We can’t see them. But we know alligators are here.
You wade in barefoot. Not us!
The U.S. Senate’s “Gang of Eight” has presented a bill for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (“CIR”). We won’t go into the details because Jeffrey hasn’t analyzed the bill, and better minds than his are still trying to get a grip on it.
Alligators are here too. Yet into this pond, we’ll wade – with heavy boots and a harpoon.
Our American immigration “system” is a mess that fails to meet national and human needs. The Gang of Eight’s fix-it attempt is well-intentioned. But to try to please various constituencies, the Gang came up with a proposal that appears likely to enlarge the bureaucracy, clog the courts, distort the economy, and make things harder – crueler! – than they need to be.
Even that is too generous for the immigrant-haters who already are coming out to bray and jeer.
Don’t believe the haters. Many things “everyone knows” about immigrants are not true.
Immigrants, authorized and unauthorized, are healthier than the average American. They participate in the labor force at a higher rate than natives. Their crime rate is lower. Their entrepreneurship rate is higher. Their work creates more jobs than they fill, as they become both producers and customers. In contrast to Americans who live beyond our means on borrowed money, immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits. And without more, unauthorized presence in the U.S. is not a crime. Don’t believe us? See our post, The Backfire Effect.
Traditional American values – equality, meritocracy, free enterprise, free markets, family primacy, self-sufficiency, and more – favor a generous immigration policy.
We’ll say it again. The Declaration of Independence and the Holy Bible make acceptance of immigrants a truly conservative doctrine.
And when mulling the Gang’s bill, don’t forget the unintended consequences.
Consider the well-intentioned effort to protect people from malaria by providing them with insecticide-treated bed nets.
Night-feeding malaria mosquitoes are dying like flies. That sounds good. But this unnatural selection favors day-feeding mosquitoes; they soon may be the prime vector for malaria, and they won’t be stopped by nighttime nets.
Alligators are everywhere!
Let the immigration reform debate begin. But let it be based on facts and real American values. Not on lies and unAmerican bigotry.
We have a duty to control our borders and to ensure (to coin a phrase from Canada’s 1867 Constitution Act) peace, order and good government. That means we must be as open and generous as we can be within the bounds of national security. Let’s sift out only that little bit of truly bad seed, and let the rest of the flowers grow and bloom.
And beware those alligators. (Backyard photos courtesy of Mimi Smith Rice, who with husband Rich is hosting us in St. Petersburg.)