The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, February 04, 2008


“No Amnesty!” — it appears that the Right now uses it as a litmus test for those who want the GOP presidential nomination. Even a carefully constructed process that over the long-term leads to citizenship won't mollify the anti-immigration crowd. It’s “amnesty,” they cry.

On the face of it, their complaint seems reasonable. Illegal immigrants should not be rewarded for behavior that has violated the law. But like many things in life, it’s not that simple.

By conservative estimates, there are over 12 million people living illegally in the US. The vast majority came here to work and live simple, productive lives.

Do those who argue that there should be no amnesty honestly believe that (1) we can hunt them all down; (2) once they are found, they can be imprisoned until their deportation is adjudicated; (3) the courts could handle the onslaught of litigation that would result; (4) the public would tolerate the ubiquitous images of families and lives being torn apart.

The hard truth is that any attempt at wholesale removal of illegals would make Guantanamo look like a Sunday picnic. I can see it now. The MSM would find thousands of hard working people, some who have lived in the US for decades, many contributing time to their communities, most with kids who are doing well in school. Pictures of crying parents, children being put on buses or planes heading south would flood the media mill—the outcome would not serve our country well.

Stated bluntly, it would be a disaster.

There’s no question that illegal immigation is a significant problem. Our borders are porous and must be secured, but the “no amnesty” meme is absurd. As a country, we must develop security measures and work-oriented policies (e.g., Bush's worker permit approach) that would stem the tide of illegals. But we must also develop a process that would allow those who are here to stay.

Is that fair to those who have followed the rules? No—it is not. But no one ever said that life is fair.