The administration’s latest effort to induce Congress to grant amnesty to more than 12 million illegal immigrants is an offer of “confidence building” measures to overcome the fear that the government will not seriously enforce the law. It’s sad that the administration can’t rely on its past performance in this regard. Michael Chertoff seems to regard ordinary border enforcement as beneath him (chasing cooks and gardeners, is how he characterizes it), and President Bush craves a grander legacy. Presumably, he considered enforcing the immigration laws “small ball,” the term he uses to belittle mere competent performance of his job. If the Bush adminstration wasn’t willing to do its job when it comes to securing our border even after 9/11, are we to be confident that, say, Hillary Clinton will take on this task with any seriousness?
David Frum offers the kind of measures that would build my confidence:
I for one am absolutely open to considering an amnesty plan at any date after the FIFTH anniversary of the completion of border control measures, including an effective employment verification system.
I am open to an amnesty plan after the flow of new illegals has been halted and we have seen significant attrition from the existing illegal population.
I am open to amnesty after – and only after! – federal judges start assisting local law enforcement agencies that wish to enforce the law rather than forbidding them to do so.
I am open to amnesty after a US president demonstrates a willingness to respond with some modicum of respect to the immigration concerns of the American public – and is not looking for any transparent gimmick that will get him from here to the bill signing.
Hey, here’s a thought: Why doesn’t President Bush condemn the decision by federal judge Colleen McMahon to require the town of Mamaroneck, NY, to pay $550,000 to illegal aliens and create a center from which they may violate the immigration laws of the United States conveniently, publicly, and with impunity? If ever one legal case destroyed what little “confidence” remained in the seriousness of the US government on immigration, this was that case. And the president has said … what exactly?
If we have learned anything from the hard experiences of the recent past it is that amnesty must be the last step in any intelligent program of immigration enforcement. When it is the first step, it rapidly becomes the only step – or rather, the first step to the next amnesty and the next after that.
We have learned too that the political leadership in Washington wants a radically different outcome to this immigration debate from that desired by the large majority of the American people.
Confidence? Well in the words of an expert on the subject:
“Fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”
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