Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The path to citizenship vs. the rule of law

As the immigration debate in Congress moves from the Senate to the House, the Republican pointman for those who want to give citizenship to illegal immigrants is also switching from the Senate's most-likely White House 2016 candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to the House's, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

"We need to enforce our laws," Ryan told the City Club of Chicago on April 22. "We need to let legal immigrants come here legally. ... You have to have a system where you can get agricultural demand met. You have to have a system, going forward, that deals with future flow, so that we don't wind up like we did after 1996 and 1986 with broken immigration going into the future."

Ryan is right about one thing: How America handles the future flow of immigrants is essential to making sure that we do not repeat the mistake of the 1986 amnesty, which is what makes what he said next so nonsensical.

"We have to offer people a path to earned citizenship," Ryan said, "We have to invite people to come out of the shadows. We have to have a system that people have confidence in. It is a system whereby people who have been contributing here can get right with the law. It is a system that still respects the rule of law."

Again, Ryan should be congratulated for identifying the principle that must be at the center of any good immigration reform policy: respect for the rule of law.

Unfortunately, any policy that gives citizenship to illegal immigrants now, while pretending that future enforcement efforts will guarantee no illegal immigration in the future, will only guarantee the rule of law is undermined.

Just look at S. 744, the bill passed by the Senate and largely embraced by Ryan. Not only does S. 744 set strict immigration quotas for each sector of the economy for the next couple of years, it even sets wages for entire job categories. "Agricultural equipment operators" are to be paid exactly $11.30, under S. 744, while crop harvesters are set to make $9.17. There simply is no free-market justification for any of these wage controls.

And, while these initial quotas and controls do eventually expire, what replaces them is no better from a conservative free-market perspective. S. 744 creates a brand new government bureaucracy, called the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research, charged with setting brand new quotas and wage controls for the future.

Does Ryan believe that the existing quotas and wage controls in S. 744 will properly manage future agricultural labor demand now? How much confidence does he have in Washington bureaucrats properly setting those quotas and wage controls in the future?

And, if Ryan is not a sudden convert to top-down government control of the economy, then what does he think will happen when the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research misses its mark? That's right. More illegal immigration.

In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, even after S. 744 spends more than $46 billion on border security over the next ten years, including doubling the border patrol, there will still be about 7.5 million illegal immigrants left in the country.

And that assumes Obama actually follows through with the creation of a brand new E-verify system, which is highly doubtful considering he just unilaterally delayed implementation of Obamacare's equally burdensome employer mandate.

And what will Ryan suggest we do with that new illegal immigrant population 10 years from now? Self-deport? Of course not.

Instead, another "path to citizenship" will have to offered, more confidence will be lost in the system, and the rule of law will be undermined again.


Australian Labor Party government unveils hard line on asylum seekers who destroy passports

Long overdue

ASYLUM seekers who fly to Indonesia and dump their passports and identity papers before boarding people-smuggling boats to Australia will have their applications "sent to the back of the queue".

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will also unveil before the election a tougher test for refugee applications, and there are hopes of expanding the fly-home deportation policy for bogus asylum seekers that exists with Sri Lanka to new countries, including Indonesia.

But the get-tough approach will be balanced with an immediate order to free as many children as possible as the number of minors in detention climbs to 1800.

Under the new rules, which come into force immediately, applicants with identification papers will be dealt with first while those who destroy their papers or refuse to co-operate will be considered last.

Why we'll fight people smugglers

Immigration Minister Tony Burke confirmed the changes would apply to 20,000 asylum seekers who would now be processed after their applications had been kept in limbo for months. The changes did not require new legislation.

“If you refuse to co-operate in providing documents you're right at the back of the queue. That starts now,’’ Mr Burke said.

But Labor's shift in asylum-seeker policy falls short of the Coalition's previously announced position that there would be a "strong presumption that illegal boat people who have destroyed their documents not be given refugee status".In an exclusive column for The Sunday Telegraph today, Foreign Minister Bob Carr warned Australia's immigration policy risked being outsourced to criminals.

Senator Carr said: "If this persists we would see arrivals of close to 40,000 a year. That would be equivalent to nearly 20 per cent of our annual migration program - 20 per cent of our intake now being delivered by people smugglers.

"Do people smugglers screen out customers and only take those fleeing persecution? Don't be ridiculous. They're interested in $10,000 a head.

"Are we really prepared to allow criminal rackets to control a significant slice of our immigration program? To see that 40,000 figure rise higher?"

There are hopes a deal could be struck with Indonesia and other countries to deport failed asylum seekers, like the one already in place with Sri Lanka.

Senator Carr and Mr Burke signalled a willingness to consider the ideas of Jesuit law professor Father Frank Brennan, a confidant of Mr Rudd, who proposed flying failed asylum seekers "safely" back to Indonesia. While that would require a deal with Indonesia, Mr Burke said the scheme was working well with Sri Lanka, with 1200 flown back this year.

``If you don't activate our legal obligations I want you on a plane as quick as we can find one," Mr Burke said.

Senator Carr said: “Father Frank Brennan's contribution to the debate is welcome. With a humanitarian instinct and a concern for human rights, he recognises we need to break the people smugglers business model. That was behind his suggestion that Australia and Indonesia could enter into an arrangement to return asylum seekers from Australia to Indonesia for processing provided they had no fear of persecution in Indonesia.”

But he also confirmed he had ordered the release of 18 minors from a Tasmanian centre holding 300 children and teenagers.  "I want children out of detention," Mr Burke said.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison rejected Indonesia's attack on Tony Abbott's "unilateral" policy to turn back boats. "We will make the decisions on our sides of the border," he said. But he said the Coalition was unhappy with the current situation where Australian vessels were rescuing asylum seekers in Indonesian waters then processing them under Australian law.


No comments:

Post a Comment