The Corner

Enforcement Lays Groundwork for Immigration Bargain

My piece on the home page today, adapted from a piece in the current issue of the magazine (yes, NR still comes out in paper, too), is entitled “Enforcement, Then Amnesty, on Immigration.” That’s right, but incomplete. As I explain, enforcement is a precondition for any changes, but the grand bargain that would follow would be to exchange an amnesty for “slowing the pace of immigration to this country” — that’s a quote from, of all people, the vice president of La Raza. The lefties (and the expansionist right) will, at some point soon, have to decide which is more important to them: improving the situation of illegal immigrants who are already here or agitating for unlimited future immigration, even if that means keeping lots of people in illegal status for the indefinite future. Most of the folks on the other side want both of these things, of course, but as it becomes clear they won’t get both, they’ll have to choose. I suspect the divide will be something like this: The humanitarian left would opt for amnesty in exchange for less immigration, while the America-haters would strengthen their alliance with the corporate rope-sellers and the libertarians to resist any reduction in numbers under any circumstances. We’re not there yet, but the enforcement prerequisites for the debate to be reshuffled like that aren’t unattainable.


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