The Corner

Re: Perry and the Illegals

Kevin: second the motion. I cannot understand why the subject of educating the children of illegals in Texas under the conditions you cite and the larger notion of border security are being conflated. They’re two entirely different issues, only tangentially related.

Pace Mark, I don’t think Perry’s pragmatic position has anything to do with Bushian “compassionate conservatism,” which was just more big-government meddling in things that weren’t broke in the first place. Real conservatives rightly hated it — hated it in both the father and the son incarnations — because they saw it for what it was: A push for government to do the things private enterprise and charity should do. And while folks on the right may not want to hear it, without Poppy and W., there would have been no Clinton and Obama. I mean, once you’ve established the principle (the Bushes), why not go whole hog (Obama)?

Confusing the two issues is not the way forward. I don’t care how Luntz’s focus group reacted, there is nothing exceptionable in Perry’s statement that “if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.”

Unlike Kevin, I’ve never been an illegal immigrant, but maybe it’s because I grew up on the U.S.-Mexican border in San Diego, or because I was a minority (white/haole) high-school student in Honolulu, or because I was a legal resident for years in Germany, where my American children (one of whom was born in Germany) got a splendid education in the German public-school system, that I think Perry has the principle exactly right on this issue.

Control the border? E-Verify? Beef up the Border Patrol? Build a fence? Empower ICE? Crack down on employers? Different subject.

Time to see things as they are, instead of how some wish they’re weren’t. 

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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