In my continued search for a presidential candidate to support, I’ve narrowed another one down. Recall my criteria: two-term elected executive, doesn’t say flippant, stupid crap about immigration.
Two-term New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, while not setting the world afire, did seem somewhat interesting to me. No more:
Johnson frames immigration — legal and illegal — as matter of pure calculation. “I’m completely pragmatic, and it’s a matter of commonsense cost-benefit analysis. What are we spending, and what are we getting? Immigration is a really good thing, the basis on which this country was founded. Yes, there are welfare services being provided that I don’t think should be provided, but these are issues that are relatively easily dealt with — rather than building a fence across 2,000 miles of border, or having the National Guard standing arm-in-arm across 2,000 miles of border.”
Whatever the virtues of his preferred policy, this is idiocy. What’s easier to do in America: reform our social programs (on a state and federal level) to be more in accord in with libertarian ideals, or to build a fence? Isn’t it obvious that building a fence would be easy-peasy-Japanesey? A few billion dollars and a president willing to build it is all it would take; the political will is already there. A libertarian overhaul of our welfare programs? Really? We currently can’t find the political will to reform programs (Medicare, Social Security) that are hugely expensive and objectively unsustainable. Reforming our social welfare programs would be no easier. Useful, certainly; maybe even necessary. But easier than building a damned fence?
And from a liberatarian perspective, what’s more in tune with the proper role of the federal government: welfare programs, or border security? Proper management of our welfare programs is nice, but it is no substitute for border security.
So Gary Johnson doesn’t get it, and doesn’t care to think about it enough to get it. We’ve already got enough politicians in Washington who use platitudes in lieu of thinking about immigration, I’ll take a pass on supporting another.
I find Mitt, Newt, and Sarah to all be unpalatable 2012 nominees. I had hopes that Haley Barbour would be a good candidate. He meets my qualification litmus test – he’s a two-term governor (I require a two-term executive, short of truly exceptional circumstances).
Unfortunately, he utterly fails my immigration litmus test. I don’t require that a candidate agree with me on immigration, but anyone who presents the amnesty-or-arrest-12-million-people false dichotomy is either so ignorant or dishonest as to be disqualified.
So the Governor of Arizona may have exaggerated stories of drug violence in her state. Because the entire nation now believes that Arizona’s business is our business, this is the subject of a Dana Milbank column in the Washington Post. Being the ass he is, Milbank can’t resist this bit of facetiousness:
Ay, caramba! Those dark-skinned foreigners are now severing the heads of fair-haired Americans? Maybe they’re also scalping them or shrinking them or putting them on a spike.
There was, of course, nothing about hair or skin color in what the governor said.* If Milbank would get out of his Beltway bubble, where most “Mexicans” are in fact Guatamalans or Salvadorans with very dark skin, he’d know what those of us in the southwest know, which is that a very large number of Mexicans are not dark-skinned at all. A couple of hours watching Telemundo would leave you to believe that Mexicans are as white as the king of Spain. Certainly there are tons of Mexicans here in Austin who, at the end of a Texas summer, are whiter than me.
Mexico is a racially diverse country, ranging from tall and pale people of pure Spanish decent to short, dark people of unbroken Mayan lineage. Arizona and Texas border the northern, whiterregions of Mexico – except for their, um, different driving style, it is difficult to tell these people from native Texans. In large part, because there’s very little difference. Those of us who have daily interaction with actual Mexicans fully understand this, and don’t stereotypically think of them as “dark-skinned.”
That’s just the editorial overlay of a jackass east coaster who thinks so poorly of his countrymen that he believes opposition to illegal immigration simply must come from a bunch of racist bumpkins. Few things so greatly display one’s ignorance as to incorrectly presume the ignorance of others.
*Indeed, she claimed that bodies were being found without heads, so we would have no clue what color hair they had. But a good journalist should never let details get in the way of a race mongering cheap shot.
I’ve complained that the “debate” about the new Arizona illegal immigration law has mostly revolved around hyperventilating idiots who are willfully ignorant about the definition of “reasonable suspicion.” From what I hear on the radio news and see on tv news, that’s still broadly true.
For a break from the ignorance, I recommend this Ilya Somin post. The post itself is fairly weak. Mainly, Somin complains that using state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws increases the chance of enforcement. Honestly, that’s his main complaint.
At present, if state law enforcement stops you and has reasonable suspicion that you are committing a federal crime, they’ll detain you to find out more. For instance, if I’m driving and get stopped and there are sheets of uncut $100 bills in my backseat and I’ve got green ink on my fingers, the fact that counterfeiting is a federal crime, not a state crime, won’t prevent the cop from doing additional investigation. Nor should it. Or if he sees a ski mask and what appears to be a bank bag in my back seat, and he’s recently received an APB for someone in the area who has robbed a bank, the fact that bank robbery is a federal crime will not stop the cop from investigating further. Nor should it.
All sorts of federal laws are enforced, by and large, by state and local police. The argument that immigration laws should not be enforced by state and local police because it will force legal immigrants to obey a federal law they currently ignore because of lax enforcement is, frankly, bizarre. That’s an argument against the underlying federal immigration laws. It is in no way an argument against the Arizona enforcement laws.
Somin makes a minor point that gets picked up in the comments that is much more persuasive. Under this law, many citizens will be faced with the option of either carrying around papers proving citizenship, or being detained for however long it take the cops to see that you’re here legally. The comments on that thread, or at least the first hundred or so I made it through, are worth reading on this point; Volokh has the most thoughtful, civil, and substantive commenters of any site I know.
There’s no free way out of this immigration problem, but at the end of the day I think the onus the Arizona law puts on citizens is acceptable. First, let’s divide people into three groups: illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, and citizens. I’m completely unconcerned about putting requirements on illegal immigrants. That laws will be enforced is a feature, not a bug. With legal immigrants, it’s already a federal requirement that they carry documents showing legal presence. Again, enforcement is a feature, not a bug.
As for citizens, 46 states require proof of legal presence in the U.S. in order to get a driver’s license. Anyone who can produce an Arizona driver’s license is not going to be investigated further. Moreover, virtually all out-of-staters in Arizona, whether arriving by car or plane, will have to have ID anyhow; if it’s from one of those 45 other states, no problemo.
The only people who will have problems are: 1. Arizonans who a.) have no state issued IDs and b.) give off signs of being illegal immigrants; 2. People from 45 other states who a.) have somehow gotten to Arizona without state-issued ID or any other form of American identification (difficult to do in the 21st Century, but not impossible, I guess), and b.) give off signs of being illegal immigrants; and 3. People from the other 4 states (which, admittedly, include two of the four states that border Arizona) who a.) don’t have another form of ID (Passport, Social Security Card matching their driver’s license name, birth certificate?) that demonstrates legal presence, and b.) give off signs of being illegal immigrants. Those are the only three groups of people who will be burdened by this law for whom we should have sympathy.
Illegal immigration places costs (crime, expenses on services, social upheaval, depressing wages) on all Arizonans. Considering that the actual onus of this law will fall on a very small group of people, that onus is not particularly heavy (being detained by police, just like if you were suspected of any other federal crime, until they figure out you’re legal), and considering that this onus can be avoided (after my second or third time being detained, I’d get a passport or something similar, as will most people), I think this is a good law. After decades of unforgivably lax enforcement of immigration laws by the feds, there’s no easy way out. But the Arizona law is a start.
It’s one thing for liberal activists and journalists (forgive my redundancy) to go off like a bunch of idiots about how the new immigration law has created Nazizona, where anyone with skin darker than an Alpine White Nazimobile gets beheaded and catapulted southward over the border. I expect it from them, because they’re a bunch of idiotic race mongers.
It’s another thing for a congressman, and a somewhat important Republican congressman at that, to bring this sort of idiocy to the party.
People who have no conception of what “probable cause” means should just STFU on this topic until they do a little reading. If I were a betting man (and I’m not), I would wager all of my earthly possessions that “probable cause” is the single most litigated issue in all of criminal law. There are literally thousands of court cases, including dozens (perhaps hundreds) of Supreme Court cases discussing what, precisely, constitutes “probable cause.” And, contra the great Mr. Mack’s unfortunately existent great-grandson, police cannot simply stop people walking down the street and demand to see their papers. Even if a state passed a law stating “Police can simply stop people walking down the street and demand to see their papers” – which the new Arizona law definately does not say – police could not simply stop people walking down the street and demand to see their papers. Such a law would be unconstitutional. If I were writing a legal brief and felt like overemphasizing this point, I could make a 50-page string cite of federal cases that would support that proposition.
Congress is an utter disgrace, and has been for quite some time. It would be difficult for my opinion of Congresscritters to get lower. Still, Mack’s ignorant diatribe shocks me. He’s an embarrassment to Congress, to his party, to his state, and to the man who dominated early 20th Century baseball. Shame, thy name is Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV.
Eugene Volokh puts it nicely, for someone who is generally in favor of open borders. If a recent poll is to be believed, there are about 800 million Indians who would like to immigrate to America. Those who are unconcerned about the number of immigrants we presently have should stop and think about that number for a few minutes, and what it means for the future of an open borders America. 800,000,000.
India is, of course, one of the better places from which to get immigrants. They’re more liberal than much of the world, more educated, and some of them speak English. There are about 40 million Indonesians who would like to immigrate to America (equivalent to the combined populations of California and Oregon), and they are largely Muslim and illiberal. There was no polling done for Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Ethiopia, four countries that combine for half a billion people (500,000,000) with a per capita GDP of $1,500. How many of them do you think would like to come? There should be no need to mention China.
Poor, illiterate, illiberal foreigners who would like to move to our country greatly outnumber us. Every discussion of immigration should always begin with that statement.
It’s obvious from our email that a lot of people desperately want a reason to vote against Barack Obama – as Ryan Kennedy put it: “Sarah Barracuda. All our hopes rest on thee.”
But Obama and the Democrats can easily break this momentum. All Obama has to do is ask John McCain (who, despite appearances, is still the GOP presidential nominee) to pledge, in the spirit of “bipartisanship” he was going on about Thursday night, that they will both work together for amnesty in the next Congress, regardless of which of them goes to the White House and which of them remains in the U.S. Senate.
“The comprehensive immigration reform bill that Senator McCain wrote with Senator Kennedy is not entirely to my taste, but I’m willing to put up with the parts of Senator McCain’s amnesty plan that I don’t like so that we can be sure something finally gets done. After all, I have to admit that Senator McCain has worked far harder over the last four years to provide amnesty to illegal aliens than I have. Therefore, to break the logjam in Washington, I’ll offer to take his word for it that the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill is the right approach to amnesty. Clearly, Senator McCain is the expert on amnesty, not me. Giving amnesty to illegal aliens undoubtedly means more to him than, to be frank, amnesty means to me, so I’m willing, if he’s willing, to pledge to pass his illegal immigrant legalization bill, which — did I mention? — he wrote.”
If McCain replies that he’s no longer for his bill, Obama could say with a puzzled look on his face, “Oh, so you were for it before you were against it? I see …” and nod his head slowly, while scratching his chin, furrowing his brow and biting his lip in a thoughtful manner. Then, suddenly, “But, aren’t we talking about your own bill? If it is a bad bill, why did you propose it? If it is a goodbill, why are you against it?”
FDR could have gone on in this disingenuously ingenuous vein for weeks, having a grand old time at his rival’s expense while the Republican base’s enthusiasm for its nominee collapses, but, somehow, I don’t think Obama can bring himself to play dumb, even to get elected President.
Well, I somehow doubt that Obama will do this, but one never knows. . .
In some neighborhoods in DC, like many in California, it’s possible to spend most of your life not speaking English. Linguistic ghettos, usually Spanish, seriously hamper assimilating into American culture. Without a solid command of the English language, the best an immigrant to America can hope for is a lower middle class existence.
A former community activist should know this, but Obama (H/T) doesn’t:
You know, I don’t understand when people are going around worrying about, “We need to have English-only.” They want to pass a law, “We want English-only.”
Now, I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that. But understand this. Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English — they’ll learn English — you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about, how can your child become bilingual? We should have every child speaking more than one language.
You know, it’s embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe, and all we can say [is], “Merci beaucoup.” Right?
You know, no, I’m serious about this. We should understand that our young people, if you have a foreign language, that is a powerful tool to get a job. You are so much more employable. You can be part of international business. So we should be emphasizing foreign languages in our schools from an early age, because children will actually learn a foreign language easier when they’re 5, or 6, or 7 than when they’re 46, like me.
It is rare to see so few words packing so much idiocy. Let’s try to disect.
[T]hey’ll learn English. Actually, many of them aren’t. If they were, Americans wouldn’t be clamoring for English-only laws.
Obama equates American tourists visiting Turkey or France or wherever with immigrants moving to American permanently. By this peculiar logic, the natives in Turkey or France or wherever should learn English rather than expect visitors to learn the local tongue.
While learning a foreign language at an early age is a good thing, it’s a separate issue from immigrants not learning the local language. Obama might as well’ve suggested that since immigrants aren’t learning English, American schoolchildren should focus more doing math without calculators, which is a good idea but utterly unrelated to the question he was asked.
More revealing is that this incident reveals the candidate’s three-part modus obamarandi. A person asks him a question. First, he responds with something soothing and optimistic, that the immigrants are learning English. Second, he mixes in a radical idea which is what he really thinks, that Americans should assimilate to immigrants. Third, he finishes up with a positive and sane prescription, that schoolchildren should learn foreign languages sooner.
It’s a very smooth method, sandwiching something radical between optimism and serious policy. McCain needs to figure out a way to hit Obama on these issues, since nobody in the media is going to do so.
But right in the second paragraph we learn that these several hundred illegal immigrants were rounded up at “the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant.” That practically writes itself, and the Register whiffed. Effing weak.