Monday, September 12, 2011

A decade later, we’re still fumbling immigration issue

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it’s hard to believe so many people still doubt the relationship between illegal immigration and crime. It’s not that all illegals are dangerous, but porous borders always present a security risk and the 9/11 attacks are an extreme example of what “security risk” means.

In most states, this is well understood. Not so in Massachusetts, where hypocrisy doesn’t matter, either. Many of the same people who say illegals should be allowed to stay here won’t support building a housing project for illegals in their neighborhood.

Which is why there’s so much eye-rolling at the critics who say it’s unforgivably xenophobic to complain about illegal immigration. The motivation behind their criticism is not so much the humane protection of vulnerable foreigners as it is a tactic to grow the ranks of the Democratic party. Critics know calling someone a xenophobe is an effective silencing technique.

A sincere debate would focus on whether we can afford porous borders, socially and financially. Politics would have nothing to do with it. But partisan politicians don’t want a sincere debate because they know it would end quickly. It’s no mystery that we could afford to be generous about illegal immigration 100 years ago, but the economic and social costs today are untenable, especially in Massachusetts where things have gotten so crazy, we actually give more benefits to illegals than to lawful citizens.

About 70 percent of people who receive free health care in Massachusetts are illegal, which costs taxpayers $35 million a year. Yet a legal citizen who gets laid off has no automatic right to free health care. Even criminals get a better outcome if they’re here illegally. We give illegals gigantic plea-bargains to save them from deportation because the more serious the conviction, the greater the risk of being returned to their home country. This means a legal citizen is more likely to end up in jail than his illegal counterpart who commits the same offense.

Which brings us to the question: Why does Deval Patrick oppose the Secure Communities Act? SCA offers states a simple mechanism for checking fingerprints against federal databases. Rather than dealing with multiple agencies, the SCA provides a one-button option so that fingerprints can be checked simultaneously with the FBI, for criminal activity, and with ICE, for immigration status.

Patrick says only “serious” felons should have their prints checked for immigration status because only “serious” felons should be deported. This means President Obama’s illegal alien uncle, arrested recently for drunken driving, will be allowed to stay in this country, as will the illegal alien who last month was charged with killing a young man in Worcester by running over his head while driving drunk. Neither crime fits Patrick’s definition of “serious” felony.

Whatever Patrick’s views on deportation, they don’t justify his opposition to the SCA because the SCA doesn’t mandate deportation. It simply gathers information on people who violate criminal laws. We have huge files on immigrants who came here legally, and live law-abiding lives. Why on Earth wouldn’t we want files on those who came to this country illegally, then committed more crimes?

Patrick’s career as a politician in Massachusetts is over. He has his sights on the national scene and he knows that by opposing the SCA, he can curry favor with minority voting blocks and shore up guaranteed votes for Democrats nationwide. If it were only a propaganda issue, it wouldn’t matter. But Patrick is spending down the quality of life in Massachusetts by leveraging its lopsided politics. He knows he can do whatever he wants here, and get away with it, because enough people are left-wing lemmings, just like him, who don’t give a damn about public safety and a failing economy.


Anti-immigrant movement strong in France

France's ruling UMP party staged a high-profile rally in Nice on Sunday in a direct challenge to the far-right National Front(FN) as the Front's charismatic leader was addressing her party's annual conference in the city.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's party gathered some of its biggest guns in the Mediterranean city, including party chairman Jean-Francois Cope, presidential advisor Henri Guaino and Ecology Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who spearheads the UMP's drive against the FN. The rally was organised by Nice's mayor Christian Estrosi, a former UMP minister.

Marine Le Pen [above], who took over from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen as FN leader in January, is a close third behind Sarkozy and the leading socialist contender in opinion polls for the 2012 presidential election. She briefly led the polls in the spring, but has now fallen back to just below 20 percent.

She has softened the FN's image, toning down her father's anti-immigration rhetoric and expelling from the party young hotheads who had been photographed making the Nazi salute.

UMP leaders said this was purely cosmetic. "About those who are trying to make people believe they have a new programme, more realistic and more tolerant, just because the first name has changed, I say do not be confused. The name is the same. The ideology is the same," Estrosi told supporters in an open-air arena near Nice's beachfront.

His speech was interrupted several times by young far-right supporters shouting slogans and waving banners reading "No mosque in Nice".

Nice is a UMP stronghold but in the second round of local elections in March, the FN won more than 40 percent of the vote on the Cote d'Azur. "Right and far-right are playing cat and mouse on their home turf," wrote local daily Nice-Matin.

Le Pen presents what she says is a radical economic alternative to the government. She wants France to exit the euro, which she says is overvalued by at least 40 percent and is making it impossible for French companies to compete internationally. She also wants to bring back import tariffs to protect French producers from cheap Chinese imports.

Her shift in emphasis is a response to growing fears in France that austerity and Europe's debt crisis could eat away at the array of social services treasured by many citizens.

But in front of a crowd of hundreds of cheering supporters Le Pen called for tighter immigration laws. "It is in the interest of France to stop all immigration and even to reverse the flow," she said. "We do not need foreign workers because there is no work and in these difficult times what little work there is must first benefit our own people," she said to rapturous applause.

Le Pen made little reference to the UMP on Sunday, but told reporters on Saturday its choice of venue for its rally showed "their fear and disarray". "They know they are losing their voters to us," she said.

French political parties traditionally hold conferences in late August and early September. Eight months ahead of the presidential election, they are gathering huge media interest.

Guaino denied the UMP had any fear of Marine Le Pen. "The only fear I have is that we may not be able to find the words and ideas to respond to the aspirations of the French people. If we do not find an answer to their despair, they will vote for extreme parties," he said. [That's a confession and a half!]


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