American Elephants

Some Simple Clarity About Immigration by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson summed up the immigration debate nicely. Obama is not addressing the problems that most of us see and are concerned about. Professor Hanson lives in the great Central Valley in California which has been one of the centers of immigration of agricultural workers, legal and illegal, and has been an important voice in the debate.

Voters last week seemed to be saying that the entire immigration debate is morally upside down.

The true unethical position is that of the immigration hijacker who decides — without the force of law, public opinion, or court sanction — to enhance his narrow political, cultural, or economic interests. He cares little about the ensuing effects of his self-interest on collective infrastructure, social services, law enforcement, criminal justice, or state budgets.

So what, exactly, do Americans want out of immigration?

It would seem that Americans appreciate the vibrancy, energy, and new ideas that immigrants bring. But a great many Americans also insist that immigrants come legally, in manageable numbers, in ethnically diverse fashion, and that they be eager to learn English and assimilate quickly.

Everybody should be indignant about Obama’s idea that he can just do whatever he wants if Republicans don’t oblige him with what he wants. There are lots of difficult problems. There are the Afghan translators who worked with American forces and are now under threat for their families lives because they helped us. Immediate access.

But all these problems cannot be dealt with in one big Omnibus bill. We really have to stop the big omnibus bills.  Such legislation gets too long, and usually gets the incentives and unexpected consequences totally wrong. Address the problems one at a time, as a piece of a complete agenda. Send the bills up to Obama one at a time. He can sign them or veto them, presenting the Republicans with all sorts of opportunities.

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