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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004


Temporary workers: a hardening opinion
My opinion has been gradually firming up regarding temporary workers. I'm pretty sure I'm in favor of Bush's plan. Key in this firming up have been Linda Chavez and the very in depth and rather heated discussions over at Brothers Judd--here, here and here, for example.

The problem, as I see it, is thus: there are between 8 and 12 million illegal immigrants in America right now. Up until recently, there have only been three ideas on how to deal with this problem in the mainstream. One, round 'em all up and send 'em home, build a wall and keep 'em out, or some variation thereof. Two, amnesty! Amnesty for all of them! Third and most popular, ignore them all as much as possible, unless an opposing politician has hired one in the past. These are, quite frankly, simplistic and immature ways of handling the problem, and I'm glad Bush has brought the grown-ups into the national discussion.

Idea number one is ridiculous--the forcible expulsion of 8-12 million people, however warranted, would rank among the most villified acts in the history of humanity. Americans have neither the will--nor the pocketbook--to handle it. The pocketbook is the most overlooked part of this--many conservatives want illegal immigrants out because they are an unfair drain on the government's coffers. But getting rid of them would cost more than letting them stay ever will. Tighter border security is probably a good idea, one that is, I think, included in Bush's proposal, but if people want in, people will get in, no question.

Idea number two, amnesty, is a similarly horrible idea. Despite what Bush's conservative critics are claiming, this is not amnesty. Amnesty says, "ok, you made past our border guards and avoided INS for three years, congratulations, in return, you get to become a citizen." This increases the incentives for more illegal immigrants to sneak past border guards and avoid INS, compounding our problem. Bush's plan says "we're scrapping the old system, and from now on we're going to let in people like you as long as they work and aren't taking jobs from Americans." This may increase incentives for more people to come here--but not illegally.

Idea number three, do nothing, is also bad, and obviously so. 8-12 million people completely outside the system is decidedly not good.

Bush's proposal is the only proposal I have seen that avoids these pitfalls. I have serious questions about it, especially regarding implementation. But until I see another serious proposal, then I will support Bush's plan fully.
Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!

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