Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Political Suicide

The WSJ favors the president's arguments on immigration - here's a quick counter.

Their opinion piece ($) makes three daft errors (my ellipsis).

1. Confusing Means And Ends
House GOP leaders were lukewarm to hostile (to the President's proposals), with Majority (at least until November) Whip Roy Blunt saying he'd oppose any broader immigration reform "until we have adequately addressed our serious border security problems." Just what that would take he didn't say. Perhaps 100,000 new agents? The 82nd Airborne?
The WSJ champions capitalism, but seemingly doesn't know that only the bottom line counts - Rep Blunt is presumably thinking of doing whatever it takes to cut illegal immigration from 500,000 a year to, say, 50,000. If that can't be done, then any amnesty for existing illegals will pull in another 12 million, and so on ad infinitum.

2. Confusing Hopes And Facts
The President('s)...proposal for a guest-worker program is a serious attempt to reduce the incentives that immigrants have to enter the U.S. illegally. He also realizes that, for the illegals already here, mass deportations are impractical and would spell political suicide for the GOP.
But his guest worker program is not serious, precisely because if mass deportation of illegals is "impractical", then the bulk of the 12 million must stay -see below. And while deporting illegals may carry electoral costs with legal hispanics, allowing illegals to stay carries political costs with the other 280 million Americans.

3. Inability To Reason
Hence, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is trying this week to garner more support for a bipartisan plan that would put these illegal workers on a path to citizenship if they pass a background check, pay fines, learn English and satisfy other requirements.

This is derided in some circles as "amnesty" -- a scare word thrown around to end discussions -- but the 11 or 12 million illegals already here are hardly likely to come out of the shadows if they know they will be deported.
If illegals fail those tests, they will presumably be deported - otherwise why waste the money on them. But the WSJ says they can't be deported and the illegals won't "come out of the shadows" to face that risk! So the only solution consistent with these constraints is a set of tests and fines set so low that they achieve a 99.9% pass rate.

The nation will rightly judge this to be an amnesty and the GOP will indeed have committed political suicide.