May 19, 2006

An Overview of Recent News & Opinions About Illegal Immigration Debate, Part V

Recent days have been particularly active times in the illegal immigration debate. Since it is difficult to keep up with all that is going on, this is the fifth of five postings which will present excerpts from a range of news and opinion articles across the MSM and the blogging world.


The Wall Street Journal, which has supported a different view than many conservatives on illegal immigration, offered an editorial entitled Reagan on Immigration (available for a fee), which noted:

One myth currently popular on the political right is that the immigration debate pits populist conservatives in the Ronald Reagan mold against Big Business "elites" who've hijacked the Republican Party. It's closer to the truth to say that what's really being hijacked here is the Gipper's reputation.

One of the Reagan Presidency's symbolic highlights was the July 3, 1986, celebration of a refurbished Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the gateway for immigrants a century ago...To Reagan, the conservative optimist, immigration was a vital part of his vision of this country as "a shining city upon a Hill," in the John Winthrop phrase he quoted so often. It was proof that America remained a land of opportunity, a nation built on the idea of liberty rather than on the "blood and soil" conservatism of Old Europe...

In 1980, according to the book "Reagan: His Life in Letters" (page 511), the then-Presidential candidate wrote to one supporter that "I believe we must resolve the problem at our southern border with full regard to the problems and needs of Mexico. I have suggested legalizing the entry of Mexican labor into this country on much the same basis you proposed, although I have not put it into the sense of restoring the bracero program." The bracero program was a guest-worker program similar to the one now being proposed by President Bush. It was killed in the mid-1960s, largely due to opposition from unions...

"Some months before I declared, I asked for a meeting and crossed the border to meet with the president of Mexico. I did not go with a plan. I went, as I said in my announcement address, to ask him his ideas -- how we could make the border something other than a locale for a nine-foot fence." So much for those conservatives who think the Gipper would have endorsed a 2,000-mile Tom Tancredo-Pat Buchanan wall...

It's true that in November 1986 Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which included more money for border police and employer sanctions. The Gipper was a practical politician who bowed that year to one of the periodic anti-immigration uprisings from the GOP's nativist wing. But even as he signed that bill, he also insisted on a provision for legalizing immigrants already in the U.S. -- that is, he supported "amnesty."...


Former Reagan speechwriter, Peter Robinson, writes this:

You offer a perfectly sensible explanation, Mark, and, no, I don’t have any other ideas. But Bush’s motives are on my mind, in part because of an editorial in the Wall Street Journal the other day. Reagan, the Journal, argued, was a cheerful, inclusive figure. He would therefore have stood about where Bush stands, welcoming the new immigrants to this country.

I’m not at all sure. Reagan was indeed cheerful and inclusive. But he was also in touch with the American people. He shaped his conservative ideas during the years he worked for General Electric—years when he traveled from factory to factory, speaking to tens of thousands of ordinary Americans. And as president he wrote most of the eight thousand or so letters he composed to simple citizens, not to Cabinet officals or grandees, explaining his views—and, now and again, adjusting them. Reagan would therefore have known just how strongly the American people feel about the need to control our borders. Reagan would indeed have taken care to avoid insulting immigrants, legal or illegal. But he'd have stood with the great body of ordinary Americans...


Of course, today's Mexican leadership is taking a different stance from those past years, as shown in this article, which stated:

Mexico said Tuesday that it would file lawsuits in U.S. courts if National Guard troops on the border become directly involved in detaining migrants... President Bush announced Monday that he would send 6,000 National Guard troops to the 2,000-mile border, but they would provide intelligence and surveillance support to Border Patrol agents, not catch and detain illegal immigrants.

"If there is a real wave of rights abuses, if we see the National Guard starting to directly participate in detaining people ... we would immediately start filing lawsuits through our consulates," Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez told a Mexico City radio station...

And there are reports of political instability in Mexico, too.

With H/T to Instapundit, here is another story on Mexican politics where the leftist candidate is saying illegal immigration is Mexico's disgrace:

Illegal immigration to the United States is "Mexico's disgrace," caused by the government's failure to create enough jobs, the country's leftist presidential candidate said on Tuesday.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who trails conservative Felipe Calderon in polls ahead of July 2 elections, accused President Vicente Fox's administration of causing the flight of millions of Mexicans to the north, which prompted President Bush to order National Guard troops to the border.

"They are the ones mostly responsible for what is going on because there is no employment, there are no jobs in Mexico so people need to emigrate," Lopez Obrador said on his morning television show."

He said Bush's plan, announced on Monday night, to deploy up to 6,000 National Guard troops to help secure the Mexican border would not end the flow of illegal aliens.

"It is not the solution. It is not an alternative but it is a disgrace for us Mexicans because of the irresponsible rulers of this country," the leftist said...

Lopez Obrador's comments echoed those of some U.S. critics who say Mexico should do more to keep its people at home...


Glenn notes:

...If Mexico were to reduce corruption and cronyism, and promote openness and the rule of law, its economy would grow and the flood of immigrants to the United States would shrink to a trickle. Unfortunately, the Mexican "right" is wedded to state power, and it seems unlikely that a Mexican leftist regime would enact those sorts of decentralizing economic reforms. That's too bad, as a Chilean-style economy would solve a lot of problems on both sides of the border.


Michelle Malkin continues to follow the issue closely:

Same Old, Same Old (updated)

A Crime Americans Didn't Do tells a terribly sad story.

"Call It A Banana", which notes a "debate" between Senators McCain and Hagel on one side and Senator Vitter on an opposing side.

100,000 = 400, which notes:

Illegal alien activists secured a protest permit in Washington, D.C., for their ballyhooed May 17 Amnesty Rally yesterday. They expected 100,000 people to come.

Only 400 showed up...

LA Times: Open-Border Hacks, which notes:

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times ran a piece of open-borders propaganda masquerading as journalism, which featured a Riverside, Calif., landscaper named Cyndi Smallwood who claims she can't find workers to dig ditches even at $34 an hour.

The claim seems preposterous, but the Times assures us that Smallwood has no ideological ax to grind. She is "ambivalent on immigration reform," the Times reports. Just an ordinary landscaper, you know.

But it turns out there's a tiny bit more to the story that the LA Times isn't telling you. Reader Christopher L. wrote this morning to point out that a simple Google search shows that Cyndi Smallwood is president of the Orange County chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association, and is a member of the association's "Immigration Task Force." The activist group opposes the "Punitive Immigration Reform Bill Proposed by Rep. Sensenbrenner."

Be sure to check out Malkin's Immigration Blog.


The Washington Times explains how Americans don't like the sound of 'amnesty':

President Bush's oft-stated claim that providing illegal aliens a "path to citizenship," such as by allowing them to pay a fine or prove long-term employment, isn't amnesty rings hollow for critics who see it as rewarding lawbreakers.

Political observers say disagreement over the very meaning of the word "amnesty" is fueling what was an already raging debate over pending immigration legislation.

The word "amnesty" carries a certain "radioactivity," says pollster John Zogby.

"Why? Simply because Americans favor playing by the rules," he said. "Anything that sounds illegal, unfair, it's tantamount to using steroids to hit home runs or to win a marathon. When the word amnesty comes up it means condoning actions of people who are not playing by the same rules."

Most dictionaries define amnesty as a pardon granted by government to someone who has committed a political offense or broken a law.

The president has repeatedly asserted that illegal aliens should not be given amnesty, "an automatic pass." But Mr. Bush has suggested some form of quid pro quo for productive illegals now in the United States.

"There ought to be a way for somebody to pay a fine or learn English, or you know, prove that they've been here for a long time working and be able to get in line, not the head of the line, but in the back of the line in order to become a citizen," Mr. Bush said Tuesday.

Opponents disagree, saying what the president has described is equal to simply overlooking the offense of entering the U.S. illegally. The fear, according to some, is that such a move would result in a repeat of 1986 when President Reagan approved the last amnesty, which allowed 2 million illegals to become residents.

"It worked so badly that we can't even use the word anymore," said Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He said many more people claimed the right than expected.

As part of a quid pro quo, the 1986 law provided amnesty and carried new penalties for employers found to have hired illegals. The problem, according to Mr. Rector, is that "the second part of the thing never happened."

"Conservatives supported it in '86 because they felt they were going to get a secure border in exchange for amnesty," he said. "It's exactly the same type of fraudulent deal that we're being offered now."...


There have been nine recent postings on Anchor Rising about immigration:

Identifying Four Core Issues Underlying the Immigration Debate

More Misguided Thinking From RIFuture & State Legislators on Illegal Immigration

Why is Congress Discriminating Against Educated Legal Immigrants?

More Links on Immigration Issue

Asleep at the Border

Senate Rejects Securing the Borders while Supporting Increased Presidential Power

Senator Reed Votes For Open Borders

Does The Rule Of Law & A Sense Of Fair Play Matter Anymore? The Debate About In-State Tuitions For Illegal Immigrants

Jennifer Roback Morse: Further Clarifying What is at Stake in the Illegal Immigration Debate

Part VI to follow...

For previous posting information, refer to Parts I, II, III, and IV.