Reader Mail

Immigration Truths

No easy answers -- Jed Babbin in the crossfire. Baylor denied tenure. An ode to Tony Blair. Plus much more.

3.27.06

JUST HOW ILLEGAL?
Re: Jed Babbin's Rebuilding the Welfare State (Illegally):

I like Jed Babbin's work a lot. When he was on a public-radio talk program recently, I was cheering in my car as Jed put a leftist professor in his place regarding the lawfulness of terrorist surveillance activities.

I mention my appreciation for Mr. Babbin because I have to disagree with his take on the immigration debate. Jed asks, "Why is it so hard for politicians to understand that the differences between legal and illegal immigration have to be real and carry real consequences for those who break our law?" He asks the question rhetorically as though there could be no meaningful answer. But there is. The answer is that three factors muddy the distinction between legal and illegal immigration: (1) the tremendous disproportion of legal-immigration quotas for Central- and South-American countries in relation to the number of citizens of those countries who strongly desire to come to the United States to work; (2) the relative ease with which legal restrictions have been and are evaded by many of those same people; and (3) the importance those immigrants, illegal though they may be, have come to have in our economy. It is all very well to stand on the principle of respect for law, but it is well known that respect for law can and will be eroded when the rewards for violation are great and enforcement is made more difficult by the prevalence of violations. When 55-mph limits were being widely disregarded, Jed was probably not spilling ink over the difference between legal and illegal driving speeds and the need for tough enforcement. Instead, I'll bet he was in favor of adjusting the law so that the rate of violations would go down, allowing enforcement efforts to be concentrated on the remaining few who really do drive at unsafe speeds.

I have no problem with anyone from anywhere wanting to come to America to work. The inscription on the Statue of Liberty should be taken seriously, rather than (as now) honored only in the breach. I understand that the knee-jerk response to an open-door policy concerns the supposed effect of an influx of relatively poor people on government-sponsored or government-mandated freebies. If that is the problem, then we should address it on that level rather than by blocking the door to people who will mostly provide a net benefit to our economy. I completely agree that free health care through emergency rooms is a ridiculous burden on hospitals, but that is true whether the patient is an immigrant or native born. Let's just tell hospitals they can stop subsidizing those who don't want to buy insurance. Let's make health insurance affordable by loosening restrictions on the kinds of insurance products people are allowed to buy.

An argument I've heard from others (Jed wisely avoids it) is that immigrants drive down prevailing wages. That argument is nothing more than protectionist malarkey; most of us conservatives don't buy into protectionist drivel when the issue is imported goods and we should reject it on the same grounds in relation to imported employees. Moreover, all sides of the cost-benefit ledger need to be examined; the only thing that is going to save Social Security from the collapse it probably should suffer will be the influx of younger workers to pay the cost of all of the free lunches we aging hippies want to be given as we go out to pasture. Since it is long past the time for us to create those younger workers the natural way, the only remaining choice is to bring 'em in from outside.

I agree with Jed that employers "should have to withhold state and local taxes from their pay." The only way to get that to happen is to regularize the status of those employees, either through a guest-worker program or by liberalizing immigration restrictions generally. Immigrants, as such, have never harmed this country. Just the opposite is true. We should recognize that historical fact and act accordingly.
-- Leighton M. Anderson
Whittier, California

As a long time supporter of the views and columns of Mr. Babbin, I do not like submitting this letter. It has become absolutely obvious that Mr. Bush is and always was part of the problem, not part of the solution. But then it has gone beyond argument that Mr. Bush, as a "compassionate conservative," is no conservative at all.

Two steps need to be taken immediately to staunch the inundation of our country by this flood of illegals. First, charges, arrests, and high profile prosecutions of high profile businessmen for employing illegal workers in violation of U.S. law must commence at once and be prosecuted with vigor and determination to see said businessmen given jail terms.

Second, a formal charge should be initiated in the U.S. House of Representatives against Mr. Bush for violation of his Oath of Office. In particular, he has violated that part that call on him to "protect and defend" our country from both foreign and domestic threats. It is provable that the increased immigration flows under George Bush have brought with them the explosion of growth in the violent gang known as MS-13. If one peruses the definitions of "terrorism" and "terrorist," one can not help but conclude that they are, in fact, terrorists. Mr. Bush adamantly refuses to protect and defend us against the influx of additional gang members. And that is just one example.
-- Ken Shreve

J.B. does a good job of explaining the right and wrong way to deal with illegals. What he left out of his "cost of the crimes" was drugs. Drugs and their consequences dwarf the cost of other committed crimes. Perhaps all of the other incurred costs combined. Methamphetamine manufactured in Mexico and smuggled across a Texas farmyard winds up in a farming community in Wisconsin or Wyoming, ripping the American lifestyles there to shreds. It is said that if the addiction were a disease it would constitute an epidemic, and it's only getting worse. Here is a cost that has no price. Forget the fence, bring out the landmines.
-- Russel Ready

First an excellent set of observations. Here is my proposed solution:

1) We have Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT) for individuals. I suggest an Alien Marginal Tax (AMT) for business.

2) Whenever ICE conducts a raid and makes an arrest the ITN of the business is passed to the IRS.

3) The IRS automatically doubles the effective tax rate of the given business for the next three years using the AMT.

4) The IRS will continue the double tax rate thereafter till such time as the given business can prove they no longer hire illegals.

Why the IRS? Well by making it a tax matter, the guilty party has to prove their innocence. (Ethics aside, that's the facts.) Business is also scared to death to have a visit from the tax man. Not so with ICE, they are merely an inconvenience. By placing businesses at an effective disadvantage in the marketplace vis-a-vis their competitors will generate compliance.

It sounds too simple I know. But let's give it a shot and see how fast business complies. I would even be generous and make 2007 a phase-in year at a 50 percent additional rate so business can get their act together.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

There is a line in my favorite play, Tuna Christmas, where an actor proclaims, "Don't get me started..." and proceeds to rant and rave. I won't rant and rave, though it is a Monday morning and after seeing the news about the hundreds of thousands ILLEGALS that protested over the weekend, I probably could vent a little, as my coffee was hot and strong this morning, just like I like it and it really woke me up!

Where do we begin? Maybe, the government should have had buses at the rally's end in each city, and using the laws already on the books, shown how serious we are about illegal immigration and its impact American security. But that didn't happen. Between fear over cartoons and fear that we will offend those here illegally we have already lost our battle.... No one from the government showed up to do anything against a clearly illegal protest by folks who are clearly illegal!

The idea we need more laws is Congress's only answer for everything. Truth is, it is all talk. We have the laws already. Since the 1970s my father has had to stop using any help on his ranch. He did the work all himself. He couldn't be certain the papers he was shown were accurate. He talked then about the laws that could SEIZE his ranch, if he failed to follow them. But then, we know laws are scoffed at, by those who would overtake our land. And scoffed at by Congress, whose only answer is to blow harder and do nothing! Just like the mother who vented her rage at the mainstream media, and much of America stood up behind her last week, echoing similar sentiments, we need to rise up about this issue as well, if we want to really win the war on Terror and it is time to take back America!!
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher, Military Mom

Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. knew immigration reform would never get off the ground let alone become law. But politicians being politicians kings and queens of the double speak told their constituents, "We hear you America, that 86 percent of you want our borders more secure and we are going to do something about it." As usual America took these bloviators at their word because we have nothing else to grab a hold of, because after all, isn't Congress supposed to be in charge of keeping our country safe?

So what if immigration reform bill was passed? Who is going to obey it once it is signed into law? Churches have already declared that they will harbor and protect illegal aliens from being arrested and deported, Mayors of large metropolitan cities have decried that their cities are sanctuary cities and have directed their law enforcement not to ask or make an arrest solely on the persons residency status. Five hundred thousand-plus plus in Los Angeles basically told the U.S. government where it could put its immigration reform bill and students in Los Angeles stormed out of their classrooms with out permission.

So what is the point of passing this bill if a large group of people decide that they are not going to follow any laws they feel that they should not have to. Come to think about it, what is the point for Americans to follow any other law for that matter? I'm not advocating anarchy, but isn't this country heading down that path from following the "Rule of Law" to the "Rule of the Mob" which is basically anarchy.

But all we can do is to wonder if 500,000 plus tax payers stormed Washington D.C. and said, "We are not going to pay any more taxes." Would Congress have the same attitude that they have with not enforcing immigration laws. Not likely, IRS law enforcement personnel would be toting off your furniture even before you got home.
-- Melvin L. Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

This immigration mess in Washington just shows how out of touch the people we vote for have gotten. We don't need new laws, since we don't enforce the ones we already have. Are the people on the Hill really so stupid to think that after a number of years these illegals are going to go home? GIVE ME A BREAK. Anything that is passed that allows anyone in our country illegally to stay is just opening our borders up to millions more to flood our border just waiting for the NEXT "guest worker program."

REMEMBER THE ALAMO. Mexico is taking our country away without a shot being fired. Our people in the Congress and employers that LOVE the cheap labor are handing it over to them.
-- Elaine Kyle

WRONG NUMBER
Re: The Prowler's Selling the Internet Rope:

Another good reason to have TERM LIMITS for both houses of Congress. These people we are voting for are clueless about what matters to most Americans. I keep asking both my Senators what they think about term limits and never get an answer from them. Surprise, Surprise.
-- Elaine Kyle

ACADEMICALLY CHRISTIAN
Re: Graduate Student "X's" Tenure Denial as Revenge:

"X," you and other Christians struggling in the morass known as academia are in my prayers. The best thing that could happen to Baylor and other institutions of supposed higher learning is for Christian and conservative alumni to stop making donations to the schools. Christians and conservatives who blindly give to their leftist colleges and universities out of misguided loyalty are not helping, but hurting the cause of academic excellence and intellectual integrity. The time has come to close the checkbooks and tell the hirelings in academia to take a flying leap at the moon or something ruder if you wish.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

The denial of tenure to Professor Beckwith is just one more example of how the university system and faculty hegemony has gone berserk. In some colleges, tenure is granted based on flimsy, if non-existent reasoning. In still others, tenure is based on how well one toes the liberal left socialist line. The list of why's is almost endless. In short, there is little consistency, and in many cases, popularity is the one and only criterion.

From what I have read of the good professor, his is an astute mind that reasons well and looks to promote critical intellectual discussion. Obviously, that is not an issue for those making tenure decisions at Baylor.

Americans are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the attitudes and teaching methods of university faculties. Many faculty have openly used their positions to indoctrinate and to provide a bully-pulpit for their political positions. Even where political discussion has little to do with the subject matter at hand, many faculty are imposing their positions and attitudes on their students, with grades as the axe hung over students' necks.

In time, most of us can only hope that those stuck in the timewarp of the sixties, will retire or die off. This will allow a new batch of professors to begin the transformation of the academic environment into one of intellect, reasoning, inventiveness, and learning, while rejecting the radical political, social, and environmental agenda, that has been festering and fostering, unhappiness.

In the meantime, we can only hope Professor Beckwith can find an institution, faculty, alumni, and administration, that appreciates his mind and his thought provoking intellect. Until then, all we can do is make sure all know Baylor has abandoned "responsible collegiality."
-- Steve R.
Coatesville, Pennsylvania

Baylor in a lot of the dealings it has with the community as a whole comes off as a snake pit and a school self centered. It is a playpen for rich kids who espouse Christian beliefs but spend the evenings ... at Checkers, the bar downtown. Baylor is a phony. Baylor will ask for work and quotes and then rip off the ideas and give the job, made with honest suggestions, to a bidder connected to a school official. No honor at all.
-- Used
Waco, Texas

FAMILIAL ILLS
Re: Cameron Gressley's letter (under "The Gods Must Be Crazy") in Reader Mail's Mixed Blessings:

Cameron Gressly writes: "First wives HATE the second wives and enlist the third and fourth wives against the hapless woman who spoiled the monogamous fantasy...." This reminded me of the excellent movie Raise the Red Lantern by Taiwan's director Zhang Yimou, released in 1991. The subject of the film is best described by the following excerpt from All Movie Guide:

Visually astonishing and dramatically devastating, Raise the Red Lantern is both the most finely realized film of director Zhang Yimou's celebrated career and one of the landmark films of the 1990s. Like Zhang's previous Ju Dou (1990), Lantern is a damning portrait of women at the mercy of a rigid patriarchal power structure.

Here it is the second wife who hates the new fourth wife, and the plot thickens from there. What this excellent film illustrates so well is that polygamy existed in other cultures and was an accepted way of life. Perhaps the Chinese practice of killing female babies is related? Not every young woman could be sold into a rich man's household!
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

ODE TO THE PM
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.'s Message to Tony Blair:

Do the times make the man? Or does he (or she) emerge
Onto the world stage when that world is on the verge
Of trying to destroy itself once again.
Into the breach step great women and men
Who, when leaders are needed to stem the tide,
Are there to raise up their countries' pride,

Those whom the slings and arrows don't touch
Because they don't care about themselves overmuch.
Their task is discerning right from wrong
And standing by their promises however long
It takes to stay the difficult courses they've set.
History will void thousands but never forget

The true defenders of what they see as the best
For the people they lead when they're put to the test.

Self aggrandizement is never the ultimate goal
Of those who are thrust into this unenviable role.
If they had fragile egos they would break
Under the onslaught of the haters who make
Their lives as miserable as they can,
Those who recognize nobility in neither woman nor man.

Do they make mistakes, these redoubtable few?
Of course, but in their courage they take on new
Challenges until they're beaten or they've won
The victories they sought when they first begun.

Bold of spirit, reputations be damned
The brave rise up when the times demand.
Setting a Churchillian course they dare
To be Ronald Reagan, W Bush and yes, Tony Blair!
-- Mimi Winship

OUR BOYS AND BEN
Re: Ben Stein's Missed Tributes:

Please pass on my many thanks to Ben Stein for his March 6 editorial on "Missed Tributes." Well said, Mr. Stein!
-- COL Donald J. Currier
Deputy Brigade Commander for Operations/P3 Task Force, 49th Military Police Brigade

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article