Welcome to the Great Immigration Debate. Over the next couple of days (weeks?), Jenna and I will be discussing the immigration issue, both legal and illegal. As Jenna pointed out, immigration “is a very complex issue that crosses many standard lines”. While most Republicans agree on most issues, many Republicans disagree on how to handle illegal immigration.
As I listen to talk radio and read blogs, I see a lot of heated rhetoric. I see a lot of statements that, frankly, go beyond rational argument straight into frothing anger. I see a lot of polarized opinions and people talking past each other. I’d like to make a small step towards changing that. Immigration is a complex issue and it needs to be treated as such. I don’t believe there is one “right” answer or easy answer to the question. So, let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about what makes it such a big problem and let’s talk about all of the ways (good and bad) to handle this problem.
I think the best place to start would be a quick summary of where weâ€™re each coming from. I’m a life-long Republican (whatever that means when youâ€™re as young as I am). I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, rejoiced when the South turned Republican, and was glued to the television for Election Night 2000. In my younger days, I breathed fire and brimstone towards any and all who would break the law. During my early teenage years, I once advocated sending in the SEALs and Rangers to deal with the inner city drug trade.
I say all of this to establish my conservative bona-fides or, at least, to demonstrate that I once was a “law and order” Republican and understand the mind set. More recently, Iâ€™ve been drawn towards libertarianism. I’ve seen that politicians rarely act in the nation’s best interests. I’ve seen that many laws are unfairly written or unfairly enforced. I’ve developed an aversion to using government power unless it is absolutely necessary to do so.
So, I have a lot of questions about illegal immigration. I think the first and most prominent one is: why is it such a big deal? Why do people care so much about Mexicans crossing the border, looking for a better life for themselves and their families? Is it just because there is a law prohibiting that? (That is, would the issue go away if the law were changed?) Or is there a reason for the law. If so, what is it?
Yes, it’s a rather basic question. But in this case, I think it’s best to start with the basics and move on from there.