Immigration

National ID will be a part of immigration reform

It looks like another hot button issue will be coming to the forefront of American politics this year as the Senate is planning on tackling immigration. You may recall that President George W. Bush tried to tackle this issue with the Democratic-controlled Congress in 2007. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), was meet with fierce opposition by conservatives and Republicans and ultimately defeated.

Reform that makes it easier for immigrants to come to seek the American Dream, should be welcome. Unfortunately, much of the opposition (though not all) was rooted in xenophobia, nativism and, in some cases, racism. Because of this there was no opportunity to have a substantive debate on the points of the bill, such as provisions of McCain-Kennedy dealing with REAL ID, which was a defacto national ID card approved by Congress in 2005.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Chuck Schumer may be incorporating a biometric national ID card in his proposal:

Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker.

The ID card plan is one of several steps advocates of an immigration overhaul are taking to address concerns that have defeated similar bills in the past.

Stossel speaks out on immigration

John Stossel tackled the topic of immigration on Glenn Beck’s radio show earlier this week (transcript here), speaking in favor of immigrants and immigration because of the positive impact they have on the country.

I tend to agree with Stossel. Populist sentiment and nativism has taken the place of reason. Free-markets and capitalism means allowing workers to come to our country to make better lives for themselves, and we benefit because they benefit.

You can listen to the exchange below:

Phillipe Legrain, immigration, and globalization: Seeing the bright side.

Phillipe Legrain doesn’t believe that immigration is the cause of Europe’s social and economic ills. In fact, Legrain makes the case that immigration, as experienced through globalization, might actually be a good thing. Currently working on a new book about the effects of globalization, Legrain will be examining the “risks to globalisation from the ongoing crisis (such as protectionism, nationalism and political extremism)” and try to find what needs to change in the global economy, as well as what doesn’t need to change.

Texas lawmaker calls on Asians to change their names to make them ‘easier for Americans to deal with.’

Texas State Rep. Betty Brown apparently thinks that the rest of America is as verbally impaired as her:

Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.

Brown later told [Organization of Chinese Americans representative Ramey] Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

An Obama Observation

The significance of Barack Obama being the first black man to be elected to the presidency obscures another significant element of American history: the notion that immigrants must succumb to unabashed Americanization in order to be successful. Only one hundred years ago, many Irish immigrants were axing the “O’s” from the beginning of their last name in hopes that they would better assimilate without their Irish heritage. I had a teacher in high school whose ancestors had changed their names from “O’Brannan” to “Brannan” after arriving in America. In the twenty first century, Barack Obama was successfully able to obtain the highest political office in the land without having to abandon his father’s African namesake.

That’s progress.


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