Saturday, July 16, 2011

Congressional Buffoonery

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D, TX) continues the tradition of congressional buffoonery, a tradition to which she has herself generously contributed over the years, claiming on the House floor that opposition to President Obama's position on the debt ceiling issue is racist:
Only this president has been treated disrespectfully, according to Ms Lee. Apparently she has forgotten how the Democrats and the media treated Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Ms Lee's is another example of the following syllogism which circulates among Mr. Obama's supporters:

Mr. Obama is black
Mr. Obama is opposed by Republicans
Therefore, Republicans oppose Mr. Obama because he is black
I'm loath to pose the question for fear that it would be deemed either racist or sexist, or both, in Ms Lee's "community", but how did someone of her particular intellectual skill set ever make it to the House of Representatives?

Actually the question isn't racist because I wonder the same thing about Nancy Pelosi (D, CA):
Does she even know the story of Job? Is she not embarrassed to claim that Mr. Obama's situation with an antagonistic congress is far worse than that of a man who lost everything he owned, including his family?

Nor is it sexist to question Ms Lee's intellectual gifts because I wonder the same thing about Congressman Hank Johnson(D,GA) who's concerned that too many Marines on Guam may cause it to capsize:
These are the people who are, as you read this, deciding the fate of our nation. Sleep tight.

Push/Pull Immigration

Damien Cave has a very interesting article in the New York Times which states that illegal immigration from Mexico has slowed to a trickle and for some surprising reasons. He explains that immigration has always been a "push/pull" phenomenon - conditions in Mexico push people out while conditions in the U.S. pull them in. Neither of those forces is as strong today as they were just five years ago.

Here's Cave:
The extraordinary Mexican migration that delivered millions of illegal immigrants to the United States over the past 30 years has sputtered to a trickle, and research points to a surprising cause: unheralded changes in Mexico that have made staying home more attractive.

A growing body of evidence suggests that a mix of developments — expanding economic and educational opportunities, rising border crime and shrinking families — are suppressing illegal traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States.

American census figures analyzed by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center also show that the illegal Mexican population in the United States has shrunk and that fewer than 100,000 illegal border-crossers and visa-violators from Mexico settled in the United States in 2010, down from about 525,000 annually from 2000 to 2004. Although some advocates for more limited immigration argue that the Pew studies offer estimates that do not include short-term migrants, most experts agree that far fewer illegal immigrants have been arriving in recent years.

The question is why. Experts and American politicians from both parties have generally looked inward, arguing about the success or failure of the buildup of border enforcement and tougher laws limiting illegal immigrants’ rights — like those recently passed in Alabama and Arizona. Deportations have reached record highs as total border apprehensions and apprehensions of Mexicans have fallen by more than 70 percent since 2000.

But Mexican immigration has always been defined by both the push (from Mexico) and the pull (of the United States). The decision to leave home involves a comparison, a wrenching cost-benefit analysis, and just as a Mexican baby boom and economic crises kicked off the emigration waves in the 1980s and ’90s, research now shows that the easing of demographic and economic pressures is helping keep departures in check.
This could all change very quickly, of course, if conditions both there and here were reversed. Cave calls one hundred thousand illegals a year "a trickle" but it's still a substantial figure.

That's why the need to secure the border and to address the problem of what to do with illegal immigrants who are already here remains pressing.