Monday, June 18, 2007

Open to Amnesty

National Review's David Frum, like many conservatives, is open to discussing amnesty for illegals. Here's how he puts it:

I for one am absolutely open to considering an amnesty plan at any date after the FIFTH anniversary of the completion of border control measures, including an effective employment verification system.

I am open to an amnesty plan after the flow of new illegals has been halted and we have seen significant attrition from the existing illegal population.

I am open to amnesty after - and only after! - federal judges start assisting local law enforcement agencies that wish to enforce the law rather than forbidding them to do so.

I am open to amnesty after a US president demonstrates a willingness to respond with some modicum of respect to the immigration concerns of the American public - and is not looking for any transparent gimmick that will get him from here to the bill signing.

Hey, here's a thought: Why doesn't President Bush condemn the decision by federal judge Colleen McMahon to require the town of Mamoreneck, NY, to pay $550,000 to illegal aliens and create a center from which they may violate the immigration laws of the United States conveniently, publicly, and with impunity? If ever one legal case destroyed what little "confidence" remained in the seriousness of the US government on immigration, this was that case. And the president has said ... what exactly?

If we have learned anything from the hard experiences of the recent past it is that amnesty must be the last step in any intelligent program of immigration enforcement. When it is the first step, it rapidly becomes the only step - or rather, the first step to the next amnesty and the next after that.

We have learned, too, that the political leadership in Washington wants a radically different outcome to this immigration debate from that desired by the large majority of the American people.

Confidence? Well in the words of an expert on the subject (President Bush):

"Fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."

Amnesty for illegals is not something most people reject out of hand, but they do reject an amnesty that doesn't secure our borders and which puts illegals on a path to citizenship. There's no reason why the American taxpayer should be saddled with the enormous expense that illegal immigrants will impose on our nation if they are entitled to the benefits of citizens. Indeed, it has been estimated by some to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Politicians are learning that the times have changed. No longer can they do whatever they please without the American people knowing about it. With talk radio and the blogosphere they're under a magnifying glass and they don't like it. Too bad.


Zero-Tolerance Dopiness

We need to follow rules, certainly, and we need the stability that rules bring to a society, but some people seem to believe that mindlessly adhering to rules is some sort of virtue. For a certain kind of person rules serve as a substitute for common sense and thoughtfulness.

No where is this more evident, unfortunately, than among public school administrators. Consider for example the actions taken by these educators:

Fifth-graders in California who adorned their mortarboards with tiny toy plastic soldiers this week to support troops in Iraq were forced to cut off their miniature weapons. A Utah boy was suspended for giving his cousin a cold pill prescribed to both students. In Rhode Island, a kindergartner was suspended for bringing a plastic knife to school so he could cut cookies.

It's all part of "zero tolerance" rules, which typically mandate severe punishments for weapons and drug offenses regardless of the circumstances.

Lawmakers in several states say the strict policies in schools have resulted in many punishments that lack common sense, and are seeking to loosen the restrictions.

"A machete is not the same as a butter knife. A water gun is not the same as a gun loaded with bullets," said Rhode Island state Sen. Daniel Issa, a former school board member who worries that no-tolerance rules are applied blindly and too rigidly.

Some have long been aware of the problems of zero tolerance. For the last decade, Mississippi has allowed local school districts to reduce previously mandatory one-year expulsions for violence, weapons and drug offenses.

More recently, Texas lawmakers have also moved to tone down their state's zero-tolerance rules. Utah altered its zero-tolerance policy on drugs so asthmatic students can carry inhalers. The American Bar Association has recommended ending zero-tolerance policies, while the American Psychological Association wants the most draconian codes changed.

It is astonishing that these school districts have had to reword their rules so that asthmatics can carry inhalers and water guns. Why can't administrators figure out for themselves that these are not the sort of items that the rules were intended to prohibit? How much intelligence does it take to realize that an asthmatic kid is not the same as a drug dealer or user?

How can these people possibly think that suspending elementary school students for the infractions given above is a rational interpretation of a zero-tolerance policy? Perhaps there's more to these stories than what we're being told, but we hear so many of them that we have to wonder.

In any event, if there's not more to them then it's very hard to think very highly of the intellectual powers of these administrators. Indeed, its a good thing for them that school districts don't have a zero-tolerance policy for dopiness or a lot of educators would be out of a job.


Arrogant Indifference

As everyone knows by now Michael Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke "rape" case, has been found guilty of gross professional misconduct and disbarred.

Incredibly, the guy was so arrogant and so indifferent to the harm he was inflicting on the young men he charged, that he broke 27 of 32 rules of professional conduct in order to try to get his conviction. How he thought he would get away with it is beyond me.

Go here to see a list of his derelictions. It really is amazing.

Disbarment may be the least of his worries right now. No doubt the parents will press suit against him and take him for everything they can get. When next we see Mr. Nifong he'll be wearing a barrel and holding a cup on the street corner.

It's too bad there's not some way to disbar the Duke president, Richard Brodhead - who's now making himself sound like a victim - and the faculty members who went out of their way to pronounce these students guilty when there was no evidence against them except the completely unsubstantiated claim of an unstable black woman that she had been raped. In the intellectually arid precincts of left-wing faculty lounges any allegation of a minority against rich white kids is evidence enough, I suppose, but that seems likely to change after this sleazy episode. If so, then something good will have come from Nifong's abuse of prosecutorial power.

UPDATE: Duke University has settled with the families of the victims. The report doesn't name the amounts, but one wishes that they'll garnish the salaries of the faculty who were ready to hang these kids from the nearest tree to pay for it.