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01 — Intro. Radio Derb is on the air! Hello, ladies and gentlemen. This is John Derbyshire, your genial host. And no, I am not speaking from the bottom of a deep well; and I apologize for that little cymbal clash there in place of your usual Haydn clip. I'm in an unfamiliar studio and I'm doing the best I can, okay?
|02 — The Bush-Kennedy immigration bill. Well, the big news this week is the
wonderful new Bush-Kennedy Immigration Bill, four hundred pages in draft but likely to weigh in at over a thousand pages by the time our nation's
wisest and best get to vote on it.
Permit me to give over this week's broadcast just to this one piece of legislation. I'll start with some immigration basics.
|03 — Numbers, numbers. Immigration is the business of
deciding who can come into the country. It is an acute issue for the U.S.A. because so very many people would like to come and live here.
The answer to the much-asked rhetorical question, "Is this a great country, or what?" is, "Yes, it's a great country." The whole world knows this. The number of people who would come and live in the U.S.A. if they could is far larger than U.S. voters — even Democratic voters — would tolerate.
The foreign country I know best is China, which has a population of 1.3 billion. Based on the people I know there I'm going to estimate that around half of that 1.3 billion, which is to say 650 million, would come and live in the U.S.A. if they could. I imagine some similar proportion of people from India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Egypt, Peru, and all the other nations of the Third World would come and live in the U.S.A. if they were given permission to do so.
Obviously — well, it seems obvious to me, if not to the editors of the Wall Street Journal — obviously this is not desirable, so we have controls. We say to some people, "Yes, you may come in," and to others we say, "No, sorry, you can't come in."
There are people — I've actually encountered some of them — who think that this is unacceptably cruel, who even think that some basic human right is being violated here.
To these people I would like to say in all appropriate humility and sincerity: Go boil your heads, you morons!
|04 — Settlers, visitors, scofflaws. Continuing with
some immigration basics.
A foreigner who enters our country lawfully does so either to settle or as a temporary visitor who is expected to leave the U.S.A. on or before some specified point in time.
To settle here you need special permission, signified by issuance to you of the famous Green Card, which is actually pink. To visit, even if just by way of passing through in transit, you need to carry the passport of some sovereign nation and you need to get a U.S. visa stamped in it.
Under current U.S. law there are 76 different kinds of U.S. visa. There are, for instance, four different kinds of student visa: the F-1, the F-2, the M-1, and the M-2.
There are six — count 'em, six — different visas for guest workers, which is to say persons brought in to do some specific job for some specific employer and who are expected to leave when the job is done.
Here are the current six guest-worker categories as described on the Customs and Immigration Service website:
You get the idea. There are numerical quotas for each category and those quotas can be reset only by act of Congress.
It follows from all this that there are three kinds of foreigners living in the U.S.A.
Settlers, visitors, and scofflaws: Those are the three types of foreigners resident in the U.S.A.
|05 — "Temporary" is for ever. I'm offering
this little primer on immigration because most
Americans, like most natives of any other country, don't think much about immigration. They leave it to specialist attorneys and officials.
Native citizens of a country rarely know anything about the procedures for foreigners to enter that country. Why should they? It's not something they have to deal with.
So, for example, I frequently meet Americans who think that it would be really cool to have a guest-worker program so people could come and work here for a few years and then go home.
These people are not aware that, as I just pointed out, we already have five different categories of guest-worker visas, along with a sixth category for a guest-worker's spouse. If you want to talk guest-worker legislation, you have to explain to me why we need a seventh category to add to the six we already have.
Those of us who have immigrated, who've been through the mill, know all about immigration. I myself, for instance, first came to the United States in 1973 on a B-2 visa. That's a tourist visa. I overstayed my visa and became an illegal immigrant. Eventually I 'fessed up, got myself an attorney, and we started trying to sort things out, which the authorities were perfectly amenable to doing.
Before that process got anywhere I went back to Britain of my own accord.
In 1985 I returned here on an H-1B visa — that is, a temporary worker in a specialty occupation. My wife then came in on an H-4 visa. That is the spouse of an H-1. Twenty-two years later, me and the Missus are still here and we are in fact citizens now.
This illustrates a very important point about temporary workers, namely: that the word "temporary" is a joke. Once you're in, you're in. Unless your immigration attorney is seriously incompetent, you will never have to leave.
Phrases like "temporary worker" or "guest worker" are thoroughly bogus. They are in fact boob bait for the bubbas. There is no such thing as a temporary worker. There never has been and there never will be. It's important to remember that.
|06 — The real experts. I mentioned all that
for the aforementioned reason: that native-born Americans usually don't know anything about immigration law because they don't need to. All the real
expertise is in the heads of immigration attorneys, who game the system like crazy.
My H-1B visa, for example, was officially good for six years, after which — according to the rules, which I had read — I would have to leave the U.S.A.
In my first conversation with my immigration attorney I asked her whether I would have to go all the way back to Britain, or whether it will be okay just to go to, say, Canada.
She: "What are you talking about, John?"
Me: "When my visa expires. You know: when my six years are up and I have to leave the country."
She: "Leave the country? Don't be silly, John. Nobody has to leave the country. Just let us take care of things."
As a matter of fact, U.S. immigration attorneys are not even the keenest students of U.S. immigration law. The people who know most about it — the people who can really tell you how to game the system — are the Third World lawyers and immigration advisors.
There are guys in rumpled tropical suits working out of tiny offices in the back streets of Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Mombasa, and Buenos Aires who know more about U.S. immigration law than any member of AILA, let alone any member of Congress.
Member of Congress? [Laughter.]
|07 — AILA does not exist! Oh, I mentioned AILA. AILA, that's A-I-L-A, is
the American Immigration Lawyers Association. You never heard of them? That's the way they like it.
AILA is a great force in the land. Their members have a collective annual income bigger than Africa's; and they probably have a cache of tactical nuclear weapons stashed away somewhere. AILA dictates to the congresscritters — most of whom are perfectly clueless about immigration — what to put in their bills.
Are you getting the picture here? Can you say "special interests"?
Suppose you're the President of Mexico, keen to get rid of a couple of million surplus peasants who might make trouble for you. Or say you're a big Agri-business employer who wants a fearful, docile workforce who will do grueling labor under a hot sun for twelve hours day at sub-minimum wages. Or say you're the head of some university Latino Studies department putting together a script for a TV documentary about the wretched plight of undocumented workers suffering cruel oppression at the hands of evil white Anglo racists. Or say you're Bill Gates looking for some cheap-as-dirt computer-programming talent. Who are you going to call? The man from AILA, that's who.
Except of course that AILA, like the Mafia, does not exist. No, Sir. There is no such thing as AILA! And even if there were such a thing as AILA, they would have no influence on national immigration policy. No, Sir. Not a bit. If they existed, which they definitely don't.
|08 — The politicians' conundrum. So now you have these laws, a whole bunch
of laws about immigration. Who's going to enforce the laws?
Well, the federal government, because under our Constitution, immigration is federal business.
Which branch of the federal government? Why, the executive branch, of course. It's up to the executive — that's the President and his cabinet officers and the law enforcement arms of their various departments — to enforce immigration law.
What if they don't want to? What if the executive is in thrall to some weird ideology that says that a foreigner has just as much right to live and work here as a citizen, that to try to stop him doing so is cruel and very likely racist, and that only knuckle-dragging nativist yahoos want immigration laws enforced?
Well then you're living in George W. Bush's America and a lot of people all around you are getting really steamed.
They're getting steamed because their schools are overwhelmed with non-English-speaking kids; because the emergency rooms of their hospitals have become health providers of first resort to millions of uninsured foreigners; because vicious South American gangs like MS-13 have taken over the streets of our towns and are funneling illegal drugs into the school yards; because their neighbor's teenage daughter was just killed by an illegal-alien drunk driver, unlicensed and with a long rap sheet, who nobody had ever bothered to report to the immigration cops for deportation.
They're steamed because wages for low-skilled citizens are held down by competition from illegal immigrants living six to a room; and most of all, they're steamed because they see their beloved nation — the nation their children and grandchildren will have to live in — being transformed in ways they don't like and never voted for.
What do you do about all those people getting steamed? If you're a politician, you have to do something or else the steamed people won't vote for you.
So what do you do? Enforce the law? Good heavens, no! That would go against all your principles, not to mention ticking off several big party contributors.
In any case, if you're trying to enforce the law, the Supreme Court would be awakened from its dogmatic slumbers and would likely discover that the laws you are trying to enforce are racist, discriminatory, cruel, and unusual, and fit only to be struck down.
So what are you going to do? It's a conundrum.
|09 — Lawyers, donors, bureaucrats, illegals win: citizens pay. Even
conundrums have solutions, though. Here's what you do.
You cook up a whole big new set of laws to supersede the old ones. You spell them out in four hundred pages of legal Esperanto, and you try to hustle it through Congress before anyone's figured out what it all means.
Then you declare proudly to all the steamed people that you have addressed all their needs and redressed all their grievances. You write these new laws in such a way that there is no possibility the ACLU or its enablers on the Supreme Court will be able to find anything unkind or racist in them.
Essentially, you make illegal immigrants a protected class. You waive their duty to pay back taxes for years they didn't declare — a favor very rarely granted to citizens. You give them rights to reduced fees at state colleges — another favor denied to most citizens.
You annul any ongoing proceedings against them by the courts for violations of immigration law. You give them free Legal Aid attorneys to argue their cases, making U.S. taxpayers — those are the ones who don't get a waiver on unpaid back taxes — foot the bills for their settlement here.
You make sure they have plenty of time — eh, eight years should be just about right — to bring in all their freeloading relatives. You give them a free Lexus each and the keys to a beach house in Malibu.
All right, I admit I made the last two things up. At any rate I haven't seen them in the new senate bill yet; though if I came across them, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
And who is going to do the stupendous amounts of paperwork these new laws generate? Why, the existing immigration bureaucracy.
Those are the good folk who issued a visa to Mohammed Atta six months after he'd flown a plane into the World Trade Center; the folks who four years ago had a list of 300,000 immigration law absconders — that is, people ordered to be deported but who didn't show up for the deportation — and who now have a list of twice as many immigration absconders; the folk who last year admitted to having just plain lost 111,000 citizenship applications, but who went ahead and granted all the citizenships anyway; etc. etc. etc. Those folk.
They will be taking care of this stupendous new paperwork burden. Did I set your mind at ease? I hope so.
|10 — Song of the Illegal Immigrants. And so it goes. The way I feel about
this immigration fandango is: If I don't laugh, I'll cry.
I prefer to laugh. So I'm going to try and make you laugh, too, by singing the illegal immigrant song from my 2004 Christmas sing-along on NRO. If you want to sing along with me — which I actually recommend because then you won't have to listen to my lousy voice — go to my website olimu.com, click on "Web Journalism" and then on "2004" and the sing-along is the second item on the list.
The tune we shall use is "She'll be coming round the mountain." Are you ready? Here we go.
We'll be pouring through the border when we come.
|11 — Signoff. Well, that's enough of that. Tune in again next week, ladies
and gents, for more misery, mayhem and melancholy from Radio Derb.
Now, as I've already explained, I don't have my Haydn clips, so I'm going to have to do my best to entertain you on the way out here.
How about a little soft-shoe shuffle? Okay, here we go.