Angry New Yorker

Thursday, January 08, 2004
The Immigration Quagmire

There're few topics that provoke stronger debate than the subject of illegal immigration.'s position is simple, and has been discussed before, after reading the former INS's own 2002 Yearbook on immigration -- which details the numbers in minute details. Our viewpoint is not knee-jerk; nor a broad-brushed black and white view, but is clear, and on the heels on Bush's very flawed proposal, bears repeating.

Basically, our position is (1) overall legal immigration levels are too high in a post 9-11 world; (2) our borders are too porous; and (3) illegal immigration is out of control by any measure. But first, a distinction must be made between those coming here illegally to seek asylum from real physical and political threats and those who slip into the U.S. to merely seek economic opportunities lacking in their home countries. The first category should be protected, the second category should, in our view, be deported.

If we're ever going to get a handle on the situation, and everyone should be astounded that we have 8 to 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S., then we need to set reasonable laws, see that they're vigorously enforced, and deal with the situation -- not erect half-measures that signal a capitulation to the flow of illegal aliens into the U.S. It's much repeated, by those who both support and oppose stronger immigration controls, that we're a nation of immigrants. Indeed we are, and it's a foundation facet of our nature as a country. But the world of 2004 is not the world of 1954, and the policies of 2004 should not merely mouth that we're a nation of immigrants without a serious dispassionate discussion of what implications our current immigration policies and illegal immigration hold for us as a nation.

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