The Corner

About That Amnesty

There’s no doubt that the most persuasive argument in favor of the Bush amnesty (and, for all the feverish – and rather insulting – denials coming out of the administration, that’s what it is) is the one being made on NRO (and elsewhere) that the US will not solve a problem – the presence in this country of some ten million ‘undocumented’ aliens – by hoping that it, and they, will go away. Given that there appears to be no political will to deport these folks the only sensible approach, it is claimed, is to somehow integrate them within the American system – and that is exactly what the President’s proposal is designed to achieve. It has to be admitted that there is something to be said for this, but only in the context of a wider policy that showed that the White House was capable of constructing an immigration policy that could allow the US to regain control of its borders.

So far there’s no sign of this. On the contrary, what we have instead is cockamamie mixture of politically correct pieties, embarrassingly incoherent leaks, vague promises of tougher enforcement and, with the nonsensical suggestion that all jobs that “Americans won’t take” (by the way, there’s no such thing) should effectively be open to the world, an initiative of such stunning economic illiteracy that, by comparison, Treasury Secretary Snow’s blundering forays into the currency markets look like the efforts of a financial genius.

Jonathan points out that “in the past 24 months, there has been an unprecedented crackdown on various immigration violations, such as visa overstays, as, as well as a general slowdown in the processing of visas and citizenship applications.” True enough, there has, but these measures are the result of administrative fiat, and could easily be reversed. Remember Al Gore and all those citizenship applications that were rushed through on, basically, bureaucratic whim? In the absence of more lasting legislative change, that’s something that could easily happen again under a subsequent administration with different priorities. In sizing up where they stand in this debate, Americans would thus be unwise to take much comfort in the current more aggressive policing.

What they have to contemplate instead is an amnesty that is the centerpiece of immigration ‘reform’ designed by a president who believes, apparently, that America’s “current limits on legal immigration are too low.” As such, if there’s anyone who believes that this amnesty will really be the last such free pass, I have a bridge to sell them.