Immigration

Shikha Dalmia in the Washington Examiner On Democratic Obstructionism On Immigration Reform

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On immigration reform, Democrats are supposed to be the good guys and Republicans the bad guys. The part about Republicans is certainly true, notes Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia this morning, but the part about Democrats could use some rethinking. The prospects for reform would increase greatly if Democrats would stop looking at unauthorized Latinos as a new vote bank. She notes:

Democrats' insistence on comprehensive reform makes sense to the extent that fixing the high-skilled component piecemeal would leave Republicans little incentive to return to the table to tackle the problem of unauthorized Latinos. However, this doesn't mean that citizenship for illegals can't be deferred if they are given a path to legalization now…

[F]rom the standpoint of the illegals themselves, "green-cards-now-citizenship-later" would be an acceptable compromise. They want to come out of the shadows and build a life in broad daylight. They really want to be able to drive cars legally, and not necessarily to hit the polling booths.

Go here for the full piece.

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  1. Giving them Greencards would not make them into Democratic voters. And that is what the whole thing is all about.

    1. Yeah, a guest worker program has been proposed many time, including by prominent Republicans, but that is not what Democrats want because it doesn’t create new voters. The usual argument against it is that it would create a group of second class citizens who wouldn’t have the rights of normal citizens. Because that isn’t already happening right now.

      1. If Mexicans started voting Republican, I bet Democrats would be all for guest workers.

      2. The usual argument against it is that it would create a group of second class citizens who wouldn’t have the rights of normal citizens.

        How many of them would be happy to get that? At least they would not be illegals, subject to deportation.

        1. As I note below, many immigrants don’t want citizenship or even permanent resident status.

        2. “How many of them would be happy to get that? At least they would not be illegals, subject to deportation.”

          I don’t get it. Everybody should have to go through the same process. You get a green card, then you later can apply for citizenship. Why should the rules be different because you came here illegally?

          1. Everybody should have to go through the same process. You get a green card, then you later can apply for citizenship. Why should the rules be different because you came here illegally?

            Of course they should go through the same process. If getting PR status were easy, how many would do it rather than entering the United States illegally? How you handle the current illegals is the sticking point, and that is for your country to decide.

            1. Sorry I wasn’t more clear. I was addressing the issue of PR status equating to being a second class citizen. I don’t see that as an unjust proposition given the ability to apply for citizenship later just like all immigrants do.

              1. I was addressing the issue of PR status equating to being a second class citizen. I don’t see that as an unjust proposition given the ability to apply for citizenship later just like all immigrants do.

                PRs are not citizens, they do not get to vote. They do get to live peacefully within the country, but are denied certain benefits that citizens enjoy. They can either apply for citizenship or not, that is their choice. I have never understood why the US won’t move to a similar stance regarding immigrants.

                1. “I have never understood why the US won’t move to a similar stance regarding immigrants.”

                  Agreed. It seems to be a good compromise.

  2. I don’t know how the numbers break down but what I’ve read and heard tells me that citizenship is not all that important to many Mexican workers. Permanent residence isn’t even that important. What they want is to be able to come here and work and earn the big American paycheck.

    Historically a significant number of Mexicans came to work for a few years and sent money home to their families. After a few years of working they had saved enough to go back to Mexico and build a house and possibly start a small business there. If anything the stricter controls on border crossing has made the problem of illegal immigrants worse, not better.

    Even pre-1965 when there was no quota for immigrants from Mexico there were illegals. Applying for permanent residence was a more costly and time consuming chore than some were willing to go through just to come to work for a few years.

    1. Of course, the fact, thanks to the Drug War, that many parts of Mexico are now crime ridden cesspools has made permanent residence much more attractive.

  3. Democrats really do look at immigrants as a potential voting bloc. Perhaps not now, but they or their children will be in the future. Just get their kids enrolled on welfare, make them dependent on the state, and soon enough they’ll be fiercely loyal Democrat voters.

    Republicans hate immigration for EXACTLY the same reason.

  4. Rush Limbaugh, a fierce critic of amnesty, recently said he would be willing to go along if its beneficiaries weren’t able to vote for some years. This isn’t exactly noble, but it is progress.

    MikeP, an ardent supporter of amnesty, recently said that 18 to 20 years is a good length for a path to citizenship — for all immigrants, past and future, legal and illegal, high skilled and low skilled.

    I don’t know if it’s noble, but as Isaac Bartram notes, 96%+ of the value of citizenship is being able to live and work in the US. The other 4% — which includes a lot of government services as well as voting and therefore comes with a price tag — shouldn’t be a draw.

    Whenever someone talks “path to citizenship”, the response should be “instant legality”. It’s far, far more valuable.

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