Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Immigration and Terrorism
I've stayed away from the larger issues of the immigration topic out of, frankly, ignorance and not having given it much thought. I remember in college arguing against the entire system, saying that we should just let whoever in that wants in whenever they want in and encourage citizenship, and that we could then focus on the real challenge, which is pressuring other countries, especially Central American ones, to change the way they provide for opportunity and hope among their own citizens, diminishing the incentive they would have for leaving in the first place.

Isn't this really the problem? For all the advances Mexico may have made, they still want to essentially encourage their poor to leave so they don't have to deal with the extreme situation of poverty with reasonable services.

My teenage solution--like most of them from back then--seems a bit, um, impractical of course now.

But I still believe that is the biggest problem and challenge. And until and unless it is addressed--no, I'm not sure how to do it--whatever illegal immigration woes we have will continue no matter what the policy.

So, to be clear, I'm a fan of programs that invite and allow workers to become citizens. But guest worker programs smell a bit fishy to me, and I worry that we will trade in our present woes for much bigger ones. What could be worse you ask? How about the official creation of an entire second class of non-citizen? I'll leave the rest of that track to Fareed Zakaria, who says what I've also been thinking, but much better than I could, and with an added dimension I hadn't thought of, in the form of a reasonable answer to this important question: Why has there been no attack in the US since September 11, 2001? We know it's not because the Bush Adminstration's security apparatus is so on the ball. No, Zakaria suggests the answer may lie in our present immigration policy, and that we should think twice before changing it in the direction it seems headed. Like I say, I have never thought of it before, but he makes a convincing case.

I'm kind of a sucker though. What do you think?

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