Posted by aogWednesday, 30 May 2007 at 20:13
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I saw this comment a while ago and have been meaning to write about it. The key quote is
But do they [the Bush administration] ever bother defend anything they do? No. They try to do it in secret and hope nobody notices. When they caught, they act guiltier than a teenager with beer on his breath.
The lack of use of the bully pulpit by the Bush administration has been a topic of discussion for years. But why is that? One theory is that President Bush sets the tone and he doesn’t like engage in incivility, even if it it’s true. So he doesn’t call out Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi when she sells out American interests for the joy of hanging out with petty dictator Assad of Syria.
Yet this post about Bush’s comments on the illegal immigrant amnesty bill reminded me that Bush is capable of some quite nasty rhetoric. That leaves me wondering why Bush is so unwilling to say that kind of thing about people who really deserve it. It seems to be only conservatives who oppose him that brings out the real beast in Bush. If I had one question I could ask him, it would be why he can’t get this worked up when he’s opposed and undermined by someone other than American conservatives.
UPDATE: More from Hot Air.
Monday, 11 June 2007 at 10:07|
What did lawyers ever do to you?
As for citizenship, I’ll just take it as a given that you were spouting off.
AOG: I still don’t get it. The President is destroying the concept of citizenship because Harry Reid uses the stupid, politically correct phrase “undocumented Americans?” It was probably a slip of the tongue, but it doesn’t mean anything. It’s like when Americans refer to foreign blacks as “African Americans.” We use euphemisms so much that, in our brains, they start to directly substitute for what we really mean. My expectation is that most immigrants won’t bother to get naturalized (especially since the bill makes it somewhat more difficult for them to become naturalized than legal entrants, since they have to pay for the privilege), but so what? One of the mistakes of the (I’m not sure what your side wants to be called) anti-open borders crowd is to focus obsessionally on the immigrant generation when what we really want are the kids. Even if Reid stupidly betrayed the Democrat’s secret agend, you’ve got to at least be open to the possibility that the President is using Harry Reid, rather than the other way round.
After reading the Steyn article, I googled the term “fast track to citizenship,” but didn’t find anything explaining how the immigration bill was a fast track. What you mostly get is descriptions of military service as a fast track to citizenship. I assume that no one thinks that this is a loophole that destroys the concept of citizenship as we know it. There is this article, which doesn’t explain much, but leads me to conclude that any conversion of illegal aliens to regularized status (amnesty, if you want) is a fast track to citizenship because it doesn’t make them leave, apply through normal channels and then come back in to start the naturalization process. I’m not aware, though, of anything in the bill that changes the requirement for naturalization (although Constitutionally, Congress can make naturalization whatever it wants) or which could rationally be described as destroying citizenship. cjm’s skepticism to one side, I really am asking.
For what it’s worth, our current concept of citizenship is relatively recent. Until the Civil War amendments, the Constitution wasn’t really concerned with “citizens,” although it does seem to assume that people born in the United States are citizens and it gives Congress the power to set rules for naturalization. The strong relationship between citizenship and the franchise is very new, and until the 1920s non-citizen residents were more often than not, depending upon state law, allowed to vote. The change, in the 20s, was expressly xenophobic, as was the contemporaneous shutting-off of immigration.
Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 22:20|
I agree, and they should be forbidden from doing so.
AOG: Your position is, in effect, that you misunderstand the bill, you don’t care that you misunderstand it, and you refuse to believe any provision in the bill meant to ameliorate the parts you don’t like. You’ve taken your position and now you just have your fingers stuck in your ears, going “na na na, can’t hear you.” That is bizarre behavior from you, which you haven’t even come close to explaining.
The government is trying to decide what to do with illegal aliens. The choices are deport them, make life more difficult for them, ignore them or find some way to regularize their status (i.e., to make them legal residents). If you can think of a fourth alternative, I’m all ears.
The political will does not exist, in either the country or the Congress, for mass deportations. If you think that deportation is a possibility, let me know, but otherwise I’m going to ignore it. So, we’re left with making life more difficult, simply allowing the status quo to continue or regularizing their status. Making life more difficult basically means two things: stop government support and crack down on employers. I’ve long since explained why I’m not in favor of stopping government support. First, the main support received by illegal aliens in education. It would be, in my opinion, inordinately stupid for us not to provide educations. Second, as I’ve said before, if California or any other state chooses to provide welfare to illegals, why should I second guess that political judgment? People who want us to cracking down on employers are simply ignoring economic reality. This is a version of the lump of labor fallacy: there are so many jobs and if the illegal aliens were knocked out we would be able to give those jobs to Americans at better wages (i.e., wages sufficient to attract Americans). But if jobs cost more, there will be fewer of them. There will be fewer products bought and, thus, fewer products made. The most likely result will be to increase the export of jobs to China and other low cost nations. Also, price increases will eat away at the whatever increased wages there are. This will decrease productivity at a time in which increased productivity is particularly important to the nation.
Also, alienating, impoverishing and then punishing a large resident alien population just strikes me as a bad idea. Also, as you’ve said many times, you don’t believe that the government will actually increase border security (going so far as to claim, based on no logic you want to share, that the increased money and enforcement contained in the bill will reduce border security), so I assume you wouldn’t believe that the government will actually crack down on employers and thus that possibility is off the table.
That leaves us with inaction and the status quo, on one hand, and regularization, on the other. Since I like immigration, that inclines me to support inaction. The 340,000, give or take, to be allowed in as guest workers is just too small and I think that the promised enforcement will cut into illegal immigration somewhat, driving us under the 1 million new arrivals that I think are the bare minimum we are morally and economically obliged to take. (Feel free to take a swing at that “economically” but you’ll be just like the liberal who is all in favor of US military action, just so long as there’s no tangible benefit in it for the US.) On the other hand, I would like real border security and there are benefits to regularization, including fairness to the illegal immigrants, to I’m willing to look at regularization. In any event, this really is the choice we have here: regularization or the status quo.
But it takes a plan to beat a plan, and so the government has to tell us what regularization involves. Well, first, it involves identifying the illegal aliens who want to participate. Saying “tell us who you are, but once you do you’re not protected from enforcement of the immigration laws” just doesn’t work. No one would volunteer for regularization. That’s why, if you’re going to have regularization at all, you will necessarily have to assure applicants that they will not thereafter be subject to deportation so long as they behave themselves. Otherwise you get no applicants, so it’s just like not having regularization at all. (Imagine if your employer said, “we’re offering an early retirement program, so please let us know if your interested. By the way, applicants for early retirement are still subject to layoffs if we conclude that they are not committed to staying with the company.” No one would apply.)
The government could just say, “apply for this program and any applicant will be protected from the enforcement of the immigration law while his application is pending.” Instead, they’ve said, “apply for this program, and we’ll take 24 hours to check out whether you’ve got any obvious disqualifications before we give you probationary status.” The 24 hour check, in other words, was meant to reassure critics that we wouldn’t just be handing out probationary status willy-nilly. The government then can take as long as it needs to finish the process and make the probationary Z Visa status permanent. Here’s how the White House
Obtaining Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status is a multi-step process that includes thorough background checks with no guarantees. It can be broken down into three parts: probationary period, Z status, and LPR.
1. Probationary Period. The undocumented worker comes out of the shadows to acknowledge they have broken the law. In order to obtain probationary status, they must show they are employed and pass a preliminary background check. There is a provision in the bill that says DHS has one day to find a “disqualifying factor,” but that is not the end of the process. That is a very short term way of ensuring that if someone comes out of the shadows and admits their illegality, they will not be deported while the process is ongoing and can continue working while the full background check is completed. At any time if something pops up, the applicant becomes deportable, and will never have a chance at Z status and certainly not LPR status.
2. Z Status. If they have passed the hurdles above, the undocumented worker is considered for Z status. At this stage they must pay their $1,000 fine ($1,000 is just for a head of household – there is an additional fine of $500 for each dependent) and processing fees; are subject to updated background checks to make sure they have not committed crimes while in probationary status; agree to meet English and civics standards as a condition of renewal; and show employment. There is no one day “Treatment of applications” in this process. One must complete or agree to all of the above before they are able to achieve Z status.
3. LPR Status. Here, there is another $4,000 fine and more processing fees. More background checks are also conducted in order to make sure that the applicant has kept his or her record clean. The applicant will have had to have stayed employed and met the English and civics requirements. They will have to make an application from their home country, go to the back of the line, and demonstrate merit under the new green card points system. Then, and only then, will the undocumented worker obtain a green card.
So, as I said before, if we’re going to have regularization, we need some process like this and the 24 hour check is meant to be a sop to critics who don’t want applicants who are obviously not qualified to have even limited security from enforcement of the immigration laws. What happened after the bill was passed was that critics went through the bill to find provisions that they could wrestle out of context and misrepresent in order to wind up the oppositon to the bill.
Which brings us to citizenship. First, cjm’s “shareholder” metaphor just doesn’t work. My citizenship is not diluted because other people become citizens. What matters is whether the new citizens are really Americans. Here, there’s no reason to think that they won’t be. There is no automatic citizenship as a result of the regularization. The only benefit the illegal aliens get (if they’ve been here for 5 years or more) is that they don’t have to go back to their home country and come back in legally in order to be citizens. They do not, however, get any credit for the time they’ve already spend, they have to learn English and they have to pass the same test as all other naturalized citizens have to pass, plus they have to pay additional penalties beyond what legal immigrants have to pay. My guess is that few will bother. I understand that you have convinced yourself that they will just forge the documents, but that still doesn’t put them on an automatic path to citizenship. They still have to spend the time in the US, employed, after receiving LPR status and they still have to pass the test. So, while it may be in some metaphysical sense unfair to other naturalized citizens, although I have trouble seeing that it is, from the point of view of current citizens, the former illegal alien citizen will have proven himself just as fit (spent the time, took the test) as any other naturalized citizen.
Tracked from Thought Mesh
: Ideological purity
on 04 June 2007 at 11:39
I put "a quick comment elsewhere":http://orbital-mind-control-laser.net/leo/archives/2007_06_04.html#002736 about the travesty of "letting Sandy Berger get away with destroying national archive documents":http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/...