Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Specter Compromise

Tamar Jacoby:

Virtually all policy makers who have thought seriously about immigration agree that we have to do something about these unauthorized workers--not so much for their sake as for ours. Not only is the underground economy an affront to the rule of law, it's also an unacceptable security risk. Here are 11 million people whose real names we don't know, most of whom have never undergone a background check--and the illicit world they inhabit is a perfect staging ground for terrorists. Proposals for dealing with illegal immigrants run the gamut from deportation to blanket amnesty. But the ideas taken most seriously in the Senate all start by requiring them to come forward and register with the government, then prove they are bona fide laborers, not criminals or security threats. At that point, Sens. John Cornyn and Jon Kyl would allow them to work here for five years and then send them home, albeit with the option of returning either as temporary workers or, in some cases, on permanent visas. Sens. Kennedy and John McCain would allow them to earn permanent visas without leaving the U.S.--paying a fine and all back taxes, then taking English classes while they wait their turn behind people applying in the usual way from their home countries.

Enter Sen. Specter in search of a compromise. What drove him was partly doubt that a policy requiring people to return to their home countries would work. Why would anyone sign up for that--as the common taunt goes, "report to deport"? His motives are also political: He wants as strong a majority as he can muster on the committee, including as many Republicans as possible. Otherwise his bill will have no momentum, either on the Senate floor or later, if it passes, when it has to be reconciled with the much tougher bill passed by the House in December.

The problem is that the answer Sen. Specter came up with isn't just impractical; it's un-American, and would prove disastrous for the Republican Party. He calls it the "gold card," and his bill would grant those who earned one, by coming forward and admitting they had done wrong, the right to remain in the U.S. indefinitely. The only catch: Their legal status would be conditional, and as a practical matter they would have no possibility of becoming citizens.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tamar Jacoby is a hopeless open borders, cheap labor shill. She claims she supports border security but then she touts the McCainneddy Shamnesty that does nothing to improve border security except fund a couple of studies and give Mexico some money to secure THEIR southern border.

She claims that the Arlen Sphinctor plan to give illegal aliens a gold card but not a path to citizenship is un-American. I agree. But there is nothing very American about her plan to make a mockery of our rule of law and make fools out of the people waiting in line by rewarding 12 million criminals who have demonstrated that they have no respect for our laws with citizenship. The American thing to do is demand respect for our laws and punish those who flout them.

3/15/2006 12:40 PM  

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