Fred Thompson, quoted here (link via David):
We woke up one day after years of neglect and apparently discovered that we have somewhere between 12 million and 20 million illegal aliens in this country. So it became an impossible situation to deal with…
Actually, plenty of us “woke up” to the problems arising from mass illegal immigration a decade ago or more. Here was I, bloviating in an October 2000 column on NRO. Thoughtful critiques of U.S. immigration policy, remarking on many of the things to which the Fred Thompsons of the world “woke up one day” (the day in question seems to have been around last Tuesday) go back way further than that. Alien Nation came out in 1995, and the author, Peter Brimelow, quotes similar critical commentary from ten years earlier. This is not a new issue, unless you live a life as insulated from reality as that of a U.S. Senator or other high-elite panjandrum.
It is of course the fate of prophets to be without honor in their own countries. When the Germans and Japanese got marching in WW2, those European leftists whose police files went back to the 1920s took to referring to themselves bitterly as “premature anti-fascists.” I think we might at least give a nod of recognition to the “premature immigration restrictionists.”
One of the structural problems of democracies (though having written that, I doubt non-democracies are any better) is that a lot of problems, especially problems that are connected to sensitive or taboo topics, are allowed to grow quietly until they become unmanageably large, the scattered few people drawing attention to them being denounced for political incorrectness. Then the dimwit pols all “wake up one day,” panic, and do something sensationally dumb.
When I hear some politician or commentator say that we can’t possibly deport 12 million illegals, I think quietly to myself: ”Where were you when the number was a manageable one or two million?”