Monday, May 01, 2006


Today, May Day, was marked across our country with massive rallies for immigration rights. The largest was right here in Chicago, where about 300,000 marched through the Loop. Their march ended within view from my office and we watched as thousands upon thousands marched by and eventually dispersed.

Immigration is not an easy issue. Many of the folks marching have lived in our country for many many years and hold jobs that help support society. Unfortunately, they may be here illegally. What should be done with them? What should be done, if anything, to prevent future illegal immigration?

It has been pointed out that maybe it would be best to follow the example of our neighbor to the south in their own immigration standards.

This does not seem to be a practicable solution. For a country such as ours that was built on the backs of immigrants, a measure of thought must be given to the notion that this is the new face of immigration. There does not seem to be an easy answer.

Honestly, we are left hoping for a bit of Solomonic wisdom from a lawmaker who can lead our nation forward on this. We have seen the bills before Congress. Are they the answer?
What do you think is the answer?


Chairman said...

Westy. I'm aghast. You're not seriously proposing that we start cutting immigrants in half, are you? Not that there's anything wrong with that. You may even see that as one of my major platforms for Roland: 2016. Euthanizing the old, feeble, and retarded, and cutting immigrants in half.

This country has always had immigrants flooding through. And despite some ugly speedbumps, part of our competitive advantage has always been accepting people's differences and having people push the boundaries of achievement. For some, establishing a foothold in mainstream America can be done in one or two generations, like we've seen from the Vietnamese out in California. For others, it takes a while longer.

I'm all about the free market. I've never like protective subsidies, tarriffs, quotas, and other measures. Let people come in, let the cream rise. What do you have to be afraid of? If you want to advance a civilization, you push the boundaries of knowledge. You don't do so by closing off borders. Most of the arguments that I've heard for closing borders seem sort of articifial and near-sighted. Things that seem misguided to me.

In the fall of most major civilizations, we've seen complacency, satisfaction, and other arrogance lead to falls. Japan and China faced it when the west came over with guns. The barbarian Mongols and Moors were able to swarm through "civilized" Europe after Rome got lazy.

For people looking for a different perspective, take a look at the underlying themes that Jared Diamond touches on in Guns, Germs, and Steel.


Stephen said...

Nonsense. What mexican's are asking for is special favors. The illegals are called illegals because they are...gee, what is that, illegal. They want special treatment simply because they happen to be bordered next to us. People from England or China or Isreal have to follow regulated immigration, yet they would bring over more people interested in actually becoming Americans and possibly a more educated work force.

Chairman said...

Nonsense? I don't know about that. Since when was the question about Mexico? I think that question is more about if/how do we regulate who comes into our borders on a general level. That's an underlying question that is largely unresolved. Again, I say take on all comers. Talent and ability quickly rises.

As far as the categorization of "illegal" how restricted is that? Laws change and evolve. Many things that were legal in the past are illegal now. Things that were illegal in the past are legal now. So what?
I would say that legality is the least interesting question of the debate.

This country has always been relatively progressive, compared to other nations around the world, when it comes to bringing people, ideas, cultures, etc. into the mainstream. I'd suggest that's been a source of our competitive advantage since WWI. Remember - for quite a stretch we were big on isolationism. Opening up borders has been a source of our academic system becoming elite, despite only being somewhere around 160 years old. It's why you see American technology and innovation at the forefront. Why lose out on that so we can protect a handful of jobs in stagnant industries that aren't contributing to our competitive advantage?

Let them in. Give them SSN's. Start taxing them. If they're willing to work, then great. At the same time, we can start an "exit" program, so that we can start shipping off people who aren't working, regardless of where they're from originally. Sort of like General Electric. Every year, you cut your bottom 10% of performers. Why does the location of birth really matter? How arbitrary is that?

Maybe a basketball game analogy. You show up at the court. You want next. You watch the game, and you know that you're better than most of the folks there. Their game ends. You figure you're next, right? Instead, they decide to run it back. The reason they give you? Well, we came here to play with each other. We've seen this before. And who does this? Bad players. Good players want the best players on the court, and are willing to take on anyone. Why restrict ourselves to what we have?


Westy said...

Honestly, and this may surprise some of you, I tend to agree with the Chairman. Open the borders up. But through a very secure system. Go ahead, build an extremely secure fence, but then push way way up the number of legal immigrants allowed. From all over the world.

Stephen said...

That's what I'm saying. Immigration is not the problem, i'm the product of that. This whole debate, the marches, the media coverage is about Mexicans. Let in more skilled workers, let in more workers period. But don't give Mexicans preferential treatment because they happen to be right next to us. If everyone there that crosses the border is
I don't want to disucss legality anymore, because it's obvious that we don't have a relative point to look at it from and I don't want to produce some kind of ad hominem argument.
There was a good opinion column in Newsweek a couple weeks back about allowing more immigrants in from other parts of the world. That makes sense. Giving everyone that every touches American soil a SSN doesn't.

Chairman said...

Westy - why is it so shocking that you tend to agree with me? I mean, aside from cutting immigrants in half, euthanizing old, feeble people, and exiling underachieving citizens, I make a reasonably cogent argument.

I would agree that the media coverage has been about Mexicans. However, I would say that the debate goes much deeper. This question of immigration and border control has a very slippery slope attached to it. As it stands, I don't think that the folks marching have their argument lined up quite right, either, and could have written as much for the other side of this coin. But the question is deeper than whether or not we need a wall along the Rio Grande.

But I still am curious about the the fascination that so many conservatives seem to have about protecting a few hillbilly jobs and keeping them from becoming wetback jobs. I don't know. Besides. I've got next.


Oneway said...

The liberals' love of the welfare state creates the need for selective immigration and a wall on the border. If one could come into the US, and either work hard or die, then there is no argument. But after decades of white guilt and racial pandering, entitlements reign.

>>Good players want the best players on the court, and are willing to take on anyone.<<

Of course, this sounds great, but is not applicable to the academic elitists own backyard.