Tag Archives: american citizens

Immigration reform – DOA

Do you remember all the hoopla over the immigration bill getting to the Senate? This happened less than a month ago. The mainstream media went crazy. There was a lot of discussion about how many Republicans voted for the final bill. Would the final bill have only one or two Republicans to support it or would they have more like 10-15 Republicans? The number of Republicans who supported the bill somehow would have a huge influence on the House. As I recall, I really didn’t make much mention of this bill for a reason. I thought it was going to die in the House. As it turns out, I was right. Immigration reform is dead.

The House Republicans simply have little or no interest in immigration reform. Their position on immigration has been crystal clear. Send all illegal immigrants home. That’s it. There’s no further discussion. Sure, they probably want to build an electrified fence along our southern border. They’ll even go for electronic surveillance systems along our southern border. They may even go for increasing the number of border security personnel along our southern border, but as far as figuring out a path to citizenship is concerned, that is simply a nonstarter. You can poke. You can prod. You can jump up and down. You can present charts and graphs about the benefits of making millions of these economic refugees into real, honest-to-goodness American citizens, but they don’t care.

From my standpoint, the benefits of immigration reform are clear. First of all, I don’t believe that in the United States we should have two or three different classes of citizens. If you are here, you need to be here legally. Making immigrants pay a reasonable fine for breaking the law and then giving them a reasonable path to citizenship simply makes sense. It is fair. I also believe that we should work to close the border. When I say the border, I’m not just talking about our southern border. I’m talking about all of our borders. We have hundreds of thousands of miles that are simply unguarded. If you want to walk across the border with Canada, it is very easy in multiple places. If you want to come to the United States via boat, that is also easy in a number of places. Close the borders.

Let’s be clear. None of this is going to happen. There are powerful forces on both sides of this issue which create the stalemate. From a political standpoint, Republicans have to make a decision. They can either have pain now or they can have pain later. There is going to be some pain. If they pass some sort of immigration reform now, a large number of those immigrants will become Democrats. This will cause short-term pain at the polls. If they continue to resist immigration reform, as I suspect they will, they will have a lot of pain later as immigration reform will get passed at some point as this population of “new Americans” go to the polls and will invariably vote Democratic. Currently, this crop of Republicans have decided that they’re going to postpone the pain for as long as they can. I wish them luck with that strategy.

Tonight's Grab Bag

I have just a few items that like to talk about:

  • 53 hours. It was 53 hours from a homeless veteran’s report to authorities that a suspicious car was on fire to authorities pulling Faisal Shahzad off a plane, headed to Dubai, at John F. Kennedy Airport. Over the past several years, we’ve heard lots of criticism of the “law enforcement” approach to terrorism. This approach appeared to have worked very well. There are some Americans who say they love the Constitution. At times of crisis, however, these same Americans sometimes seem to be the first ones who want to throw the Constitution in the trash. After word of Faisal Shahzad capture was leaked to the press, John McCain was stating that reading this naturalized American citizen his Miranda rights would be a mistake. A mistake? Does the United States Constitution not apply to all American citizens? If so, then there was no mistake. There have been times over the last 200 years when we have seen our Constitution selectively applied. Only certain citizens have, at times, been billed “American enough” for all of our laws to apply to them. It is clearly time that the Constitution applies to everyone who is an American citizen. If you’d like to discuss whether he should have been made a naturalized citizen, that’s another discussion. The What the Heck Were They Thinking? Award goes to a few Senators who want to strip Shahzad’s citizenship before he has been tired and convicted. After trial, the Senate can do what they want, but now, before trial, they should be quiet and let the wheels of justice turn. Congratulations to New York and the Obama administration for quickly capturing this terrorist. This near miss should show us once again how vulnerable we can be. As a free society, we are going to be vulnerable to those who want to do us harm.
  • The immigration law signed by the Arizona governor several weeks ago is an excellent example of the overreach of government. Where are the tea baggers now? The law basically states that members of law enforcement should and must stop anyone they suspect of being in this country illegally. There’s been lots of finger-pointing from both sides about immigration. Both sides declare that the other side is weak on immigration. What would happen if Arizona went about this a different way? What would happen if they passed a law which reinforced current federal law? What if the law stated that any business that hires illegal workers (economic refugees) will be subject to a fine up to $100,000 per economic refugee and the cost of deportation of that economic refugee? What would the reaction have been? Well, there would be outrage from the business community. The Chamber of Commerce would’ve gone nuts and declared that the Arizona government was declaring war on business. Economic refugees come to United States for a reason. They don’t come here to stand on corners. They don’t come here to bus tables. They come here to make more money than they could make at home. If we were to strengthen our borders and enforce the laws we have, our immigration problem would go away.
  • Finally, we need to fix Wall Street. Now, do not let your eyes glaze over. Focus. The guys on Wall Street want us to leave Wall Street alone. Like a patronizing teacher, they are patting us on our collective head and asking us to sit in the corner and be quiet. They want our eyes to glaze over at the sound of Credit Default Swaps. Three things got us into this mess. 1) Unregulated nonbank lenders 2) Low or no interest rates 3) Rating agencies stamping AAA on stuff that smelled like junk. So, to fix this we need a bill that is going to fix the rating agencies. We need to regulate mortgage lenders. Finally, we need to fix the too-big-to-fail-guys. Regulation is not going to fix everything. A few banks (six, to be precise – Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) own assests totalling over 60% of our GDP. I’m sorry. That’s too much money in the hands of six banks. These banks are currently free to do whatever they please because they know they are too big to fail. No matter how much these guys screwed up we would have to bail them out in order to prevent our economy from completely imploding. These guys need to be cut down to a size so that we, the American taxpayers, can live with them. This is a must. So, when you are listening to the news in the coming weeks, listen to see if Congress is going to break up the big banks, regulate the mortgage industry and fix the rating agencies. It’s the least Congress should do.

Who are these 46 million who are not insured?

health insurance
Liberals have been accused of misrepresenting the data on those who are uninsured. So, I thought I’d take a couple of seconds and set the record straight. The U.S. Census has released a report on income, poverty and health insurance status a couple of months ago. The data is from 2008.

There are 46.3 million people in the United States who do not have health insurance. This has increased from 45.7 million people in 2007. 34 million of these people are American citizens. 9.5 million are not American citizens. This leaves approximately 2.7 million Americans who don’t have health insurance who have become naturalized citizens. So, it is not correct to call them all illegal aliens. (I hate that term. I’ve been pushing “economic refugees” because that accurately describes why they are here.) On the other hand, it is not correct to call them all American citizens. I think this is important. The vast majority of the 46 million Americans without health insurance are American citizens!

Now, to jump into the mess, what shall we do with 9.5 million economic refugees were not citizens? Some have suggested we do nothing. Others have said if there’s an emergency, send them to the emergency room; otherwise, do nothing. Here’s my thought. As a surgeon, if I’m at a football game watching my Dallas Cowboys and the guy next to me is coughing up some infectious disease — tuberculosis, influenza, etc… — his health is affecting me. If I’m in New York on a subway or in an elevator, his health affects me and those around me. Also, if these economic refugees get brought into the healthcare system, it will cost me and you less in the long run. Complications of disease always cost more. Preventing those complications should be our goal.

I know that this is a contentious issue. I also know that we need to fix this problem that has been created by corporate greed. If corporations weren’t hiring economic refugees, they wouldn’t be here.