Immigrants are not the enemy
President Obama’s Nov. 20 Las Vegas speech announcing his executive orders to defer deportations and issue work permits for several million immigrants is important for Nevada. Nevada has the most illegal immigrants per capita in the United States. Republicans warned that it would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull, but the president decided to go ahead and play matador. Now it is up to Republicans to decide whether to charge him full on or just snort and paw the ground. Or even get creative and pass a series of good immigration bills in 2015!
Led by then Sen. Obama, Democrats blocked President Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform because the AFL-CIO told them to. Lately the unions are worrying less about cheap labor coming into the country because they have desperately stooped to trying to organize the unskilled working poor. The greens and liberal environmentalists don’t care much for immigration, because, well, they don’t care much about people, period. Obama’s clemency was really against his own 2009-2011 self when he was deporting Latinos faster than George Bush —whose extended family is heavily Latino—would ever want to.
The Republican House Tea Party caucus is blocking the bill passed by the Senate with bipartisan support, including from Dean Heller and Harry Reid, for “comprehensive immigration reform.” I was Tea Party before there was Tea Party, but on the libertarian side, and I do not much understand this conservative fear of immigration. But the word “comprehensive” scares me too because the federal government cannot stop streakers from getting into the White House but pretends it can control mass migrations of human labor.
The Republicans cannot signal that they want extensive deportations. That idea is relegated to the fringes of the debate along with “self deportation” and building walls on the border with electric fences and crocodile-infested moats. I see the problem as once again simple supply and demand. If you have 12 million illegal immigrants, your ability to allow the labor supply to meet the demand is in serious question. But Republicans will not drop their senseless talk about “securing the border first.” Security doesn’t come merely from cracking heads, locking people up or deporting them. It comes from trade and social interaction.
After Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna and won Texas’ independence, people told him to garrison the border in case Santa Anna came back. Instead, he set up just a series of trading posts with only enough troops to guard the stores. Will the Republicans pass a series of laws that emulates the spirit of Sam Houston? I can hope, but they are proven unwilling to do what Ronald Reagan, their beloved Gipper, wanted: open the borders, both ways.
“Times are different now,” they say. What changed? Oh, I forgot: 9-11 changed everything! Include the effects of Reagan’s own senseless war on drugs as well.
Although not fans of “the end justifies the means,” most libertarians are happy that some Nevadans here illegally will not be ripped from their families and deported. The constitution is shredded again, but it already is like the confetti thrown at the World Series winning San Francisco Giants. Congress continues to pass vague laws that unelected bureaucrats and judges get to “interpret” any way they want. Politicians and voters only get upset when the other team is issuing executive orders, not their own team. Where is Congressional hysteria over Obama’s executive orders to wage war without a Congressional declaration?
When you tolerate your side’s power grabs, you empower the other side as well. Face it: Obama is now the liberal Dick Cheney.