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A Sensible Immigration Plan, Or, Calling Mark Krikorian

On the Ricochet podcast a couple of weeks ago, Mickey Kaus (pictured to the right) presented an immigration plan that sounded entirely reasonable–so reasonable, indeed, that the other day I returned to the podcast to transcribe Mickey’s remarks:

Do three things:  Do a border fence, do an electronic employment system, and do a visa control system.  Then pass a law that says, when those three things are actually in place—when they survive the inevitable legal challenges from La Raza and the ACLU and all the groups that will try to knock them out–when those three things survive those challenges—then we can have an amnesty.  

images-1.jpgI’d write that into the law right now–not an amnesty, but the promise of an amnesty [after we've closed the border to illegal immigration, made it impossible for employers to hire illegals, and eliminated visa fraud].  Then Republicans could say, “Look, we want an amnesty, but not an irresponsible amnesty.”  I think that would go down pretty well.  

Over to the good people of Ricochet–and, in particular, to our resident immigration expert, Mark Krikorian (to the left).  

What about it?  Would Mickey’s plan go down pretty well with you?

  1. Zafar

    Getting sued by La Raza sounds ambitious.  Maybe start with specific individuals or institutions and then move on to ethnic groups?

  2. curtmilr

    Anything that “normalizes” or “legalizes” those who knowingly and intentionally broke the law and jumped ahead of those waiting in line to legally come to this country is a non-starter for me.

    The other ideas about sealing and enforcing the border, visa/guest worker programs, e-verify, etc. are well and good, but our “leaders” have shown no genuine interest in such plans. Not to mention that there would need to be significant penalties for employers caught with illegals on payroll.

    So long as Democrats are pandering to the groups advocating such illegalities, nothing much will get done.

  3. Redneck Desi

    Sensible is a code word for racist

  4. Peter Robinson
    C
    Redneck Desi: Sensible is a code word for racist · 0 minutes ago

    How could I have forgotten?

  5. Patrick in Albuquerque

    Exactly right.

  6. Patrick in Albuquerque

    I just want to say one more thing. There is still the US Chamber of Commerce to contend with. They still want to import chaeap labor. Stunning to me, I’m with Richard Trumka.

  7. SEnkey

    I would support this solution, the real practical problem with amnesty is the flood of illegal immigration it invites. The problem with this solution is the government has no credit to work on. They would have to secure the border and maintain it for at least five years before I would be willing to okay any form of amnesty. Send a clear and consistent “you can’t come in this way,” then we can deal with those who are here already. 

  8. Writ Small

    I wish I could write as clearly as Mickey speaks.

  9. Tuck

    It’s certainly better than what we’ve got now…

    But Mickey’s missing one crucial point: we need to eliminate the family avenue for immigration.  Immigrants should be allowed to immigrate because of their value to the country, not because they’re related to someone…

  10. Gary The Ex-Donk

    Let’s offer these 11 million some-odd folks who are here illegally a deal:

    1) you get to stay and live here and work here legally, without fear of prosecution for breaking our immigration laws, BUT…

    2) you can never – NEVER – become a U.S.  Citizen for the rest of your life.  Which means you can never – NEVER – cast a vote on election day.

    Watch the Dems howl over that one.

  11. Eric Hines

    not an irresponsible amnesty.

    This is a contradiction in terms.  It isn’t possible to have an amnesty under the terms of this context that’s not irresponsible.

    On the other hand, for a man whose only crime is to enter the US illegally, and he’s otherwise been a working, contributing to his community sort of man, I’m not inclined to treat him like a thug.  His misbehavior is more on the order of speeding than it is of mayhem.  Congressman Gutierrez (D, IL) and Senator Rubio (R, FL) speak of fines.  Others have said leave the US and re-enter legally.

    I agree with the fines, and keeping in mind that entering the home country’s consulate is leaving the US, I agree with that, too.

    Eric Hines

  12. Not JMR

    No, Mickey’s plan would not go down well with me, but I fully acknowledge that I am in the “minority” (heh heh… heh) here on ricochet and in the Republican party.

    EITHER illegal immigrants have, by immigrating illegally, committed some moral transgression and they deserve at the very least to be deported, if not imprisoned

    OR the law, which limits immigration to educated, lucky, or connected foreigners, is itself immoral, and these illegal immigrants are in the right. No?

  13. SEnkey
    Michael Hornback: If E-Verify went instantly into place, what would happen to the undocumented workers? Do we think they would just pack up and go home? Or would they all have to work under the table? And if they couldn’t do that, rely on friends/family that are legal? Eventually, many might have to go to a life of crime out of the mere need to survive. I’m in favor of E-Verify over the long term but am afraid of what might happen if it is suddenly required without a grandfathering of the workers that employees already have. Tough, tough issue! · 11 hours ago

    You bring up a good point I hadn’t considered. I think many would leave before turning to crime. Although there could be bumps as you describe, if the eventual outcome is an effective disincentive to immigrate illegally, it may be worth it.

    Our borders should have an exit only policy when it come to illegals.  No papers required to get out.

  14. SEnkey
    Gary The Ex-Donk: Let’s offer these 11 million some-odd folks who are here illegally a deal:

    1) you get to stay and live here and work here legally, without fear of prosecution for breaking our immigration laws, BUT…

    2) you can never – NEVER – become a U.S.  Citizen for the rest of your life.  Which means you can never – NEVER – cast a vote on election day.

    Watch the Dems howl over that one. · 7 minutes ago

    Too bad they’re already voting. 

  15. Michael Hornback

    If E-Verify went instantly into place, what would happen to the undocumented workers? Do we think they would just pack up and go home? Or would they all have to work under the table? And if they couldn’t do that, rely on friends/family that are legal? Eventually, many might have to go to a life of crime out of the mere need to survive. I’m in favor of E-Verify over the long term but am afraid of what might happen if it is suddenly required without a grandfathering of the workers that employees already have. Tough, tough issue!

  16. Randall Tinfow

    Illegals often operate entirely in their own self contained communities within our borders. I’ve met Turkish, Russian, and Chinese doctors and other professionals who are operating entirely in the flourishing black economies serving their insular ethnic groups.These people want amnesty as much as Puerto Ricans want statehood.

  17. Nick Stuart

    Sounds OK. Too bad it is beyond the capability of mathematics to determine how infinitesimally tiny is the possibility that even one of the three things Mr. Kaus suggests would ever occur.

  18. George Savage

    President Obama could have used his legislative super-majorities anytime in 2009 to enact his preferred immigration solution.  The Democrats like the illegal immigration issue.  They want it kept alive.  When you are doing an objectively terrible job of governing, having a full quiver of distracting wedge issues –War on Women, racist charge du jour, Marriage Equality!–is a necessity.  

    That said, I could easily support Mickey’s approach.  My worry?  From proposal to enactment, the legislation will inevitably evolve away from enforcement.  Then we wind up where we always wind up:  an ultimatum to support immediate, unconditional amnesty.

    Obama is Lucy holding the football.  Legislative Republicans, alas, are again playing Charlie Brown.

    My modest proposal is that conservatives insist on putting the “comprehensive” in comprehensive immigration reform.  After all, the legal US immigration system is an unqualified disaster.  Sponsored PhDs with job offers often cannot obtain visas; those who qualify are treated shabbily as they navigate a glacial, Kafkaesque bureaucracy.  The question for Democrats: Do you support treating all immigrants humanely, or only those who a) first violate the law, and b) can be relied on to support your partisan political objectives?

  19. Pugshot

    I like Mickey’s suggestion, but, having been burned by the 1986 Immigration Reform fiasco (George Savage’s use of the Lucy-holds-football-for-Charlie-Brown analogy is apt), I’m disinclined to support it. The Democrats will never, NEVER support actual enforcement. Under the current system they get continual streams of potential voters who are soon locked into dependency on government assistance in one form or another, and amnesty will permit them to legally vote for their patrons – the Democrats – while permitting those patrons to feel good about “helping” the less fortunate. When we really get serious about enforcing our borders and deporting illegals, and we have done so for some significant period of time, then we can start the amnesty discussion – if it’s even relevant anymore.

  20. Duane Oyen

    That’s OK, but add two more refinements, since reality will thus dictate.  The entire world knows that there is going to be no convoy of buses going around to round up and toss all the undocumented aliens.  Therefore some sort of clemency is eventually inevitable.

    Therefore: 1) shut up about “AMNESTY!”, screaming the word does nothing positive- as Ted Cruz said in his recent Uncommon Knowledge appearance, people will never support you if they are convinced that you don’t like them; and 2) announce that as soon as the fence is complete, we will suspend routine enforcement, and when the visa system is fixed, we will activate the Path To Green Card.  

    We need to make a Peter Skerry distinction between citizen and legal resident.  You break laws, you may be able to live here, but you can’t become a voting citizen.