other barrier along the Iron Curtain)? Apples and oranges. Hey, they’re both fruits, right?

    This issue was already polarized to begin with, and has become remarkably more so of late, which is sad. On one extreme side you have people that don’t want borders at all, and on the other extreme side you have people that roll out that old canard that immigrants “cost American jobs” and “increase crime”. The first is unwise, the other untrue.

    The middle of America knows the solution: keep the illegals — and unknowns — out, while welcoming large numbers of legal immigrants in. A fence will contribute to the first goal, and not prevent the second from taking place. Let them in to find their own American dream in millions — I have no problem with that. Let’s just do better in ensuring that they aren’t criminals or terrorists.

  5. Jason,
    How about we let all those illegals in legaly and forget about the wall

  6. I think that Frost’s intention was to point out that the fence actually was not a good thing in neighbor-to-neighbor relations.

    If only the smart and/or rich ones get in, does that mean that they’ll be taking the jobs of politicians away from Americans who would have otherwise applied for them. Maybe some good could come from building a fence afterall…

  7. Election-year pandering to the xenophobes and outright racists.

    Here’s a question that I want to ask every one of the folks who claim that they’re “all in favor of immigrants – legal immigrants”:

    If the problem is that Mexicans and others are breaking the law to enter this country, might it not make sense to make the law easier to comply with? Why do we have such tiny quotas for immigration from South and Central America?

    What is the case for maintaining the current immigration regime?

    Sit back and watch the racist arguments pop out of their mouths…

  8. “The difference of course, is that the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, whereas this wall will be built to keep people out.”

    So we’ve invented the world’s first mono-directional wall? Anyone wishing to cross the border from US to Mexico can just walk through it, all incorporeal style?

    Wow. I love modern technology.

  9. The difference of course, is that the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, whereas this wall will be built to keep people out.

    Of course, but there is a more fundamental similarity between them. In both cases some people have decided that they know better than individuals who should and should not be allowed to associate with one another. It is still built with the clear purpose of preventing one human from freely choosing to live and work wherever he can find someone willing to rent to him and hire him; both private transactions that ought not to be anyone’s business. On that level, I’m not sure it matters which side of the border the wall is built on or by whom it is built – it is still an immoral act. And just so nobody says I am claiming that they are exactly the same, it is fine to make the case that one is more wrong than the other, and in many ways I would agree. That they are not identical does not render all philosophical comparisons inapt.

  10. Here’s a little tip from Uncle highnumber:

    Don’t call the immigrant-haters racists or xenophobes. They don’t like it. In fact they get really upset. Maybe too upset…

  11. If the rage-mask fits…

  12. mediageek, your sarcasm is noted and recorded in a bunker in Idaho.

    Obviously, the government will issue to each U.S. citizen one Acme Hole?. Portable, convenient, and guaranteed to work on any surface.

  13. Regardless of what your opinion of immigration is, this is all just crap. How does a 300 mile wall solve anything? What about the other 1000 or so miles? There is no way that you can keep the National Guard deployed on the border forever, so that is pointless. The bottomline is that the Senate doesn’t want to stop illegal immigration but wants to keep their jobs, so they are doing a bunch of meaningless things in hopes that the issue will just go away. The good news for people who don’t want the U.S. to have a border is that this bill is absolutely meaningless and things will go on just as the are. The bad news for everyone is that we have a bunch of cynical liars in Congress.

  14. Hey, Senator, did you know that cities that have more immigrants kick ass in terms of economic growth?

    Is it even possible to be both pro-free trade and anti-immigration? …Is it possible to be both and logically consistent, I mean?

    I can understand why racists might, for instance, support free trade hoping that if foreigners find jobs at home, they won’t come here. …but then racism is fundamentally illogical.

  15. There is nothing xenophobic about a country deciding how many immigrants to allow in.

    The current system delegates immigration policy to the Mexican government.

    What I hate most about the open border is that it incents the government to develop a national ID system for employment. This will necessarily have to be expanded to citizens in order for it to work.

    If you want truly free association within your own borders, you need some sort of barrier along the borders.

    In other words, I’d prefer immigration enforcement to occur at the border, and not at my job.

  16. this is all just crap. How does a 300 mile wall solve anything? What about the other 1000 or so miles?

    Shhhhh. Congress thinks Mexico hasn’t invented the bus yet. Let’em have their fun.

  17. Anyone wishing to cross the border from US to Mexico can just walk through it, all incorporeal style?

    If its OK with the Mexicans, you can walk right into Mexico anytime you want, wall or no wall. The US doesn’t try to stop people from leaving the country.

    Brian Courts, the differences between a wall built to keep someone out, and one built to keep someone in, are more fundamental than you let on.

    Yeah, they both prevent someone from doing what they want wherever they want, but I think most people would say that fencing in your property to keep your neighbors out is pretty unobjectionable. Fencing in their property to keep them in, or fencing in your property to prevent someone from leaving, on the other hand, are likely to be criminal acts.

  18. The bad news for everyone is that we have a bunch of cynical liars in Congress.

    Well John, I certainly agree with you on that point.

    And damnit! Who the hell do you have to blow around here to get a comment posted anyway? Geez this is getting ridiculous. Is it some kind of system like the two-years in the military thing to see who really wants to post before allowing him into the forum? Ok, sorry for the rant, it?s been a long day and I?m feeling agitated… must be the Adderall.

  19. The difference of course, is that the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, whereas this wall will be built to keep people out.

    These kinds of comparisons are interesting because of their differences. It would have been absurd, for instance, for West Germany to have built the Berlin Wall.

    …but that’s what we’re doing.

  20. Bubba –

    You can’t enforce the borders. Period. Stop making that claim. You can increase enforcement in a few targeted areas. At best you’ll turn the flow into a trickle for a little while. People will still come in and you’ll still ‘need’ the national I.D.

  21. Yeah, they both prevent someone from doing what they want wherever they want, but I think most people would say that fencing in your property to keep your neighbors out is pretty unobjectionable. Fencing in their property to keep them in, or fencing in your property to prevent someone from leaving, on the other hand, are likely to be criminal acts.

    Absolutely, RC. But first, fencing your property is fine because it is in fact your property. The more relevant comparison would be my neighbors deciding to fence the neighborhood off and refusing to allow me to invite, rent to, offer a job too, etc. anyone I want on my property (and doing so solely on the basis of the person’s place of birth to boot!). That should be plainly wrong.

    At any rate, I said there are ways in which they are different – and I have no problem with saying one is worse than the other, as I said. I was simply pointing out one way they are similar which is fundamentally relevant to what I see as pretty basic human freedom.

  22. fencing in their property to keep them in, or fencing in your property to prevent someone from leaving, on the other hand, are likely to be criminal acts.

    “Hey, Bill, I hate to be a fussy freddy here, but why are you building a fence around my house?”

  23. Nick Hefe, the USA is an attractive nuisance. A wall might hurt your feelings and mine too but it will keep people from dying in the desert and in car trunks. We owe it to people to build a fence. We should put one up along the Mexico-Guatemala border as well. Our neighbors feel the need to have some control over the border. So give them the fence, and then sell them on stamping in a lot more Mexicans legally than we currently do.

  24. Hey, can somebody wrest the server squirrels out of that bear’s mouth and get them back to work??

  25. This is craziness. I don’t care if there are 20 million Mother Theresas on the other side of the border trying to get in to help the impoverished. That doesn’t mean they have a right to be here and it doesn’t mean we should avoid trying to keep them out.

    There are ways for good people to get in legally. If it is too costly or too time-consuming, NOT OUR PROBLEM.

  26. That doesn’t mean they have a right to be here and it doesn’t mean we should avoid trying to keep them out.

    Again, a question about what’s smart elicits an answer about what’s legal.

  27. What is the case for maintaining the current immigration regime?

    I’m not sure there is one. Well, a good one that stands up to rigorous examination, anyway. Whatever ones thoughts on immigrants (lots vs none)
    the current situation is ludicrous.

    I would prefer better control of the border, however that is achieved, a simpler means of obtaining citizenship and much higher limits on immigration. I’m not quite ready for the anybody can go anywhere plan favored by most of the denizens of this blog, though.

  28. Brian, you don’t have to blow anyone but you do need to send a check. Make it out to Reason Foundation. Put a note in the memo section:

    new server fund

    Reason survives on donations. There ain’t no Sugar Daddy.

  29. We owe it to people to build a fence.

    Are you in the habit of deciding for others what’s best for them, or do you only do it when you need to desparately justify your fears about immigration?

    Not to mention (okay, I’ll mention it) that the harder you try to keep people out, the worse shit they go through to try to get in.

    At least

  30. I’m not quite ready for the anybody can go anywhere plan favored by most of the denizens of this blog, though.

    I don’t understand why single mothers, for instance, before they hire someone affordable to watch their children, should have to check with you and find out whether you’re ready for it.

  31. I was gonna say:

    At least you’re with us on letting more in. But y’know what, if we did that, the wall wouldn’t be necessary. And furthermore, the USA would cease to be “an attractive nuisance” that you feel a need to protect others from.

  32. I don’t care if there are 20 million Mother Theresas on the other side of the border trying to get in to help the impoverished. That doesn’t mean they have a right to be here

    At least I agree with you that making judgments about immigrants is irrelevant. What’s relevant is they’re folks.

    There are ways for good people to get in legally.

    But only a very small percentage of the ones who want to. Otherwise they’d do it legally, right? Raise the quotas to match demand, and there’d be no need for a wall, not our problem or not.

  33. Fyodor, we can always tear it down later if people come to their senses. It’s just a wall. Converting the odd live Mexican into condor food isn’t the libertarian answer to anything.

  34. @Clean Hands

    Here’s a question that I want to ask every one of the folks who claim that they’re “all in favor of immigrants – legal immigrants”:

    If the problem is that Mexicans and others are breaking the law to enter this country, might it not make sense to make the law easier to comply with?

    No, it would not, because the object of the law is to qualify the immigrants who enter. The objection isn’t simply that some obscure and abstract point of law is being violated, it’s that the function that the law is supposed to perform is being circumvented. What you’re proposing is essentially creating more A students by lowering the requirements for getting an A.

    @ Brian Courts

    The more relevant comparison would be my neighbors deciding to fence the neighborhood off and refusing to allow me to invite, rent to, offer a job too, etc. anyone I want on my property (and doing so solely on the basis of the person’s place of birth to boot!). That should be plainly wrong.

    The problem is that in this case you aren’t just inviting them onto your property, you’re inviting them into the public commons, while at the same time abdicating any personal responsibility for how their actions might effect others. Your analogy might have some validity if you were planning to personally escort them from the border onto your premises, and then escort them back after you had completed your business with them. But that isn’t what you have in mind, is it?

    @Ken Shultz

    Is it even possible to be both pro-free trade and anti-immigration? …Is it possible to be both and logically consistent, I mean?

    Well, apparently Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, Ron Paul and Hans-Hermann Hoppe thought so.

    What does immigration have to do with trade? I bought an iPod from Apple, and it was shipped to me directly from China. Surely, you’re not telling me you have to live next door to me to sell me something, do you?

    @Ken Shultz, again

    Again, a question about what’s smart elicits an answer about what’s legal.

    I’m still waiting to hear what’s smart about allowing massive immigration. So far, the only argument I’ve heard from the alienists have been attacks on the people who don’t think it’s such a hot idea, and touching remembrances about people’s grandfathers.

  35. “That doesn’t mean they have a right to be here.”

    There’s another one! …ask about what’s smart–get a answer about what’s legal.

    Ken Shultz: “Hey, isn’t this stupid? …aren’t we shooting ourselves in the foot?”

    Anti-Immigrant Dude: “We have a right to shoot ourselves in the foot!”

  36. Well, apparently Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, Ron Paul and Hans-Hermann Hoppe thought so.

    I’d question all those references, but the appeal to authority argument is so persuasive–I just don’t that I can!

    I’m still waiting to hear what’s smart about allowing massive immigration.

    You must have missed the “more immigrants kick ass” link above and ignored what you read there.

  37. Ken Shultz you are very funny. And the anti-immigrant dudes are hell bent on shooting themselves in the foot and they are a majority of our fellow citizens. We are going to go nowhere trying to talk them out of it. Let’s just try to talk them into doing it in the back of a truck, with a block of ice handy, and us ready to drive them to ER.

  38. Very good point, TWC, and as soon as I’m done with grad school and can more easily afford to do so, I would be glad to help them out (to do it now would either mean getting rid of high-speed internet or eating less – and porn or food is not a choice I care to make!). 🙂

    But seriously, it really is the best place on the internet for interesting and intelligent political discourse. I mean, really, where else can you get such good writing on such an eclectic (I really hate that word but it seems appropriate anyway) array of topics including, but not limited to, politics, economics, culture, and science, all sprinkled with a liberal er.. libertarian does of obscure TV, movie and music references? That and the commenters are the best anywhere (my own occasional blathering notwithstanding), even those I might vehemently disagree with on some issues. Sure you have to put up with the occasional clown (not naming names!) but overall it is hands down my favorite place to avoid doing research and working on my thesis.

  39. I wonder if the American Indians would agree that unrestricted immigration was such a good idea.

  40. Mannix, given that the quotas are so much higher for Europeans than they are for South and Central Americans, doesn’t that imply something about what the “qualification” is?

  41. The problem is that in this case you aren’t just inviting them onto your property, you’re inviting them into the public commons, while at the same time abdicating any personal responsibility for how their actions might effect others.

    Mr. Mannix, why should I have any responsibility for them? They are not little kids who need my permission or supervision. I certainly wouldn’t feel any personal responsibility for how your actions affect others on your trip through the public commons to get to my place if I invited you over. Why should it be different for them?

    Your analogy might have some validity if you were planning to personally escort them from the border onto your premises, and then escort them back after you had completed your business with them. But that isn’t what you have in mind, is it?

    No it certainly wasn’t. Again, that makes no sense – why should I have to escort them anywhere? I just argued that they should be free to live and work wherever they can find someone willing to rent to, and hire, them. That private transaction should be the same for them as it is for you or me.

    What I mean is quite simple. As human beings, they should be free to live and work freely, subject to the same treatment from the state as I am. If I can drive on a public road and not concern myself with how my actions are increasing traffic or congestion on the road, then they should be free to do the same. Under my plan to treat immigrants the same as I am treated, they will have to comply with the same laws I must comply with (i.e. paying taxes, fees, basic criminal law compliance, etc.) and they will be entitled to the same benefits as I am entitled to (freedom to live where one wants, work any job you can get, travel to and from the country freely, use of all public services, etc.). No need for any escorts. Simple as that.

  42. Prior to 1921, while there was occasional nativist sentiment for literacy tests and the like, there were not quotas. There were explicitly racist immigration laws, such as the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, but not quotas.

    The Quota Act of 1921 limited annual immigration to 3% of the 1910 census, cutting legal immigration overnight by 80%.

    In 1924, the Johnson-Reed Act put an openly racist spin on quotas, specifying that immigrants would only be permitted in proportion to their representation among those already here – in 1890, before certain groups had started showing up in large numbers. (Italians were the dirty immigrants at that time…)

    Today, we have a system that is, to put it mildly, byzantine. “Green cards” (legal residency permits) are handed out under strict quotas to immigrants with family here or who have secured jobs ahead of time, and then there is a “lottery” for people with neither, who just want to come in.

    The lottery is only open to citizens of countries that have been underrepresented in the prior five years in total immigration, which will pretty well leave Mexico off the list forever.

    So, the “qualifications” are either that you have family here, or you’ve secured a job here before so much as setting foot on US soil. Not only that, but the quotas are so low that your waiting period will be years long.

    Let’s be serious here – this isn’t about “qualifying” immigrants. It’s about excluding them.

  43. Clean Hands – seriously. When my hard-working Canadian friends can’t even get permission to work and live here, there’s something not right. (Ok, they don’t work that hard, but they aren’t collecting welfare checks, either.)

    Is that a bigoted thing for me to say? No, I’m just pointing out that it’s incredibly hard for someone even many of the xenophobic anti-immigrant folks wouldn’t mind letting in to get in. Many of my Canadian friends want to live here permanently, but again, they actually have jobs and contribute to society. Why is it so hard for them to get in?

    God forbid you’re dark-skinned and don’t speak perfect English (oh, wait, who speaks perfect English anyway?).

  44. I agree, Lowdog – we should return to the pre-1921 situation, where there are no quotas. Then they can have their fences along the borders, for all I care.

  45. Why is it that the editors at this site only post links that back up their predetermined policy preferences instead of stimulating debate?

    The record is far from clear about the effects of massive, unregulated immigration. There is substantial evidence that the most recent wave which started soon after the 1986 amnesty is not assimilating very well.

    Why not post an occasional link to something that might stimulate thought and debate instead of reflexive, circle-jerk-like promotion of an utterly unworkable policy?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/16/AR2006051601367.html

  46. Dirty Hands,

    For starters, what America is seeing now is not the effect of massive, unregulated immigration, rather the effect of an idiotic attempt to regulate it.

    And it would be nice if people remembered these words :

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Notice, it does not say “all Americans are created equal”. Nor does it say “all men are equal, but those with PhD are more equal than those without”.

  47. Why is it that the editors at this site only post links that back up their predetermined policy preferences instead of stimulating debate?

    So, I’m guessin’ your Washington Post link contradicts you, right?

    The record is far from clear about the effects of massive, unregulated immigration. There is substantial evidence that the most recent wave which started soon after the 1986 amnesty is not assimilating very well.

    The editors here have argued, repeatedly, that the record is far from clear. …and suggested that the results of the ’86 legislation should be considered mixed at best.

    Why not post an occasional link to something that might stimulate thought and debate instead of reflexive, circle-jerk-like promotion of an utterly unworkable policy?

    If you’re talkin’ about open borders, the policy seemed to work pretty well for most of our history.

  48. A few minutes ago I complimented Jim Borgman, editorial cartoonist for the Cincinnati Enquirer, on his blog site (getting to be a part of many newspapers), for his cartoon in today’s Inkwar (Enquirer).
    It’s simply the image of the wall between the US and Mexico seen from the Mexican side. Barely visible above the wall is the flame of the Statue of Liberty.

  49. There should be no reward for line jumping cheaters!

    It’s just that simple.

    PS. Think Great Wall of China – not Berlin Wall.

    MR BUSH, BUILD THAT WALL!

  50. Ruthless, got a link for that? I’d love to spread that around.

  51. I’ve heard that the Great Wall of China was not to keep invaders from the north out. Instead, it was to make sure that they couldn’t carry much back with them if they planned on looting and returning to their country.

  52. I don’t understand why single mothers, for instance, before they hire someone affordable to watch their children, should have to check with you and find out whether you’re ready for it.

    Stop snarking and make an argument. For one thing, your comment is a non-sequitor, since we’re talking about immigration, something related to but which is not the same as a desire for cheap child care.

    But, to give your comment more sense than it has built into it, the reason they have to check with me is that immigration is a matter of public policy, and I get to have an opinion. That doggone democracy thing, y’know?

  53. This is all just bluster .

    As a long time small “l” libertarian, I can see the attraction of an open border. But seriously guys, you are out to lunch on this issue. I invite all of you high minded folks to spend a week or two living in an isolated ranch or farm house along the border in a “high traffic” area, and see if your opinions are altered. This isn’t a racist thing for many people. Their land, livestock, and dammit, their LIVES are often at risk from the human wave of illegals streaming across their property. Here I thought Libertarians prized private property..

    Cars stolen, livestock slaughterd, houses broken into, and oh yes, the occasional rape and assault happens quite often. Because the media chooses NOT to report, do not think it does not happen. If someone is smashing your door or window to get in to your house, who here REALLY supposes that it is incumbent on the homeowner to determine if it is a desperate migrant, looking for food and water, or a Coyote, looking for a little opportunistic pillage before darting back across the border?

    This isn’t a race issue for me. It is an issue of sovereignty and security.

    Full disclosure: I am a South Texas land owner.

  54. Hold it.

    “alienists?”

    Wilco Tango Foxtrot?

  55. Oh, one more thing,

    Gillespie: Your little snide remark about militarizing the border? The Mexicans have already done that. When the Mexican military escorts drug shipments, and fires on U.S. Border Patrol, I?d say that the militarization is already well under way. In case you have forgotten, ?Providing for the Common Defense? is one of the few jobs that the FedGov is ACTUALLY supposed to do. You might want to look it up.

    I swear, the level of discourse around here has plummeted since you took the helm. Who am I to say so? Well, I used to be a subscriber.. Back when Postrel ran the show.

  56. Gillespie says, “One of the defining moments of the 20th century came when the Berlin Wall was pulled down. Here’s hoping that the building of a wall to keep people out of the Land of Opportunity isn’t one of the defining moments of the 21st.”

    Agreed. People are asking the wrong questions, and they’re coming up with very dark, troubling answers.

    Renechaput and others remind us, “The difference of course, is that the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, whereas this wall will be built to keep people out.”

    For now, for now. Wait for it.

    The original East German propaganda for the Berlin Wall was that it was an “antifascist wall of protection,” intended to avoid aggression from the West. Yes, I know, nobody believed that at the time: there weren’t marches and demonstrations by East German citizens, demanding that the wall be built. The thing about the East Germans is that they did things backward. You don’t establish the totalitarian state THEN put up the wall to keep people in. You put up the wall to keep people OUT, THEN you establish the totalitarian state. By the time people realize that the same thing that keeps some people out can also keep other people in, it will be too late.

  57. Actually, good fences *do* make good neighbors. Especially when you want a cheap watch…

  58. Only in America can thousands of illegal immigrants protest quite legally.

    Only in America can they demand things of a system that really doesn’t owe them anything.

    Only in America can the media go along with their pleas and say nothing of their demands.

    Only in America can those who snuck into this country try to threaten this country.

    Only in America can they try to stop commerce to force their way into our commerce.

    Only in America can the kindness of our hearts blind us to the stupidity of our policies ? policies that support those who break the law and make a mockery of those who try to follow the law.

    Only in America can we tell those who entered here by the books that there are special allowances made for those who do everything off the books. That it’s OK to threaten and coerce, strike and shout, wave flags that aren’t this country’s and remind us of the great pride they have in other countries.

    – Neil Cavuto

  59. I invite all of you high minded folks to spend a week or two living in an isolated ranch or farm house along the border in a “high traffic” area, and see if your opinions are altered. This isn’t a racist thing for many people. Their land, livestock, and dammit, their LIVES are often at risk from the human wave of illegals streaming across their property. Here I thought Libertarians prized private property..

    All the more reason to bring this source of labor out of the black market and into the open. Instead of sneaking across your property they’ll drive on open roads to get to a place where they can go to work right away.

    Your situation is similar to that of a person living next to a crack house. The obvious solution is to legalize drugs, make it about orderly commerce rather than sleazy black market, and strip away all of the pathologies that come with the black market.

  60. Hey, I’ve got a great idea: If we’re going to crack down on illegals and arrest them, we shouldn’t just send them to some prison cell and let them live off the taxpayers. We should make them earn their keep: Have them do construction work, pick crops, wash dishes, and so forth.

    Oh, wait…

  61. How about we let all those illegals in legaly and forget about the wall

    I’m all for it… after we eliminate progressive taxation and welfare programs. Until that happens, the last thing the country needs is more uneducated poor people.

  62. I’m all for it… after we eliminate progressive taxation and welfare programs. Until that happens, the last thing the country needs is more uneducated poor people.

    One could argue along the same lines and say that as long as the taxpayers are responsible for the education of your kids the gov’t should have the power to regulate how many kids you have.

    I think most people here would recognize that the freedom to have kids is not the problem, any more than the freedom to work where you want is the problem. The taxes and social programs are the problem. Let’s address the real problem, rather than curtail freedom.

  63. DAMN thoreau, you are on fire! Keep those wry-witted and insightful comments comming.

  64. Thank you, Warren.

  65. Only in America can thousands of illegal immigrants protest quite legally.
    Yeah, that freedom of speech thing rocks.

    Only in America can they demand things of a system that really doesn’t owe them anything.
    Damn skippy, you’d think they were a native born Americans the way they expect something for nothing.

    Only in America can the media go along with their pleas and say nothing of their demands.
    Because you never here from any of the red-nec err I mean blooded, Americans talking about how illegal aliens are here illegally and are breaking the law. Not a word about demands to build a wall and round up all the brown bastards

    Only in America can those who snuck into this country try to threaten this country.
    Too right, that never happens in other countries. Fricking ungreatful non-English speaking jerks, threatening us with cheap labor.

    Only in America can they try to stop commerce to force their way into our commerce.
    Force their way in right, it’s not like we’re paying them to come here.

    Only in America can the kindness of our hearts blind us to the stupidity of our policies policies that support those who break the law and make a mockery of those who try to follow the law.
    Because it’s been our long standing policy, flowing from the kindness of our hearts, to provide townhouses and minevans to all fellons

    Only in America can we tell those who entered here by the books that there are special allowances made for those who do everything off the books. That it’s OK to threaten and coerce, strike and shout, wave flags that aren’t this country’s and remind us of the great pride they have in other countries.
    Fucking eh, sometimes I LOVE this country.

  66. “Only in America can the media go along with their pleas and say nothing of their demands.”

    What level of coginitive dissonance must one overcome to make a statement like that ? TV loudmouth complains 24/7 regarding immigration that no one is complaining enough about immigration. The transitive closure properties are fascinating.

  67. I’m sure somewhere in, say, Berkeley there’s some fairly smart 10-year-old who thinks, writes, and smears just like Nick Gillespie. Perhaps Reason should hire that 10-year-old instead.

    Of course, that 10-year-old would probably realize that we already admit 1,000,000 or so immigrants per year, so there’s little chance of a wall keeping people out of the Land of Opportunity. However, it just might disincentivize massive illegal immigration and reduce border deaths.

  68. “cities that have more immigrants kick ass in terms of economic growth?”

    Immigrants go to cities where there is economic growth, and where there are wealthy people to hire them to do menial labor. They aren’t the cause of the growth, they are an effect.

    “And that your president’s own press secretary says that immigrants don’t cause crime?”

    Well if the Snowman said it, it must be true. It’s not as if he’s a Republican shill or anything.

    “One of the defining moments of the 20th century came when the Berlin Wall was pulled down. ”

    That’s just sad. It’s like your not even trying anymore.

  69. Hey lonewacko – Would this 10 year old also come up with a clever plan to deport 11 million people, you know the one you are always clamouring after ?

  70. 11 million…it’s not about minimum wages or exploitation
    Illegal immigrants have come in on a small, private, quiet, self sacrificig tide. They have been here for YEARS, decades. The minimum wage, exploited worker scenario is not true for the vast majority of the 11 million undocumented immigrants. They are US now. Self supporting, integrated, functioning and tax paying.
    And the so called “bad” businessmen are beating the bushes for all kinds of willing workers, because there is a spot labor shortage in many, many areas of this country. (Nursing, for instance)
    There is no evil here except lack of correct US laws to reflect the real needs of real people, both here and abroad. I can remember years ago trying to save lives during the El Salvadoran conflict by the US offering asylum. We always seemed to find a way to let people of good will in. But the Government bureaucrats were always running behind, so half the time we had to camp them in churches for awhile.
    I say: Give them a green card, take their fingerprints, scan their brown eyes, collect their taxes, let everyone who has a job keep it. Do it now. We’re lucky to have them. There was no 20th Mexican hijacker…
    At last honest count, I could see that hundreds of our neighbors, our friends, our family are illegal. Take an honest count yourselves. No need to freak out about this situation. It is simply the natural result of our stupid Congress not providing logical, legal, realistic means for them to come here legally. And because millions of family businesses have seen for 30 years that the need was here, THE PEOPLE, both here and abroad filled it.
    Congress was ineffectual, stagnant, conflicted and scared. And partisan.
    Brave people acted because they could see that the fruit was ripe, the chickens needed slaughtered, the world was flat, the babies were crying, people were hungry, the military juntas were murdering, and the care was needed.
    So us scofflaws said, f-uck it, lock me up, call me a felon…but while you diddle, my Mom needs a nurse, my sister needs a hospice care worker, my kid needs a baby sitter, my roof is leaking, and I need the best science reseacher, etc, etc, etc..
    We admit we liked helping hard workers get a start for their own families and we usually paid much more than minimum wage.
    The 11 million and the rest of us have all been getting on with our life, in spite of a constipated Congress. What we didn’t need all those years was 2 bit elected officials acting hollier than thou. The laws were wrong. They served no one. Congress stuck its head in a hole.
    Congressman, these are YOUR stupid laws now. I don’t obey them any more. Too old for your stupidity. I’ll answer to a higher law soon.
    Everytime I hear that someone is breaking the law I ask? Who ? How many? To what purpose? Does the law need fixed so that 11 million people (plus 11 million kids, plus 11 million spouses, plus 11 million employers, plus 11 million friends) can get under the protection of this law? Congresses’ job is to make living in America livable.
    I say Congressman, Stop pandering and fix your bad laws. Given your years of NO ACTION and broken policies, I say full amnesty is a fair and right decision. But you don’t have the guts. You’ll fear monger and make more bad law and diddle away at fence building.

  71. 11 million…it’s not about minimum wages or exploitation
    Illegal immigrants have come in on a small, private, quiet, self sacrificig tide. They have been here for YEARS, decades. The minimum wage, exploited worker scenario is not true for the vast majority of the 11 million undocumented immigrants. They are US now. Self supporting, integrated, functioning and tax paying. So Congress is staying up tonight deciding that Grandpa gets deported and Grandma’s made a felon? While the kids and Grandkids are ‘us”.
    And the so called “bad” businessmen are beating the bushes for any kind of willing worker, because there is a spot labor shortage in many, many areas of this country. (Nursing, for instance)
    There is no evil here except lack of correct US laws to reflect the real needs of real people, both here and abroad. I can remember years ago trying to save lives during the El Salvadoran conflict by the US offering asylum. We always seemed to find a way to let people of good will in. But the Government bureaucrats were always running behind, so half the time we had to camp them in churches for awhile.
    I say: Give them a green card, take their fingerprints, scan their brown eyes, collect their taxes, let everyone who has a job keep it. Do it now. We’re lucky to have them. There was no 20th Mexican hijacker… Putin would give his eye teeth for Mexico on his border, all he has is Chechens.
    At last honest count, I could see that hundreds of our neighbors, our friends, our family are illegal. Take an honest count yourselves. No need to freak out about this situation. It is simply the natural result of our stupid Congress not providing logical, legal, realistic means for them to come here legally. And because millions of family businesses have seen for 30 years that the need was here, THE PEOPLE, both here and abroad filled it.
    Congress was ineffectual, stagnant, conflicted and scared. And partisan.
    Brave people acted because they could see that the fruit was ripe, the chickens needed slaughtered, the world was flat, the babies were crying, people were hungry, the military juntas were murdering, and the care was needed.
    So us scofflaws said, f-uck it, lock me up, call me a felon…but while you diddle, my Mom needs a nurse, my sister needs a hospice care worker, my kid needs a baby sitter, my roof is leaking, and I need the best science reseacher, etc, etc, etc..
    We admit we liked helping hard workers get a start for their own families and we usually paid much more than minimum wage.
    The 11 million and the rest of us have all been getting on with our life, in spite of a constipated Congress.
    What we didn’t need all those years was 2 bit elected officials acting hollier than thou. The laws were wrong. They served no one. Congress stuck its head in a hole. And now “Fences”. Read it. The poem is about fear, separation, mistrust, and the sad emptyness of a soul that is driven to build fences. Congressmen are not poets, or thinkers, or even accurate readers, it seems.
    Congressman, these stupid laws are on your head now. I don’t obey them any more. I’m Too old for your stupidity. I’ll answer to a higher law soon. And I will vote.
    Everytime I hear that someone is breaking the law I ask? Who ? How many? To what purpose? Does the law need fixed so that 11 million people (plus 11 million kids, plus 11 million spouses, plus 11 million employers, plus 11 million friends) can get under the protection of this law? Congresses’ job is to make living in America livable.
    I say Congressman, Stop pandering and fix your bad laws. Given your years of NO ACTION and broken policies, full amnesty is a fair and right decision. But you don’t have the guts. You’ll fear monger and make more bad law and diddle away at fence building.

  72. Yes. If we build a wall, we’re Soviets. Never mind that the Berlin wall kept people *in.* Because after all, every superficial resemblance proves a perfect existential likeness. Right? Someday someone will remind you that if there were 108 million Canadians all wanting to rush down into this country, we’d need a wall up there. But maybe you see everything in terms of race? But I’m SURE you’re not a racist, despite this ugly and embarassing fact.

    For your edification:

    http://forgottenprophets.blogspot.com/2006/05/always-sane.html

  73. My response to the “we have to deport 11 million people because that’s the law” crowd is this: I will take you seriously when you agree to pay state use tax on every mail-order purchase you have made for the last 30 years, including penalties and interest.

  74. And that your president’s own press secretary says that immigrants don’t cause crime?

    Then the press secretary is incorrect, isn’t he?

    I don’t care if there are 20 million Mother Theresas on the other side of the border trying to get in to help the impoverished. That doesn’t mean they have a right to be here.

    That depends on whether one believes that being a US citizen is a privilege or a right.

    At least I agree with you that making judgments about immigrants is irrelevant. What’s relevant is they’re folks.

  75. Oops…
    At least I agree with you that making judgments about immigrants is irrelevant. What’s relevant is they’re folks.

    And those very folks, through their own representantive governments, have decided that citizenship in their own countries
    is a privilege, not a right. Why should they be handed “rights” which they deny to others?

  76. Larry: If you’re upset about people trespassing on your neighbors’ land — and you should be — the only workable solution is to give would-be immigrants a safe, easy, legal way to enter the country. Want to blame someone for your region’s troubles? Look at the immigration restrictionists, whose barriers have driven Mexicans to find other routes into the U.S.

    By the way, if you really were a subscriber during the Postrel era you would know that Virginia ran, if anything, more pro-immigration pieces than the mag runs today.

  77. Yeah, but were they pro-illegal immigration? Everyone here supports the legal kind. And she probably didn’t make sarcastic, poorly-thought-out analogies to East Germany either.

  78. Yeah, but were they pro-illegal immigration? Everyone here supports the legal kind. And she probably didn’t make sarcastic, poorly-thought-out analogies to East Germany either.

  79. NO AMNESTY!
    NO REWARD FOR LINE JUMPING CRIMINALS!

    Comprehensive immigration reform promises that people already in the United States illegally can apply for citizenship, but requires them to “go to the back of the line.” But a key question is, the back of which line? The reform bill before the Senate doesn’t require illegal immigrants to go back home–to, say, Hong Kong, to the end of the 10-to-15-year line there–to get a green card. Instead, it allows the current illegals to receive their green card immediately–having, in effect, jumped the line at the U.S. consulate abroad. Then, like other green card holders, they will be able to work here, collect government benefits like food stamps and Medicaid, and travel as freely as if they had a U.S. passport.

    The line the current illegals will go to the back of is the citizenship line. Under the proposed law, current illegals, newly minted green card in hand, will have to wait six years, then get in line to apply for citizenship. But even after six years, they will be years ahead of many people who have gone through the legal process and are waiting overseas for a consular official to let them come here. Once those who have been playing by the rules all along get here, they too have to wait six years before getting in line for citizenship.

  80. Want to blame someone for your region’s troubles? Look at the immigration restrictionists, whose barriers have driven Mexicans to find other routes into the U.S.
    What utter nonsense. The PC version of the White Man’s Burden. One need look no further than the Mexican government and therefore the Mexicans themselves…but PC says that we can’t hold those inferior people responsible for their own actions.

    Everyone here supports the legal kind. And she probably didn’t make sarcastic, poorly-thought-out analogies to East Germany either.
    I was a fence-sitter on the illegal-Mexican-alien question, but Reason’s snarky propaganda put me in the “against it” camp.

  81. Yeah, but were they pro-illegal immigration? Everyone here supports the legal kind.

    Everyone in the 1850s supported the legal kind of free black person. It was just the illegal kind — the runaway slaves — that people thought should be caught and returned to their states of residence.

    And the abolitionist magazines of the time? They were always better under the previous editor.

  82. “I was a fence-sitter on the illegal-Mexican-alien question, but Reason’s snarky propaganda put me in the “against it” camp.”

    I’ll go further and say I was an open borders guy before Bush hamfisted the whole thing and millions in the streets demanding things of their otherwise genial hosts turned me the other direction. Oh yeah, and the “immigration policy = Berlin Wall” and “immigration policy = slavery” idiots.

  83. I’ll ask the question again, since some of the neanderthals around here seem to need it: if you’re for legal immigration, then why not legalize it?

  84. Jesse:

    There is ALREADY a safe and legal way to enter this country. My ancestors did it. Many of the people I work with did it. Also, if you really doubt that I used to be a subscriber, feel free to check your records. I will provide more detailed personal info off line if need be. I maintain that Gillespie is NOT a suitable face for Reason to present to the rest of the world. Snide and sarcastic is no way to promote an agenda.

    Thoreau: I agree for the most part on the drug war aspects. But on the face, what you suggest is like trying to address crime in a neighborhood by making SURE everyone’s doors and windows are unlocked.

    MikeP: That is the most facile analogy I have ever read. You should be embarassed for liking immigrants to runaway slaves. But to push your idea further, lots of Americans died to resolve the salvery issue. If Mexico is to be likened to the antebellum south, are you calling for a war to “fix” Mexico?

  85. Clean Hands: Immigration is ALREADY legal. Please try to stay with the class.

  86. You should be embarassed for liking immigrants to runaway slaves.

    I was not likening immigrants to runaway slaves. I was likening the criticism of supporters of illegal immigration to the criticism of those who violated the Fugitive Slave Act.

    For the record: violating individual rights by treating people as property is significantly worse than violating individual rights by denying travel and labor to people based on a characteristic of their birth.

    And, since you asked, I think that Lincoln should not have gone to war against the people of several States who were exercising an authority that Jefferson had written down a scant four score and five years prior.

  87. The Senate Immigration “Reform” Bill will destroy America as we know it. I don’t like using that kind of alarmist language, but it is justified. Bringing in 100 million immigrants in 20 years would swamp the Melting Pot: we would no longer be a people with a common language and common culture with dialects and variants; we would be the “diversified” nation that some intellectuals desire.

    That experiment cannot be reversed. Well it can be, but not without bloodshed, ethnic cleansing, force migrations, and civil war. Better not to try the experiment in the first place. Holland has been doing these silly things so we don’t have to: we see the result.

    Why do Our Masters hate us so?

  88. We all know how to control the borders. Just Do It. Allocate $1 million/mile/year to be paid to the local county sheriff for use in border control. Add $10 million/year for each border city. Now levy a $1000 fine (not ruinous, but discouraging) for employing an illegal immigrant for more than five days, and pay half of that to whomever turned in the employer to the local sheriff. The other half goes to the sheriff’s office. Add a Federal bonus for each sheriff, interior or border, say $1000 per illegal immigrant apprehended and delivered to the Federal authorities. Local sheriffs who don’t want to catch immigrants just for being immigrants will at least have a way to deal with crime coming to their attention. The whole thing won’t cost $20 billion a year, far less than the savings in social service. The result will be that apprehension of those currently here will be adjusted to local sentiments — counties where no one much cares will not have vigorous enforcement, but will have a way to cut down on criminal and gang activities; the borders will be closed effectively; citizens hiring someone at the local Home Depot won’t face the fines; and the attractiveness of crossing the border will diminish.

  89. Libertarians, see what I mean? Even at H&R, the anti-open-borders folks have more stamina for this discussion. Let’s build the fence. People will be more rational when they feel that there are controls on the situation, and when illegals aren’t stepping on their flowers on their walk into the country.

  90. One could argue along the same lines and say that as long as the taxpayers are responsible for the education of your kids the gov’t should have the power to regulate how many kids you have.

    I have no problem with the government attaching whatever conditions it wants to public education money, so long as the taxes that pay for them (and acceptance of the education funds those taxes provide) aren’t mandatory.

    The taxes and social programs are the problem. Let’s address the real problem, rather than curtail freedom

    I see no reason to care more about a Mexican peasant’s freedom than I do about my own. Allowing mass unskilled immigration hurts my property rights, so long as the welfare state exists. Ergo I oppose it, so long as the welfare state exists.

  91. I say we let all the illegal immigrants in who can walk or crawl across the border. But they should have to stay at Nick Gillespie’s house.

  92. Johnl:

    Yes, its always easier to justify your position by demeaning the position of others. “Stepping on the flowers?”

    Try this:

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_1_the_illegal_alien.html

    /HTML impaired.

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