Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Immigration Fallout

Mickey Kaus deconstructs Gingrich's position on the mass legalization of illegal immigrants:

5) For recent and future illegal immigrants, the key apparent features of the Krieble Plan–the unlimited number of “red cards” and the ease of obtaining them**–effectively means something close to open borders. Millions of impoverished workers now living abroad could flood the U.S. labor market legally. Krieble’s plan is similar to the Papoon for President drug plan, which would “eliminate all illegal drugs” by simply making them all legal. Krieble similarly ends illegal immigration effectively legalizing it (“a country where there’s no more illegality,” as Gingrich put it).

And these unlimited legal “red card” workers would all return home, of course, right? And they’d be happy with second-class, non-citizenship status?

6) In embracing the Krieble plan, Gingrich fatally abandons the logic of “enforcement first,” which is that if you secure the border you can eventually have an amnesty–because the secure border will then be able to keep out future waves of wannabe illegals whom the amnesty will inevitably attract. If you really have a secure border, after all, you don’t need the unlimited Krieble red card plan, which would inevitably have a depressing effect on American wages (especially for the unskilled). Instead, the secure border would allow a numerically limited guestworker program, big enough to serve employers without having a major effect on wages, capable of being increased or decreased as market conditions changed.

Why would Gingrich want to control the border and then allow open borders–effectively unlimited unskilled future immigration–anyway? The main point of “controlling the border” is to prevent that.

Mark Krikorian piles on:

So the Gingrich Amnesty would cover illegal immigrants here when Congress passed IRCA. That is to say, it would pick up where the previous amnesty left off, legalizing precisely those people who didn’t qualify for IRCA. This just underlines what a chump you have to be to support any deal offered you by amnesty supporters.

Which is why “enforcement first” is the only way to go: consistent, unapologetic, across-the-board enforcement of the immigration law at our consulates overseas for visa applicants, at the borders, and inside the country, especially at the worksite — without preconditions or deals or grand bargains. Only after we’ve done that consistently — comprehensively! — for a sustained period of time and attrition has reduced the total illegal population by half or more is amnesty for some of those remaining even a legitimate topic for debate. For prudential reasons I might well be for amnesty under those conditions — I’m not an absolutist on the issue (though I don’t like second-class citizenship — if you’re going to amnesty someone, just do it and steer clear of Helen Krieble’s silly “red card” gimmick, which was the source of Mike Pence’s amnesty plan, too). But amnesty can only be the final chapter, not an opening gambit.

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