The Corner


In theory we could deport quite a large fraction of the illegal population, I suppose. But I don’t think we have the will. And by “we,” I mean the public, in addition to the political, journalistic, and legal class. The polls notwithstanding, people are not going to support kicking out people whom they know and who have been here for years, or who have sympathetic stories. I wouldn’t support it myself. And it would be disruptive. The notion that our alternatives are mass deportation and a temporary-worker program along the lines Bush has proposed has generated much of what support Bush’s proposal has. It is support the proposal does not deserve: The overlooked possibility is that by stepping up enforcement, including some deportations for recent arrivals, we can reduce the illegal population through attrition.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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