Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Concentric Circles

Concentric Circles
Submitted By
Centro de Justicia

“Concentric circles?”
The art and the science of Public Administration in the center, surrounded by spiraling circles spinning at different rates and maybe (probably) with different directions consisting of:
First Circle: Administrative technology;
Second Circle: Social Science and technology;
Third Circle: Regime (Republican Constitution: 1) three branches of government, 2) separation of powers by federalism, 3)limited powers to government, reserved powers to the states and the people);
Fourth Circle: Democracy;
Fifth Circle: Resistance and friction, weakness and unpredictability, refractoriness and intractability, of the human beings…
Mr. Dwight Waldo introduces the concept by stating:

“Regarding public bureaucracy, I suggest viewing it as the center of concentric circles or spheres. The administrative apparatus at the center (its administrative technology, as I previously designated) is formidable, consisting of what has been learned through the centuries augmented by contemporary physical technology. But of course it has its limits. Usually we wish that its discernment were clearer, its reach were longer, its grasp more sure, its power more adequate—though ironically we also realize that an instrument of such perfection would be a potential instrument of totalitarian tyranny.”

Applying Public Administration’s role as surrounded by these concentric circles to an area of high controversy such as Immigration policy it is easy to lean towards criticism of one circle or another. It is most likely fair to spread the credit and discredit for its creation (Immigration policy) and implementation to all those circles and maybe even to some that have not been mentioned.
One must begin by analyzing the role that each circle plays in the debate. The first circle, administrative technology not withstanding leads to a discussion of the second circle, social science and technology. The study of social science and the product of its efforts implemented through social technology have played a beneficial as well as detrimental role in Immigration policy. Beneficial because it is applied out in the field where the needs are met and the theories confront realities. There are many services and organizations that deal on a day-to-day manner and try to help with immigration and the effect on social sciences.
Because the social sciences are a group of academic disciplines that study human aspects of the world. They diverge from the arts and humanities in that the social sciences tend to emphasize the use of the scientific method in the study of humanity, including quantitative and qualitative methods. This means that the social sciences have studied, analyzed and reported on immigration issues as a phenomenon that entail cause and effect in some cases disregarding the human aspects in many forms. Social sciences has been concerned with the gathering and compilation of information but has submitted its findings in crude forms so that the policy makers (third circle) have been acting without digesting the data properly.
The third circle, “regime,” as part of the structures of government is focused on the political aspects and in the self preservation of its members to a large extent. This circle is able to recognize various downfalls of the current immigration policies but suffers from a deterioration of backbone in implementing changes when the political winds sway their opinions.
The executive branch has repeatedly attacked and defended immigration as it affects the nation. Because of the raw data collected by social science experts, their decisions are made to satisfy the constituents. The same is true of the legislative branch; the 435 members of the house and 100 senators go back and forth reporting the wishes of their individual states in the federal system. Cohesion is hard to find when it comes to Immigration policy. All they keep on repeating is that the system is broken and that someone needs to fix it but when possible solutions come forth, the radical wings of the political parties sabotage their passage.
The Judicial branch, on the other hand, being as usual, a representative of the reasonable prudent person, sits on the sidelines seeking to avoid taking a stand on what it perceives to be a matter for the executive and the legislative branches to resolve. The result is that the Immigration policy is a convoluted system where arbitrary discretion reigns and civil and human rights are trampled on a daily basis.
The fourth circle, democracy, is an idea that like a beautiful glass looks enchanting when observed but may cut and shred when touched or wielded. Immigration policy has been held hostage to democracy because it is the interest groups, the radicals, and the biased that make their feelings known. The majority remains silent as in many issues, agreeing with what they are being told but not having the urge to investigate the soundness of the arguments. The result is chaos, everybody screams, threatens, and wields democracy to hurt the others. Meanwhile the immigrant community gets thrown around as if smuggled and traveling in the horrific locked tractor trailer of death. The immigrant is secretive and subjected to crime, extortion, and abuse at every turn.
The racist and bigoted groups who camouflage themselves under the guise of nationalism, anti-terrorism, law abiding enforcers, moral authoritarians give chase and spread punishment liberally because there is no unified voice to prevent it. Immigration policy is the result of the tyranny of the majority inflicted on the minority because it has forgotten that at one time or another it was a member thereof.
The fifth and final circle, resistance and friction, weakness and unpredictability, refractoriness and intractability, of the human beings…is the most important one of all in the application of public administration to immigration policy. We know that there are needs, we hear information about the beneficial impact of immigration but are persuaded by sound bites that stroke the egos. As an example, of course it is easy to join on the side of mandating English only when it is the only language that you speak. The problem is that the world is getting smaller every day and public administration must reflect the needs of the public not the sound bites of one group. Understanding of many cultures and languages is vital to the nation, its organizations and its people.
The weakness and unpredictability of the citizens and the administrators shows in every poll, some perceive immigration as detrimental but don’t know why, some say that assimilation is an issue but are scared of being thought of as racist. Some go around spreading myths and truisms based on interest group’s statistical manipulations. The uncontrollable urge to shut the door once you have crossed it, the human instinct of diminishing competition is palpable when it comes to immigration policy.
Never mind the fact that we are competing with globalization and that lack of a strong work force will disable our abilities, never mind that our social programs can’t go on without contributors, never mind that we are attacking natural allies as if they are enemies ignoring the fact that immigrants risk their lives in who knows how many ways to be a friend, to get a chance at becoming American and at achieving the American Dream we brag about. In conclusion, the concentric circles have become a spiral that swallows human beings in a web of public administration policies that spin uncontrollably in different directions.