Immigration reform finally takes a front seat on the Hill this week, Reuters reports. President Bush has been attempting to get this rolling for several years, but Congress has replied with a yawn until now.
Some good ideas and some bad ideas under consideration, with some of the worst coming from Republicans. Here's a quick and concise review:
Amnesty for the illegal aliens now in the U.S -- Good idea. They're here. Roughly 12 million of them. And they ain't leaving. And we can't make them go. Deal with it -- we have to contend with situation as it is, not as we would like it to be. If they can prove they're employed and law abiding, they get to stay and can apply for citizenship. Psst -- they'll also pay their share of taxes this way too.
Establishment of a guest worker program -- Good idea. Our economy has proven that we need these workers and they want the work. Better to do it in a controlled way, where we know who's coming and going and where worker conditions and wages are held to some standard. Everyone wins.
Future illegal aliens treated as felons and deported -- Good idea. Carrot and stick, baby. If there's a reasonable, right way to do it, then those who do it the wrong way are obviously up to no good. Throw them in jail or throw them out.
Employers hiring illegal aliens face steeper penalties -- Good idea. Bigger fines. Jail time. More stick to go with the carrot. Puts the responsibility for the problem not just on the aliens but also on those who exploit them.
Build a fence along the Mexican border to keep illegals out -- Bad idea. Stupid idea. I mean really, really dumb idea. What, we're taking our defensive tactics from the French now? The Maginot Line didn't keep the Germans out of France in 1940 and a fence won't keep the Mexicans out of the U.S. now
Better to invest that $2.2 billion of fence money in the Mexican economy -- having a stronger trading partner on our southern flank is the best defense against unwanted immigration. If there are more jobs back home, perhaps fewer Mexicans will need to come to the U.S. for employment.