The failed cloture vote dooming the deeply-flawed Immigration Bill was not necessarily, practically-speaking, a bad thing.
The bill represented an incoherent compromise between the political forces seeking to close the gap between reality and our currently unenforceable immigration laws, and the forces seeking to raise barriers and “secure the border.” I don’t think that bill effectively embodied any compelling logical solution, and it would have made partisans of neither side on the issue happy.
I think the country needs to think about all this some more, conduct a serious debate on the subject, and then craft a better solution. The Immigration Bill was an unholy mess, and I think we’re better off giving that one a miss, and trying again another year.
But the Senate vote obviously did manifest some discernible response to the groundswell of anti-immigration popular emotion successfully drummed up by certain segments of the political right. Our nativist law-and-order simpletons won one, and they ought to have been feeling good, but unhappily some members of the right blogosphere’s reaction to their own success at the far-from-difficult feat of evoking a little political cowardice on Capitol Hill was less than attractive.
Rather than celebrating winning a small skirmish in what will undoubtedly be a long war (one in which they are ultimately going to get their butts kicked), a number of bloggers on the right were name calling and demonstrating their own lack of familiarity with how the Wall Street Journal really works. link
Many of our fellow conservative friends are just wrong on this one.
It isn’t difficult to enforce laws against real crimes, against things like murder and robbery which everyone knows are wrong. The laws which are hard to enforce are the laws against things which are not intrinsically wrong, the kinds of laws which ordinary decent people are willing to violate, and which decent law enforcement officers are not eager to enforce. When existing laws prove unenforceable, the right answer is not to redouble efforts at enforcement. The right answer is to change the law to bring the law’s content into better conformity with Americans’ legitimate desires.
Conservatives ought to recognize that when spontaneous, voluntary, mutually beneficial economic transactions between human beings occur, that is a good thing, not a bad thing, and government should get out of the way, and not try to interfere on the basis of anybody’s theory of what the country ought to look like.
Coalitions are almost always necessary to bring legislation through the self-serving weanies that occupy the Congress. In this case those who were (rightly) afraid of what would likely result from such a convoluted and executionally unrealistic bill joined with those who want to stop immigration altogether and those who just don’t believe in rewarding lawbreakers in any way. On the other side was a coalition of those who saw legions of new government dependents (aka Democrat voters), one-worlders, and terminal do-gooders.
I worry that the latter coalition will become stronger in the near future and push through an even less sensible construct. Possibly this will have turned out to be an opportunity missed in retrospect.
What Congress and much of the public refuse to believe is that market forces will ultimately prevail. Somehow, some way. You cannot effectively thwart the compelling need for more workers in this country no matter how many words you put into a piece of legislation. We must facilitate a relatively free flow of workers to continue the rapid growth to which we have become accustomed. It does not follow that citizenship must be conveyed to every new worker without qualification. We have the right, for instance, to imagine what a bi-lingual, balkanized country would look like and reject that vision.
“Our nativist law-and-order simpletons won one”
Wow..Do you sound like a liberal…name calling rather than arguing the position. The fact of the matter is that this bill was de-facto amnesty. All we need to do is enforce the laws already on the books and the jobs (and incentive to stay here) dry up. Does that mean our lettuce will cost more? Sure…but if you think that educating, medicating, and policing 12-20 million illegals doesn’t have a cost..you are smoking some Mexican Gold.
We reformed welfare back in the 1990s. Illegal aliens overwhelmingly come here to work, not to go on relief. And when they work, they pay taxes like everybody else, paying for the same services everybody else pays for and gets.
“Enforcing the law” is not a practicable solution. We don’t want to make this country into more of a police state than it already is. We haven’t got the stomach to kick in doors, hand cuff women and children, and to forcibly deport 12 million people for doing our most difficult and unpleasant jobs for us at the lowest wages of anybody in the country.
It will never happen.
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