Friday, December 27, 2002

Andy writes:
John wrote, "Andy has repeatedly warned about Ashcroft using his powers (under the USA PATRIOT Act, etc.) to harass 'law-abiding citizens.'"

It's not just me. Many grassroots conservatives are still outraged by the USA PATRIOT Act. My class of 20 high school conservatives, on their own, complained about these federal database and surveillance powers. Bush/Ashcroft have seized new domestic powers, and no one doubts that they will inevitably be used.

As to immigration itself, I surprisingly find that the issue does not resonate well with young conservatives. While my class is as conservative a group that anyone will find, they oppose substantially reducing immigration. And many people who want to eliminate immigration are not really conservative. Historically, the anti-immigration party of the 1850s, the "Know-Nothing Party," lacked a consensus on domestic issues like slavery and quickly disintegrated.

I do think the immigration issue is important, but domestic manifestations of it (like English language, education, freedom for law-abiding citizens) are worth emphasizing. They may resonate better among conservative activists than calls for Bigger Government to reduce immigration, which is what John seems to be suggesting.

This ACLU tirade lists people who supposedly had their rights violated after 9/11. For the most part, they are immigrants who suffered some trivial inconvenience. Where is the example of an outrageous violation under the USA Patriot Act? I don't see it.

Here is another anti-USAPA rant. There are some minor USAPA clauses that I disagree, but for the most part it is a law that lets the FBI browse the web and question suspicious immigrants. I don't see a big problem. And I resent these ACLU-types who don't think that an immigrant from Yemen should ever be asked some questions from the FBI.

Those teenagers are just reciting what they've been told.

John replies:
Please cite a specific example of new domestic powers that are being or will inevitably be used against law-abiding U.S. citizens.

Since the last sentence is self-contradictory, we obviously need a new course in order to educate your young conservative students about the critical importance of the immigration issue.

Immigration cuts across party lines. So what? There are other such issues - gun control, the Middle East - where people who share a point of view on one issue "lack[] a consensus" on other domestic issues.

At the grassroots, the vast majority of people (on both sides) see immigration and its "domestic manifestations" as one and the same issue. Only the small group of extraordinarily influential neocons have tried to advance the incoherent and unsustainable argument that we can reverse those "domestic manifestations" without reversing our current policy of unrestricted open immigration.

The current INS budget is only $6 billion, which is less than 1/3 of 1% of the federal budget. It could increase its budget 10-fold and be entirely self-supporting by raising the fees immigrants are charged.

Bigger government at the border is the only alternative to bigger government everywhere inside the U.S. That may be a hard lesson for some business-oriented conservatives to learn.

No comments: