Immigration: Compromise instead of Confrontation

I thought that this Associated Press article, titled Could immigration furor create positive evolution?, presented an interesting perspective on the new immigration law in Arizona:
What good could possibly come of this bad situation? A lot, it turns out. Because suddenly the entire nation is having a huge Arizona conversation, from rallies on the streets to voices on the airwaves — and there are signs of compromise instead of confrontation.

The emotional outcry could, counterintuitively, improve the country's immigration situation in the long run by addressing directly a problem Americans have faced for a long time: We have no effective system for dealing with people who risk everything and break the law to come here.

"It's a deplorable situation. But it will have an energizing, mobilizing effect," said Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The Arizona law, he said, has caused a conversation that otherwise would have remained largely undiscussed.
I do not live in Arizona and do not know what the impact of illegal immigrants have had on that state.. so I guess I do not want to criticize too harshly the bill that has raised all of the national angst and outrage. I do share the concerns many have about racial profiling and think that the bill could be very problematic for law enforcement.

I do agree with the essence of this article though. Before the Arizona law was passed discussion of US immigration policy was way on the back burner of political debate. I mean really - where were these discussions when the bill was being debated by the Arizona legislature? So maybe a good outcome of the bill is that it returned immigration to front and center of the national debate.

Lets hope congress can get passed the Arizona law and begin constructive debate on national immigration reform. Lets hope that we will get passed confrontation. Lets hope that the lasting effect will be an increase in conversation and compromise. With that in mind what compromise would like to see brought to the immigration debate? Do you think that there is a middle ground?


  1. Would the sentiment change if the state's police were required to question EVERY individual they interact with about their citizenship status (not just hispanics)? No. The problem is not racial profiling. When the police stop someone who is suspected of a crime, they already ask for ID. The problem is when an officer is called out to assist an illegal immigrant who's the victim of crime. If they think they'll get deported for reporting a crime, they won't report it. Crime rates will rise when there is a target group with no option to report it. This is not a hypothetical. This fear of reporting crime was a huge factor in the rise of gang crime in Latino neighborhoods in the 80's.

  2. Good perspective Missy. Any thoughts on what a sane national immigration policy should look like?

  3. Nope. I'm actually pretty convinced that what we have been doing is appropriate and that slow progress is the best approach. Anything less is cruel and spiteful. In the tax business, I've witnessed the slow closing of tax loopholes that once allowed many, including illegal immigrants, to easily take advantage and profit. We are at a point in tax law that businesses that preyed on those loopholes are even closing down on their own out of lack of opportunity. We just need to progress on to the next loophole.

    I used to be be angry about illegal immigration in Texas when my kid's kindergarten class had 35 students, half of which barely spoke English. But I started to look into the legal process of becoming a citizen, and I changed my heart. It costs tens of thousands of dollars and the wait is unimaginable. I have a friend here from the Ivory Coast who is here legally and has not seen here 17 year old son in almost 4 years because she is trying to go through proper channels to get him here - and a visit could separate her from her other children if they decide not to let her back. I think the best policy is to let good, upstanding and hardworking people come in without all the extra red tape and extortion fees - I mean, legal fees. Then the incentive is to do your best, not sneak in out of desparation and be forced to live on some sort of public assistance and county hospital emergency medical care. My Dad was in the landscaping business when I was growing up. He always said he'd rather hire an immigrant any day. He could rely on them to show up for work every day and work hard all day. He paid everyone fair wages, but couldn't get a citizen to work. The best policy to change the problem is for Americans to humble themselves and take jobs they won't touch with a 10-foot pole and work them with pride and for the wage they pay. In doing this, they leave no room for illegals to work, lower the cost of living for all of us and instill a pride in blue collar working that is sorely missing today. I teach my kids to be proud of working with their hands.

  4. I can name, right now, five legal Americans that I personally know who have been regular paid under the table, so you know illegals are getting paid under the table too. If businesses stopped hiring illegals they would have no reason to come here illegally.

  5. Ah, hiding from civic responsibility - a universal occupation.


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