Thursday, June 13, 2013

About that Amnesty Bill

I keep getting urgent email alerts warning that the Amnesty Bill is advancing through Congress. I hate them because there is no such bill. True, there is a bill which would overhaul how illegal immigrants are handled but this is no amnesty bill.

Let's talk a little bit about reality. There are something like 11 million people who came to this country illegally. The biggest group came from Mexico but a large number came from China. They came here because our labor market was able to absorb them and portions of our economy need them. There is no way to send them all back, even if our economy could absorb the impact. Attempting it would require turning our country into a total police state where your citizenship was constantly being verified and your home was subject to search in case you were sheltering illegals.

They aren't going away so what do we do with them? Current policy amounts to amnesty. We look the other way and let them stay. Some cities have even adopted a sanctuary policy where the police are barred from turning illegals over to immigration authorities.

They are here and they aren't going to leave so we need to find some way to legally accommodate them. This is a good time to do it. The collapse of housing construction in the US and a rebounding Mexican economy has slowed the illegal immigration rate to a trickle. This would be a great time to close the border.

The objections to immigration reform don't stand up to scrutiny. One objection is that they are being rewarded for breaking the law. Actually the path to citizenship includes fines and a long residency requirement. Also, keep in mind that federal laws are so complex that nearly everyone breaks them regularly.

There is a fear on the right that this will assure a permanent Democrat majority. The thinking is that the Democrats will ram immigration reform through then claim credit for it for decades to come. This is a real possibility which is why Republicans need to be leaders in the fight to pass reform. Being seen as the anti-Hispanic party will hurt the Republicans for decades but stealing this as an issue from the Democrats will help Republicans make inroads with Hispanic voters.

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