Essay / Misc.

Illegal Immigration Nation

I have been avoiding thinking too heavily on the immigration issue. Mostly due to the fact that I am in the middle of that final grind that comes before the end of the university term. In the last few days I have spent some time reading and listening to people discuss the immigration issue. What amazes me most about the discussions is how vitriolic, polarizing , and incoherent it has become. What concerns me most is that I have not heard, from the powers in Washington, anything that is close to a long term holistic solution.

It is interesting that a nation as successful and powerful as ours is unable to properly secure its boarders. How do we act justly as a nation of laws when we do not enforce the laws that already exist? I have found it hard not just to resign myself to the flaunting of the immigration laws which allows for over 500,000 immigrants to stream into our country on a yearly basis. The problem is that laws are not suggestions or things of convenience, but when our own government does not enforce our borders I am not sure what good new laws on the books are going to do.

I agree with Richard John Neuhaus over at First Things who writes:

The Monday evening speech by President Bush was commendable in many ways. It is appropriate that he urges calm deliberation, the setting aside of inflamed passions, and so forth. But the centerpiece of his argument—that we need a comprehensive solution to the many problems posed by immigration policy or we will end up with no solutions at all—is less than convincing. Immigration policy, such as it is, has been cobbled together over the decades and has proven itself to be a field where the law of unintended consequences works overtime.

It is unclear how this convoluted, unenforced, undermanned situation is going to right itself. The House is fighting the Senate. The Senate cannot make up its mind about how it is going to act. The Senate finally passed an immigration bill yesterday. While at face value that seemed to be a good thing it was followed by amendments and grandstanding of the like not seen since yesterdays vote in the Senate.

I wonder if anyone in politics can actually hold a position these days without checking their polling data. Ethics and humanitarian ideals do not seem to be the driving force in this debate—power and the ability to be reelected is the coin of the political realm. I think Mark Twain says it best: “The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.”

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