The Tar Pit

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bush Amnesty fallacies from the Cato Institue

In "Bush Bungles Immigration Reform Speech," Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute demonstrates Lesson #1 of the pro-illegal alien method of journalism, or "thought," or tossed at the wall desperation, "Don't bury your stupid." Reynolds leads with:

President Bush has reopened a badly needed discussion about comprehensive immigration reform. Even with the few issues he talked about, however, facts are commonly brushed aside in favor of linguistic confusion.

Critics of the president's proposals would surely have been verbally disarmed if the president had emphasized the need to register illegal aliens, for purposes of security and tax collection, rather than labeling that registration process as a "temporary worker" program. Many of those critics seem to have trouble with the English language, confusing the word "temporary" with permanent. Yet in 2003 alone, "roughly 3 million people were admitted as temporary residents," according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). That included 593,000 temporary workers and an even larger number of temporary students. Yet nobody has yet claimed all those temporary guests were granted "amnesty."

Oy. The English language trouble belongs to Alan Reynolds. No one claims that that anyone admitted legally on temporary student visas or as temporary guest workers are amnestied, because amnesty has a specific definition: legalizing illegal aliens.

Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, Reynolds is deploying a spiffy new straw man fallacy? It's understandably a strong suit of amnesty apologists, being deficient in avenues of intellectually honest argumentation for legalizing illegals.

Moving on to Reynolds' arguments based on facts not in evidence :

How are critics of the Bush Amnesty disarmed by Reynolds' tax argument? He never gets around to saying. Aren't we collecting taxes from those now lawfully admitted as guest workers? If we expand our guest worker program to include millions more law-abiding guest workers (meaning: no illegals), would we somehow not collect taxes from them? If we were to simultaneously prosecute employers of illegals, as President Bush is finally getting around to promising (nearly five years into his Presidency), wouldn't a fine as large as $50,000 per offense generate a revenue stream proportionate to the number of intransigent employers who might be still be working with illegals to skirt our tax laws?

Let's have a moment of clarity about Reynolds' security argument: millions of the illegals the President wants to legalize entered the United States on his watch, during wartime. If our security is compromised by them, why didn't the President do a better job of keeping them out, and why does he want them to stay?

No one knows, Reynolds never discusses security after the "critics of the president's proposals would surely have been verbally disarmed" assertion in the third sentence of his piece. His evidence seems to begin and end with the word "surely."

The fundamental security problem with illegal aliens is not they are unregistered, it's that they are here at all. If a particular illegal alien happens not only to be an immigration and employment cheat, but also a national security risk, how is our national security enhanced by legalizing his presence here? A risk is a risk regardless of residence status. So how is our national security enhanced by rewarding cheaters?

It's too bad that Reynolds confused legalizing illegals with actual "immigration reform." The dienwe is unnecessary to the latter. Every suggestion President Bush made this week, from enhanced enforcement to a temporary worker program to increased green cards can be a chieved without legalizing a single illegal alien. In fact, if implemented properly, each of those actions could be used as inducements to get illegals to self deport to their home countries and line up for legal admission.

Buried halfway down in "Bush Bungles," Reynolds writes:

There are only four possible rationing methods -- the queue, the lottery, allocation by political or bureaucratic preference, or the price system (a fifth option, of course, is to immigrate illegally). Current policy mainly relies on a mixture of political preference categories and the queue, although the lottery is used, too."

Hey, a pay-to-play component of our immigration policy is certainly worthy of consideration, but it can be obviously be done without giving any amnesty any illegal aliens.

What gives with these people? Why are they so hell-bent on doing something so immoral and unjust as legalizing illegals as temporary guest workers at the expense of law-abiding guest worker candidates?

President Bush and "thinkers" like Alan Reynolds aren't reopening "a badly needed discussion about comprehensive immigration reform;" the discussion has been ongoing. They've just been poor listeners.