OK, folks, come close. I’m about to make some very incriminating admissions here, and I will NOT be repeating myself, and I’ll probably deny ever saying it. But since it’s just you and me, I think I can speak safely here.
When Newt Gingrich said last week that the solution to our illegal immigration problem would end up including some degree of amnesty, he was right. And I’m OK with that.
Yeah, I’ve been a real hard-ass on illegal immigration. I’ve talked about how they are “line-cutters” who insult and exploit those who are doing it right. I’ve responded to the “you can’t deport 11/15/20 million people” with “well, we can sure as hell try.” I’ve denounced those who have proposed any kind of amnesty or forgiveness, holding out for the most draconian penalties possible. I’ve suggested we start enforcing on our southern border the same immigration policies that Mexico uses on its southern border — which involve soldiers with machine guns.
But in the end, we’re going to have to accept the reality. We got a metric assload of illegal aliens here, and some of them are going to end up staying.
So why do I keep fighting it? Because since I believe that there’s going to be a compromise, I want the best deal (from my side) as I can get. That means that Gingrich’s core ideas — no path to citizenship, leniency to those who have minimized their illegal activity and established themselves in their community — are something I can work with. His idea of local commissions making the decision also appeals to the small-government guy in me, too. Just as long as they have some limits — say, they can only grant a percentage of the appeals they receive — I think it’s workable.
It also has the slightly subversive aspect of establishing that bodies below the federal government have a say in immigration law, much like those states that are passing their own “if you won’t enforce the laws, Washington, we’ll do it for you” laws. Such a compromise would most likely put the kibosh to those precise laws, but would actually boost the core principles that drove them.
Now, after this article goes up, I’ll go back to my old ways. I’ll still rail against amnesty programs and fighting for states doing what DC won’t and all that. Plus, I’ll pretend I never said any of this.
But just between us, Gingrich is dead on. He might be a bit prematurely candid, but he’s correct. We’ve just got to hold out as long as we can, or we’re going to get a really crappy deal when we do concede it.