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Pundit Roundtable

Hello again! Welcome back to PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE, our weekly roundup of blustering opinion. I am your host, Ken McCracken. Here are our topics for this week:

Topic 1: Where do you stand on illegal immigration? Is it primarily a security, economic, or cultural issue? Do we need a fence?

Topic 2: Give us three words (not sentences) that describe you in a good or neutral way. Give us one word that describes you in a negative way.

Now I'd like to welcome back Jay Tea of Wizbang for his thoughts on these topics. Jay Tea?

"My stance on illegal immigration is simple: it's ILLEGAL. We have some of the loosest rules in the world for coming into our country, and even that isn't enough for some people. I have no problems rounding up illegals and deporting them wholesale. John McCain talked about the logistics of deporting 12 million people, and my sole response is: if it's that much work, we better get started. As the Chinese say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

As far as why it is so important to me, I'd have to say the primary reason is economic. Illegal alien advocates often cite a net economic benefit from their presence, but the costs of that gain are far too high. Hospitals in the Southwest are suffering mightily under the burden of providing free care for illegals. Schools suffer. And many small businesses are suffering from being unable to compete with other companies that employ cheap, illegal labor.

Secondarily is the security aspect. The government not only has the right to enforce its borders, but the obligation. A nation without clearly-defined and well-regulated borders isn't a nation at all, and leaves us vulnerable to anyone and anything getting into our country, for any reason.

I don't think of the "culture" issue much at all. I find those who talk about "defending the culture" a bit silly -- but that might be influenced by my general contempt of the French, who have a whole government bureaucracy dedicated to "protecting the French culture and language." I think of culture as a pretty Darwinian process -- any culture that deserves to survive will simply outlive others. I can see fighting for certain principles and policies and beliefs, but a "culture" as a whole that needs such efforts to preserve it would most likely stagnate and probably doesn't
deserve to survive.

Topic 2: Sheesh, you're ruining my whole "self-deprecating modesty" schtick here. OK, 3 words that describe me in a good or neutral way: male, single, heterosexual. And negative: balding.

Whoops, this isn't a singles ad. Let me try again.

In relation to my Wizbang persona, I think I'd have to go for "intelligent," "literate," and "sincere." Those are the elements I try to stress whenever I'm preparing something for publication -- it must be original, it must be clearly written, and it must be honest. I don't always hit all three marks every time, but they are my ideals.

On the negative side, I'd have to say "lazy." I procrastinate a lot, I don't do as much research as I should, I don't link to others as much as should, and I don't post as much as I think I should. I think a good part of it is I didn't start from ground zero as a blogger; Kevin Aylward had already built up Wizbang quite a bit before I jumped on board, and never had to struggle as a beginning blogger. Hence I never learned all the basic lessons that most everyone else did on their way up.

There's an old saying: "he was born on third base, but thinks he hit a triple." A better way of putting it would be that I was born on first or second base, because I think that I did play a role in Wizbang's increase in popularity since Kevin took me in, but I remind myself every day that I did NOT hit a triple, and will always be grateful for him for letting me hitch on to his wagon.

Our next guest is returning pundit Giacomo of Joust The Facts. What do you think?

"There are several facets to the question of illegal immigration that need to be considered. First and foremost is the fact that these people have broken the laws of this nation in coming here. I do not believe it is in the country's best interest to accelerate citizen status for those who have "jumped the line." Amnesty, for me, is a non-starter. Then, are there circumstances that would make me consider allowing illegals to become citizens? Sure. They'd need to do a number of things my version of "A Modest Proposal:"

1. Finally, they'd need to be holding down a job. Any illegal unemployed for more than six months, even after registering, should have to return to their homeland.
2. If they are a felon already, or commit a felony before reaching citizenship, then there is no path to citizenship. Ever.
3. They'd need to wait more than the 5 years that legal immigrants are required to wait for citizenship, perhaps twice as long, to show that they really are dedicated to this nation.
4. They'd need to learn both English, the language of interaction in this nation, and American civics.
5. They need to rectify their illegal status and register both here and in their own country.

Satisfy all of those points, and they've got it made. Finally, there are carrots and sticks. One of the carrots that encourages illegal immigrants coming to America is citizenship for their offspring. That should be denied if the individual is here illegally.

Now I am all for legal immigration, as I wrote on my site:

This nation is all about the American spirit, and the American dream. Come to the nation legally, learn the benefits of the American system, and assimilate into the America that you will grow to love, as my father did, and I will hold out my arms to you in welcome. You have my word.
Do we need a fence? Not necessarily. But we need to remove some of the "carrots" that entice people to come here illegally. And we need to make it clear that if you want to be here, even legally, for your own economic reasons then this nation now comes first for you, or you are not welcome. Further, the border security issue is certainly not just about illegal immigrants, as the threat of Al Qaeda attacks on our turf still looms. Use technology to accomplish what fences would otherwise be necessary to do.

Topic 2: I'll let Mrs. Giacomo, Gwendolyn answer this question, as she knows both my good sides and my bad (and yes, I'll plead guilty to the bad.)

Her answer -
the good: Perfectionist. Persistent. Compassionate.
the bad: Perfectionist.

Our next guest is newcomer California Conservative. Folks, if you ever want to see a really luscious blog design, go have a look, its beautiful. Anyhow, what do you think CC?

"We stand firmly opposed to illegal immigration. Going further, we even recommend a moratorium for legal immigration regarding all unskilled labor.

Is it primarily a security, economic, or cultural issue? Do we need a fence?

Yes on all counts. While we do not contend that all illegals are criminals (beyond their status of being illegal), the onslaught of immigrants has impacted America negatively in ways that affect our nation's economy (see the state's burden), culturally, and security. (what borders?) We need a fence, whether physical or "virtual," leveraging the latest technologies. Tracking and stopping illegal entry along our border is possible.

Three words to describe CaliforniaConservative.org: Outspoken. Provocative. Politically-incorrect.

One word: Irreverent (sometimes)

Here's a few articles:

Is It ‘Amnesty’ or ‘Earned Citizenship’?
They Pledge Allegiance To The Flag…
Only In America: Illegal Immigrants And Their Allies
Rally To Protest Law Enforcement
Wells Fargo: Banking Illegals Since 2001

Much more in our Immigration archives

Residing in (and blogging from) California, you might say we're in the belly of the beast. It ain't easy. But we keep fightin' the good fight.

Finally we have our very own Will Franklin, blogmaster of WILLisms.com. Will?

"This picture, from the Dallas Morning News(number 4 in the slideshow), captures my feelings on illegal immigration:


A few things:

This Dallas-area middle school student, Michelle Marquez, is doing the politically astute thing in holding an American flag. If all the folks at all the rallies all around the country has been waving American flags and holding signs that say things like, "I am a proud American," and "USA: Land of Opportunity," "I'm American, Too," and "WE [HEART] AMERICA," there would hardly be a peep of discussion about shutting down the borders and/or building a wall. Americans just want to know that we're not being invaded, reconquista-style, by a foreign culture that is hostile to our history and our values and our economy and everything else that makes us such an important global migration destination. Fortunately, the vast majority of Latino immigrants are, unlike Europe's immigrants, good immigrants who buy into free enterprise, freedom of religion, free elections, and the American Dream. Unfortunately, as the Mexican flag waving that we've seen so much in recent days indicates, a) MEChA is alive and well; b) immigrant-rights folks clearly need the help of a political consultant.

One interesting tidbit about California politics is this: most people associate the state's left-wing politics with San Francisco and hippies and Hollywood. In reality, however, if you took away the unionized Latino vote of Los Angeles (just hypothetically, of course), California would be a reliably Republican state. Meanwhile, if you took away those same unionized Latino voters of Los Angeles County, California (the Cesar Chavezites), the overall national Latino vote would look far more pro-GOP and pro-Bush than it does currently.

Democrats would love to replicate that L.A. situation nationally, since it is really their own chance, over the long term, to ever again win majorities in Congress. Republicans, meanwhile, view illegal immigration less cynically. For most conservatives, illegal immigration is a cultural issue and, in the age of global terror networks, a security issue.

The Latino vote, the non-unionized Mexican-American in particular, is largely up for grabs, so both parties must have both short-term and long-term plans for appealing to Hispanic immigrants. Democrats take a more oldschool approach and wish to lock down the Latino vote the way they have locked down other demographics. Republicans, with substantially less historical success ghettoizing and enclaving certain demographics into machine politics, can really only hope to win 55-60% of the Latino vote. I wouldn't bet on Latinos, nationally, buying what the Democrats have sold to African-Americans for decades now.

As I have been predicting for several months now, immigration is going to be one of the primary issues of the 2006 elections. In other words, there's no avoiding it any longer. The most unfortunate part of this debate is the mischaracterization of President Bush's immigration plans (as "amnesty" by some on the right, as "anti-immigrant" or "racist" by some on the left). I don't like debates that are so divisive.

Topic 2: Good or neutral: Solomonic, encyclopedic, optimistic

Negative: picky

The Host's Last Word: I think there are actually many positive things about illegal immigration: the United States is probably receiving the most ambitious, intelligent and entrepreneurial citizens of Mexico, who are fleeing the corrupt and economically backwards nature of their homeland for greener pastures in the US. America has always benefited from receiving the best and brightest from abroad. It isn't their fault that they come here seeking a better life. It is our fault for having let it go for so long that now it has become a huge issue, and for having let this culture of illegal entry grow and flourish.

Who is going to stay behind and build Mexico, however?

Nor am I even opposed to a latin-ization of the U.S. The nation could turn hispanic for all I care as long as the underpinning of our democracy remain in place: free markets, the Rule of Law, and the Constitution. These are human principles, not reserved solely for white europeans, and WASPs are not the only group that can make these principles work.

Illegal immigration is a real security issue however. We simply have to know who is coming and going in and out of our country. Of course not all illegal immigrants are savory: witness the growth of vicious street gangs such as the Mara Salvatrucha. Al-Qaeda is not even our sole concern here. And we cannot have laws on the books that we simply ignore - this damages the Rule of Law and respect for the law.

A fence is necessary for much, but not all, of the border. In more densely populated areas such as near San Diego, security fences are already in place and working quite well. In very sparse places such as the desert, a 'virtual' fence may be a much better security option than a fence that can be demolished or surmounted by the 'coyotes', in that sensors would allow a beefed-up border patrol to swarm in and take care of business.

We could build a fence across the entire border if need be. If tiny Israel can build a 400-mile security fence, then surely the United States can build a 700-mile fence.

As for my description, I would say Charming! Suave! Gorgeous!

People who know me, however, would say Absent.Minded.Professor.

And sloppy. Verrry sloppy.

That's it! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and come back next week for our next PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE!

Posted by Ken McCracken · 2 April 2006 03:36 PM


Ken,...Have you happened to see Rob over at File It Under and his take on the illiegal immigration issue??? It is special...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at April 2, 2006 05:26 PM

Illegal immigration is a real security issue however.

The forgotten side of the security issue doesn't just involve not knowing who's in the country. It involves having millions of foreign citizens here with the possibility that they might be moved by their governments to do something like march in the streets or something.

Say, did you know that the Georgia rally was organized by a former Mexican general consul?

Maybe all those Mexican flags were by design and intended to send a message: we've got a political and physical force inside your country.

Posted by: TLB at April 2, 2006 09:48 PM

Well if that is the message they are trying to send, it has backfired on them in the worst possible way.

Nothing has galvanized support against illegal immigration among people who really didn't care otherwise more than the images and attitudes of these marchers trying to shove their disrespect of the United States into our faces.

I hope they keep it up - it will ensure something real will be done about illegal immigration.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at April 2, 2006 10:01 PM

1. Security. Cultural in that we need to promote and continue the idea of our country as a nation of laws.
2. Integrity. Service. Truth.
-- impatient

Posted by: Chief RZ at April 3, 2006 09:14 AM

Yay Chief!...

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