Unless you've been vacationing in a cave in Outer Mongolia, you've heard about the huge controversy spun up by Arizona's passing of laws regarding illegal immigrants (read the fact sheet on the new law here). Civil rights groups are up in arms, conservatives are pressing for immediate sainthood for the law's sponsors, and nobody is neutral on the subject.
Let me say this about that: I support what Arizona is trying to do, if not the way the state is going about it; and Arizona is doing what it's doing because Congress has utterly failed in its duty to address responsible, fair immigration reform.
I have often written here on this subject, and have even proposed my own plan for immigration reform (which you can read here). I have sent this plan to former President Bush and to all my elected reprehensives, all of whom sent me nice, bland letters thanking me for my interest and suggesting I just sit down and color.
The problem with immigration reform comes down to a fundamental issue of honesty: "immigrants rights" groups don't want to admit that illegal immigration is ... well ... illegal; and most members of Congress are too afraid of offending potential voting blocks to speak out honestly on the issue. Hispanic groups, in particular, loudly advocate "immigrant rights," but speak from a position of ethnic solidarity rather than responsible advocacy of reasonable reform.
Nobody's willing to compromise to get things done. Conservatives won't support any immigration reform effort that doesn't start with hermetically sealing the border and deporting every single person who is in the country illegally; liberals won't support any immigration reform effort that doesn't start with legitimizing the millions of persons already in the country illegally.
TA-DA!!! - Impasse.
Let's get realistic for a minute. We will never, however much we might wish it, be able to track down, arrest, and deport everyone who is here illegally. It just ain't gonna happen. Forget it. The best we can do is give those people a way to legitimize themselves so that we can turn our enforcement resources toward more effective border controls and the tracking down of the illegals who are hard-core criminals. My plan offers a reasonable way to do that. I agree with the conservatives who don't want to reward with citizenship those who have deliberately broken the law...but there are ways to bring them within the law by creating new categories of alien registration.
The problem is complex and no solution will completely satisfy every special interest group. There are economic, legal, moral, and ethical issues that are twisted into an ugly Gordian knot that's waiting for an Alexander to unravel it. Calling every immigration reform advocate a racist is irresponsible and stupid, every bit as much as supporting amnesty and citizenship for those who have broken the law.
Reasonable people must come together and address the problem rationally. My plan is a start. If you like it (and there's no reason why you shouldn't!), copy it and send it to your elected reprehensives. I don't claim to have all the answers, but at least I have a plan that offers a place to start.
We can keep shouting slogans and pandering to special interests at both ends of the spectrum, or we can solve the problem.
Unfortunately, I see a lot more shouting in the future.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.