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Category: Immigration
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Approximately fifteen years ago, back during the waning days of the George H. W. Bush (41) presidency, back when the glow of the great victory over Saddam was dimming, and the remaining intractable challenges of the Middle East were re-emerging, I remember a cartoon:

The political cartoon, and I don't remember the artist, pictured the administration as a football team with President Bush as the quarterback, and his Secretary of State, James A. Baker, the running back. The cartoon depicted the moment following a straight-ahead dive into a brick wall labeled "Peace in the Middle East." Baker has had his bell rung, stars are circling his helmet, which has been knocked askew.

Surveying the field, and to the disbelief of the rest of the team (especially the running back), the QB says: "Same play guys!"

When I think of George W. Bush (43) and his insistence on bringing back the immigration reform, I think of that cartoon--only this time, the future of the Republican Party is carrying the ball.

As I have said for several weeks (and this coming from a conservative who is extremely liberal on immigration):

I am increasingly of the opinion, for reasons of political survival, that the President and his coterie of GOP pragmatists should pull the plug on this immigration offensive, retreat and regroup.

We (America) have a serious problem, which we are not addressing. Instead, we (conservatives) are having an internecine bloodletting in which too many of the most severe national challenges are obscured by pernicious abstractions. Although it is in our power to come up with something workable, I fear that we are more likely to do nothing, perpetuating the status quo that brought us our current crisis, beating ourselves into critical condition in the process.

What is the President up against? Today the brick wall is the core constituency of the Republican Party: Cultural Conservatives.

Please consider this email I received from a dear and sincere friend and patriotic American (who clearly does not read my blog):

Quoting a concerned American:

"Forward this to


"Then go find your senators website contact page, copy and paste the following list. And of course send it John McCain.

"To: President George W. Bush, (or Senator ...)

"Where’s the fence????????

"As a concerned citizen, I believe illegal immigration is a national security crisis of the highest order and also poses a long-term threat to the American way of life. I am calling on Congress and the President to:

"#1 -- Secure our borders. As first priority, America must stop the flow of illegal immigration by investing all necessary resources in securing our borders. Also, existing immigration laws must be enforced as an essential component of our Homeland Security.

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Category: Immigration
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Please consider this reflection from an old friend (biographical info below).

Guest Blog: Football Coach

Each October, the Christian high school that I teach at takes the entire freshman class on a week-long canoe trip down the Colorado River. It is part outdoor education, part religious retreat, and part Deliverance. Because of my commitments with football, I am usually unable to go. However, that was not the case in 2000. On that trip, the naturalist assigned to my group had recently graduated from Brown with a degree in Anthropology. She was proud of the fact that she hadn’t shaved or washed her hair in over a year and her biggest worry at the time was who to vote for (she wanted to vote for Nader instead of Gore, but was afraid she was throwing her vote away). Needless to say, we had some interesting discussions.

On one of the days, her nature lesson involved the water resources and management of the river. At the time, California was taking most of the water from the river to use for irrigation (most of the drinking water for southern California comes from northern California). The agreement between the states that had a claim to the water (primarily Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah) was almost up and each entity was jockeying for position. Of course the naturalist painted the picture that big, mean, California was taking more than her share. When she finished, one of the students asked if the other states would let California continue to have water from the river. When the naturalist did not answer, my response was “If they want to continue to eat they will.” Since California grows most of their food, it was an obvious statement, and that is, in fact, what has happened.

What does this have to do with the immigration problem? The answer is still the same. California grows most of the food, particularly fruits, vegetables, and dairy. To keep prices reasonable, agriculture relies on cheap labor. While I don’t know the exact numbers, most of the planting, growing, and certainly the harvesting is done by illegal immigrants. It seems an easy solution to send all of the illegal immigrants back to their country of origin, but who would grow the food? Are we really willing to pay $6 for a head of lettuce and $10 for a gallon of milk? We don’t like paying over $3 for a gallon of gas. If Reagan’s “trickle-down” theory of economy was effective, it would make sense that it would work in reverse. If food prices increased significantly, eventually it would drive up other prices.

To add to the problem, land in California is at a premium. Unlike many areas of the country that rely on agriculture, people want to live in California making land expensive. I know that will upset some people in other parts of the country, but there is a reason why Nebraska, Iowa, and others travel well to bowl games, while the California schools do not – who wants to leave southern California in December or January to go to San Antonio, Orlando, or Memphis? It has even become necessary for certain California counties to have restrictions on what percentages of land can be developed, leaving a certain percentage that has to be left to agriculture.

I don’t know what the solution is, but it isn’t an easy one. I’m not convinced there is a problem.
~~Football Coach

Football Coach Bio:

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Category: Immigration
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
As the euphoria wears off from the thrilling victory against the President's immigration reform, and the reality sets in, we shall come to see that not much has changed. We are where we were.

Today Tocqueville points us to a Thomas Sowell column (here): Bipartisan Betrayal: “Where is the fence?”

Although he probes some telling subjects, I would argue that even Sowell, one of the most incisive thinkers in the conservative movement, is still in fundamental denial concerning the reality of the moment.

Sowell writes:

With immigration, as with other issues, the most important decision is: Who is to make the decision?

Important point. Sowell uses this truism to launch into an assertion of American sovereignty. But the more practical answer to his question of who?--is the Congress of the United States.

America is sovereign, and the will of the people, in theory, should drive the process to regulate the flow of immigrants, secure our borders and establish procedures for naturalizing would-be Americans.

The rule of the people is fine in theory--but, even in theory, we are not a direct democracy. Popular sovereignty is filtered through a complex political process, which is the product of a constitution and centuries of rules and traditions and personalities.

In reality, all federal legislation is dependent upon party interests, composition of the Congress, timing, leadership, media, awareness, and much, much more. Making law is an art--not a science. More telling, it is an "art of the possible."

What is possible?

Take a look at yesterday's vote on Alberto Gonzales (roll call here). Although the Gonzales question is completely unrelated to immigration, the vote is, nevertheless, instructive. When push came to shove, there were 38 Senators willing to stand up to the grandstanding Democrats. Take a look at the list (roll call here once again).

My suspicion is that most of those thirty-eight Republicans are not fans of Gonzales; we know that they are fairly disenchanted with the President. But there they were, casting their "votes of confidence" like fearless patriots of a embattled cause. In essence, these are your stalwarts. These true believers are most likely the full extent of the "cultural conservatives"* on immigration in the United States Senate (plus or minus one or two).

I noted recently the logical fallacy of reading the polling data that indicates only 22 percent of Americans supported the late immigration bill and then assuming that 78 percent are for the cultural conservative alternative (sealed borders and no amnesty for the twelve million illegals). It is also naive to assume that last week's victory in blocking the reform bill in the Senate (where it takes sixty votes to legislate) is tantamount to building a coalition for positive action acceptable to cultural conservatives.

One more thing: as for the will of the people. The people have not demonstrated an employable interest in a hard-line immigration package. Yes, there is polling; there is talk radio; there is anger among certain segments. But the power of the cultural conservatives on this issue has yet to be demonstrated at the ballot box.

Reminder: Republican leadership in the 109th Congress, beset by scandal, dissatisfaction on Iraq and fiscal malpractice, sacrificed serious discussion of solutions to place all their hopes for survival on immigration as an emotional issue to save their rotten skins. The strategy proved a dismal failure.

I will believe immigration "hardlining" is an effective electoral strategy when I see it. Or, perhaps when Tom Tancredo rises above 1 percent in the national polls. I don't say all this because I think politics should drive policy (in fact, I bemoan that GOP mistake every chance I get). But elections matter in that they carry "mandates." So far, there is no electoral mandate for hardcore immigration action; as a result, there is little chance for cultural conservative success in passing legislation.

Sowell points out that we, in fact, have a current policy of open borders and de facto amnesty.

Sowell blames both parties and avers:

Neither wants to risk losing the Hispanic vote, though it is doubtful whether all Hispanics are in favor of open borders.

That strikes me as a facile explanation. Why?

1. Historically, Hispanics have not shown themselves especially active voters. Isn't this much ado about not much?

2. Lets assume Sowell has a salient point: It may work for Democrats, but it seems an oddly indirect strategy for Republicans. Hispanics have always leaned Democrat. Instead of trying to legitimate, activate and then convert Hispanic voters, why wouldn't the GOP prefer to just round them all up and shut down the borders--if the issue was merely about elections and stopping immigration was an option. Instead of hoping for the best, we could kill the problem in its cradle.

I tend to think the motivations here are much more complicated and less sinister than Sowell suggests. Let me think about it for a while; I will try to return to this question at some later date.

Sowell attempts also to address some of the more familiar arguments for immigrants:

The first of these frauds is the argument that the economy “needs” illegal immigrants to fill “jobs that Americans won’t take.” Both parts of this argument ignore the most obvious three-letter word that is left out: Pay.

Virtually any job is a job that Americans will not take, if the pay is low enough. Nor is there any reason for pay to rise if illegal immigrants are available at low pay.

This is true enough on its face. If we paid enough to have our lawns mowed and our toilets cleaned, I suppose we could recruit college graduates from wealthy families to do these jobs. But is it really in our interest to initiate a massive restructuring of salaries?

A dirty little secret: low-skilled workers have been essential to our increasingly pampered, high-powered, low-inflation existence over the past few decades.

There is an important humanitarian question in all this: are we willing to exploit the most unfortunate among us (granted: the victims are complicit in all this) in order to maintain our elevated lifestyles? By the way, this is a potential point of agreement among cultural conservatives and soft-hearted liberals. Cultural conservatives should pursue this possible alliance.

More Sowell:

Then there is the “family reunification” fraud which claims that we cannot in good conscience keep out the families of illegal immigrants who are living in the United States but must let those families reunite.

Of all the cultural conservative demands, this one disturbs me most. Have a heart. Let people in or don't let people in. Give them a path to citizenship or don't. But if someone is good enough to be an American citizen, have some compassion for the basic human need for family. I don't see that brand of cultural conservative thinking as at all traditional.

More Sowell:

The grand fraud of all is the claim that we must have “comprehensive” immigration reform — that is, simultaneously deal with border control and the legal status of illegal immigrants already here.

There is no logical reason why these two issues must be dealt with together, though there are political reasons why elected officials want to do so. Passing border laws described as “tough” gives Congress political cover when they legalize the illegals.

Historically, comprehensive solutions have always proved the necessary glue for divisive legislation. Comprehensive solution is the highway of compromise, the bridge over impasse. Neither side is ever willing to accept defeat on the promise that compensation will come later at some unspecified date. Too often later never comes. Neither side trusts the other in this case, and there is no reason to trust. Get it done sooner rather than later--but neither side is going to take a bullet on this issue without getting something tangible in return.

Finally, from Sowell:

Last year, the sop to the American people was the promise of a fence on the border. This year, the big question is: “Where is the fence?”

This is the reality. There is no fence. There will be no fence. There are not enough votes for a fence. There is not enough will for a fence.

Deal with it. Accept it. Try to change it. But wishing and wailing are not constructive solutions.

*Note on language: For lack of a better word, and as a result of my conversation with Tocqueville, I am referring to conservatives who are against liberal immigration reform as cultural conservatives.
Category: Immigration
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
A lot has been said about the Rasmussen poll and his analysis: "Why the Senate Immigration Bill Failed" (full article here).

Quoting Rasmussen:

"The immigration bill failed because a broad cross-section of the American people are opposed to it. Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters are opposed. Men are opposed. So are women. The young don’t like it; neither do the no-longer-young. White Americans are opposed. Americans of color are opposed."

End quote.

Continuing our "Immigration Reform 2007 is dead. Now What?" conversation (see here):

Let me posit that many of us are making an erroneous leap of logic in the aftermath of the great grassroots rebellion on the Right (over which even I am heartened).

We keep hearing that only 22 percent of Americans were for the immigration compromise. Some of us seem to infer from that statistic that, conversely, 78 percent of America is with us. That is a shaky assumption.

The bill was defeated, which as I said, if nothing else, illustrated that conservatism remains independent and not without a modicum of residual power in American politics. This is a good thing. We are right to take heart from this fact. In life, we should take pleasure in small victories.

On the other hand, nothing much has changed. We have proven that we can stop a flawed immigration compromise--but we are thousands of miles away from having the power to secure the legislation we desire.

We are still faced with the same choice: compromise or maintain the status quo, which means de facto amnesty.

We can all yell: "secure the border and enforce the law" until the cows come home--but I am not expecting George Bush to suddenly convert to the Tancredo position. I don't expect Hillary Clinton to be very friendly to us either.

I guess we can hope for Fred Thompson. Why not? This is the part of the season when hope springs eternal. I suppose anything is possible, but what is Plan B?
Category: Immigration
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
On May 18, taking our cue from the immigration compromise bill put forth with much ballyhoo and great optimism, we resumed a long-running discussion concerning immigration and acculturation on this blog.

I compliment our readers and contributors for stepping up to the democratic task of engaging national politics on an individual level. I am extremely proud of the conversation we had here. Kudos to the Bosque Boys community.

Having said that, we are where we were:

In fact, what I said on 18 May, "Immigration Comes Home to Roost" (you may review that post here) seems to me appropriate still:

1. For political reasons, Republicans passed on their best opportunity to craft meaningful immigration legislation back when they ran Washington (109th Congress).

2. The Political Strategy failed miserably. A hard line on immigration could not save the dismal Republican majority in 2006.

3. Choosing politics over policy in 2006 risked that nothing got done on immigration for a long time.

4. Doing nothing (then and now) means de facto amnesty and affirming a status quo that almost all of us agree is unacceptable.

5. On May 18, the Republican House and the conservative grassroots woke up to find themselves on the outside looking in, befuddled and angry.

Today they are still on the outside looking in--but much happier as a result of derailing the latest bill. I give conservatives credit for a bravura performance in mobilizing against this legislation. If nothing else, conservatism illustrated its independence and residual power in American politics.

Okay, most of the above is water under the bridge. But many of the problems then are still the same today.

Where Are We Now? I am not sure much has changed since 20 May when I wrote about a "tangled immigration dilemma faced by conservatives" (the full post here):

1. Our system of regulating immigration (especially immigration from Mexico) is so dysfunctional as to be non-existent.

2. We have no idea how many illegal aliens we are currently hosting in our nation, but most credible estimates indicate somewhere around 12,000,000 undocumented persons.

3. If we do nothing, immigration will continue to exist as an unrestrained force of nature, disturbed only by market variables.

4. The hard-line stance of many conservatives (an impermeable fence, massive deportations, an army on the border capable of maintaining complete security, etc.) is not politically possible in the foreseeable future.


The Democrats control both houses of Congress. They are content to allow the current system to continue unmolested.

The Republicans are divided on the issue between nativists and market-oriented, Wall Street Journal type conservatives, who believe that a large segment of the undocumented (illegal) population are essential to our economy.

The rest of America is mostly divided, ambivalent or apathetic; there is no national consensus for action at this moment.

5. Doing nothing means the continuation of a regime all of us (conservatives) can agree is bordering on disastrous.

6. We cannot get everything we want. We cannot even decide on what it is exactly that we want.

For the record, here is what I [still] want:

--secure borders (as much as that is possible)

--national ID cards

--tough penalties for employers who employ illegal workers

--some humane system for allowing workers from Mexico to work for American employers as the need arises

--some humane system for allowing a larger percentage of those workers to become American citizens, recognizing our special relationship with Mexico and other neighbors to the South

What to do?

Join the process with reasonable expectations and honest intentions. Let's get in the game and help solve the problem.
Category: Immigration
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Last week I said that I was increasingly of the opinion, for reasons of political survival, that the President and his coterie of GOP pragmatists should pull the plug on the immigration offensive, retreat and regroup.

Obviously, more so now than then. Fold your cards and wait for the next deal.

What continues to frustrate me most about the immigration debate?

We (America) have a serious problem (immigration), which we are not addressing. Instead, we (conservatives) are having an internecine bloodletting in which too many of the most severe national challenges are obscured by pernicious abstractions. Although it is in our power to come up with something workable, I fear that we are more likely to do nothing, perpetuating the status quo that brought us our current crisis, beating ourselves into critical condition in the process.

Last week I listed three "realities" that opponents to immigration reform generally ignore. The post precipitated a frank and constructive discussion. You may review that post and comments here.


The angst over immigration (a serious problem) clouds and distorts an even more important discussion concerning who and what we will be as an American nation. We are in the midst of a national crisis, but it is not a direct result of millions of underclass Mexicans entering the American bloodstream. The real problem is that we are not prepared to assimilate them properly. That is, Hispanics are not killing the traditional process of assimilation; the traditional process of assimilation and American inculcation is dead.

The real solution: FIX THE PROBLEM OF ASSIMILATION, which means educating young people (not just immigrants) to be good Americans. What is a good American? A good American is a functional citizen; patriotic and loyal, yes, but, more than that, a person who apprehends the essence of our national inheritance and our collective responsibility to posterity.

Ten days ago, Tocqueville directed me to this Rod Dreher post (here), entitled "ferocious differences," in which Rod explained how Mexicans and Americans are not like one another.

Dreher recounts the story of "a fourth-grader in a local school [Texas Metroplex]-- a Hispanic boy, the son of Mexican immigrants who can't speak English...[who offered up his] favorite figure from history: Santa Anna, the villain of the Alamo."

Dreher continued: "It was striking to me because this first-generation Texas boy had completely inverted the founding myth of Texas. And by 2020, say the demographers, Hispanics will be the absolute majority in Texas. How will Texans of the future think about Texas, when the villains and the heroes of the Alamo are reversed?"

Tocqueville is a big fan of Rod Dreher, as am I (albeit to a lesser degree). Dreher is always thoughtful, compassionate and logical. But he makes the increasingly common mistake of conflating the issue of who they are with who we are. Admitting that "the Mexicans that come north will be chewed up by the dynamism of capitalism, in time" [emphasis mine], Dreher correctly reminds us that this wave of immigrants possess "a lot more psychological resources with which to resist assimilation" (which include a unique sense of history, "contiguity to Mexico" and the "overwhelming numbers" of culturally similar fellow travelers).

Once Again: the Dreher post here; it really is a great read.

Can the power of the American story overcome the culture and history of a Mexico that they are leaving behind? Of course! As Dreher asserts, integration and assimilation will happen naturally over time.

However, the process needs our specific attention and action. We must approach the acculturation of these immigrants with a plan of action. We must inculcate these groups with traditional American values. In ordinary circumstances, this would not be a daunting task. Immigrants are generally inclined to see the good in our system and our history--or go home.

The Greatest Danger.

However, we must also acknowledge that we are in an all-important fight for cultural hegemony in which our enemies are not external; they are us. We are currently atop an educational complex run amok. Instead of imbuing students (immigrant and native-born alike) with a history that values "one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," our system is busy poisoning these optimistic immigrants with an alternative narrative of exploitation, pessimism and victimization.

A point that Dreher considers within his post--but does not emphasize--is the twenty-first century reality of American-born Americans steadily losing touch with our own myths. My question for Rod: what were the Anglo kids in that class saying, many of whom, no doubt, possessed deep genealogical roots back into the era of the Texas Republic? My guess it that they were relatively uninterested in Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie or William Barret Travis.

More over, the identification of Santa Anna as an heroic figure is not a Mexican myth. Mexican history portrays Santa Anna as an inept scoundrel. The notoriously dictatorial and deceitful Santa Anna provides a figure only an anti-American academic could love. My guess is that the sanctification of Santa Anna in the case Rod mentions emanates from the bias of the fourth-grade teacher rather than the domestic Mexican-American culture of the student.

Our most serious national problem is that we are surrendering our sense of American exceptionalism and goodness. We are no longer teaching and believing in the grand experiment in self government based on the ideals of justice, opportunity and a republican subordination of self to community. We are no longer celebrating our national morality.

More than anything else, we need to guard and fight for our culture where it is most at risk: universities, pop culture, and government. We can easily assimilate 25 million immigrants from Mexico over time--if we stay faithful to a traditional unifying American narrative. The greatest security threat of our time rests in failing to pass on our national inheritance to the 100 million American-born citizens who are right now deciding who they are and what they want to be.

Recognize that ACCULTURATION is the key to security. Recognize that promulgating a narrative that takes apart the single unifying principle of a nation is suicide.
Category: Immigration
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
rac•ism: a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

na•tiv•ism: the policy of protecting the interests of native inhabitants against those of immigrants.

Is the wave of popular revulsion against the immigration compromise among Republicans fueled by racism and/or nativism?

If you ask the opponents of a comprehensive compromise, they mostly say no. Most take profound umbrage at the suggestion.

I have argued that this debate is not really about illegal immigration; it is, in fact, about who and how many. That is, we could end the problem of illegality by waving our magic legislative wand. Therefore, "law and order" is not at the core of our emotional standoff; rather, our fight concerns the future of our culture as determined by the composition of the next generation.

The opponents to this particular immigration compromise have diverse reasons for their opposition. However, among the grassroots revolt is a vast multitude of Americans who believe that Mexicans are not educable and/or absorbable because of cultural differences and/or their limited capacity for ambition, comprehension and self-improvement.

Are these particular voices of skepticism racists? Are they nativists?

Part of the problem with this debate is that the label racist and nativist have become vile epithets.

Culture of Intolerance for Intolerance.

We live in a curious moment in time in which our collective rhetoric claims that we prize nonconformity, critical thinking and dissent. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Certitude is tantamount to ignorance. Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

On the other hand, the forces of nonconformity and tolerance exert enormous peer pressure on public figures and private individuals to conform to the ideology of tolerance. So much so, intolerant dissenters put their livelihoods and tranquility at risk when they question the creed of tolerance.

Examples: academics who suggest that Asians score higher than persons of African descent on standardized tests are immediately suspect (at best) or ostracized (in the extreme). Woe to the politician who suggests that a larger percentage of African Americans go to prison for any reason other than systemic racism built up in our nation over the course of four hundred years of oppression. Race and abortion? Race and single-parent families? Race and wealth and poverty? You get the picture. All taboo subjects in our current climate, unless you tow the party line.

Moreover, "racism" has become the most powerful condemnation in our society on the personal level. You meet a person at an event who seems perfectly engaging and affable, but someone whispers in your ear: "he's a racist." A look of revulsion comes over your face. You take an extra sip of your drink because it suddenly takes great effort to get your food down. You begin to plot your immediate exit strategy, and you make sure you avoid eye contact with this person for the duration of the engagement.

Understanding that "racism" has become the deadliest of political poisons, conservative proponents of the immigration compromise should never have brought up racism or nativism as political cudgels with which to beat their brothers in temporary opposition--no matter how relevant the charge.

The Fair Solution: We should allow racists and nativists to make their case in the simplest terms in a non-hostile environment. I disagree with the assumption that White Europeans are inherently superior stock for democratic citizenship--but it is a reasonable argument for which serious people can produce reams of evidence from all kinds of disciplines including history, the social sciences and the hard sciences. It is a claim that is eminently more defensible that the 9-11 conspiracy theory. Why not let the racists and nativists have their day in open court?

But that is impossible. So, the folks who might ordinarily make their case in clear and logical terms must cloak their arguments in professions for "law and order," anti-terrorism warnings and outlandish projections concerning the budget and the already doomed and despised social safety net.

Of course, as I have said many times before, the most frustrating thing about this debate is the misdirected fury and dread. The anti-illegal-immigrant impulse is actually a manifestation of the completely understandable frustration with a changing culture, but, unfortunately, currently it has no place to surface other than stalking horse issues.
Category: Immigration
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
I am increasingly of the opinion, for reasons of political survival, that the President and his coterie of GOP pragmatists should pull the plug on this immigration offensive, retreat and regroup. Notwithstanding, there are serious perils in that strategy.

What frustrates me most about the immigration debate:

We (America) have a serious problem, which we are not addressing. Instead, we (conservatives) are having an internecine bloodletting in which too many of the most severe national challenges are obscured by pernicious abstractions. Although it is in our power to come up with something workable, I fear that we are more likely to do nothing, perpetuating the status quo that brought us our current crisis, beating ourselves into critical condition in the process.


1. We have full employment in the United States of America. We also have millions of illegal undocumented immigrants in our country laboring and contributing to the economy. If we could find a way to erase those millions of workers, our economy would surely suffer.

An aside: I say "if" because I am skeptical of our ability to track these folks down and remove them, but, more significantly, I am certain that we don't have the will, even if there were a way.

Undoubtedly, Mexican immigration (illegal and otherwise) drives down wages. However, no Americans who want to work are displaced by immigrants. Americans who want to go to school to train (or retrain) for better opportunities are not blocked in that pursuit as a result of immigrants.

2. There are jobs Americans won't do. Any person who quibbles with that truism is a demagogue. Granted, the emotionally charged statement points to a major social problem: Too many Americans no longer believe in the dignity of labor.

But McCain is right: there are not many white, black or brown Americans who will pick lettuce in the hot South Texas sun for twelve hours a day, six days a week to scratch out a meager living. Most of us would starve rather than clean other people's toilets. Teenagers no longer get summer jobs hauling hay, working on the highway or mowing lawns. College kids don't bus tables anymore. The Puritan work ethic is long gone as an essential component of the American ethos.

Again, this observation points up a dangerous cultural weakness (completely distinct from the immigration crisis), which should be addressed. I concede, however, that our current system of immigration seriously contributes to this worrisome national condition. If any anti-illegal-immigrant advocates addressed this loss of work ethic, they would have my full attention. But no one is willing to take on this taboo subject. This simple fact of modern American life is a vital moral issue that we serially ignore.

3. Stop with the Slogans. Secure the border? Sure. Of course. Let's go ahead and balance the budget and win the war in Iraq, as long as we're tossing down bromides.

Fences and armed forces patrolling the border in itself will not solve our problems. Even if we could build a twenty-foot fence the length of the border, we would still need to deal with the millions of illegal (and much more relevant, undocumented) aliens living and working in America. We would need to set up a system that faced the realities of a changing marketplace, holding employers to account without driving them out of business with mindless regulations based upon unrealistic expectations. We need a comprehensive solution (admittedly a slogan) that includes border security as a necessary component.

Also, we ought to be realistic about "amnesty." Amnesty is necessary. The problem is not amnesty. The problem is enforcement of a workable plan. be continued.
Category: Immigration
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Tocqueville and I disagree sharply on immigration. He has been collecting highlights from the discussion on the web against the "compromise" bill, as well as contributing an outstanding original piece to our discussion yesterday (read here).

Today's haul of op-ed pieces seems especially fertile and noteworthy. It strikes me that we are fast approaching the moment of truth. The fruit of Tocqueville's efforts:

1. Peggy Noonan: President Bush has torn the conservative coalition asunder.

"What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future."

"This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place."

"The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic--they 'don't want to do what's right for America.'"

"They are trying to lay down markers for history. Having lost the support of most of the country, they are looking to another horizon. The story they would like written in the future is this: Faced with the gathering forces of ethnocentric darkness, a hardy and heroic crew stood firm and held high a candle in the wind. It will make a good chapter. Would that it were true!" (read the column in its entirety here).

2. Charles Krauthammer: Get in Line, Einstein

"[T]he campaign for legalization does not stop at stupidity and farce. It adds mendacity as well. Such as the front-page story in last Friday's New York Times claiming that "a large majority of Americans want to change the immigration laws to allow illegal immigrants to gain legal status."

"Sounds unbelievable. And it is. A Rasmussen poll had shown that 72 percent of Americans thought border enforcement and reducing illegal immigration to be very important. Only 29 percent thought legalization to be very important. Indeed, when a different question in the Times poll -- one that did not make the front page -- asked respondents if they wanted to see illegal immigrants prosecuted and deported, 69 percent said yes" (read the op-ed in its entirety here).

3. Hugh Hewitt: Can Any Immigration Bill Be Saved?

"At this point I take out my Harriet Miers Fan Club charter membership card and put it on the table: This push for this bill is a disaster, Mr. President. Much much worse than the Miers nomination on which you had many good arguments, or the ports deal, on which you had fewer. On this issue there is no place to stand, and you are asking your friends in the Senate to go down fighting for a bad bill.

"It is a bad bill because no one believes the government can conduct millions of background checks (many spokesmen for the bill don't even pretend to know where the paperwork will go!). No one believes the bill will halt the next 12 million. No one believes you are going to assure the fence gets built. No one believes that the employer verification system will get done or work when some half-assed version of it does get done. No one believes that the probationary visas don't automatically convert illegal aliens with few if any rights into Due Process Clause covered legal migrants, with a Ninth Circuit ready and waiting to keep them here for decades" (read the entire post here).

4. Jim Pinkerton: An Optimistic Prediction:

"On immigration, the GOP finally exorcise(s) itself - rejecting the president's not-so-well-disguised amnesty plan. Whereupon Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential prospects [are] blown away; the Arizonan...disappear[s] in a dust-devil of four-letter insults aimed at fellow Republicans.

"Opponents of the 2007 immigration bill, led by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), force a series of votes on hot-button issues: Should English be the official language of the United States? Should illegal aliens be able to collect Social Security benefits? Should bilingualism be protected? Should dual citizenship with Mexico be expanded?

"In each instance, The New York Times counsel[s] the Democrats to vote in favor of "sophisticated" open-borders liberalism. And, of course, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.), each hungering for The Times' presidential endorsement, [are] eager to please. But the "Reagan Democrats" - the folks who had elected populist Democrats such as Jim Webb and Jon Tester to the Senate in 2006 - [are] not so pleased.

"So when the Republicans finally [find] their voice on immigration, the Reagan Democrats [are] re-Reaganized. Finally, Republicans [are] speaking about realism and the national interest, always a winner for them.

"The Democrats [try] to fight back, using the health care issue, but the GOP [is] ready with a response, pointing to moderate health plans enacted by Republican governors from Massachusetts to California.

"Finally, late in the '08 campaign, the Democrats attempt to energize their own small base, endorsing gay marriage and repeal of the Patriot Act."

It [doesn't] work. The Republicans, nominating a ticket free of any close association with the outgoing administration, [win] a comfortable victory.

It could happen. Read all of Pinkerton here.

Thanks again, Tocqueville for your diligence on this issue.