Monday, November 19, 2007

Wanted: Rational debate

Earlier this month, Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer wrote an interesting piece on the realities of U.S. immigration policy. He addressed what he considers to be the economic and social dangers of having a large group of people forced into an exiled status in the country in which they were raised.

From Oppenheimer's column on the subject:
You may have violated a rule, but that should not make you an 'illegal' person. You may have gotten a ticket for speeding, but that doesn't make you an 'illegal' human being, even if the potential harm of your reckless driving is much greater than anything done by most of the hard-working undocumented immigrants in this country.

Carrying out enforcement-only policies, labeling undocumented workers as 'illegals' and depriving them of hope for upward mobility -- rather than working toward greater economic cooperation with Latin America to reduce migration pressures -- is not only wrong, but dangerous. The millions of undocumented among us will not leave. They will only get angrier.

So, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly learned of the column. And in the interest of public discourse and rational debate, he offered a well reasoned and thoughtful assessment, laying out a lucid analysis of why Oppenheimer was wrong. (OK, I'm just kidding about that part. But you probably already guessed that.) No, no. The transcript is here. Mr. O'Reilly responded by calling Mr. Oppenheimer a "nut job" and a "crazy columnist." Certainly can't argue with the logical nuance and depth of understanding he brings to these thorny and complex legal issues.

Also, Laura Ingraham, who was on the show commenting, said it seemed like Oppenheimer was trying to incite a race war. (The woman really needs to work on her reading comprehension. He doesn't say that at all.) Here is Oppenheimer's response to the accusation. Notice how he actually responds to the issues. And no matter what your position is on the immigration issue, his points are an important reminder that this is a not something that will be solved with simplistic and pat responses.

Lauri in York

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Horace the Horrible said...

"The millions of undocumented among us will not leave. They will only get angrier."

They don't have the balls to fight for socioeconomic justice in Mexico, but they'll somehow find the will to do so here? Only a few will fight, but most will go home the way they came, one at at time. Anyway, that's what we have the National Guard and the police for, isn't it? Americans love a challenge.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Horace the Horrible said...

The rational debate is over, and logic has won, in the form of Dobbsian wisdom. This from David Brooks of the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/27/opinion/27brooks.html?n=Top/Opinion/Editorials%20and%20Op-Ed/Op-Ed/Columnists?

Follow the Fundamentals
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: November 27, 20
Op-Ed Columnist


Lou Dobbs is winning. He’s not winning personally. He’s not going to start winning presidential awards or elite respect. But his message is winning. Month by month the ideas that once prevailed on the angry fringe enter the mainstream and turn into conventional wisdom.
Once there was a majority in favor of liberal immigration policies, but apparently that’s not true anymore, at least if you judge by campaign rhetoric. Once there was a bipartisan consensus behind free trade, but that’s not true anymore, either. Even Republicans, by a two-to-one majority, believe free trade is bad for America, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous George said...

"Once there was a majority in favor of liberal immigration policies, but apparently that’s not true anymore, at least if you judge by campaign rhetoric."

Conventional wisdom says that the liberal immigration policy that Mr. Brooks refers to is actually the willful negligence to enforce already established immigration laws our very own federal government. That was laudable? As I recall, Congress was roundly rebuked by the public for attempting to establish an amnesty for illegal aliens.

5:38 AM  

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