Immigration Debate Rooted in Fairness
The defeat of the immigration bill comes not from a debate over abstract notions of “open borders” or globalization. Most of the strong opposition to the immigration bill lay with the feeling illegal immigrants were getting away with breaking the law. It comes down to fairness. There’s a feeling that there’s one set of rules for them and another set for citizens. Many believe that if they entered another country illegally they’d be arrested and deported in short order. But in the U.S. a blind eye is given. Add to that illegal aliens getting jobs that could be held by natives. Whether that’s accurate or not that perception is there. Comprehensive immigration bill opponents want all people who come to the U.S. to play by the same rules.
So if you do play by the rules you’re welcomed with open arms even if the rules are messed up. This e-mail sent to Glenn Reynolds illustrates this:
I’m a professor in California and my wife holds a masters degree in accounting. We’ve already spent thousands getting work permits. We’re now in the process of applying for green cards … they’ve make it so complicated you can’t reasonably do it without legal help, and all up (legal fees plus government filing fees), it’s costing us over $9000 for my wife and I to apply for Green Cards. On July 30th, they’re increasing the filing fees. Currently it’s $940 for me and $740 for my wife. Come August, it’ll cost $2200 for the main applicant and $1725 for the spouse. On top of that, they wouldn’t let me pay tax as a married person until I’d been in the country for 10 months, so not only was there no “tax amnesty” for me, I was in fact paying more taxes than an American in the same position. I find Americans are always shocked when I tell them how much it is costing us. It seems like every few months they make it more difficult for people who want to do it legally.
Here are people playing by the (Byzantine) rules. This situation garners sympathy. I think many who opposed the comprehensive immigration bill would want something done to ease the burden of these people.
Take this sense of unfairness and combine it with Washington politicians who still don’t understand they live in a highly-networked, instant communications world. A combustible situation resulted. The ripple effects (yes, I’m mixing metaphors) will be far-reaching.
[via Don Surber]