Friday, July 9, 2010

Intelligence and Immigration

I spent a lot of time last week at the AILA conference quietly pondering just how our immigration system got as broken as it has.  Between unresponsive bureaucrats, dogmatic policies which fly in the face of our national identity, and lawyers trying to bend the rules to the point of destroying useful immigration options through abuse, it became clear to me that nothing less than a total rewrite of existing immigration policy is needed. The current Frankenstein is, sadly, irreparable.

There is a great line from the song of one of my favorite artists, Donald Fagen, of Steely Dan fame.  In his solo album debut, IGY - which, interestingly, stands for "International Geophysical Year" -- the title song explores the idyllic perfection of the future he idealized as a teenager in the early 60s.  The line:

"A just machine that makes big decisions, programmed by fellows with compassion and vision"...

Ahh...that it were that simple.  One can't automate justice; it is the innate responsiveness of one human being to another that determines how juries vote, how laws are enforced, and how this extraordinary experiment we call America unfolds.  But as we know from our own Constitution, it IS possible to design laws "with compassion and vision".  We have that blessing, but what we are missing is compassion and vision in the execution and administration of our laws.  Just as adjudicators need to have more empathy, American lawyers -inbred with the ferocity to which we are programmed in our adversarial legal system - need to advocate passionately but sensibly.  Only when we as attorneys can make reasonable arguments for justice will our positions be supported by intelligent men and women.

You guys go have a great weekend now, but one last thing: my brilliant Libertarian cousin Juan sent me something today that says it all about intelligence, and I encourage you to reflect on it:



Intelligence is a very special mental capability that, among other
things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly,
comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not
merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather,
it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our
surroundings---"catching on", "making sense" of things, or
"figuring out" what to do.



If you want the whole enchilada, go here:  Measuring Human Intelligence



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