March 30, 2006


How the GOP can survive the immigration debate (Dick Morris, 3/.29/06, The Hill)

One must separately consider the three key elements of immigration reform under discussion: The border fence, the guest-worker program and the criminalization of illegal aliens and those who employ them.

The GOP base wants a fence. It is vital to the entire concept of whether or not we can control our borders. All efforts to beef up manpower on the border have failed to stem the daily flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico. A fence is the only way to do it. By backing a fence and demonstrably taking control of our southern border, the Republican Party will appease the demands of its base.

But to prevent disaster among Latino voters, it must accompany the fence with a more liberal policy on guest workers and criminalization.

Simply put, the fence must have a gate that swings open for immigrants we want and need. To avoid permanently antagonizing our southern neighbors and to keep the labor supply on which so much of American business and prosperity depend, we need a guest-worker program.

The GOP base, happy with the fence, will probably go along with it. Whatever the Congress needs to do to differentiate the guest-worker program from amnesty it should do, but it must pass a generous guest-worker program. (If it is necessary for those here illegally to return to Mexico and reenter as registered and enrolled guest workers, to convince the right that a guest-worker program is not amnesty, so be it).

With a 4.7 percent unemployment rate, we will be slitting our own throats by denying our economy access to Mexican workers. We just need to make them legal, not illegal. With a border fence to enforce the difference, a guest-worker program will work politically.


Posted by Orrin Judd at March 30, 2006 9:40 PM

I don't understand why this is not the prevailing attitude. I can't think of any other way of going.

Posted by: exclab at March 30, 2006 9:48 PM

Plus, we need these folks to rebuild New Orleans so the poor unemployed people who left there can move back and re-elect Nagin.

Posted by: JAB at March 30, 2006 10:15 PM

I am increasingly annoyed by Conservatives who (a) blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration and (b) think our indigenous poor are the productivity equals of Hispanic and Asian immigrants. Mere xenophobes.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 30, 2006 10:51 PM

Yesterday's editorial at NRO, bashing the immigration plans flowing through Congress, admitted that they didn't want any increase in legal immigration as well.

This makes sense but Dick Morris has too checkered a history to agree with so quickly.

Posted by: AWW at March 30, 2006 11:15 PM

His checkered history includes winning elections and acting like a yutz. Take his political advice, not his ethical counsel.

Posted by: oj at March 30, 2006 11:18 PM

I don't know about TX or CA but I do know Southern AZ. Building a fence across there would be a monumental task. I would think a fence would require stretching almost the entire State. The desert is practically a lauching pad for illegal traffic as it is. Spooky down there at night.

Posted by: Tom Wall at March 30, 2006 11:33 PM


The fence is just so the nativists think they're accomplshing something--no one serious thinks it will do anything.

Posted by: oj at March 30, 2006 11:36 PM

Yep, the Cayotes know every nook and cranny now and they're not about to tell a fence design engineer where they are.

Posted by: Tom Wall at March 31, 2006 12:02 AM

Know how many miles of coastline we have?

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 12:10 AM

Take his political advice, not his ethical counsel.

Morris predicted a Gore win. Then he predicted a Kerry win. 0 for 2. Now he's yammering about the woman with her legs on upside down, Hildebeast, saying she's a lock for 2008. I guess if you invert everything he says, you might get good counsel. I'm not buying anything that clown says.

Posted by: Michael at March 31, 2006 12:48 AM

Yeah. Give a foot ...

Posted by: ghostcat at March 31, 2006 12:53 AM

Let me get this straight:

We can't build a long strong fence, to technologically difficult, but were going to develop alt energy sources to relpace oil.

Og course we can build the fence and we will use mexicans to do it.

Unfortunately, President Bush won't be the one to do it.

Posted by: Perry at March 31, 2006 1:07 AM


Technology is easy. People are hard.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 6:38 AM

Tech is easy and cheap, I wonder what the spooks have up their sleeves that they want to test on the border.

We need to get around the heat seeking problem, otherwise they'll just do what the taliban did, lay down and cover themselves.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 31, 2006 9:19 AM

Damn - the toe sucker changed? He once said Evita would never be pres.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 31, 2006 9:21 AM

According to OJ, we can democratize the whole world, end tyranny, and reform Islam, but we cannot maintain our own territorial integrity.

Posted by: Paul Cella at March 31, 2006 9:39 AM

To "maintain border integrity" we'd have to destroy liberty here.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 9:45 AM

I guess, if by "destroy liberty" you mean "marginally diminish corporate profits and increase wages."

Posted by: Paul Cella at March 31, 2006 9:50 AM


No, I mean the enormous tax increases and the draft that would be required to close the borders, patrol work sites, etc.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 9:55 AM

Since we haven't even tried to close the border, it's hard to say what it would take.

Posted by: Paul Cella at March 31, 2006 10:02 AM


If we really wanted to close the border, it wouldn't be necessary; every illegal would be reported and deported quick enough to make the cross-border trip pointless.

Posted by: Mike Earl at March 31, 2006 10:08 AM

I'm not sure what you mean by that.

Posted by: Paul Cella at March 31, 2006 10:15 AM

Employee fines while not perfect, they should certainly be adequate to control the borders. OJ is always going off on this tangent of perfect security, to say the whole enterprise is impossible.

Posted by: h-man at March 31, 2006 10:27 AM

Oops, "employer", I meant to say

Posted by: h-man at March 31, 2006 10:28 AM

h-man: They'd make no difference at all to terrorists, so they'd make no difference to national security.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 31, 2006 10:43 AM

I wasn't referring to National Security as such, but merely securing our borders from illegal immigrants.

You are correct that terrorists will have more money and methods of access to the country, HOWEVER reduction in the total number of illegal immigrants will allow for more concentrated effort at exposing more nefarious characters.

Posted by: h-man at March 31, 2006 10:49 AM

"Tough" employer sanctions ae how Reagan snuck the last amnesty through. I've got no problem with pretending again.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 10:51 AM


Just make some guesses. how many men and how big a coast guard would you think it would take to close all our borders? What would it cost? How many bureaucrats to run checks on every employee in America every few weeks? How much would it cost?

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 10:53 AM


There you go again. How many men does it take to check everyone's credit when millions and millions of people are making retail purchases on an hourly basis? A similar national ID card will be sufficient.

All that is needed is the threat of fines up to $5000 dollars per violation for business to avoid hiring illegals.

Posted by: h-man at March 31, 2006 10:58 AM

I've seen cost estimates of $3 billion for building a fence along the south which would choke off a lot of the entry. Wouldn't be a perfect solution, but then the perfect is the enemy of the good.

You wouldn't have to check every employer, just spot-check a few of them and make an example of the offenders a la Martha Stewart.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 10:59 AM


Okay and the land border with Mexico is X miles, or something % of our border. Now extend the fence all the way around Island America and what does it cost?

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 11:03 AM

Paul, et al. -

How much will it take to find, identify, arrest, control, house, feed, wipe, wash, inspect, transport, and legally process all the 'illegals'? And will we separate them from their young children, many of whom are US citizens?

Are you willing to buy the trucks, planes, computers, fencing, shotguns, dogs, porta-potties, garbage cans, Quonset huts, razor wire, buses, airplanes, diapers, medicine, and all the attendant personal services (doctors, nurses, lawyers, day care workers, social service workers, and plain old police, etc.)? And which internment camp are you going to build to hold these people (because surely the current state prisons and local jails won't be taking them)?

If there are 11 million illegals here now, how many deportations would be needed to satisfy the nativist right? And how long would it take to reach that number? 11 years? Are they patient enough?

Finally, who is actually going to fine American companies for growing the economy? The Commerce Department? NYPD? The Texas Rangers? Nancy Pelosi? Warren Buffett? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Please. It is easy to say that fines will be made, but who is going to collect them? And if just 1 American worker loses his job when his small firm goes under, will Tom Tancredo be there to offer him another one?

Republicans pride themselves on being sober about economics and opportunity, and avoiding cheap slogans and easy answers with unintended consequences. Why can't they do that with immigration?

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 31, 2006 11:05 AM


Right, so hopw many people with how many scanners are you going to have checking every employee on that hourly basis in Gattaca?

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 11:05 AM


Because the immigrants are "other."

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 11:11 AM

So the whole thing boils down to "we want to keep the Mexicans out because we want to keep the Mexicans out."

Posted by: David Cohen at March 31, 2006 11:12 AM


I suppose you'd have to cross that bridge when you came to it. I'm fairly sure restricting land access would significantly lower the flow of illegals.

And why would the entire coastline need to be protected? Surely only the areas of American coast easily reachable by rafts etc. from Mexico would be where patrols would need to be concentratred.


I think Paul etc. are primarily concerned with stopping the flow of illegals from becoming worse.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 11:15 AM


Why? None of the Cubans or Haitians walked.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 11:23 AM


1 million Cubans is a lot less than 11 million Mexicans.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 11:28 AM

Ali has got what I was trying to say and OJ obviously is moving into melodramatic mode and next will be the accusation of racism. Which brings me to David's point.

Yes I think 10 million Chinese, Indians, Pakistani's, Koreans, as well as the assorted Eastern European tribes will benefit the country many times greater than 10 million Mexicans. Benefit culturally, and economically. (not that I have ever said Mexicans will not benefit us economically also) The fact that Mexicans are coming in illegally while these other groups bide their time attempting to enter legally is not a good policy and hurts the country over the long term.

Posted by: h-man at March 31, 2006 11:35 AM


The percentages are identical.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 11:36 AM


No, it starts with racism, all that changes vis which group folks want to keep out because they're unassimilable this time. We didn't want the Tancredos and Buchanans coming here, but my grandmother needed a maid, so.....

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 11:39 AM

You know, I think we're going about this the wrong way.

Ferrners can't buy mex property from the ocean to 50 miles inward.

We need to just start buying up the inward. We can start w/right across the Rio Grande. They want AZ? We start going down.

Turn it into 1 big boomer retirement community. And let Mexico City sink into the garbage dump it's built on.

Boomers get fun, sun, cheap living for taking less of their SS.

Then they vote to become a US territory.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 31, 2006 11:41 AM

"The percentages are identical."

For now. Not that that's really relevant.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 11:51 AM

"No, it starts with racism, all that changes vis which group folks want to keep out because they're unassimilable this time. We didn't want the Tancredos and Buchanans coming here, but my grandmother needed a maid, so....."

It's true that a number of people on the anti-illegal side are racist. I don't see race purity being the major driver of those opposed to illegal immigration now though.

I see a lot of frustration that illegals are competing for government benefits with the natives, and driving down the wages of those at the low end of the economic ladder while breaking the law, unlike earlier legal immigrants.

Apart from that there are valid security concerns.

Lack of assimilation is a problem not because of the character and culture of the individual conservative, Catholic Mexican but because of the sheer numbers involved.

Why learn English if you never need to?

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 12:02 PM


Of course it's relevant. If Mexico had ten million people and Cuba a hundred million there'd be ten million Cubans and one million Mexicans here.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 12:03 PM


No, all of those arguments are identical to the ones used in every other immigration hysteria in every country and in places that have smaller numbers of immigrants they're dealing with. We fear immigrants because they are "other," not for any genuine effect on the economy or the culture. Whgenever an issue stirs up this much emotion you can be sure it's visceral and not thoughtful opposition.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 12:09 PM

Ali: My grandmother never learned English. So what?

If we had to completely support every single first-generation immigrant, it would still be a deal, as we get all the generations of Americans who follow. As we've said here a hundred times, if you subtract from GDP the economic activity of immigrants and their descendents, you're left with, in round numbers, nothing. As it is, though, ending illegal immigration without substituting legal immigrants would be a deathknell for small business and a huge tax increase on the poor, whose budget is disproportionately spent on food.

Sandy: Immigration is not a favor we do Mexico.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 31, 2006 12:13 PM

We're racists?

Time to start asking what Mecha's tag line is.

Via Instapundit:

Posted by: Sandy P at March 31, 2006 12:19 PM


Everyone is racist.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 12:29 PM


Like I said before, the sheer numbers involved make this a different issue.

And like I said in the other thread, the costs and benefits aren't evenly distributed. Border regions face large bills in terms of law enforcement, schooling, services etc. while other regions get cheap agricultural produce. That's understandably going to cheese off residents of states who are stuck with the bill of a lax immigration policy.

Judging from what I've read, I doubt halting illegals would be a death-knell for small business as a whole since it's not like the whole country relies on cheap, unskilled labour as a essential business input.

The effects on the native American poor like blacks, American Indians and the Latinos legally here would possibly be beneficial as the wages of HS leavers and HS drop-outs would be bid up. I believe they've shown a 2.3 percent (after inflation) compared with 11.9 percent for college graduates from 1994-2004.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 12:39 PM

If the border areas are the most effected then why are W, McCain and Arnie leaders in the pro-immigration movement and Buchanan and Tancredo leading opponents?

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 12:43 PM

McCain and W's positions appear to be that they wish to formalise the status of illegals and bring them into the system, where they would be subject to the rules and regulations of the system.

That's different from OKaying continued illegal immigration as being beneficial for the country.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 12:54 PM


No, it isn't, we just have to grant amnesty every twenty years or so to keep up.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 12:59 PM


Big wuff. The word "racist" gets thrown around and we are all supposed to go wobbly and fold up like a house of cards.

Let me try, once again, to spell out the difference between racism, an un-American and un-Christian abberation, and folkism, an inclusive and charitable community spirit.

By way of illustration, the Black, Hispanic and Asian members of my gun club are all part of our folk, our community of sportsmen (and women) and Second-Amendment activists.

So all sorts of "racial" minority individuals are part of the American folk, if they share our values and partake of our culture, language and history.

Revanchist Mexicans, and others recalcitrants whose ancestors had been on the short end of their dealings with the folk over its history, and who have kept their woulnd green, are not-folk, they are enemies.

Needless to say, the subterfuge of equating resistance to multiculturalism with "racism" is much too crude to be effective with the excellent readership here.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 31, 2006 1:16 PM

I know, OJ - but my point is it's only flung at whities to shut us up.

Pointing out Mecha's tag line either opens up the conversation or shuts it down.

Which is what they're not used to. It also shows we've been paying attention.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 31, 2006 1:34 PM

Lou: And in 20 years the Mexicans will be members of the club and grousing about those darn Bangladeshis.

Ali: In the 1890s, the number of immigrants was about the same as it is now while the population was much lower, so the numbers aren't really that daunting. Also, it's a little odd to argue that the problem is so severe because the numbers are so great, but that getting rid of them won't be a big deal because they don't really play that big a role in the economy.

As for the burdens falling disproportionately on the border, the people in southern California are free to move. As I keep mentioning, though, the Northeast, and Massachusetts in particular, is disproportionately benefited by having Puerto Rico as part of the country. Fortunately, our Hispanic immigrants can't be kept out.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 31, 2006 2:12 PM


Yes, but it's not acceptable for conservatives to resort to a "they're racist too" argument. We need to police ourselves.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 2:39 PM


Indeed, the point is that fear of Mexicans is essentially a form of multiculturalism, a lack of confidence that their culture will be assimilated to ours just like the rest have been.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 2:41 PM

that thought never entered my mind.

It's more of the where are the moderates statement. They need to dencounce Mecha, marginalize them.

They've had 4-1/2 years to be a part of the solution, they have chosen to remain part of the problem.

We changed after 9/11 - they're using mid-late 20th century tactics which work on our elected representatives.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 31, 2006 2:47 PM

Lou Gots:

Just what percentage of Mexican immigrants do you believe are revanchists? It sure seems like most of them are happy to have gotten out of Mexico.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 31, 2006 3:47 PM

David: How much was government spending on Medicaid in the 1890s?

There would be a big impact on agribusiness, domestic help, meatpacking and construction. That isn't the whole economy though.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 3:48 PM
Indeed, the point is that fear of Mexicans is essentially a form of multiculturalism, a lack of confidence that their culture will be assimilated to ours just like the rest have been.
Very close. It is in fact fear of multiculturalism. The difference today is not the immigrants, but our own culture which has been greatly weakened by a degenerate and American hating intellegentsia. OJ tries to focus the issue on the immigrants precisely to distract from this, because the problem is with the natives and not the immigrants. If we want to accept immigrants as we did in 1890, we should also go back to the cultural self confidence of that era and the same level of welfare state. Then I would be as happy as OJ with the immigrants. Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 31, 2006 4:26 PM


Exactly. It's the natives who are the problem, not the immigrants. They bring a better culture in many ways than the one they finds here. We're importing Red to defeat Blue.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 4:30 PM

They aren't Red. (actually they are Reds come to think of it, but not like you mean it)

Posted by: h-man at March 31, 2006 4:35 PM

This is an issue that requires much more radical thought than currently going on.

This is not an issue about racism or anything about the Mexican people. OJ and others are using that to confuse the issue.

This is about the huge numbers of a particular group which makes the challenges a different quality than others. The bilingual issue is a great concern. So is the continued efforts of the Mexican government to undermine US soveriengty through its promotion of dual loyalty, advocacy, and encouragement of breaking the law.

These challenges require a response.

Our current methods are not working, so I understand OJ's barbs on Tancredo. But at least he is formulating a response and not simply ignoring the problem.

No doubt Mexico will be given special treatment precisely because of geography. However, currently there is no reason for the Mexican government to change their policy at all. That's the real issue.

If the problem is that Mexicans cannot take advantage of the American economy, and the ethical problem is the danger illegals face in crossing the desert, then an ideal solution is to simply annex parts or all of Mexico, build schools that will teach them English, and allow direct Yankee investment in Mexican land and resources.

No doubt the actual compromise will not involve loss of Mexican sovereignty, but we need a hard start for negotiations if we want Mexico City to make concessions that assuage our legitimate concerns.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 31, 2006 5:13 PM


No, it doesn't. It's a perennial and universal problem, People hate "others". Sometimes for good reason--they refuse to conform to societal norms--sometimes for bad--their ethnicity.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 5:22 PM

Open borders, but only for those who will submit to finger printing and DNA tests. Then they get two years to learn English and three more to apply for citizenship or out they go. Criminals/terrorists should be booted out pronto.

Speaking of the others, how did the last episode of "Lost" end? I conked out when they found the balloon in the tree.

Posted by: erp at March 31, 2006 6:38 PM

Hmm, how interesting: one side uses "immigration" with adjectives, while the other side eschews using or even respecting the adjectives. I wonder why?

One side tries to state THEIR position, while the other side makes denigrating equvalences of their opponents with historical figures without really addressing, or respecting, what they are saying about themselves. "Yes, I know what you are saying, BUT I AM TELEPATHIC AND KNOW WHAT YOU REALLY ARE LIKE INSIDE!"

you don't, OJ.

Posted by: Ptah at March 31, 2006 10:54 PM


Of course, I know, we all know it's just race.

Posted by: oj at April 1, 2006 8:34 AM

"Of course, I know, we all know it's just race."

Posted by: oj at April 1, 2006 08:34 AM

...says the persecutor of gays, moslems, communists...

Posted by: Perry at April 1, 2006 10:08 AM


Exactly. People should be persecuted for what they think, not what they are.

Posted by: oj at April 1, 2006 10:19 AM

If the cost is $10 billion per year, then we can bear it. That number, of course, completely ignores both the benefit to the private sector and the benefit of successive generations. Just getting the next generation makes this the world record investment of all time.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 1, 2006 2:21 PM