Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why don't they just come here legally?

Why don't they just come here legally? Here's why. From the Arizona Republic. 

There also are limits based on a person's country of origin. Under U.S. immigration law, the total number of immigrant visas made available to natives of any single foreign nation shall not exceed 7 percent of the total number of visas issued. That limit can make it tough for immigrants from countries such as Mexico, where the number of people who want to come here greatly exceeds the number of people that the law allows.
The estimated wait time for family members to legally bring their relatives into the United States from Mexico ranges from six to 17 years, according to a May study by the non-profit, nonpartisan National Foundation for American Policy. It is nearly impossible for a Mexican, especially someone without a college degree or special skills, to immigrate to the United States legally without a family member or employer petitioning on his behalf.


Anonymous said...

Also, Victor, why do you think most people in the world are not millionaires?

Because, that requires quite a lot of work and skill and such! So, clearly we can understand why some people steal.

Come on, Victor. At the start of discussing the AZ law you were talking about how border control was an important and serious issue. Apparently your idea of border control is just making sure that whoever wants to become a citizen is greeted with a smile and a handshake at the border.

Victor Reppert said...

I was simply responding to a "naive" response you hear sometimes, which asks why illegal immigrants don't come here legally. People who emigrate from other countries and who are unaware of the quota system sometimes talk this way.

While I do think the present quotas are excessively restrictive, giving us something like the situation we have with Prohibition, where the laws were unenforceable (however well motivated they might have been), a rational adjustment in the quota system need not just throw the doors completely open. We would certainly need to screen criminals out. We may even need quotas of some kind, but these quotas seem to effectively slam the door shut on most Mexicans.

Using terms like "open borders" and "amnesty" to refer to any and all immigration reform strike me as red herrings. It's a false dilemma, either we keep immigration laws as they are and just do enforcement, or we open the floodgates and disregard the law. Sorry, but that's a fallacy.

Anonymous said...

It's also deceptive to insist one isn't talking about amnesty or open borders when your position seems to be "Anyone who wants in can come in, except for criminals." And I'm guessing even then it depends on the type of crime in question.

You're even hesitant to think about quotas because it would "effectively slam the door on most Mexicans". So what? Do you think most of Mexico should be allowed to become US citizens if they choose?

I too want Mexicans and others to live a better life. But this sort of lax border policy isn't the answer. Hell, it probably does far more to help Mexico remain a hellhole than anything else. Why fix a country if you can just leave it, or come and go as you please?

bossmanham said...

I sympathize with their plight, but does it justify their breaking the law? Does it justify the demonization of those trying to enforce the law?

Victor Reppert said...

Well, I didn't say that either. I didn't say anyone except for criminals. And in an earlier post I mentioned that these people may, in breaking the law, be only doing what they are morally obligated to do. If I can fulfil my obligation to support my family only by breaking the law, then break the law I must, so long as my lawbreaking is only malum prohibitum and not malum in se.

It's important not to put words in the mouth of advocates of immigration reform.

How much illegal immigration could we prevent by raising the 7% limit a few percentage points higher. Just double it, up to 15%. It wouldn't be a red carpet for anybody and everybody, but it might enable some people to put their hopes on going through the legal process as opposed to coming in illegally. Sure, we'd still have a border to enforce.

I'm against demonizing people who enforce the law. I only think there's a serious problem if one group of people systematically treated differently from another group, including citizens and legal immigrants. This can be done justly, so long as you make it very clear that law enforcement is supposed to stop the same people they would have stopped anyway, and that their responsibility to pursue "reasonable suspicion" takes place only when they have made a ID request they otherwise would have made anyway, and failed to get that ID.

And I was talking about legal immigration, not citizenship.

Are states equipped to enforce the immigration law? Do we have the resources. Deputizing state and local law enforcement to deal with illegal immigration may compromise their ability to protect the communities they serve, especially when state and local government is so broke they're thinking of selling the statehouse and other state buildings in order to get the state out of debt.

DeanAZ said...

What makes our side of the line in the sand so different from their side? Is it not the rule of law that provides the economic and social justice that makes the US so attractive?

Is it just the close proximity or the ease of access for Mexicans that should permit us to turn a blind eye to illegal immigration? There certainly are more deserving illegal immigrants from other parts of the world. In fact, it would seem that the disproportionally large number of Mexican illegal aliens are preventing the US from absorbing legal immigrants fleeing situations far worse and some even without hope.

The naive response is why don't they stay and fix their own country as it is a rich country and not without hope. If we permit the hard workers to come here and allow them to give up on their home country we are just encouraging and rewarding bad behavior, not the bad behavior of those coming here to work but rather rewarding the corrupt druglords and and lazy politicians.

Victor Reppert said...

There are several parts to a solution here. One is border security, and Obama isn't going to get anywhere on his plans if he doesn't increase security on the border more than he has done so far. If he doesn't show seriousness about enforcement, he won't get bipartisan support in the Senate and his reform bill is going to die by filibuster. But, more than that, it's a good idea. Especially if you reform immigration along the path-to-citizenship lines, you need improved security so that the cycle doesn't repeat itself. This border security has to be primarily aimed at the smugglers, drug traffickers, and gun runners. These criminals are a problem for both countries, so part of the "enforcement" operation has to be focused on a cooperative effort with the Mexican government to shut these people down.

I don't know what enforcement-first means. If it means that we have to commit to enforcement if we want reform, then yes. If it means we have to have a perfectly secure border before we make other changes, then that is putting off reform indefinitely, and that won't do.

Second, a system of workplace enforcement where a person's fingerprint could be indexed to his social security number, so that this could be checked at the workplace, and then coming down on people who employ illegal immigrants could become effective.

Third, I do support a path to citizenship for those already here. In a way that's not fair, but I don't think it's possible or economically feasible to deport them all, and leaving people in their illegal status is a worse solution.

Fourth, I think a more rational legal immigration policy that makes legal immigration somewhat less limited is also important. Particularly where this is simply a matter of ineffiency in the process, that has to be addressed.

Fifth, we have to re-examine our trade policies, to make sure that we are not encouraging labor exploitation of foreign countries. In particular, we should not be permitting American companies to be running slave labor operations in Mexico or anywhere else. When we get serious about stopping worldwide slavery, we will also produce a demand-side deterrent for illegal immigration.

Secular Outpost said...

Victor -- I'm puzzled by your post. You (rightly) point out that the quota system limits the percentage of immigrants from any one nation, and explain how that impacts Mexicans who wish to immigrate to the U.S.

At the risk of being too literal, however, that doesn't actually or fully answer the question in the title of your post. At best, the quota system is a partial explanation. It's logically possible that the U.S. would have a quota system and would-be immigrants would wait their turn in line before immigrating to the U.S. legally. Since that isn't what's happening, the explanation must be more complicated than the quota system alone.

(I am sure you recognize this, which is why I am puzzled by your post.)

Victor Reppert said...

The point is that people who want to come to the US and raise their families, in other words, who want to come when their children are still young and can benefit from the US education system, look as if they can't do it, period. So, I am a little puzzled by what you are getting at there. If the total number of the legal immigrants to enter is 7% of all legal immigrants, then the number of spots in that percentage is certainly lower than than the number of people wanting to enter the country.

My point was a response to people who think that these people could come into the country legally if they just went through a little red tape and waited about a year.

Anonymous said...

This is a great article on what's wrong with our legal immigration system .