June 18, 2007

"Bringing them out of the shadows"

As I've pointed out before, the priority of new immigration legislation should be to stop the situation from getting worse. But the media and the Kennedy-Bush Axis of Amnesty assumes the most crucial issue is"doing something" about the illegal immigrants currently here. Specifically, we must "bring them out of the shadows," as the cliche goes.

Why?

Can anybody document what bringing 2.7 million illegal immigrants out of the shadows into legality accomplished in 1986?

These amnestied illegals were preponderantly living in California, so we can look at California's experience. Did amnesty:

- Help California's standard of living? Well, from the standpoint of becoming a homeowner, California's combination of high cost of living and low median income now offers the second worst standard of living of any state in America, better than only isolated Hawaii.

- Improve California's schools? California, home to Silicon Valley, now battles states like Arkansas and South Carolina for the runner-up position at the bottom of the NAEP scores.

- Persuade the amnestied illegals' kids to stop spraypainting their tags all over every vertical surface in LA? Ever since Villaraigosa got elected mayor in 2005, the city has been swamped by gang graffiti.

- Stop more illegal aliens from coming to California? Yeah, right ...

So, why does Axis keep trying to yank our chains about the benefits of amnesty when it failed so spectacularly in the biggest state in the country?


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

8 comments:

SFG said...

Paul Krugman actually made what I thought was a pretty good argument: that because the workers aren't legal, they can't work legally to improve their status (unions etc.) and hence provide a pool of extra-cheap labor.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody document what bringing 2.7 million illegal immigrants out of the shadows into legality accomplished in 1986?

Accomplished for whom?

Anyway, specifically, no; meaning I cannot "document" it.

But I think the rationale for today's amnesty push is best (and easily) appreciated by looking at it from the two standpoints that might not be at the top of your list: 1) the interests of the businesses who benefit by employing illegals (I assume they benefit or else they wouldn't hire them), and 2) the illegals themselves, who would be given (eventually) permanent residence (it is assumed they want this and will see it as a benefit, if for only economic reasons).

Employers probably also like the idea of a 'guest' worker program (even though how efficiently it would actually work in practice remains to be seen), since they assume the current lax enforcement environment won't go on indefinitely.

There's also a sort shotgun wedding aspect to it: we've been presented with an unhappy fait accompli (millions of illegals), and so now we need to do the right thing (legalize them).

Looking at it more quantitatively, or at the US as a nation whose cultural and demographic cohesion might be threatened, etc, is not something that appears very often in the mainstream media. And when it does you can bet it will be denounced as somehow un-American.

So these are the interests at stake: employers ('the business of America is business'), illegals (people looking for a better life), and the body politic (i.e. civic responsibility, in a 'nation of immigrants' sense). That's what the vast majority of coverage is about. And if you look no further or deeper than that, it's hard to argue 'reform' makes no, or not enough, sense. Because it appears to benefit all of the stakeholders.

eh

RW said...

The power of cliches was impressed upon me just the other day as I argued the immigration issue with a not-so-bright family member. I'm not being flip - he's not dumb but is at best no higher than average in the brains department. I kept making arguments based on the various information one gathers from months of reading places and people like Isteve, Inductivist, CIS, Borjas, Heather MacDonald, etc (as well as the WSJ and other folks they counter), but it was like butting up against a mental brick wall with him. He couldn't even offer discredited fact-based arguments like you would expect from someone who knows anything about the subject from the pro-immigration side. He just repeated content-empty phrases like "bringing them out of the shadows" and "jobs Americans won't do."

And the thing is, he's no WSJ-style open-borders ideologue or bleeding heart with an Other-fetish or anti-white racialist or any of that stuff. He doesn't really think about political questions as far as I can tell. If anything, the bias he brings to the table is a sort of sympathy with the farming industry (he was a horticulture major and so I presume all his professors and college buddies would have vested opinions on the matter). But even on that point, I tried to argue that if he wants farmers to be subsidized by the rest of us, the least they can do is have them be direct and out in the open so they could just hire Americans at higher wages rather than import hordes of immigrants that create all kinds of other problems.

None of that mattered. Either he would repeat one of the empty phrases about "jobs America needs done" or he would even invent his own. Having to follow a series of logical propositions was apparently too much for him, at least when he had the option of falling back on mentally comforting cliches. At one point I imagined him saying "But Brawdo's got what plants crave."

So, to make a long-winded point: that's why cliches are so often deployd by open-borders elites. They have enormous persuasive power for a lot of people, the kind of power that slays dozens of arguments whose only boast is being, well, more true.

daveg said...

At one point I imagined him saying "But Brawdo's got what plants crave."

Oh, that's good!

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that no one now expects the Senate bill to pass the Senate, but Reid is reintroducing it for political purposes to weaken the president and further divide the Sailer and WSJ wings of the republican party? Is a Senate which backed away from the bill in response to grassroots opposition now going to do the painful thing? Every senator knows that turning out double the usual vote of an angry group (even a modestly sized one) can turn elections.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that no one now expects the Senate bill to pass the Senate, but Reid is reintroducing it for political purposes to weaken the president and further divide the Sailer and WSJ wings of the republican party?

It's possible. But ultimately it's up to the Republican Party. The amnesty supporters amongst Senate Republicans could back off if they wanted to, knowing the damage it's doing to the Party. But instead they seem to get worse with time,

Singedunum said...

Hey Steve,


Apropos I think you'd really like the following game; that is unless you've already heard of it.

http://www.redistrictinggame.com/index.php

Protestant said...

The amnesty supporters amongst Senate Republicans could back off if they wanted to, knowing the damage it's doing to the Party.

The 'damage' indeed! Major political realignments have happened over less in U.S. history. We even had a revolution over less, it seems to me.

Yes, and speaking of the revolution: I once heard someone make a prescient observation about the modern Republican Party. The Republicans of today (1990s, 2000s) are 'institutionally' basically the Tories of the 1770s ('conservative', but caring nothing really for their country or their people, ignoring the pleas of their neighbors during times of crisis, willingly being subservient to alien and hostile foreign Power(s)) although with a few 'token' Patriots tossed into the mix who are largely ignored or maligned by the Tories who control things.

'When are we Patriots gonna have our day?' The best that real Patriots can hope for, I think, is the misfortune of the RepubliToryCan Party. That we may pick up the pieces after their demise seems to me our best chance.