Friday, May 26, 2006

The Speech, Part 5 – Race Issues


Americans take a great deal of comfort in our rights. We like to think that we are secure in our persons and homes from any unreasonable action by the government, specifically because the Bill of Rights is in place to stop would-be dictators and police statists. We could be very wrong.

The old Soviet Union had a very nice Constitution, filled with respect for the rights of the people and such. Problem is, the KGB simply ignored it when it was inconvenient. It’s true the United States is set up with three branches of government to prevent that sort of thing, but the question comes up, what if a situation rises where all three branches agree to change what they say the Constitution means?

We’ve certainly done it before. A fellow name of Dred Scott found out that fleeing to a free state didn’t keep the Supreme Court from declaring he was still someone’s property. Many thousands of Native Americans were driven across the country from their homelands, because the Army had the power to make it happen. More than a hundred thousand Japanese living here legally in the United States lost their freedom and possessions during World War 2, because the government ruled that in their case, Due Process did not really apply, even when they had not been accused of a crime.

What’s this nightmare scenario theory have to do with President Bush’s speech from back on May 15? It comes down to this; if the hardliners get their way, then things are going to get real tough for anyone who could possibly have done anything to help Illegals. And since far and away, the largest demographic group which makes up Illegal entry into the United States is Hispanics, that means that businesses, hospitals, schools, law enforcement, you name it, are all going to be pushed to treat Hispanics by a different standard than other races.

Think about it. Let’s say you own a business, and a guy comes in looking for a job. At most places, you give the guy a look and let your gut tell you whether you like his attitude. If you do, you get him a slot and you start on his paperwork. A lot of people don’t have all the papers they need for their I-9, and frankly, if you think someone’s worth hiring, you probably tell them something like ‘bring it in before I do the payroll’ and such. And frankly part 2, most small businesses are not real amused by the government’s requirements. It’s one thing to cover your bases, but small businesses do not have the kind of time or resources to spend a lot of effort on files and paperwork, and adding steps for the government’s satisfaction that don’t do one thing to make your employee or company more productive, just comes across as one more thing to hate about government; it has the distinct feel of government making small businesses do the government’s job for them. If the guy has his driver’s license and Social Security card, you’ve done what you need to do, and adding more restrictions is not going to fly.

So, if the U.S. Government starts leaning on businesses for possibly hiring Illegals, then what you’re going to see businesses do, is one of two things. Some will simply lie to the Government, on the idea that the Government has no business trying to turn private business owners into snitches, or else they will likely avoid the problem altogether by simply not hiring Hispanics. One way does nothing to solve the problem, and just makes enforcement that much harder, and the other punishes an entire demographic sector out of a heavy-handed bureaucratic ploy. It would cast the Republican Party as the new ‘Jim Crow’, this time with cause, and the resulting courtfights would flood dockets and solve nothing. Already the specter of such a draconian action has led to the public displays and rhetorical plays by the Left, to pour gasoline on the issue.

President Bush, unlike the foam-flecked leaders of the ‘Hysteria Now!’ movement, understands that any solution has to be palatable, functional, and reasonable in the context of balancing security with the sense of freedom. We used to laugh at the notion of a policeman stopping a person in public for no cause other than to check his papers; it is only rational to oppose any plan which treats an entire race of person as suspects because of their race. We can, and must, do better than that.

Next – Summary: Where Do We Go From Here?


Cynical Observer said...

Dunno, DJ. Though I don't disagree with you, there's another scenario that I think might be the real problem here, and which nobody wants to talk about.

In practically every town and city across this country there are organized, and there are informal, hiring "centers" for day workers. These day workers, I'd guess, are about 90-95% illegal immigrants. Once in a while there will be some protest or newspaper article about the city-organized centers, but I've never seen anything come of it. When you consider that every one of these places has 10s to 100s of workers waiting for a job every morning, and then multiply that by the thousands of such centers, one can easily see that a fair percentage, if not most, of the illegal immigrants seeking work are doing it through these centers.

You can bet that nobody is checking any papers when workers are picked up at these centers. There are two people breaking the law in every one of these tranactions - the illegal immigrant, and the hirer. Once in a while you will see someone complaining about the illegal immigrant day workers, but you NEVER see anyone complain, much less do anything, about the people who hire them.

Why? My guess is these people look too much just like you and me, i.e., they are our friends, our neighbors, our associates, and maybe us. And every one of them is knowingly flaunting the law. It would seem to me to be very easy to stop this practice, or at least discourage it, but I've never seen or heard of anybody doing anything about it.

I think it's this attitude of saying one thing, and doing another, that's the real problem in this whole debate. And I can't believe that President Bush and every INS official and every local law enforcement official doesn't know about the situation. So I guess I'd have to conclude that it's kind of repungent to make millions of ordinary citizens into law-breaking criminals or felons, or whatever (which is kind of a long way around to the same point you were making, but on a more individual level).

Steve Falcon said...

DJ, I have to say I disagree with you on this one.

You know I think you're a fantastic writer, and I see where you're coming from on this issue, but the President and the Senate have really mishandled this.

No one, I repeat NO ONE who's here illegally is going to jump through all the hoops the Senate bill proposes. And with no real enforcement or monitoring mechanisms built into it, no one will be punished when they don't.

This bill is a complete and utter farce. There's no need fo rpolice to check papers because no one is going to OR is even allowed to under this bill.

This is a sad day for the US Senate.

Steve Falcon said...

DJ, I agree with the way you want to have this debate. But, please understand, this is a bad bill. Here's a couple of questions:
1) What other nation in the world can you illegally enter, commit identity theft or falsify government documents (Soc. Sec. cards) to obtain employment, work for 5 years and THEN be given the RIGHT to those Social Security benefits?
2) Can you NOT pay your federal taxes for FIVE YEARS and then be told you only have to pay THREE OF THE FIVE YEARS OF BACK TAXES?

Well, you CAN if you're an illegal under the Senate bill!

I'll be blogging about this myself but this bill is WRONG, DJ and we really need the House to stand firm.

I'm all for finding a way to deal with the illegals who are here. But this Senate bill IS NOT it.

nk said...

I respectfully dissent. Some innocent people may suffer if we crack down hard on businesses which employ illegals now. People, as you point out, being what we are. But the President's plan just defers the problem and potentially much greater suffering for our children to deal with.

Cynical Observer said...

Late last night Ed Morrisey at Captain's Quarters, and early this morning Dafydd at Big Lizards both posted results and discussion of a recent internal poll taken for Republicans on the immigration issue. If you haven't seen this, the results will really surprise you.

While I don't, in general, put much credance in any poll (believing as I do that conducting business of the nation is slightly more serious than voting daily on issues, ala American Idol), even if the numbers in this poll are skewed, the sheer overwhelming numbers strongly suggest that the public who live their lives outside the echo chambers have very different opinions on immigration than the very vocal self-proclaimed "base." I.e., the self-proclaimed "base" may not be the base after all (surprise, surprise)!

movermike said...

I agree and just posted similar comments on my website.
Mover Mike