Friday, June 1, 2007

The world was different in 1986

I submit to you that if Washington moves ahead with this amnesty program, it will be very different that it was in 1986. And I don’t mean the structure of the program. Rather, I mean that world situation surrounding the “reform”.

First, a primer on 1986. In recognition of the fact that we had lost control of our borders and had several million illegal aliens, it was determined that something needed to be done. The government debated for five years and finally agreed to legalize (grant amnesty) to illegal aliens who had been here for four years or more.

Social agencies and churches worked hard to document how long people had been here and at the end of the day 2.7 million people were granted some type of legal residency status. The plan was to also shore up the enforcement programs to deter future would-be illegal aliens. (We saw how well that worked. We’re good at giving things away; not so good at getting tough with people.)

Now, how is the world different today than it was in 1986? Here are some thoughts:

1) Technology. With cell phones, DVDs, satellite TV, the Internet, and e-mail it is easy for people in the third world to see just how wonderful life is here in the USA. Behavioral scientists will tell you that people can live in poverty. The problem comes when they see what others have and want it. When that happens, they will do desperate things in order to obtain that standard of living. People all over the world can see what they are missing, in real time, in color, with stereo sound.

We all know that Hollywood is not real, but they don’t. Their distorted image of what life is like here is what they yearn for. Although they are disappointed when they arrive, it is still a better life than they left behind.
2) Travel. Air travel has become more affordable than ever. A plane ticket from the Philippines or Africa is within reach for an ever-growing percentage of the local population.
3) Political oppression. Our free society has even greater appeal to more people now than it did in 1986 because there are so many unstable countries around the globe.
4) Poverty. The gap between rich and poor widens around the world, except in socialist Europe where they are trying to squeeze everyone to the middle. Corrupt leaders seem to stand out but the rest are either given subsidies or paying for them. (By the way, the rich-poor gap is growing in the USA, too. See the Wall Street Journal article 24 May 2007, page 1)
5) Opportunism. Due to our own deteriorating society and global terror, many will feel that it is now or never to get a piece of the American Dream.

I could go on, but my point is that we must have very strong enforcement if we are going to counter the intense attraction our nation generates in the hearts of billions of people around the world.

It will take more than a border fence, more than employer sanctions, more than biometric ID cards, more than deportation programs. It will take all of these together, well executed, to keep out future illegal aliens. A poor immigration reform policy will yield an even bigger mess than we have now, in a much shorter time span. We need to get this one right, folks!

Personally, I am not amused with the enforcement plan before the Senate now.

No comments:

Post a Comment