Derb's One-Paragraph Program For Immigration Sanity
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John Derbyshire provided notice in a recent blog entry of his latest podcast at "Radio Derb."  But the entry concerned only his remarks about the mediocrity and smug solipsism of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, so that those who don't listen to the podcast nor read its transcript will miss Derb's superb prescription for true "comprehensive immigration reform," i.e. immigration reform to serve the interests of—gasp!—native-born American citizens.

From the transcript:

Does the U.S.A. need reform of its immigration laws? You bet it does. Chain migration of family members beyond spouse and dependent children, needs ending. Birthright citizenship needs ending. The refugee rackets need to be deep-sixed. The so-called "diversity lottery" needs to be terminated with extreme prejudice. Dual citizenship should be abolished. Skilled immigration should be set to market conditions, immigrants with any particular skill set being admitted only when wages for that skill have risen more than ten percent above the norm for more than five consecutive years. Work permits for unskilled and low-skilled persons should be scrapped completely. I could go on for a while, but that would do for starters.

A quibble on one point: Let's not admit for permanent residence/ultimate citizenship any skilled immigrants short of world-class superstars.  This would amount to no more than a few hundred people per year.  Would we thus degrade American creativity?  Probably not: The technologies that undergird the modern world—transistors, lasers, integrated circuits, and recombinant DNA—were all the inventions of native-born Americans, drawing on the  heritage of Western science.  (Nitpicking exceptions: Two of the transistor's three inventors, William Shockley and Walter Brattain, were born overseas to American parents but then grew up in the U.S. from their early years.)

(As a physicist, I'd set the threshold for physicists at "comparable to Enrico Fermi," and, no, I wouldn't be admitted myself.  In other domains of human accomplishment, the thresholds should be analogous to my "Fermi criterion.")

Overall, Derb's program would rescue the American republic from near-term dissolution.

His summary of desiderata above is part of Derb's fully-justified takedown of Senator Marco Rubio's (R-FL) recent, appalling immigration proposal.  One part of Derb's indictment especially merits further publicity:

[O]n the mechanism Rubio proposes for amnesty of illegal infiltrators: "They would have to come forward. They would have to undergo a background check." End quote. Does Senator Rubio have a single freaking clue how overwhelmed the immigration service currently is? He wants to add to that some new, thorough background checks for 20 million illegals? Who, by definition, don't have documents that can be checked — unless you count the forged ones that can be purchased for a few dollars on street corners in any big city?

That brings to mind a classic article that fleshes out this subject, Documenting Illegals, by Mark Cromer (Washington Times, February 26, 2008).  Cromer is an investigative reporter, and his article is an important resource for all of us when we resume the the fight against amnesty this year, so please do follow the link and read the whole thing.  Meanwhile, though, here is the conceptual core of Cromer's article:

[T]he prospect of actually conducting legitimate background checks on illegal immigrants is, in fact, the absolute pinnacle of the bald-faced lies that typifies the security assurances offered by the proponents of amnesty.

Journalists who have conducted investigative research into the background of individuals know that it is a time and resource intensive enterprise — one that can be incomplete if reliable data is lacking on a person. And these are background checks that are conducted into the lives of people who have legitimate, discernable footprints in our society: credit histories, educational backgrounds, property records, employment references, family history, civil litigation and, sometimes, criminal records.

The vital connective tissue that runs through a real background check is an authentic primary identification. An incorrect spelling of a name, the lack of a middle name, no date of birth or the absence of other corroborating identifiers can render any resulting profile of a person useless.

Even under the best of circumstances, it's not hard to miss something.

Thus, if researching established citizens can pose significant challenges, then putting together a factual background on people who use multiple aliases that are based on counterfeit documents obtained throughout a highly transitory life while in the United States illegally is all but impossible.

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