Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Illegal Immigration is a Term Limits Issue

While the American public makes it clear that it is not in favor of illegal activity (including immigration), politicians in Washington do not seem concerned to make serious changes to current policy, or enforce existing law. Yes, there is a bill that may or not make it out of the Senate alive, but many of the problems will stay the same. There will be no incentive for those coming here to work in defense of America’s culture and language, it is unclear as to weather taxes and Social Security will become deducted from their pay, and the question of outright amnesty is still a possibility in the future. None of the proposed changes, though, send the clear signal that America is a sovereign nation that can make decisions in its own interests. I gather this is not said for fear of upsetting those who work here illegally, and the voters sympathetic to their cause.

What causes this fear? Why would a politician, who is supposed to represent American citizens, be afraid to speak on an issue ideologically, and why is it so hard to defend the right of America to name and claim what it is to be American? Like a host of other issues, politicians in Washington have become indebted to “special interests,” voting blocs and “swing voters.” It seems even at the congressional level, there is enough of a swing vote in the Hispanic communities to cause many incumbent Republicans to ignore what their constituents want. They naively believe they can count on the faithful conservative vote, and hope for enough of the swing vote to win reelection. In other words, reelection drives politicians, not values, ideology or even morals unless they play a part in election campaigns.

So, it seems to me that term limits is worth lobbying for, since lobbies seem to be so powerful. We have long lost the ideal situation where moral men and women saw public service as a distraction from their life’s work and a sacrifice they made for their country, a sacrifice of only a term or two. Now, “public service” is a grossly misleading term, as bureaucratic comforts and the acquisition of power are not sacrifices, but benefits of being a government lackey. If conservatives value small government, the best way to ensure it is through term limits; those who know they will not be in power for long lose incentive to build a substantial power base, and the will of the people can be more powerfully represented without fear of reprisal.

I understand the opposition to term limits. There are sound arguments that it limits voter freedom; if we live in a free country, we should be able to vote for whomever we like, whether they’ve never held political office or have been in the Senate for 6 decades. Term limits may also remove an effective politician before they can get any work done. But term limits does not curtail freedom in any broad sense. They don’t limit the right to vote, just the right to vote someone into an office that has more times than not been compromised by special interests. And which politician got “more done” (rarely a good thing) in their second term, having greased the wheels during their first? The second term of President Bush seems to have accomplished little, with the exception of the continuation of the war in Iraq.

And why is it that term limits are good for governors, presidents, mayors, city council members, and school board members, but not the politicians who make the highest laws in the land? Of course, I understand that no politician in Washington has any reason to decide term limits are a good thing as it is something along the lines of career suicide. But when we speak on illegal immigration and why it is so hard to enforce these laws, the answers are almost always political. Politicians are afraid to do anything that might challenge their ability to be reelected. It’s not that there aren’t good reasons to enforce or strengthen the laws or that constituents aren’t demanding change. It’s simply that members of Congress, because they have no limits to their time in power, have few reasons to make an ideological stance in immigration at the expense of a few precious votes.

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