Friday, January 31, 2014

Stop the flood

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday blasted as “amnesty” a House GOP plan to give legal status to millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.
“I think it would be a mistake if House Republicans were to support amnesty for those here illegally,” he said when asked about the proposal to be outlined in the House GOP's immigration principles.
Other Republicans in the House who support the plan have gone to great lengths to push back on the idea that granting legal status would be amnesty. (The Hill)
Republicans are quibbling over the definition of amnesty as if the word, not the policy, is the issue. And to the extent they are focused on illegal immigrants who are already here, instead of those who are still trying to get here, they are pretty much whiffing on the issue entirely.

If amnesty is, as my dictionary says "a general pardon for offenses, especially against the government", then granting legal status to those who are here illegally is certainly amnesty. But that's not the point. The point is that this policy rewards people for breaking the law -- a bad idea if you want laws to be respected and obeyed.

But the bigger point is that resolving the legal status of those who are already in the country does nothing to keep out those who continue to enter illegally. If your kitchen is flooding, the first priority is to shut off the water. Once you've done that, you can worry about how to clean things up and repair the damage.

For decades politicians have been playing this game where they pardon those who broke the law and promise to secure the border later. But later never comes. The border never gets sealed. And 10 years later we've got a new batch of politicians calling for more pardons in exchange for the same old promises.

I think Americans are tired of this game. I think those who oppose amnesty would come around to it once the borders are secure and the flood is finally stopped.

But I don't see that happening when Washington doesn't even have the fortitude to build a border fence that was approved and funded back in 2006. For all the sound and fury about illegal immigration, our "leaders" seem more interested in scoring political points than doing anything about it.

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