Wednesday, April 05, 2006


There's a couple of things here I wanted to direct people to. First. Brett Garner from Pete Ashdown's campaign emailed me about all of the immigration posts I've been writing and asked me if I could come up with something for the Ashdown campaign wiki. I have. The link is here, but who knows how long my version will survive, so I'm putting it here as well.
Immigration needs to be controlled and not eliminated. America was built by those seeking economic opportunity and freedom from oppressive governments. I do not believe in demonizing the American immigrant, but I do recognize illegal immigration is a growing problem. In era’s past, America has been looked to as a beacon of prosperity and goodwill. The American Dream was something talked about not just by people living in our country, but by the poor, tired-huddled masses of all countries. Our Dream was one where, regardless of your circumstance, if you could put in an honest days work, you would find prosperity for you and your family. This Dream, this uniquely American Dream, was something that people of all nations held deeply in their hearts and worked as hard as they could to make it a reality for them, coming to this country, often at great personal risk, and taking what work came and building this nation economically. The image of America held in the hearts of people today has been tarnished by our foreign policy and needs to be mended. A comprehensive overhaul of our immigration policy is one of the best tools to mend that image with.

We need to take a compassionate and realistic approach to the issue of immigration. It is estimated that there are between 11 and 12 million undocumented migrant workers living and working in this country. If they have jobs and are on the path to assimilating to our melting pot culture there is no reason to forcibly deport them immediately. The service and agriculture industries (among others) would be thrust into turmoil and the price tag of an operation to deport that many people at once isn’t feasible. We can find technology to consistently track immigrants are here legally and want to work. By bringing these people into the accepted fabric of society, we put them on the road to citizenship, prosperity and the American Dream. Obviously there will be troublemakers here and there, they will have to be dealt with judiciously, but there is no reason we should let these few problems destroy the entire enterprise. Migrant workers are integral to our society and economy and it would be much wiser to bring them into the light. If we force them out, they will grow ever more cunning and remain in the country regardless.

We need to craft legislation to deal with immigration in such a way that makes the United States inclusive and welcoming to people across our borders while at the same time taking into consideration American economic needs and our moral obligation to the world. For example, rather than sweeping it under the rug, the Federal government should issue proper green-cards, with tracking technology, to guest-workers, making this essential part of our economy legal. Border patrol and enforcement should be a responsibility of the Department of Defense and legal immigration should be based on demand, aided by a more streamlined system.

Once this balance is found, the image of America in the hearts and minds of the people living abroad will only stand to gain. The American dream will once again be something to yearn for in the ghettos of the world and it will once again be something attainable.

Currently, the Senate Judiciary committee has offered a bi-partisan solution to the problem, outlining a balance between security, economy and realism. Unfortunately, the future of this bill looks doubtful.

I also wanted to draw some attention to the fact that Bill Frist won't allow a vote on the McCain-Kennedy version of the legislation, even though it has enough votes to pass. There's something wrong with the Senate if the Majority Leader can arbitrarily decide to not let a bill get a vote because a majority of his party doesn't support it.

It's ridiculous.

Let me know what you think about the Immigration piece for the fellows over at Ashdown for Senate. If you don't like it, it's a wiki. Fix what you hate.

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