Friday, April 30, 2010

Illegal Immigration--Why Do Much of Anything?

Peggy Noonan writes that the U. S. shouldn't pass any new immigration legislation until the "borders"--by which she means the Mexican border--are secure.
In the past four years, I have argued in this space that nothing can or should be done, no new federal law passed, until the border itself is secure. That is the predicate, the commonsense first step. Once existing laws are enforced and the border made peaceful, everyone in the country will be able to breathe easier and consider, without an air of clamor and crisis, what should be done next.

But the federal government already puts an enormous effort into border security and illegal immigrants have to go to great lengths to get into the country undetected. Instead, it seems that the main "problem" is the Mexican population that's already here in the U. S.

But if the Mexican population is a problem, it's a problem that I tend to welcome. My favorite restaurant in my part of Kentucky is the Mexican-owned Italian restaurant, I like seeing the Mexican guys at the stores, and I like the Mexican guy who lives next door better than I like my Anglo neighbor. I want my daughters to learn Spanish and wish I'd remember more of my own Spanish from high school.

In general, I appreciate Mexico and wish the Mexicans well. The drug cartel problem in Mexico is a great deal worse than the "illegal immigration" problem in the U. S. and we're the major cause of that problem because of our national hunger for "illegal" drugs. What I'd like to see is some sort of system that authorizes parts of the rural population in Mexico to circulate back and forth between Mexico and the U.S. In this way, Mexicans wouldn't have to risk death to enter the U. S., but they would also have the option of going back and taking up opportunities in Mexico after time in the U. S. I imagine that there will be less illegal immigration if there is more legal immigration.

I'd also like to see amnesty for the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. Once again, I want to go back to our problem--the drug problem. We have a couple of million people in jail for drug crimes, but millions more Americans ignore the drug laws in a way that's much more destructive to ourselves and Mexico than Mexican immigration. As a result, I don't think we in the U.S. have much credibility when we talk about the majesty of the law in relation to immigration. So, let's exercise a little modesty and forgive the transgressions of those who entered illegally from Mexico. Most of them seem to be making a positive contribution anyway.

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