Dupree's column is all about how impossible a task it would be to deport 12 million illegal aliens,and why we therefore must have some kind of amnesty.
Don't laugh; he's serious.
Since it's Friday night,and my lady friend is studying for finals, I have some free time, so let's look at what Steve has to say and see if it makes any kind of sense at all.
But don't get your hopes up.
Our nation simply does not have the infrastructure or the will to do what would have to be done to actually get rid of that many people. We. Can. Not. Do. It. If you are going to have a serious discussion on the issue, some level of amnesty will have to be a part of it.
Let's apply this logic to other areas of life and see if it flies.
The large majority of burglaries are never solved, and even when they are solved, the stolen property is rarely recovered. Our nation simply does not have the infrastructure or the will to do what would have to be done to actually end burglaries. That being the case, it would be unfair to punish those burglars we do catch when the majority receive no punishment at all. We must consider amnesty as part of the solution to burglaries.
Hmmm. Not such a good plan, is it? The logical fallacy is clear; just because removing all illegal aliens is a difficult job that does not mean we have to legalize their continued presence here. We don't legalize other crimes simply because we can't prevent them 100% of the time; the very suggestion of such a policy is ludicrous, yet this is the idea that Dupree is advancing.
Okay,so his conclusion is patently false. Maybe he still has some good points to make in his lead up. After all, the question does have to be answered. Can we come up with an immigration policy that deals with the illegal aliens already here without resorting to amnesty?
Let's see what Dupree says.
Anybody out there remember the lead-up to hurricane Katrina? Remember the stories of people sitting in their cars on the highways for 12-plus hours to go 40 or 50 miles? Huge traffic jams, broken down vehicles, insufficient refueling facilities, incompetent and distracted drivers, and other factors combined to create the situation of essentially turning the interstates and other roads into steamy parking lots.
A few days later, we got to see a rerun of that situation but with Houston, Tex., and hurricane Rita cast as the lead characters.
I'm not entirely certain that evacuating a city before a hurricane is an appropriate analog for deporting illegal aliens. In fact,I'm certain that it isn't. First, illegals aren't concentrated into one metro area; they are dispersed throughout the US. Instead of trying to evacuate a city, think of transporting a very small number of residents from multiple cities. Let's take Knoxville for example. If the current estimates of illegal alien population are accurate, there are roughly 12 million living in the US and dispersed throughout the country. That means there's roughly 5 aliens per one hundred residents. According to the 2000 census, the Knoxville Metro area has 655,000 residents, and approximately 2% of these are Hispanic. We want as conservative an estimate as possible, so assume that all of them are illegal, which will give us the biggest number.
13,000 people. 13,000 people would be lost inside Neyland Stadium. We clear 100,000+ people out of Neyland Stadium 6 times a year in roughly 3-4 hours. I hardly think that 13,000 are going to gridlock our roads. Heck, KAT transports roughly 10,000 people every weekday. Yes, other cities will have a higher percentage of illegals, but those cities also tend to be closer to the border, so it's pretty much a wash. We're not looking at evacuating a city; we're looking at moving a small fraction of it.
So much for the hurricane analogy.
Recently, I heard on NPR some guesstimates of how long a pullout of the less than 300,000 American troops in Iraq would take. The estimates rang in at up to nearly a year to remove all of the troops and their equipment safely.
Now there's a stretch for you. Moving illegal aliens 2500 miles over land is exactly like moving an army with all of its equipment 10,000 miles across two continents and an ocean.
I don't think so. Anything else?
We would probably have to create and fund a completely new bureaucracy to keep up with the logistics of the deportation alone. Everyone would have to be fingerprinted, photographed, and possibly DNA tested so as to positively identify them.
Without doing that, and possibly even with doing it, we would still need to pay disgusting homage to the Nazis and somehow permanently identify illegals as illegals. Would we brand them with some sort of mark or tattoo?
I hereby invoke Godwin's law and pronounce that Dupree has lost the argument. But pay close attention folks; this is probably the only time you'll ever hear a progressive come out against a new bureaucracy.
Dupree's failure is one of imagination. He sees the argument only in terms of the past. His invocation of the Nazis clearly demonstrates this bias. In his limited perception, sending illegal aliens home is an act comparable to the Cherokee Trail of Tears, the Japanese internment, or the Nazi death camps. It never occurs to him that it doesn't have to be that way. What if instead of using the government as a bludgeon to force people to do what we want, we use it more delicately, to encourage them to do what we want?
The first thing to realize is that 12 million people did not arrive overnight, so there's no reason to think they have to be removed overnight. Also, they came here because they were offered tremendous incentives to do so. What if there were a way to remove those incentives, while replacing them with equally strong incentives to return home and come back legally?
It wasn't too long ago that I wrote up a plan that would address border security, illegal immigration,and the problem of deportation, and all without any form of amnesty. You can read it here, but the short version is this:
Step 1: Secure the Border
Step 2: Create a sane visa policy that recognizes the need for unskilled labor. Included in this policy should be reforms that make the visa stick with the worker, not the employer.
Step 3: Institute and enforce massive fines for businesses that hire illegal workers. Make it cheaper for them to hire legal workers at a decent wage than illegals at slave wages.
Step 4: Any illegal alien arrested for any reason is subject to immediate deportation.
The combined effect of these steps will create a strong incentive for illegal aliens to return home and enter America legally. As their job market shrinks, so does their incentive for being here. As legal immigrants come in and fill the jobs, as companies no longer turn a blind eye to forged IDs and work documents, their best choice becomes to return home and enter legally. Notice that there is no massed forced deportation required. The good guys go home and come back legally. The bad guys stay, get arrested, and are never allowed back.
So much for Dupree's Nazi nightmare. It doesn't have to be that way.
Will it happen overnight? No. But the natural incentives built into the plan, plus the fact that any arrest is a one way ticket for deportation will make it certain that it will happen over a period of several years.
Will they all go home? No. But we haven't licked burglary yet either; that doesn't mean we should stop trying. The illegal immigration problem is certainly solvable;all it takes is a little foresight and imagination.