Tony Blankley is spot-on in his analysis of President Bush’s immigration proposal and of the nature of the compromise that should be acceptable to conservatives. Other things being equal, the proper approach to illegal immigration is to secure (or attempt to secure) the border through security measures at the border. If that works, then we can talk about a guest worker program and perhaps some relief for some illegals who are here now. However, as a political matter a pure enforement first program looks like a non-starter. Moreover, as Blankley notes, the next Congress that takes up immigration reform is likely to be less conservative than the present one.
Thus, conservatives should think carefully about where there may be room for compromise. The obvious candidate is the guest worker program. For one thing, as Blankley says, under the status quo we have a de facto guest worker program with virtually no border security. Thus, it makes sense to consider a plan that gives us a formal program, with enhanced border security, under which we have some hope of keeping track of alien workers. Moreover, there may well be merit to the notion that such a program would ease the pressure at the border, thereby increasing the likelihood that the enhanced security measures will work.
The issue on which there should be no compromise is amnesty (or the path to citizenship). Such a path, in addition to rewarding scofflaws, would likely increase the pressure on the border. Unless President Bush is willing to compromise his position on citizenship for illegals, conservatives should not compromise with the president.