Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Perception & Reality

Wow, look at these immigration laws. In fact, do so with a little of my redacting thrown in and see if you can guess to which country they belong:

...according to an official translation published by the Organization of American States, the [REDACTED] constitution includes the following restrictions:

• Pursuant to Article 33, "Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country." This ban applies, among other things, to participation in demonstrations and the expression of opinions in public about domestic politics like those much in evidence in Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere in recent days.

• Equal employment rights are denied to immigrants, even legal ones. Article 32: "[REDACTED] shall have priority over foreigners under equality of circumstances for all classes of concessions and for all employment, positions, or commissions of the Government in which the status of citizenship is not indispensable."

• Jobs for which [REDACTED] citizenship is considered "indispensable" include, pursuant to Article 32, bans on foreigners, immigrants, and even naturalized citizens of [REDACTED] serving as military officers, [REDACTED]-flagged ship and airline crew, and chiefs of seaports and airports.

• Article 55 denies immigrants the right to become federal lawmakers. A[REDACTED] congressman or senator must be "a[REDACTED] citizen by birth." Article 91 further stipulates that immigrants may never aspire to become cabinet officers as they are required to be [REDACTED] by birth. Article 95 says the same about Supreme Court justices.

• In accordance with Article 130, immigrants — even legal ones — may not become members of the clergy, either.

• Foreigners, to say nothing of illegal immigrants, are denied fundamental property rights. For example, Article 27 states, "Only [REDACTED] by birth or naturalization and [REDACTED] companies have the right to acquire ownership of lands, waters, and their appurtenances, or to obtain concessions for the exploitation of mines or of waters."

• Article 11 guarantees federal protection against "undesirable aliens resident in the country." What is more, private individuals are authorized to make citizen's arrests. Article 16 states, "In cases of flagrante delicto, any person may arrest the offender and his accomplices, turning them over without delay to the nearest authorities." In other words, [REDACTED] grants its citizens the right to arrest illegal aliens and hand them over to police for prosecution....

• The [REDACTED] constitution states that foreigners — not just illegal immigrants — may be expelled for any reason and without due process. According to Article 33, "the Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action."

Give up? Okay, it was more difficult to redact than I thought it was at first glance, but regardless it didn't take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that the above didn't come out of any American statutes, much less our Constitution. And not that it necessarily should. But the irony is that the above does come out of the Mexican constitution - the very same Mexico with the open, overt policy of the mass export of their poverty problem to our fruited plain.

You'd think that Dubya might have wanted at some point to bring up this outrageous hypocrisy with his pal Vincente Fox, even in an "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine" kind of way. The status quo is the immigration policy equivalent of the definition of what a "68" is ("You do me and I'll owe you one...").

What a gaping contrast with the vaunted "compromise" immigration bill that collapsed in the Senate last week, out of which blanket amnesty for all illegals - thus (again) rewarding the wholesale evisceration of existing immigration laws - would be just the beginning. It completely ignores border security, contains no genuine commitment to build a fence, and would extend amnesty even to illegal immigrants who had deportation orders or had been convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors.

The motivations driving this anti-sovereignty drive are not exactly cryptic. Democrats want to do an end-run around the "red" state electorate to rebuild a majority coalition by essentially glomming as much of Mexico's population as the have to. And Republicans are still mezmerized by the canard that clamping down on illegal immigration will alienate (legal) Hispanic voters.

So what derailed the "Grand Compromise"? Partisan mistrust. Donks got greedy and blocked any and all conservative amendments on the grounds that they didn't want to allow any opening to tip the final conference report toward the much more sensible House version, and 'Pubbies balked, not so much at the aforementioned blockages, but that they feared the Dems were trying to set them up to be tied to the House bill, which is all enforcement and border security and no amnesty.

If that sounds like a labored explanation from the GOP standpoint, go to the head of the class. Especially in light of poll results like the following:

Americans support building a security fence along the entire 2,000 mile U.S.- Mexican border by a landslide, a new Time magazine poll has found.

By a margin of 56%-40%, respondents said they want the wall built from sea to shining sea - not just the 700 miles stipulated in the House plan, a proposal the press calls "draconian."

In more evidence that the American people want a tougher crackdown on illegal immigration than anything favored by Congress or the media, 62% told Time that they favored using the military to guard the border. Just 35% opposed.

But the poll's biggest shocker may be on the question of deporting illegals back to their native country, an option that politicians and the press say is out of the question. Time found, however, that 47% of those surveyed actually favor deporting "all illegal immigrants," and 49% were opposed.

Most, 51%, said the U.S. would be "better of" if all illegals were deported and the border sealed to prevent any more from coming in. Just 38% disagreed.

A full 75% say illegals should be denied government supplied health care and food stamps, with 21% saying they should get those benefits. A majority, 69%, say illegals shouldn't be allowed to get U.S. drivers licenses.

Sounds to me like if wetting the ol' finger and seeing which way the wind blowing is still in vogue - a treasured pasttime of Republicans - they ought to "all be Minutemen now."

It appeared, for a while at least, that Majority Leader Bill "Doofus" Frist was dimly aware of where these public sentiments (including the growing backlash triggered by the recent commie-sponsored protest rallies around the country), but late last week there he was, heaving his Securing America's Borders Act (S. 2454) overboard in favor if Hagel-Martinez/McCain-Kennedy. Thus it was that only Donk extremism and Pachyderm incompetence managed to save the majority from its own worst instincts - and even then perhaps just temporarily.

The bottom-line hazard in all of this is not that another immigration surrender will actually pass - none of the Senate bills would ever get out of the House - but in the political damage it is doing to the majority in the minds of its core constituents. Perhaps Reprsentative Peter King (R-NY) said it best Sunday on Fox News:

"With the intelligence reports we have of terrorists trying to be smuggled into the country ... we cannot be doing anything which is going to encourage more illegals to come into the country...The Senate, I think, was, quite frankly, intimidated by having hundreds of thousands of people in the streets waving [Mexican] flags, but I don't think we should pass legislation or devise legislation based on how many people you can get out into the street," he said.

Maybe the answer is counter-protests. After all, there's no reason why the citizen majority (imagine even needing such a term) need remain stewing in silence. And there's a lot more of us than there is the "La Raza" crowd.

Would elected GOPers be capable of noticing? Or would they run away from the press-framed "controversy"? On that perception does a great deal of the '06 reality hinge.

UPDATE: How do we take in Mexico's poor and still retain our own national sovereignty? Simple - annex Mexico!

Leave it to Glenn Reyonolds to find the way to turn open borders into a poison pill Dems couldn't swallow.

UPDATE II: Mark Levin, as is his want, asks some toe-curling questions of the borders-erasure crowd....

UPDATE III: Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) found a whole bunch of additional problems with the "Grand Compromise".

UPDATE IV: I'm not a real big fan of former Congressman Bob Barr these days, but today he nails President Bush on illegal immigration:

President Bush defends his lack of initiative for an effective border security program by appealing to "America's decency" and reminding us we are first and foremost a "nation of immigrants." He's wrong. It is neither indecent nor inappropriate to protect our borders against those who would diminish our sovereignty and enter or remain in America in violation of our laws. And America is first and foremost a "nation of LAWS" - at least we used to be.

Personally, I look at it this way: "decency" is the Good Samaritan; what Bush is defending is twelve million uninvited, freeloading brothers-in-law who won't leave.

And my paternal grandparents emigrated here legally, thank you very much.