I have been participating and reading the discussion at The Anchoress on the topic of immigration. It is good to see that there remains a section of the blogosphere that can rationally discuss issues without devolving into name calling and hysteria.
As I have posted before; I'm not so much concerned with the actual people who are illegally immigrating as I am with the effect on Society as a whole. Having a background in College, studying Anthropology and Sociology, I see no good in the future for our Country unless we soon get a handle on this problem.
One of my biggest reservations with this humongous everything and the kitchen sink bill is that it is trying to be all things to all people all at once. Any sane person knows it will be impossible to implement because of the current Government inadequacies. Background checks in 24 hours??? Please. Everyone knows that is not going to happen and all who apply will be rubber stamped. The criminals along with the regular folks. What’s the rush?
I believe that if we had TWO separate bills the immigration pill would go down easier with the public.
1. FIRST a bill to address the border security and to fix the INS immigration system. Set up an integrated data base system interfacing INS, FBI, Police records etc in a system that will be able to efficiently track, locate and identify who is entering the country, for what purpose and how long. Create a system that will deport the proven criminal element. Eliminate the illegal practice of "Sanctuary Cities".
If Wal Mart can keep track of its inventory world wide and know to a penny what their profit is, why can't we take a page from their technology book. I know....inventory doesn't have legs. BUT, maybe we should outsource this project to Wal Mart.
2. Once the first bill has been implemented and is showing signs of real progress, THEN a second bill to address the "path to citizenship". Included in this path must be measures to encourage assimilation of the immigrant population into society as a whole. Having isolated ghettoized populations of foreigners who can't speak the language, can't function fully in society and who live by separate cultural rules is a recipe for a fragmented and disintegrating society. Burkean Reflections has a good post on this with many links to ponder.
Those details should include provisions for English proficiency and education. Paying back taxes would be nice, but probably an unrealistic goal. We want to bring the illegals out of the underground economy (that is eroding the economic chances of our own Middle Class) into the mainstream. Punitive measures will only drive people further underground.
The goal is to have productive, legal, participating citizens and not a permanent underclass of un-educated workers who can watch our children, mow our lawns, lay the patio bricks for less money than legal citizens are willing to accept.
If we don't take this problem head on, without the weakness of political correctness we are doomed as a Country and as a society. I have a friend who says: "The trains are in the tunnel. The question is how fast and how soon the train wreck is going to be."
I am afraid that there is no way to stop the trains.