The Corner

Re: “Immigration Is Incompatible With a Modern Society”

Has it been four years? My, how time flies.

In any case, the legal vs. illegal issue is an important one. There are indeed people who subscribe to the “legal, good / illegal, bad” theory of immigration, though I’ve never pretended to be one of them; most of the problematic effects of large-scale immigration are the same regardless of legal status, which is one reason why simply legalizing all the illegal aliens wouldn’t solve much of anything. But regardless of any possible differences of opinion, until we have consistent enforcement of the immigration law, we’re all under the same tent — it doesn’t much matter what the specifics of policy are if the rules are systematically and intentionally unenforced. Once we have a tightly run enforcement regime with strong political backing, then I may part ways with the legal-good-illegal-bad crowd — but, as Ted Kennedy says, we’ll drive off that bridge when we come to it.

As for “hiding behind the word ‘illegal’”, well, I’ve been doing an awfully poor job of that. A few examples: I wrote a piece for the New York Post on the links between legal and illegal immigration back in 1997, which later appeared in abbreviated form in NR. Or here is an NRO piece from this summer. Or how about my response to Yuval Levin’s recent thoughtful article on immigration; you must have seen it — it was in Commentary.

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