Dreamers: Be Careful What You Wish For

Continued support for the Senate Immigration Bill among immigrant advocates means they have fallen for another D.C. trick. While commentators may laud its potential for helping illegal immigrants already in the United States, that misses the point altogether.

This bill targets the symptom and would not resolve the underlying problem and cause for the presence of millions of illegal immigrants — the brainless, onerous, and dehumanizing immigration process. Worse, it would waste ever more money on the non-problem of free movement and include an array of police state policies, as if there weren’t enough already.

Guillermo Jimenez — host of one of my favorite radio shows, Traces of Reality — goes further and describes these policies as the “militarization of the United States.” Similarly, John McCain says that with the “border surge,” in manpower and technology, the southern border will have “the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall.” Lovely.

The bait is the provisional status for illegal immigrants already here, akin to the Dream Act, although it is not so enticing. This supposed “amnesty” means each would have to pay $2,000 and wait at least ten years before being eligible for permanent residence.

For people not already in the country, the 1,200 page “comprehensive” reform is only comprehensive in so far as it is complicated and entails more bureaucracy. If you are pushing for freedom of movement, openness, and market-signals, as opposed to central planning, there is little to get excited about. Going by the whim of the day, there may be more “agriculture” and “merit” visas, but there will no longer be visas for siblings of citizens, and the diversity visa is gone entirely.

So if there is only minimal amnesty and reform, regardless of the misinformed hyperbole, what meaningful changes are in the bill? Not surprisingly, they all point to more spending and control for Washington, D.C.

Towards the militarized border, there would be an additional US$46.3 billion of spending over the next four years, including at least 38,405 border patrol agents. Given that it would be a larger force than the United States had in Afghanistan when George W. Bush left office, need I say “make-work scheme”?

Further, this bill would bring in exit requirements. Alongside a new national facial recognition system, that’s electronic tracking of not only when you come in but when you leave the country. For non-citizens, that includes fingerprinting on departure at the ten busiest airports.

But it’s not just at the border and during travel. The reform bill mandates E-Verify (an employment verification system) across the nation. E-Verify backfires against legal workers, but it is also an overt transfer of the law enforcement cost from government officials to private individuals.

At this time, the people arguing against actual reform and for even more police state elements in this bill would do well to learn from their role model, Ronald Reagan. From 1980:

I think the time has come that the United States and our neighbors… should have a better understanding and a better relationship than we’ve ever had… Rather than talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems… and open the border both ways.

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