Rick Perry is catching a lot of heat for his statements on educating immigrants in Texas. Rick Santorum, and then Mitt Romney, went after him hard. There is an anti-immigrant movement among a sector of Americans.
Some are Democrats, and some are Republicans. You might see it in emails talking about English as our official language, or how many babies are born in hospitals to illegals. I have never checked out the emails to see what is true and what is not.
In the Democratically controlled Congress from 2007-2010, one of the first things they did was create an economic fence so Americans and immigrants couldn’t get out. A roach motel.
Personally, I like Gary Becker’s approach. There is a supply of immigrants, and demand for immigrants so figure out a way to charge for immigration. We need high quality engineers and scientists. Figure out a way for them to enter the country easily other than the archaic visa program we currently have.
Here is what Perry said the other night:
the law sends a message to young people that, regardless of what the sound of their last name is, that we believe in you. We are going to allow you to be a contributing members of the state of Texas and not be a drain on the system.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan, that icon of conservatives, was asked a similar question.
Here is what he had to say:
Can I add to that? I think the time has come that the United States and our neighbors, particularly our neighbor to the south, should have a better understanding and a better relationship than we’ve ever had. And I think that we haven’t been sensitive enough to our size and our power. They have a problem of 40 to 50 percent unemployment. Now this cannot continue without the possibility arising with regard to that other country that we talked about—Cuba—and what it is stirring up: the possibility of trouble below the border, and we could have a very hostile and strange neighbor on our border.
Rather than talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems? Make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit—and then while they’re working and earning here, they pay taxes here. And when they want to go back, they can go back. And open the border both ways by understanding their problems.
We cannot put up a fence and solve our problems. We can’t put more patrols and solve our problems. Illegal immigration is an economic problem, not a law and order one. We solve for the economics, and the law and order will take care of itself.