Ready for America 4.0

19 May

There is remarkable agreement between the and about Americans’ support for . According to polls, Americans overwhelmingly favor allowing immigrants to acquire citizenship.

Shay at Booker Rising disagrees, and it’s important to register his disappointment: (and admire his summary of the deal):

My response: This amnesty bill rewards folks for breaking the law. I am not buying the government guarantee on border security, nor the supposed tamper-proof ID. The government needs to at least quadruple (not double) border security to be effective. And people who broke U.S. law in the first place are now gonna present themselves, leave USA and apply for re-entry in their country of origin? I wouldn’t do that if I was illegal. We have also seen how badly that guest worker programs have worked in other countries. The only good thing about this bill is the new immigration point system. This bill will hurt black employment, overcrowd schools in many areas where black folks live, further disrupt access to social services, change demographics in many of our communities, an thus dilute black political clout.

TMV records yet more third-party invective and offers some practical reservations on the immigration compromise:


But the key question becomes: in the early 21st century culture of instant political mobilization and opinion-promoting new media (weblogs, talk radio) can this kind of precarious compromise bill triumph? Or will it get beaten back as some politicos heading into an election year face the inevitable organized pressures?


I agree with New Donkey’s reservations, but let’s not drop the ball trying to grab another:


Personally, I have no inherent objection to a modification of "family unification" as the main principle in immigration preferences; this and every other country should be able to consider its own economic needs in immigration policy, so long as immediate families are able to stay together, and so long as we acknowledge that there’s obviously a need for unskilled as well as skilled labor in our workforce.

More problematic is the idea, much expanded from Kennedy-McCain, of a vast "guest worker" program that would encourage immigration without any path to citizenship. It’s a prescription for officially creating the kind of alienated class of "non-persons" evident in some European countries. And the silly requirement that those obtaining "guest worker" visas have to leave the country and return periodically will simply guarantee noncompliance on an extraordinary scale.

Finally, the Eisenthal Report picks up on the argument that this immigration will create a security problem, but then disagrees:


It would be regrettable – and dangerous for the long-term health of our country – if immigration reform is carried out in a series of ill-conceived and poorly executed programs. Rather than the threat of a terrorist attack, my fear is that a poorly executed set of reforms would sour the public on immigration – even more than it is now. Openness to new Americans – and the vitality that they bring – would likely suffer.


We would have the resources to make well-conceived and well-executed immigration reforms if the current administration had not been following fiscal and military policies that have weakened – and continue to weaken – this country. The Bush administration tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 have added hundreds of billions of dollars to federal deficits and debt. They have left the United States government without the fiscal flexibility necessary to implement needed programs, such as immigration reforms, in ways that make sense. At the same time, we have pursued a policy in Iraq that has cost thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars – another element that has weakened this nation’s ability to move forward.

With social security and healthcare reform looming, the Iraq War, and immigration now, the US is waiting for its next version to appear, America 4.0, if you will. This immigration deal is meek and flawed, but it can create a moderate core of supporters. If, that is, Democrats and Republicans just listen to their constituents.

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