California Primary Countdown - Fifteen Days

Monday, January 21, 2008

The nice thing about politics is that once someone (a blogger, for example) has publicly declared themselves as a supporter, there is always the possibility for egg on the face when that candidate swerves one way or the other. Over the last week, it would seem that Mike Huckabee has moved more in the direction of being “tough” on immigration. I find that unfortunate. One of the things I found appealing about Huckabee in the first place was that he seemed more moderate than some of the other candidates for the nomination. As mentioned previously (even in another post today), I have been a serious student of movements and migrations of people for forty years. Oftentimes when populations have clashed, the solutions imposed by the dominant group have backfired. For example, at the very time Spain and Portugal were importing enormous wealth from the New World, they expelled all the Jews and Muslims from Iberia. Only later did it become obvious that they had eliminated entire segments of their economy. Most of that gold and silver wound up in the hands of merchants in Holland. Spain and Portugal went from world-class powers to also-rans.

Likewise, I find the following proposal, currently on the Huckabee site, very short sighted:
Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and leave the country. Those who register and return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply to immigrate or visit; those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future reentry for a period of 10 years.
This is not a "touchback" provision. Those who leave this country and apply to return from their home country would go to the back of the line.

So, let’s see now: At the very time when our housing market is teetering on the brink of pulling our economy into a full recession or worse, we are going to take 16 million people who are currently either renting or making payments on houses, and we are going to send them away, throwing those additional houses into foreclosure and further aggravating a situation where too many houses are sitting empty.

We are going to suddenly reduce school enrollments—midyear—thereby throwing school districts into situations where they cannot fulfill contracts to their teachers.

Etc. I've listed only the first two that come to mind.

Yes, we ought to build a secure fence. Yes, we should cut off the flow of new crossings. But before we send all of them home, let's recognize that these people are CURRENTLY integrated into our economy. The process to change that is called disintegration. Why would we want to apply the process of disintegration to our economy, and on a 120 day deadline?


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