December 17, 2008

Using Immigration Law Toward an End

Justin Katz

Yeah, I'm aware that a politically noisy segment of our society views immigration more as a social work process than a set of policies intended for the benefit of the country, but Dori Segal and Brian Lee Crowley have a worthy (if politically infeasible) idea:

... America should immediately offer fast-track immigration to foreigners willing to do two things.

First, they must buy a house in the United States worth a minimum of $200,000 or with a minimum area of 2,000 square feet, paying cash up front. Second, they must place a further $250,000 in a government-insured account with a U.S. financial institution or spend $250,000 to create a business in the U.S. employing a minimum of three U.S. citizens. The need is immediate and urgent, and so upfront entry requirements should be stripped to the bare minimum.

The fatal flaw of the plan is that, as with military action, Americans have absorbed the principle that the only morally legitimate actions and policies are those with no immediate national interests tainting their purity. How can the wealthiest nation in the world give preference to entrepreneurs with a strong financial starting point over poor, unskilled laborers?

One can hope that this attitude will change when the "wealthiest nation" tag begins not to apply, but given the politically claimed definitions of "hope" and "change," which have been retooled to point toward a dreamlight of national morality, a healthy dose of skepticism is advisable.

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Allowing people able to finance terrorism inside our borders...what a great idea!

Posted by: rhody at December 17, 2008 11:46 AM

If we applied such a plan historically, even adjusting for inflation, we would have never been able to build our roads, rail system, mine our mineral wealth, build our present day cities, expand westward beyond the Appalachians, hold on to the Louisiana Purchase, and import a slave population to pick our cotton and till our fields just to list a few things off the top of my head.

I suspect Justin would be living somewhere in Eastern Europe and I’d be picking olives in Southern Italy. What a great idea!

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at December 17, 2008 7:25 PM

Plans that match current circumstances do need not be theoretically applicable to every set of circumstances in history.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 17, 2008 9:29 PM

That might be true if you ignore things like timeless morality, which as a Catholic you profess to believe. You have an amazing ability to look the other way whenever it suits you. What you seem to be saying is that it was okay to build on the backs of immigrants, but now that it's constructed we can forget about what it was that made us strong and have some of the people who were born here enjoy the benefits of immigrant labor. I say some of the people who were born here because there are quite a few children born in the U.S. of immigrant parents who are subject to deportation, but what the hell we needed them once. Screw them now.

Here's a shoe that fits you which I don't mind throwing at you: "Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at December 17, 2008 10:56 PM

So you're saying that immigrants who participated in road and rail expansion, industrial mining, the building of cities, expansion beyond the Appalachians, and events related to the Louisiana Purchase are not only still alive, but subject to deportation? Not sure how I'm supposed to take that seriously.

Not the least because the interesting proposal that is the topic of this post says nothing about deportation, but about what sorts of immigrants we allow into the country. That's a from-here-forward thing.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 18, 2008 5:23 AM

What part of "what it was that made us strong" and "enjoy the benefits of immigrant labor" don't you understand.

Your attitude is the opposite of forward looking. It is very reminiscent of the Know Nothing movement.

Also, those immigrants who were alive at the time live on in their works and deeds and children. Please try to understand that!

Ever hear of a bracero? He probably picked the oranges that made up your orange juice this morning. Exploitation of imported labor to build an economy has been going on for a long time. "Even in Egypt the Pharaohs/ Had to import Hebrew braceros", Tom Lehrer.

Hopefully something will penetrate below your neck and break the log jam to your heart.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at December 18, 2008 1:11 PM

OTL-If we could have a NO EXCEPTIONS deportation policy for alien criminals(who really needs them?)then maybe other things are negotiable-but not on a blanket basis.Each case on its merits and no appeal.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 18, 2008 4:59 PM

The idea sounds good. The problem is defining who is a criminal, or what a criminal act is. If you are talking about felonies we may come to an agreement. If you are talking about traffic violations or the like we have a huge argument. People who are here trying to earn a living and raise a family should be permitted to stay and do exactly that. I'm concerned about dragnets and Draconian laws that make it too easy to brand someone a criminal.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at December 18, 2008 10:34 PM

OTL-Traffic violations?I never heard of anyone deported for traffic misdemeanors.Maybe I'm out of the loop for too many years.
Certain misdemeanors,such as retail theft should definitely expose the alien to deprotation if there is more than one offense.Many shoplifting rings are made up of foreign nationals.Likewise organized pickpocketing operations.Those I have lots of experience with.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 19, 2008 1:03 AM
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