Since the failure of the McCain-Kennedy Immigration bill earlier this year, the controversies over the issue have taken a back seat. The problem itself, however, has not only not gone away as the spotlight shifted elsewhere, it continues to get worse every day, and will until something is done.
I support a comprehensive plan to address the issue, but I define the word according to the dictionary:
1. of large scope; covering or involving much; inclusive: a comprehensive study of world affairs.
Source. Unfortunately, most of the so-called “comprehensive” approaches suggested fail to deal with several critical areas of policy and enforcement – the original Bush proposal and the two versions of McCain-Kennedy being prime examples – or proposed insufficient remedies, some to follow at unspecified future dates.
Truly comprehensive reform must deal with all the important areas, virtually simultaneously, and soon.
The reasons only such a plan can work begin with the essential, and well-earned, mistrust between the proponents of “normalization first” (falsely labeled “comprehensive” in the grand tradition of American legislation) and those of “enforcement first.” Neither side believes the other, if granted its demands for primacy of the issues it advances, wouldn’t subsequently renege on any commitment to deal with the remaining issues.
They have ample reason for this mistrust. While there may not even be a majority of “amnesty only” advocates on the one side or “enforcement only” advocates on the other, there surely exist sizable enough minorities holding such views on each side to derail any reforms put off until “later.” Therefore, the concerns of both sides must be addressed directly and with similar priority in order to forge any political deal. And that’s not a bad thing, since the concerns of both sides are quite legitimate, and failing to deal with all of them only allows the problem to grow unabated.
I do find it odd that neither side even attempts to deal with the issues they prioritize in a truly meaningful way. The “normalization first” folks don’t address the laughably low quotas for legal immigration, or the absurd excuse for “standards” in screening prospective immigrants. The “enforcement first” people seem only concerned with the Mexican border, when hundreds of radical mosques in Canada are fomenting jihad with the tacit approval of their government, and crossing into the United States is mere routine, or the fact that we have no effective means of tracking those who simply overstay their visas (a huge problem, almost completely ignored), nor do they propose to deal differently with visas and other entries from countries with active jihadist networks.
I will bring more specifics to the floor in upcoming posts (WARNING: some mathematics and economics will be involved). For now, I put forth the proposition that (a) the problem must be dealt with, (b) it can only be resolved by a comprehensive approach, and (c) a “comprehensive” approach should engage ALL the problems, not just those with the loudest constituencies.