Immigration, redux

One note I forgot to mention about the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate. A couple of days ago, NPR talked to Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Representative, and, IIRC, head of the House Judiciary Committee. While I think he's mostly a bit crazy (more or less required of current Republican office-holders), I did like one thing he brought up that's been almost completely ignored in discussions about immigration control.

And that is that a large percentage (I believe he said 35-40%, although I've definitely heard much higher estimates) of undocumented immigrants are not people who came over the border illegally, they're people who did minor things like overstaying their visa. So this whole big push to spend tens of billions of dollars and equip a fair-sized army on the Mexican border (the Senate bill would increase that force to 40k people. Compare that to the 135k soldiers who were in Afghanistan at the peak of that conflict) doesn't even address a large percentage of the problem.

In fact, given that Mexican immigration has dropped by an immense amount in the last couple years (for economic reasons. To whit, Mexicans can make similar amounts of money working there as they can here), I'd be shocked if the percentage of immigrants coming in on legitimate visas hasn't been on a steady increase over the last four to five years.

Oh yeah, and I just looked at the Republic supporters on immigration:
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee;
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire;
Jeff Chiesa of New Jersey;
Susan Collins of Maine;
Bob Corker of Tennessee;
Jeff Flake of Arizona;
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina;
Orrin Hatch of Utah;
Dean Heller of Nevada;
John Hoeven of North Dakota
Mark Kirk of Illinois;
John McCain of Arizona;
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska;
Marco Rubio of Florida.

McCain isn't a big surprise, he's supported reform before. Rubio's no surprise, as he was trying to solidify his support in Florida, and was one of the sponsors of the bill. Chiesa's a little bit of a surprise to me; I suspect this might bite Christie in the butt at some point in the future (as he elevated Chiesa to the position) nationally (though I'm sure it'll play well at home). I'm a little surprised about Collins; while she's broken with her party in the past, I don't remember her doing so since Bush was elected.

The others, I don't really know much about, as far as what they've been saying on immigration, although just on gut instinct, Hatch surprises me.

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