March 28, 2006
"I am both pro-immigration and also pro-border control. I have written about this many times before (for example, here and here). I truly and actually believe in the American ideal; but my ideological creed must be tempered by the forge of reality: we obviously cannot simply open the borders and let a firehose of immigration spray across. I try to keep at least two of my feet on the ground.Six in ten Americans say they are against allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. That's a great hypothetical - crossing your arms, doing an "I Dream Of Jeannie" blink and making all the illegals disappear and reappear south of the border. But many of those same people would recoil in horror at the sight of people being rounded up and families torn apart because of a lack of paperwork. I understand the intensity of opposition from many on the Right but if we are ever going to make any progress in the way of immigration reform, any solution must be grounded in reality.
But those who insist we can just "seal the borders" and "deport all the illegals" are making the same ethereal, other-worldly mistake. It is not physically possible to round 'em up and ship 'em out; there are twelve million illegals here right now, for heaven's sake. Any immigration reform plan must come to grips with this 800-lb gorilla.
As odd as I feel saying it, the McCain-Kennedy bill is the only one to come out of either body that tries to find a solution to that King Kong of dilemmas, what to do with the 12,000,000. I don't particularly like Sen. John McCain (R-Gadfly) and I despise Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Margaritaville). But their bill at least makes an attempt to resolve that problem.
And strangely, it's also the closest to the bill President Bush proposed. At least the J-Com bill includes a guest-worker program with a path to citizenship -- and that is another huge point in its favor, since at the moment, there is no defined path to citizenship... and that is nine-tenths of the problem: since we don't make any provision to let even the most deserving come in the front door (it's entirely random -- when it isn't being race-based), those desperate for freedom come squirming in through the window.
What do you expect? Even the most decent people will take desperate measures to feed their families and let their children grow up in freedom, not tyranny. [author's emphasis]"
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