Magazine February 23, 2009, Issue

At What Cost?

A group of illegal aliens wait on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande river, after floating across in a tire tube, in Laredo, Texas May 2, 2006. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)
Conservatives should rethink their opposition to ‘comprehensive’ immigration reform

Conservatives should stop trying to remove 12 million illegal aliens from American soil, either by rounding them up or by inducing them to “self-deport.” In the Southwest, the West, the Northeast, and Florida, attempts to remove illegals have diminished the conservative movement, transforming a governing majority into a structural minority. To continue the effort will damage the conservative cause even more among Hispanics and entrepreneurs.

To understand why, consider the three permanent interests involved in immigration.

The first interest is border security. Today, a border jumper entering the U.S. from Mexico has a two-in-three chance of remaining here. An uncontrolled border is

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