Thursday, June 28, 2007

Senate blocks immigration reform

One of the meanest, brazenly irrational debates in recent memory now appears to be over.

The [immigration] bill's Senate supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

Some senators in both parties said the issue is so volatile that Congress is unlikely to revisit it this fall or next year, when the presidential election will increasingly dominate American politics. [CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer]
The defeat of this bill is a clear victory for xenophobia and protectionism. While the proposed legislation was far from perfect (I maintain that any immigration quota is a violation of the individual rights of existing citizens to do business with whom they choose) the bill was as least an attempt to recognize reality and acknowledge that as long as America is free and prosperous, there will be a powerful incentive for people to abandon their failed regimes in order to live here. Instead of welcoming such people and integrating their talents and wiliness to work into America, the xenophobes and protectionists have successfully kept them as a criminal underclass.

I think this quote sums it all up quite nicely:

"We were looking to politicians for leadership on this issue, and there has been none and it's deeply disappointing," said Sheridan Bailey, the president of Ironco Enterprises in Phoenix and a co-founder of Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform.

"It's like in Vietnam when they said 'we had to destroy the village to save it,' well here they are destroying the economy to save the U.S. border," said Bailey, echoing the views of employers from eleven U.S. states, who have formed lobby groups to advocate for immigration reform. [Donna Smith, Reuters]
Except here our government is not just destroying a village of sundry collectivists, it is destroying the lives of people who desperately seek to be free.


Anonymous said...

I think the defeat of the bill is a good thing for two reasons -

1) The draft of the bill was a complete surrender by the ones who engineered the compromise to the xenophobic minority. This is why I think you saw so much grassroot opposition against the bill. They knew that by howling a little, they had got major concessions - why should they stop?
[Don't forget that last year's republican congress passed a VERY liberal, though far from perfect, bill by 62 votes. That bill was heaven compared to this.]

2) Personal reasons - The passing of this bill would have made it almost impossible for me to immigrate to the United States. Under the current system, atleast I know I'll be able to get the green card in 6-8 years or much sooner (1-2 years) if I do some very good research over a period of time. Not so under the new system where the quotas could have been backlogged for decades.

Anonymous said...

BTW, following this immigration bill's debate, I was reminded of the following by Ayn Rand - "Compromise does not satisfy but frustrates everybody". The death of this bill is a good demonstration of this principle in action.

Nicholas Provenzo said...

Thanks for offering the view of a (hopefully) future émigré.

Anonymous said...

There's a mistake in my first post. I meant "REPUBLICAN senate" not "republican congress".

JR said...

It may be protectionism, but I don't see why it is "xenophobia."

Making decisions about immigration requires some "racial profiling." All groups aren't equal. The largest number of immigrants are Mexicans, who have higher rates of criminality, welfare dependence and drug abuse.

And the arrival of large number of immigrants since the 1968 bill has resulted in the establishment of "multiculturalism" as the de facto religion of the US. Leftist dominated unions now control LA for example. Do you want that for the rest of the country?

Granted, much of this is made possible by the welfare state. But the welfare state isn't going away and is becoming more entrenched thanks to welfare dependent immigrants.

I think the country has a right to limit the number and types of immigrants because it has a right to self-survival.

Nicholas Provenzo said...

I classify a significant portion of the anti-immigration lobby as being xenophobic on the grounds of its thinly-veiled hatred of Hispanic culture. Rather than judge immigrants as individuals, the anti-immigration lobby simply views these immigrants as part of some contemptible monolith because many of them are ostensively low-wage employees or lack command of the English language. From my observations, charges of widespread criminality need not enter the debate for it to be made clear that a portion of the anti-immigration lobby simply does not like people with a Hispanic background.

I think profiling is a proper response only when people with certain characteristics in common seek to physically harm you; in the absence of a full context of knowledge, it is not unfair to go with what you know. In contrast, to treat an entire class of people as sub-human under the law because they desire to abandon their failed state and seek to live a free and independent life here in America is appalling. Immigration quotas exist simply to keep the foreigners out; there is no context to them that separates the wheat from the chaff. As such, I think it's fair to attack these quotas and their supporters as protectionist and xenophobic.

>And the arrival of large number of immigrants since the 1968 bill has resulted in the establishment of "multiculturalism" as the de facto religion of the US.

I argue multiculturalism is a product of American intellectuals, and not of fresh immigrants to America. Our universities are far, far more responsible for the rise of this philosophy than are immigrant laborers.

JR said...

Yes, American intellectuals are much more responsible than immigrants (who probably haven't given much thought to this question).

On the other hand, as Pareto et al taught us, an ideology may be used by the "managerial elite" for its own purposes. Whether union organizers, liberal churchmen, leftist politicians, "community activists" and the like believe in multiculturalism is beside the point. They have found that it's a convenient way to line their pockets. So long as there is a fresh supply of poor immigrants coming into the country, they will be used by these groups.

Do you consider it racist for us "natives" to not want the entire US to become like LA?

Nicholas Provenzo said...

I certainly agree that immigrants are often easily exploited by the corrupt in America. This is hardly a new phenomenon however.

>Do you consider it racist for us "natives" to not want the entire US to become like LA?

I think it's important for us natives to uphold the distinction between persuasion and coercion. If we want new immigrants to uphold rational values, we ourselves must strive to consistently live by them. As an individual, I don't think I have a moral right to bar non-Objectivists from immigrating into America. If their irrational ideas bother me, I argue all I can do is speak out against them and in favor of the good.

JR said...

"I certainly agree that immigrants are often easily exploited by the corrupt in America. This is hardly a new phenomenon however. "

Well, when my grandparents came from Italy years ago, they didn't fall into the arms of labor unions, leftist groups like La Raza, etc. I think the current situation is much worse. (Incidentally, 100 years ago groups like Italians often came for a short time, made some money, then returned to the old country. The current situtation is different on so many levels.)

Incidentally, I don't think the average low income Mexican is "exploited." Why is getting a job thanks to affirmative action or going on welfare exploitation? Long term it isn't in their interest, but short term it is.

Nicholas Provenzo said...

I should have been clearer in my formulation; instead of 'exploited' I think 'incited' would have been more precise. And I do agree that the situation seems worse today that it might have been in the past on the simple grounds that the welfare state is far, far more established today than it was 100 years ago.