May 24 2007

ICYMI: What is being said about Immigration Reform

Greenville News Editorial Page Editor Beth Padgett "....on its face, the plan does what we on the editorial page -- and many people who desperately want this issued solved -- have demanded. It proposes ways to secure our borders, crack down on employers who hire illegals, make it tougher to hire illegals. And, yes, it proposes a common-sense way to give legal status to most of those here illegally."

Orangeburg Times & Democrat Editorial 'Immigration Compromise is Realism' "And extreme is what both sides advocate. The reality of deporting 12 million Mexicans is about as realistic a solution as simply opening the borders. Call it an amnesty program or not, there must be some kind of provision for allowing those in the country illegally to move toward citizenship. As impractical as trying to find and deport them is, it also would be devastating to the American economy. ... Continuing to oppose all efforts at compromise on immigration only makes it longer before there is agreement on how to secure our borders to stop the wave of immigrants from Mexico. Border security is as essential to dealing with the immigration crisis as is an answer to what to do about the illegals in the country now."

Conservative Columnist Bob Novak, 'Immigration Trap for GOP Candidates' "Why are the [Republican] party faithful throughout the country so incensed by immigration? When I asked [Lindsey] Graham, he quoted from a federal government report on the new arrivals to this country, "largely unskilled laborers" and heavily illiterate: "The new immigration has provoked a widespread feeling of apprehension as to its effect on the economic and social welfare of the country." The report, by the U.S. Immigration Commission, was dated 1911. When Graham returned to Washington Monday as the immigration debate began, he read the 96-year-old quote into the Senate record to demonstrate that fear of foreigners is not new for Americans. This nation of immigrants has greeted successive waves of newcomers with apprehension stoked by demagogues. It has overcome such past xenophobic impulses. But that will be more difficult in an era of Internet bloggers and radio talkers......"

Wall Street Journal Editorial on 'Immigration and Welfare' "One place to start is a myth that has become a key talking point among restrictionists on the right -- to wit, that immigrants come to the U.S. for a life of ease on the public dole. Leading this charge is the Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector....Mr. Rector and Heritage have done some good social science research in the past, but this time they have the story backward: In most cases immigrants will pay at least as much in lifetime federal taxes as they receive in benefits. One basic flaw in the Heritage analysis is that, as a study by the Immigration Policy Center points out: "The vast majority of immigrants are not eligible to receive any of these [welfare] benefits for many years after their arrival in the United States. . . . Legal permanent residents cannot receive SSI [Supplemental Security Income], which is available only to U.S. citizens, and are not eligible for means-tested public benefits until 5 years after receiving their green cards."

Conservative Columnist David Brooks of the New York Times "The United States is the Harvard of the world. Millions long to get in. Yet has this country set up an admissions system that encourages hard work, responsibility and competition? No. Under our current immigration system, most people get into the U.S. through criminality, nepotism or luck. The current system does almost nothing to encourage good behavior or maximize the nation's supply of human capital. Which is why the immigration deal reached in the Senate last week is, on balance, a good thing. It creates a new set of incentives for immigrants and potential immigrants. It encourages good behavior, in the manner of a demanding (though overly harsh) admissions officer. It rewards the bourgeois virtues that have always been at the heart of this nation's immigrant success, and goes some way to assure that the people who possess these virtues can become U.S. citizens."