Don't Let Obama Touch Immigration Reform

The leading proposal will curtail liberties without making life better for immigrants.


America's immigration system is badly broken and in desperate need of fixing. And that is precisely why President Barack Obama should not be allowed to touch it. After the bruising battle over ObamaCare, he has simply no political muscle left to resist the horrible restrictionist ideas that are already beginning to arise.

Immigration advocates, particularly from the Latino community, are prodding President Obama to make good on his campaign pledge to revamp the nation's immigration system. They held a rally in the National Mall—at the very moment that the Senate was voting on the controversial health care bill, absurdly enough—demanding action. Similar pressure is coming from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

It is not that anyone believes that a reform bill can actually become law this year. They just want the Senate (where the issue is less radioactive) to vote on something so that there will be a basis for action after the elections.

The problem is that it is painfully evident that any basis established now will be a terrible one—worse than nothing.

Anyone who has had to deal with America's immigration system knows what a crazy, confusing and, at times, cruel mess it is. (Do click on the link here, dear readers, for an eloquent pictorial representation of this point.) It seems to operate on the assumption that it is its patriotic duty to harass anyone wishing to come to America. Even getting a tourist visa for overseas family or friends of Americans is an ordeal. Unless they are from a country with which America has a treaty suspending the visa requirement, they have to convince their local immigration consulate that they have enough property and social ties at home that they won't just drop everything and move in with you permanently!

And what if you do want them to move in with you permanently? Spouses, minor children or parents have the easiest time, one to two years to get permanent residency or green card. Siblings can come too, but only if you are willing to wait till your next lifetime given that it can often take decades to process their green cards. Everyone else—aunts, uncles, grandparents—forget it. They don't qualify.

The fundamental problem with America's immigration system is that it forces Americans to justify to their government why they want to bring someone into the country, instead of requiring the government to justify to them why they can't. Uncle Sam is less gatekeeper, more social engineer. Instead of focusing on keeping out those who pose a genuine security or public health risk—the only immigration policy consistent with ideals of limited government—it is driven, among other things, by a need to manage labor market flows and the national demographic makeup.

Hence, if you are a farmer or a developer looking to bring in fruit pickers or construction workers, you are better off waiting for Angelina Jolie to adopt them than for immigration authorities to grant them a work permit. As for high-tech companies, they are allotted only 85,000 H1-Bs or high-tech work permits every year—a quota that, before the recession, would get filled on the first day the visa became available.

What's more, Washington actually makes industry-specific determinations, so that, right now, foreign nurses and physical therapists have a far easier time getting green cards than engineers and doctors—because it has deemed that there is a shortage of the first two but not of the others. And Uncle Sam gives each country an annual quota for green cards, because, otherwise, who knows, America could be overrun by colored hordes from China and India, upsetting its white, Anglo-Saxon character.

Any reform bill worthy of the name therefore has to fundamentally shift the orientation of America's immigration policy so that it is driven less by arbitrary bureaucratic fiat and more by the genuine needs of the American economy and people. But the leading reform proposal that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina and Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer from New York have put on the table will do the exact opposite.

One of the few bright spots in the bill is that it will create a process for admitting temporary unskilled workers given that none, incredibly enough, exists right now. And it will also create a path for legalization for undocumented aliens already in the country, although how many of the 11 million aliens will actually be able to avail themselves of it is unclear. That's because in order to appease Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the anti-amnesty crowd, the bill will not only impose onerous fines on them for breaking an anti-freedom, irrational law; it will also force them to stand in the back of the green-card-line that for many categories has a decades-long wait. This means that many of the older aliens are likely to die before their turn ever comes.

But in exchange for these tender mercies, the bill will extract a huge price from American employers and workers in terms of lost liberties.

It will step up interior enforcement—code for raiding employers and cracking down on their workforce to round up undocumented workers, a shameful Bush era policy that this administration has continued. But that's not the worst of it. In order to prevent employers from hiring undocumented aliens in the first place, it will for the first time ever require all Americans to carry documents to prove that they are eligible to work. In other words, Americans will not only be forced to carry health care coverage as a condition of lawful residence in the country, thanks to ObamaCare, but they will also have to carry a national ID as a condition of lawful employment in the country, thanks to Graham-Schumer. (Can anyone hear the sound of clicking heels yet?) But the fact is that such draconian measures wouldn't be necessary if the temporary workers program adequately addressed the labor needs of employers.

There is no reason to hope that President Obama will be willing—or able—to fight these measures and get a humane bill that respects the liberties of Americans. Even under the best of circumstances, immigration reform is a rancorous issue that arouses powerful nativist passions. Countering them requires a leader who can appeal to the better angels of Americans and show them how more-open immigration policies are not only consistent with their interests but also their deepest ideals of individual rights and liberties. But few believe that President Obama shares those ideals after his big government takeover of health care. And it is not clear that he even wants to make that case given that he has already strongly endorsed Graham-Schumer—without expressing any reservation about its national ID provision.

The immigration reform debate has already taken off on the wrong foot, and President Obama is not the man to put it back on track. Immigration advocates would do their cause—and everyone else—a favor by recognizing this and stop pushing this issue now. Better to wait a few more years than have to reform the reform.

Shikha Dalmia is a Reason Foundation senior analyst and a biweekly columnist at Forbes, where this column originally appeared.

NEXT: Redux: W-2 WTF?!?! Tax facts to make your head explode!

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  1. LINCOLN, Neb. ? Nebraska lawmakers on Tuesday passed a groundbreaking bill banning abortions at 20 weeks based on assertions that fetuses feel pain then. Gov. Dave Heineman planned to sign it into law in the afternoon.

    If upheld by the courts, the bill could change the foundation of abortion laws nationwide. Current restrictions in Nebraska and elsewhere are based on a fetus's ability to survive outside the womb, or viability.

    Viability is determined on a case-by-case basis but is generally considered to occur at 22 to 24 weeks.

    The Nebraska bill was partially meant to shut down one of the few late-term abortion providers in the country, Dr. LeRoy Carhart. He attracted attention after his friend and fellow late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was shot to death by an abortion foe in Kansas last year.

    Read more:

    1. Fuckin' Heineman, making us look like Alabama, or worse.

    2. Anything over 20 weeks is baby killing no matter how you look at it.

      As NICU care has improved over the last 40 years, viability has reduced to approximately 24 weeks, although rare survivors have been documented as early as 21 weeks.

      1. You say "baby killing" like it's a bad thing. That's so "Alabama".

        1. My point isn't about abortion. The law he signed will be overturned on appeal, which he knows. He only signed it as political theater. Nebraska is not part of the bible belt and most of the social conservatism here is really a pastiche. The PR from the case doesn't benefit the state in any way, and the law won't even be upheld, so all he has accomplished is to make the state look bad to pro choicers, pro lifers aren't going to flock here to invest because of this, so no benefit there. In essence this was either a completely futile attempt to uphold a principle or, more likely it was a cynical attempt to gain votes that were already his to begin with.

          The Alabama reference was in jest, I am sure it is a lovely place (I was evoking the spirit of that Simpons episode where Homer disparages New York, prompting Bart to say, "you can't judge people form a place you've never been to, that's what they do in Russia.)

          1. It will lead to a court having to decide if Roe vs Wade covers dismembering and killing viable babies. Even if they lose it will probably notch up the % of the country saying they are "pro-life" closer to 60%.

  2. There should be no amnesty for illegal aliens.

    And I love Reason for going to the politically correct "undocumented workers". No Reason, they are illegal immigrants that should be sent back to their native country. And never let these individuals back in.

    1. And I love Reason for going to the politically correct "undocumented workers".

      That term makes rather a tendentious assumption (namely, that they are working), doesn't it?

      Sure, many are, but not all.

      1. Drug dealing is hard work.

        1. are you fucking serious? Yes, there are some people who make a living crossing back and forth over the border with drugs. These people benefit immensely from the fact that the steady stream of gardeners, agricultural workers, dishwashers and housekeepers who come to this country have to pay people to figure out the best ways around border security, so they are beneficiaries of illegal immigration. To think that many, let alone most of the 5.5 million are dealing drugs, this in a country whose customs are foreign to them, where they have few social connections and where, often, they don't speak the language is laughable. The people who have actually studied this have found that the vast, vast majority of illegal immigrants are working menial jobs either under the table or with false documentation. Drug dealing is vanishingly rare because it is a difficult job that requires a lot of local knowledge and connections that first generation immigrants just do not have. The people who are dealing drugs are largely third and fourth generation immigrants and long time Americans who are living in poor ghettos. Those are folks who know how to deal and also don't have a lot of choices.

    2. I prefer the term "vermin".

  3. The saddest thing about America's utterly broken immigration "system" is that it's the USA that ultimately suffers. People stop bothering and choose to emigrate to other countries, taking with them companies and jobs and new ideas. (I tried to get permanent residency in the USA after living there for eight years, and failed.)

    In fact, living on the US-Canada border, I'm finding more and more people not even crossing the border anymore -- it's just too much trouble, the lines are too long and the agents are positively fascistic. (Growing up in the late 1970s, I used to go over every day.)

    Oh well.

  4. "Why" was Directed Jimmy Crack

    1. Why what?

    2. Why what?

      1. Why should there be no amnesty for illegals? Why should they never be allowed back?

        I realize they're breaking the law by coming here illegally but are the laws they broke any good in your opinion and why?

        1. There should be no amnesty for illgals because they broke our laws by entering. I believe that our nation must recognize, respect and protect the individual rights of its citizens and that it in turn has a right to its territorial integrity, its social system and its form of government.

          1. Oops, inadvertently hit the send button.

            I believe furthermore, that they should not be allowed back because I do not feel they will ever respect our country and its laws, as shown by their illegal entry into our country.

            Yes, I believe that the laws they broke are good laws. Currently both major political parties in this country are damaging this country's economic, political and social structure by not completely enforcing our immigration laws.

            The Democrats are pushing for amnesty because of their push to engender the natural inclination of poor illegal immigrants need for the social, medical, and security blanket they will provided in turn for their votes.

            The Republicans utilize the cheap labor to support big business to counteract high wages and union representation thruout the country. The Dems utilize this unorganized labor to feed unions such as the SEIU with millions of members and membership fees to swell their reelection coffers.

            1. Currently both major political parties in this country are damaging this country's economic, political and social structure by not completely enforcing our immigration laws.

              Here's a party that won't. Most of the benefits the libertarians offer, without having your country given away under your feet. I now send them the money I used to send to libertarian organizations.

              1. Nah, A3P reminds me of the American Nazi Party.

            2. I understand everything you're saying and you argued your point well but in my opinion the problem is the welfare state and minimum wage laws. I think that in a free country I should be able to hire anyone from any country who's willing to come and work for whatever I'm willing to pay them and short of a backround screening for national security the government should pretty much stay out of it.

              1. That's where we disagree. I think you should be able to hire anyone only from this country, period.

                1. Fair enough.

                  1. That's where we disagree. I think you should be able to hire anyone only from this country, period.

                    So does your blatant discrimination based on a condition of birth apply only to place, or to you believe in the abrogation of inalienable individual rights for other conditions of birth too?

                    1. exactly. How about the right of American citizens to invite their grandmothers to stay with them without having to wait for years? Oh right, that right only goes to citizens whose grandparents were born in this country. How about the right of American scientists and thinkers to invite foreign scholars to the US to speak? Oh right, only if they're willing to put up with harassment and possible banning for no reason.

                      And honestly, Jimmy, do you think you would have much respect for a law that said that you had no right to a decent life if you had been born on the other side of the border? Would you see it as just and proper if you were the one working in a factory for $1.00/hour because the folks on the other side of an imaginary line didn't think you had the right to go over there and work for $5.00/hour? How do you think you would feel about it if you had a sick kid, who just maybe could get better if you could afford the medicine? Or if you had aging parents, who maybe wouldn't die before their time if their son could send them some money for food? Or, for that matter, if you wanted to be able to live in a house that didn't let the rain in, or that didn't have a dirt floor, or that didn't fall down in a heavy wind at some point in your life? How much respect do you think you would have for someone else's right to say no to you working for someone who wanted to hire you, and living with someone who wanted to rent to you?

                      Ultimately, how is this any different than ancient rules stipulating that only nobles could own land, or that serfs were bound to a certain estate? Or any different from fairly recent laws disallowing black people from buying or renting housing north of a certain line?

                    2. Jorgen

                      Make no mistake, the "immigration reform" being discussed in this article is about amnesty for illegal aliens, and virtually nothing more.

                      "And honestly, Jimmy, do you think you would have much respect for a law that said that you had no right to a decent life if you had been born on the other side of the border?"

                      That is correct Jorgen, I believe all other people in the world do not have the right to illegally immigrate into this country for any reason. The United States cannot afford to support any and all people of the world who would like a better life.

                      Those that we are able to support should come into this country legally, through appropriate channels. And this country alone should determine who should be admitted to this country legally.

                      The rest of your rant is not even specious, but rather silly strawmen based upon full-on bleeding liberalism.

                    3. So does your blatant discrimination based on a condition of birth apply only to place, or to you believe in the abrogation of inalienable individual rights for other conditions of birth too?

                      Yes, my blatant discrimination does apply basically to place of birth. As in, if you were born as an American citizen, you have that right from birth. If you were not born a citizen, then you must apply to enter into and work in our country under all legal requirements. Illegal entry, no citizenship ever. (Legal entry, then citizenship when agreed to by the American citizens through their Representatives.)

                      Inalienable individual rights as declared by the US Constitution to citizens of the US only. As for citizens of other countries, let them have what rights their country has provided them, while in their country. While here, act like a guest and bless this country that allowed you to live here.

                    4. Inalienable individual rights as declared by the US Constitution to citizens of the US only.

                      The US Declaration of Independence begs to differ...

                      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. ? That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

                    5. Ah, MikeP, they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights. Are you now telling me that you have switched to being a Creationist?

                    6. I think that every person regardless of whether they were created or evolved has equal inalienable rights. And I think Jefferson thought so too.

                    7. MikeP "I think that every person regardless of whether they were created or evolved has equal inalienable rights. And I think Jefferson thought so too."

                      They may have some inalienable rights, but not necessarily those iterated in the United States Constitution.

                      I believe Jefferson was alluding to rights that the United States could guarantee for it's own citizens only.

                    8. And I believe Jefferson was alluding to rights that the United States should guarantee for anyone within its dominion.

                      The Constitution has no problem saying "citizen" when it means citizen. Yet "person" or "people" appears far more often -- and almost universally when discussing rights.

                    9. "... from the consent of the governed."

                      The only ones that can give that consent are those that are the citizens of the country for which they gave their consent.

                      Illegal aliens cannot give their consent to our government.

                    10. "...just powers..."

                      It all goes back to securing preexisting inalienable individual rights.

  5. Instead of focusing on keeping out those who pose a genuine security or public health risk?the only immigration policy consistent with ideals of limited government

    I suppose keeping people from irredeemably collectivist cultures from emmigrating en masse to our country is not even an **option** here...

    I mean... what could be wrong with allowing, say, China to ship 20M unmarriageable men to our soil on its dime so long as they promise to not vote for the Communist Party USA or commit crime...

    1. Don't you think a foreign government conspiracy might be one of those things that would trip the "genuine security risk" provision?

      Yeah, I think so too.

    2. Why would people move en masse from a communist country to the least one of the most anti-communist countries in the world unless they are anti-communist themselves. I can see a few people here and there doing it but not en masse.

      1. Yeah, like this oppressed dissident?

  6. They keep on saying that our 1986 immigration system needs fixing as its badly broken? Then why not amend it and save millions of taxpayer dollars with debates and all the rigmarole's that goes along with more monotonous committees? How come it was good enough for one of the prestigious draftees such as the late Ted Kennedy to pass into law the Simpson/Mazzoli bill? Now they want to rescind it? Now we need a brand new set of rules? Why bother with another immigration reform program, when all the corrupt Senators and Representatives are not going to--ENFORCE any reform? They have never enforced the sub-standard, fence along the border. The majority Democrats even tried to table E-Verify and other parts of the federal SAVE ACT, along with a few Republicans. Sen. Harry Reid will not be re-elected in midterm, unless he gets a boost of illegal immigrant voters in Nevada. Nancy Pelosi will closely follow, along with Schumer and Graham when as incumbents unless they get a share of illegal aliens, voting them back into office. There has been a pattern of abuse of immigration laws, as politicians have collected generous monetary endorsements from the business community. They have underfunded the construction of the fence, instead of the double wall as originally intended and catered to subversive ethnic organizations. Find out more at the million member American sovereignty organization NumberUSA.

  7. This is a legitimate question -- should we be allowing unskilled workers into this country when we have 10% unemployment? It seems we have the people to meet employer's needs.

    1. I like the fact that with amnesty, I will finally get to vote legally.

      1. And that's only fair seeing as how I am counted as a resident on the census in order to determine representation in congress.

        1. Exactly.

  8. Judging by the comments on this page. I'm glad I stop calling my self a libertarian. It seems the extreme right has officially left the republican party and moved into the libertarian party. Sad to see people like jimmy crack corn get aways with making such absurd comments on what I thought was a liberal(in the classical sense) website.

    1. So your fine with tens of millions of non-citizens being counted as citizens in the census for the purpose of redistricting? Please, tell us why? Thanks.

      1. I think he's more pissed off that we have millions of people who have to spend their lives hiding because they were born on the wrong side of a border and wanted to have a decent life. But you're right, the census thing is a bigger deal.

    2. Illegal immigration isn't a right wing position EFC.

      And, call yourself anything you want, but just don't say that you are all for free thinking and free speech.

    3. Most libertarians are for free migration. See Reason, Cato, etc., as well as numerous unaffiliated libertarians and the LP platform itself...

      We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property.

      Also, most libertarians aren't too big on censorship, so the fact that Jimmy 'Crack' Corn can promulgate such an extreme anti-liberty stance on a classical liberal website shouldn't be surprising.

      1. MikeP,
        It's not an "anti-liberty" stance, it is a pro-self determination stance, in the classically liberal way...

        1. Self-determination does not discharge governments -- being the instruments of force that they are -- from their obligation to limit their powers to only those that secure inalienable individual rights.

          Regardless of self-determination, if a government abrogates individual rights, it is anti-liberty.

  9. Illegal immigrants are just that - illegal. We have a nation of laws that are routinely subverted to please tree hugging, misanthropic bleeding hearts. Until the laws are changed, they should be enforced. This is to prevent anarchy, total disregard for the rights of our existing citizens. Otherwise, we have only a nation of subjects, subject to a totalitarian government. Is this really in the best interest of our nation? Our founding fathers are spinning in their graves.

    1. Yeah, like those bleeding heart bastards who violated the fugitive slave laws. Or that asshole Martin Luther King Jr who told black people to drink out of the white water fountains before they'd gotten permission. Or those motherfucker sons of liberty who went around violating the stamp tax as if it wasn't the law of the land. Just curious, are you going to be this pissed about tea partiers not buying insurance or paying the penalty out of principle?

      1. Jorgen,
        You are a full blown liberal, in the ugly current meaning of the word, and a true troll. STFU.

  10. Illegal immigrants are just that - illegal. We have a nation of laws that are routinely subverted to please tree hugging, misanthropic bleeding hearts. Until the laws are changed, they should be enforced. This is to prevent anarchy, total disregard for the rights of our existing citizens. Otherwise, we have only a nation of subjects, subject to a totalitarian government. Is this really in the best interest of our nation? Our founding fathers are spinning in their graves.

    1. Then why not focus on changing the laws. I doubt I would hear you saying how the DEA needs to step-up pot smoker arrests in the name honoring the laws while they exist and preventing anarchy.

    2. Compliance is not a force of change... or hope.

      I think Ghandi would agree.

  11. My Russian husband and I fought immigration to the tune of $65K over six years and got all the way through the 10th Circuit. The next step was SCOTUS, and we gave up. To much wasted $$$ lining others pockets.
    Funny how he could marry, own property, have a car-license-insurance but could not have a job in his own name.
    At a time when this country is broke, some fool thought it would be better for him to earn rubles rather than tax a man with a $400K a year education/experience. That fool got his/her wish.
    It looks like I will likely be spending my social security in Russia.

    1. Danna S
      Immigration is not the issue here, it is illegal immigration. Please do not confuse the two.

      1. You really don't think the illegal immigration problem has anything to do with how difficult and expensive it is to get into this country legally? I don't think she's confused about anything. If it were easy to get in nobody would come illegally, they would rather be able to do anything a citizen can do.

        1. Fiscal Meth

          So then you are for a truly wide open border, where anybody and everybody in the world should have the right to enter and work in our country? Millions of people? Billions of people? No restrictions?

      2. I'm not confused.
        I was pointing out how broken immigration is. If they will do this to someone with an American spouse, how many others without local resources have been treated similarly? The government made a legal immigrant illegal.
        No confusion here. Just plain old disgusted.

      3. Yeah it is. The legal system is broken, so the only option for immigrants is to move to the USA illegally. And if amnesty passes, people in the legal system will find themselves having to pretend they were illegals to get permanent status!

        1. Well there is another option, you know - they could could simply stay the hell out!

          1. Isn't it nice how god came down and shut the gates after your ancestors came in? It sure was nice of him to give you this beautiful country as your own exclusive domain.

      4. You're not waffling, are you, Mr. Corn? Because if you are all for making it easy to become a resident, then there would be no illegal immigrant problem, you would be happy, and this arguement would be hypothetical. Maybe you could even get to know someone who had the drive and courage to leave everything they ever knew and come here to pursue a better life and be an (gasp) asset to our country because they were not forced to live on the fringe.

        And geez, if they came from the south, they probably have a more extensive American heritage than you and I. Hell, their coyote probably is less of an immigrant than you and I.

        Off topic, but imagine if they could come over, get processed into some probationary program for residency, and still have the $4000 they would have spent on the coyote (drug cartel side business), be able to rent an apartment, work, and pay taxes. No, that's crazy. Let's have them fuel the cartels, find out how hard it is to work and hide, become a liability rather than an asset, then get deported to the tune of a couple grand, only to maybe try again in a couple of months. Not to mention the misery and disappointment that could have been the satisfaction and pride that your great-grandparents experienced.

        Lazy people don't normally undertake hurculean tasks. If it would benefit everyone, even indirectly, why would you not support it, especially in light of the financial burden caused by NOT supporting it, either with the impossible task of strict border enforcement, or tolerating the status quo?

        1. Not waffling at all, because I never said I was in favor of making it easy to become a resident. I didn't even breach that subject.

          As I have contended from the beginning, I am referring to "illegal immigration', and all subsets of that.

          No ammnesty whatsoever for illegal aliens (the proper legal term, by the way). Return each and every single person that is in this country illegaly to their native country. Do not let them return, ever, which will help discourage others from trying the same.

          Legal immigration is an entirely different matter, on which I do not hold strong opinions either way.

  12. Does illegal migrant clear the air? Does a convicted felon have all the legal rights, privileges, and freedom of a legal citizen?
    It is one thing to escape religious or racial persecution. It is quite another to enter a country illegally for the purpose of political or economic gain without the need to commit to the demands of citizenship.

  13. Wow an actual immigration thread and LoneWacko hasnt shown his face?

    Anyway, illegal aliens need to go thats the cold fact. But at the same time we dont need to bow down to the Paleo's level.

    1. That's not a cold fact it's more of a conclusion. And here's a different one.

      The laws are built around economic protectionism and we all know the government doesn't have a clue what's good for the economy. Free trade and competition are good for it.

      I know that with welfare the way it is, it's really bad but why not argue for welfare reform instead of closed borders?

    2. I thought Lone Wacko had been banned?

  14. Helpin' slaves escape is ILLEGAL! Them underground railroad folks belong behind bars. The law is the law.


    Liberals will find out what this video is all about in November and then again in 2012. That is a promise!

  16. Most people I know who oppose immigration do so because of the nature of the welfare state. If the welfare state is removed, those who still resist can usually be convinced in a 5 minute debate. There will always be the sanctimonious ignorant of course.

    Hence, the key to pushing a fair system of immigration reform is to dismantle the welfare state. Either that, or prevent immigrants and their children from benefiting from any entitlement program for life. This will eliminate those coming here simply for handouts. Further, the loophole commonly exploited by "immigrants" - rushing over the border to have their baby in America so it will be an American citizen in full - needs to be eliminated.

    1. If you are a true believer in liberty you will fight for everyones right to life,liberty and property regardless. "Illegal Immigrants" only crime is to follow their natural human insticts, to improve their life and to seek the most profitable way to employ themselves. IMO,US laws restricting immigration go against human nature, reason and morality. They should be repealed regardless of the welfare system.

      1. They have a right to life, liberty and property NOT wellfare that others are forced to provide them.

    2. I concur that immigrants should not be eligible for targeted welfare, and neither should their citizen children. Welfare must not be a draw for immigration.

      So it seems an easy compromise to propose a new class of visa that is unlimited in quota and in duration that allows anyone who passes a background check to enter, exit, travel, reside, and work in the US. This visa is not a citizenship-track visa, and holders of this visa are ineligible for welfare.

      No changes need to be made to current visas. They can carry the same requirements and quotas they carry today. The only difference is that holders of the unlimited visa can wait for citizenship-track visas inside the US rather than outside the US.

      1. Are you a one-world government supporter?

        1. Absolutely not.

          I believe that individuals' liberty and well being are maximized when trade and migration are as broad as possible while government jurisdictions are as small as possible.

      2. Sound idea, Mike. Unfortunately, the cynic in me assumes anything so beneficial, simple and logical will get so mangled and distorted by backroom deals and special interests as to be unrecognizable after passing through the alimenary canal we refer to as our legislative branch.

      3. They already did this with the K visas a few years ago which let a pending migrant reside in the US, but not work, while their immigrant visa was processed. Its got to the state where most embassies have a wait time equivalent to the main visa as the "expedited" k visa now though, my spouse visa took just under 13 months from application to getting entry authorised.

        As another indication of why the current visa system is abject nonsense most of the western world doesn't have a degree requirement around professional, managerial or executive level jobs but the two fast track visas (H class temporary workers and the "exception ability" visas) both have degree requirements that automatically exclude vast swathes of people. In my home country I was earning around $300k a year, had more than 10 years of experience, never took more then a week to find a job but didn't have a degree which means there was simply no track allowing me to work in the US.

        Now I am in the US and running a business I am struggling to find people with the right skills to fill the vacancies I have, I am not looking for unskilled wage slaves I am looking for highly skilled professionals and simply can't find them. There needs to be a new means tested work visa at the very least so that the massive skills shortage that exists can be dealt with. Jimmy crack head & co don't seem to appreciate that the closed system that exists right now already is starving the US of skills and will only continue to accelerate if the current system remains.

  17. MikeP
    Why does Reason have to tolerate racism? Its a private website and as a private website it should be free to ban or restrict any one from using it. My problem was not that Reason didn't ban Jimmy "crackhead", my problem is that know one even challenge Jimmy crack heads statements.

    1. I've been out most of the afternoon, so I couldn't quickly challenge all the comments I'd like to. Also, people might be tired from this morning's immigration fest.

      And see all those pingbacks? I assume there's a fair helping of nativist sites represented in them.

    2. I did

    3. sorry, I'm just getting to this thread and I'm having a fucking hernia. You aren't the only one.

    4. They don't have to "tolerate" it, but neither do they have to censor comments that meet your notion of racism. What definition of 'racism' do you think should adhere to when moderating comments?

    5. "EFC - Why does Reason have to tolerate racism? Its a private website and as a private website it should be free to ban or restrict any one from using it. My problem was not that Reason didn't ban Jimmy "crackhead", my problem is that know one even challenge Jimmy crack heads statements."

      I am not a racist EFC. As a matter of fact, I have never mentioned race in any of my posts on this thread. But you have. So keep the racist comments to yourself, and quit projecting your ignorance into my comments.

      And EFC, maybe people did not challenge my statements because they were about illegal immigration, not immigration. Too hard for you to comprehend, you racist asshole?

  18. If a law is unjust, then no-one is under any obligation to obey it. Whether one justifies it on religious grounds, like Aquinas; or on simple moral decency, like I do.

    In addition other such laws, the immigration laws are unjust. Therefore, no immigrant is under any obligation to obey them. Like I've said before, immigrants who come here without asking permission show a great deal of self-respect.

    While I don't like censorship, it IS true that this website could be considered private property. In principle, they COULD censor bigoted comments. Might help.

  19. i have a better idea,keep the illeagals out,deport the ones that are here and force the welfare cheats that are able to work to take menial jobs,too many illeagals are welfare cheats,just like the lazy american,this would go a long way in wiping out the welfare system in america,i like a lot of libertarian ideas,this one i hate

    1. In order to do everything you're saying, you would need such a massive and invasive government department that it would make the INS look like a neighborhood watch. It's easy to say just deport em all and don't let any more in, but it would never work. Not to mention your department of "finding welfare frauds and making them get menial jobs". This is a huge all-powerful government you're talking about here.

    2. That's a great idea! Then we can hire all of the INS agents to be the prison guards at our very own brand new work camps! And when you lose your job at asshole camp, there'll be a nice little bureaucracy ready to transition you to your new position of shit shoveler at gunpoint. I mean, hell. It worked for Stalin. It worked for Pol Pot. Why the fuck not here?

    3. kill the free wellfare, kill the free health care, kill the free education and they will go away by their own choice. law enforcement not needed.

  20. Shikha Dalmia is a disgusting racist of the worst kind. She implies that keeping an Anglo Saxon character of the USA is a bad thing, yet mass immigration could never happen in her native India because the leaders and the populous 100% intolerant to that idea and would never allow that to happen, the same in China which is the most racist country in the world. This column lacks intellectual depth and is biased in favor of Shikha Dalmia's racial bias/hatred. Every country has immigration laws that must be observed. The race problem Shikha Dalmia delusion. It's time to expose racists like her!

    1. You're right. Shikha Dalmia is racist because India, a country which she left, has immigration policies different from what she wants in the US (does it really?) Wait, what do you call it when you hold someone responsible not for what they do, but for what a billion people who look the same as them and have the same funny sounding names as them do? It's on the tip of my tongue here...

      But you're right. Suggesting that nonwhite people should have the same ability to immigrate to this country as white people do is really racist. Sort of like when those racists said that black people could drink out of white water fountains. Fucking racists.

      1. Yeah, if there's one thing all those brownies and slopes have in common is how racist they all are.

        1. Fiscal Meth - Are you so racially bigoted that you are implying only Anglo Saxons are racist?

          1. I highly recommend to anyone who claims enforcement of immigration law is racist, to take a look at Mexico's immigration laws.

            It's a real eye-opener, especially given the lobbying by the Mexican government to relax enforcement in the US. Mexican government policy rests on exporting mass amounts of unskilled labor, and the Mexican economy rests on billions of dollars in annual remittances by illegal immigrants to their families back home.

  21. Shikha,

    You are tied with Radley as my favorite reason columnist. You are one of the few opinion and analysis writers who I think are truly invaluable to our country, and I want to thank you for that. Also, I'm glad you're here, and I'm sorry that our country put you through such a ringer to get here.

  22. First, health care refom does not force anyone get health care. Supposedly you will be fined for not doing so, but there is no penalty for not paying it, therefore, how is actually mandatory?

    Second, there is already a national ID card that American citizens are already required to carry in order to get employement. Its called a social security card. You might also use a driver's license or birth certificate for the required two forms of ID.

    The desire to smear Obama any which way they can has denigrated the reason of many a journalist. The author of this weak article is no exception.

    1. I think you missed the scariest part of the reform, sir. The IRS is now the Obamacare billing department. Good luck not paying your fine. Don't worry though, their customer service ranks #1 among tax revenue services on this country.

    2. You would be mistaken about the social security card. Currently the law is that an employer has to ask for a social security number not that they have to make disclosure of the number mandatory, an employer can stick a box for it on the application form with a note that there is no legal requirement to provide it and its non-provision will have no impact on the hiring decision. There are provisions in place already to allow withholdings to be paid without SSN disclosure and you can file all tax forms with the IRS without ever providing an SSN.

      The law, as it stands, requires employers to take take *reasonable* measures to ensure their employees are documented workers. This could be a combination of having a social security number and a clearly American accent or it could be anything else an employer

      Also it is technically illegal for anyone other then your employer to even ask for your SSN, this is just not enforced. The SSN and its card are a defacto ID that wouldn't even exist if the law was upheld.

  23. I have met many good immigrants whom I get along with very well. They work like I do, speak english, and ejoy their freedom here as I do.
    I have met many bad immigrants who place their flag above ours, have bumper stickers like 'Puerto Rico Pride', and never bother to learn english, and plainly do not care.

    I am okay with immigration on the basis that they immediately get taxed the exact same as a citizen. I am okay with immigration as long as the immigrant appreciates the philosophy of freedom that allowed them to come here. I am okay with immigration as long as they do not get special benefits and privilege that gives them an immediate advantage over me. I am okay with immigration as long as they learn our history. I am okay with immigrats voting as long as they are bound to the same set of rules every other American has - no exceptions.

    I am not a racist and have never been accused of being one either. Yet the truth is that the right uses all sorts of examples on how the current laws have hurt America - and blame the immigrant. The left on the other side will blame the rights intolerance, and make even more ridiculous laws that only hurt everyone else.

    So my only quesion is - why is it so hard to just say - Welcome to America - you live here, you live by the same rules the same as anyone else?

  24. The problem is that it is painfully evident that any basis established now will be a terrible one?worse than nothing.

    Sounds like their M.O.

  25. "they will also have to carry a national ID as a condition of lawful employment in the country, thanks to Graham-Schumer. (Can anyone hear the sound of clicking heels yet?)"

    Have you gotten a job lately?
    Most employers require some bona fides proving you are who you are as a condition of employment.

    I whipped out my National ID Card, aka a US passport.

  26. So when did the H1B cap change to 85,000 ?

    1. If you mean 65,000 + 20,000 Advanced degres holders then you also need to count no quota Cap Exempt Fillings, which is unmeasurable

  27. #

    I say yes to immigration becauseamercia was found by immigrates.
    America can not discriminate a group of people beacuse they wanted the infamous american dream.If amercia were to discriminate then what meaning could the staute of liberty have then?
    People dont understand why you want to cross the border and risk your life.
    Put your self in an immigratens shoes how you would feel.
    Immigration affects everybody in america.
    The united states is like a drunk person who dosent know how to make decisons for immgration.
    Were not looking where it really matters.
    By discrimating were not going to slove nothing.
    Thats my point of view leave comments ill love to hear the comment you guys have.

    ohhh. and i forgot to say about how you said tha we take your jobs we dont take your jobs you know we need oppertunites just like you guys have them me coming from a family that has some immmgirtes in them

  28. While Graham-Schumer might call for one, it doesn't follow that a requirement for job applicants to demonstrate legal status necessitates the institution of a national ID card.

    If you were born in the US, a birth certificate would do. For any citizen, a passport would do. For a legal immigrant, a green card or other visa-related document would do. Heck, if a reform law banned giving illegals driver's licenses, that would be plenty sufficient, and it's a document pretty much every American citizen over the age of sixteen already has.

    Similar requirements should be put in place for voting as well.

  29. WAIT A MINUTE!?!?!?

    You mean I don't have to surrender documentation to employers to prove my citizenship when I take a job? I've been getting bamboozled all these years?

    I'd like to know because every single job I've ever had I've had to produce a drivers license, social security card, passport, and/or other forms of identification to prove I am legally authorized to work here.

    I was under the assumption that illegal aliens were producing forged, stolen, or fraudulent documents when they took jobs in the United States. Are you suggesting that they don't have to produce identification?

    Obviously my comments are tongue and cheek in response to your apparent shock at the audacity of having to provide proof that you are legally able to work in this country. I am opposed to the national I.D. initiative but for different reasons.

    Your illustration just points out additional laws illegals break while they are in the U.S. in addition to illegal immigration.....and for those of you who think this is a "harmless crime" go ask somebody who is dealing with bad credit and/or I.R.S. investigations because an illegal has used their identity to obtain work, rent apartments, or acquire utilities.

    Immigration reform DOES need to happen, and I doubt Obama and his cronies will do it right so I agree he should stay away from it, however I think too many align 'reform' with 'amnesty'. Amnesty has no place in a reform of US immigration laws. Documented worker programs? Yes. Reform of immigration policies and practices? Yes. Distinction between the rights and privileges of US citizens and non-citizens? HELL YES!!!

  30. What astonishingly self-serving drivel! This writer apparently thinks there is room in the country for the 50% of Latin Americans who want to move in, not to mention countless others round the globe, some of whom want to move in for purposes of doing us in. If we continue on our present downward slope, we won't be able to take care of the citizens already here. Take our present unemployment and homelessness as examples.
    Instead of the unrealistic proposition of bringing half the world to our shores, this author needs to find a way to help these would-be immigrants to build decent lives for themselves in their own homelands.

  31. I know when I'm reading quality content when I can't stop. I got involved in this article and missed my lunch. It was worth it.

  32. While we all need fewer travel restrictions immigrant worker visas are not a good idea. Americans will need to do the work, and the farmers will need to pay them a prevailing wage. Same for high tech.

    The Obama immiogrant train is not only Latino but also Muslims pouring across the North border, especially since the wars have destroyed their countries.

    Whatever JFK did to immigration policy to support his Church needs to be undone.

  33. America's immigration policy has always been a hot topic for the American and the people of the developing countries. Majority of the immigrants in America are from developing countries and I hope the Obama administration won't let down the thousands of immigrants from these countries in his new immigration policy. visit the site

  34. America's immigration policy has always been a hot topic for the American and the people of the developing countries. Majority of the immigrants in America are from developing countries and I hope the Obama administration won't let down the thousands of immigrants from these countries in his new immigration policy

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