Archive for May, 2006

Lileks on Davinci Code

May 30, 2006

http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/06/0506/053006.html One of his more inspired efforts. I haven’t read the book yet, but I have the feeling that this is much better preparation than anything on the dust jacket.

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Immigration – Part 2 of several (Mexico)

May 29, 2006

Our immigration policies must be based on the principle of what is best for our country. I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for people who live in countries without our freedoms and opportunities, but we simply cannot accept all comers at all times. We must therefore prioritize who we accept based on the needs of the country with one of those needs understood to be the spread of freedom by creating personal experiences among the immigrant population that will serve as an inspiration to those friends and relations of the immigrant still in their native lands.

One of our national needs is to have good relations with our immediate neighbors. We should recognize this fact and work with the Mexican government to develop solutions for maximizing legal immigration from Mexico at a variety of levels so as to minimize the need for illegal immigration. This will require change in Mexico which we cannot control and can only hope to influence. The upcoming federal election in Mexico should go a long way toward telling us who we will have to work with. We must hope that the new administration will understand the necessity of change and be willing to work with us.

The US must also change some of our policies. We must provide more security for our southern border. We should probably add some to the Canadian side as well, but that’s not where the majority of our problems are to be found. We must also involve the border state governments on both sides of the line directly in forging solutions. Immigration is a national issue, but those states that border the Caribbean see the majority of the illegals and bear many of the financial costs for police power and emergency medical care. Those states have more experience in dealing with the problem and should be specifically consulted.

Some Mexican immigrants will want to live here permanently and pursue citizenship. That is a laudable goal and should be encouraged. For those who wish to work here and eventually go home, a reasonable work visa program should be encouraged. Our embassies in Mexico should be given additional resources to process work requests and should grant visas to workers who do not have employment lined up at the time of application since many of the workers will be taking entry level jobs and may change employers to match our economies’ needs at various times. It is reasonable to expect that they maintain current employment while they are in our country, and it is also reasonable to expect that as citizens of another country they would not be entitled to the same benefits as US citizens in terms of training, unemployment benefits, and government licensing. Worker’s compensation for jobsite injuries is a different matter and should be available if for no other reason than as a check on employers to ensure that they are maintaining a safe work environment.

Immigration – Part 1 of several

May 15, 2006

For most of human history, immigration has been a fairly informal process. You don’t like where you live, so you pack up your things and go elsewhere (Sam Houston’s famous parting shot to the Tennessee legislature comes to mind “You may go to hell, and I shall go to Texas”). Some peaceful cultures were by their nature so nomadic that they were never really associated with any one geographic area small enough to be a modern nation (the Rom being a classic example in Europe). Historically, migrations have often been quite beneficial to the destination land.

The primary difference between then and now is the potential harm that can be caused by a single miscreant. One example that establishes the point is the case of the so called Millennium Bomber, al Queda terrorist Ahmed Rassam, who attempted to smuggle a carload of explosives into the US as part of a plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport. Rassam attempted to enter the US from Canada, but could have been coming in from Mexico or by small boat anywhere on the coastline just as easily. Had he been successful in his scheme, many lives might have been lost and serious damage done to one of the country’s major air hubs.

For this reason, if for no other, it is imperative that we improve our border security and review our immigration policies with an eye toward improving our country economically and exporting our values to other parts of the world. More to follow…