April 24, 2006


Common ground on who's American: Amid a heated immigration debate, a survey finds behavior is more important than background. (Daniel B. Wood, 4/25/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

In survey responses, Dr. Straughn says he found support for the concept that America is different from other nations, which are defined by common language, homogenous people, or geography. By contrast, Americans generally see the US as defined by ideas and philosophies, which can change over time. [...]

[A] solid majority, 86 percent, believes immigration improves America with new ideas from different cultures and roughly the same percentage say groups should adapt to the larger US community.

The great irony is that immigrants come here because they believe in those American ideals while nativists dream of forsakinmg those ideals and making America more like those other nations that identify themselves by ethnicity.

A high fence and a big gate (Thomas Friedman, NY Times)

America today is struggling to find the right balance of policies on immigration.

Personally, I favor a very high fence, with a very big gate.

So far, neither President Bush's proposal to allow the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants to stay temporarily on work visas, nor the most hard-line Republican counterproposal, which focuses only on border security, leaves me satisfied. We need a better blend of the two - a blend that will keep America the world's greatest magnet for immigrants. [...]

An amnesty for the 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants already here is hardly ideal. It would reward illegal behavior. But since we are not going to deport them all, some version of the Arlen Specter bill seems like the right way to go: Illegal immigrants who were in the U.S. before Jan. 7, 2004, could apply for three-year guest-worker visas, each renewable one time if the applicant pays a $1,000 fine and passes a background check. After six years, if the immigrant learned sufficient English and paid another $1,000 fine and back taxes, he or she could start to apply for citizenship.

But because I strongly favor immigration, I also favor a high fence - if not a physical one, then at least a tamperproof national ID card for every American, without which you could not get a legal job or access to government services. We will not sustain a majority in favor of flexible immigration if we can't control our borders.

Good fences make good immigration policy. Fences make people more secure and able to think through this issue more calmly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 24, 2006 10:40 PM


Posted by: Sandy P at April 24, 2006 11:18 PM


And, to a great degree, safety. And, compared to the rest of the world, fun. "The pursuit of happiness" is not a trivial phrase, despite the nonsense people chase to try to find it. Of course, that pursuit would never happen without the first two 'rights' being looked after.

Good point there, Orrin.

Posted by: ratbert at April 25, 2006 12:23 AM


Posted by: David Cohen at April 25, 2006 1:32 AM


The wahoo-yahoos sound anti-immigrant largely because they lack the sophistication, and sometimes even the vocabulary, to distinguish between folk-enemies in the American sense and folk-enemies in the European sense.

Most of the people falsely accused above of espousing Blut und Boden values are quite ready to be kind to the stranger in their midst, remembering that their forebears were once strangers in the land.

They moan and do that other thing they do when they moan when they see the alien getting preferential, line-jumping privileges.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 25, 2006 6:59 AM

Yes, when push comes to shove even our nativists are too decent to be serious about doing anything about immigrants. Our task is to get them to stop whining.

Posted by: oj at April 25, 2006 8:15 AM

Friedman's approach makes sense to me. Regardless of philosophies regarding immigration and other issues, I believe most Americans cherish their belief in fairness.

Posted by: Genecis at April 25, 2006 2:24 PM

A national ID card is in our near future. It depends on whether we or the left are in power when it happens. If it's a liberal venture, it won't be worth a damn and easily manipulated to favor voter fraud and pillage of the treasure.

Another reason we must elect someone who will carry on Bush's agenda and be totally honest and above board.

Posted by: erp at April 25, 2006 5:58 PM