In a must-read editorial, Doug MacEachern of the Arizona Republic nails down the two questions that truly must be answered if there is to be a real solution to the problem of illegal imigration:
1. How will your plans provide a result different from the last great “answer” to illegal immigration, the amnesty of 1986?
MacEachern notes that “John McCain, President Bush and Ted Kennedy have failed, so far, to provide an answer” to this question. I agree. In Bush’s case perhaps the problem is, as the President recently acknowledged to Republican leaders, he has not done a good job of communicating his policy plans to the people. I again agree. A MacEachern excerpt:
“Since 1986, an estimated 8 million foreign-born non-citizens who by law should not be in the United States live illegally in the United States. At the very least, whatever becomes the new law – if anything ever becomes law – must credibly address what the ’86 amnesty obvious did not.”
“If immigration legislation does not help stem the human tide rushing across the ranches of Douglas in the dark of night, its sponsors really need to ask themselves why they are even bothering.”
2. How do you deal with the human-scale reality of the millions of people living in this country now?
MacEachern argues, correctly, I think, that this question is “one that Pat Buchanan, Mesa Rep. Russell Pearce and serious policy analysts like Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies have failed to answer.” More from MacEachern:
“People who play the snotty game of illegal-alien sanctimony – ‘what part of illegal don’t you understand?’ – apparently believe illegals exist in isolation in some fanciful land called “Mexican Holler.’”
It’s a great piece. Read it all.
ADDENDUM: For a collection of my posts on the illegal immigration issue, go here. If you’re a nativist you’ll hate my posts. If you’re a free immigrationist, you’ll hate them too. If, however, you are a wise, thoughtful, fair-minded person, you’ll agree with me. (Just kidding. Comment away!)