Heightening the contradictions

I hope this becomes law and all…

Report: Senate immigration plan sets deportation timeframe

The bipartisan Senate immigration plan would deport immigrants who illegally entered the U.S. after 2011, a Senate aide told Reuters on Friday.

The plan would give most of the approximately 11 million unauthorized immigrants a way to stay in the U.S. and eventually seek citizenship — but those who entered the country since the beginning of 2012 would have to leave, according to the staffer.

“People need to have been in the country long enough to have put down some roots. If you just got here and are illegal, then you can’t stay,” the aide said.

The bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators is working out the final details of a broad-ranging immigration reform bill, with hopes to unveil it on Tuesday so the Judiciary Committee can begin to examine it on Wednesday. Sources say major policy differences have been ironed out.

“I don’t see, looking forward the next few days, any major barrier in the way,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has led the immigration talks, said earlier this week.

Negotiators had hoped to unveil the legislation this week, but it slipped down the Senate agenda following Wednesday’s announcement of a deal on gun violence legislation.

The bill would increase border security, give unauthorized citizens permanent legal status and offer some a pathway to citizenship after 13 years, increase the number of high-skilled visas and create a guest-worker program for low-skilled immigrants. Both business and labor coalitions have been involved in the negotiations and are still on board.

… but it still leaves large, seemingly unanswerable questions about implementation and justice. First, the 2011 date is clearly arbitrary. No one could claim it was OK to immigrate with documents before 2011 but wrong thereafter. Second, how do you check whether people arrived in 2011 and after? Of course, everyone will have a strong incentive to say they arrived sooner. Third, the same compelling reasons of humanity and commonsense which motivate this amnesty will obviously still be around to motivate future amnesties. Indeed, an amnesty now (sorry for the politically incorrect terminology) will only further undermine the strange 20th-century national socialist notion that it’s somehow morally acceptable to seize by force a person who has done no one any harm, rip them out of their family and community, and ship them off to some country they don’t want to go to just because they happen to have been born there and weren’t issue some document by a consular official with whom none of the parties concerned (friends, relatives, landlords, etc.) are even acquainted. Fourth, because this amnesty will surely create greater expectations of future amnesties, it will increase the incentives for more people to come in anticipation of future amnesties. I’m all in favor of that. I support the amnesty as a means of incentivizing the next wave of undocumented immigration, as much as out of humanity and decent hospitality towards those who have arrived already. But at the end of the day, the norms and values and behaviors and assumptions of a decent society just cannot be reconciled with the practical aspect of migration restrictionism, and amnesty won’t solve the problem, but will only heighten the contradictions.

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith is an assistant professor of economics at Fresno Pacific University. He did his Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University and has also worked for the World Bank. Smith proposed Don’t Restrict Immigration, Tax It, one of the more comprehensive keyhole solution proposals to address concerns surrounding open borders.

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