Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What little I'll say about the immigration speech 

I think Joshua Sharf said it in a nice, simple way:
We can only hope that it's a shrewd strategy to rescue Congressional Republicans by giving them room to run to the President's right.
Well, has the Congress given him any reason to believe they'd do anything else? I am in agreement with Stanley Kurtz, optimistic that Bush has emboldened the Senate to get a bill to the conference committee and made it possible for him to sign a bill with or without a path to citizenship.
In strictly political terms, which alternative would be better for the election prospects of the Republicans: no bill, or a substantially more conservative bill than what the president has asked for? I don't know the answer to this. But I'm guessing that the potential for a successful compromise (in a more conservative direction) is better than it may seem right now.
I fundamentally disagree with the concept of doing an enforcement-only bill. Yes, you can do that, but it doesn't mean you should. If you want some (or many or most) illegals to leave, you need to incentivize that. If you want every illegal to leave, you haven't learned cost-benefit analysis. Charging a very high price for normalizing one's status, while offering free and safe conduct over the border to anyone not wishing to pay it -- along with an application to return, to be treated like anyone else applying on the day of their repatriation -- requires an enforcement mechanism for people who try to evade the choice. Enforcement and normalization go hand in hand -- and if you never allow normalization you drive more people underground and make them harder to find. A country already wary of the Patriot Act will look askance at even more invasion into people's identities to determine citizenship.

A wall that seals everyone else out also seals 11 million inside. Are we prepared to deal with that? Give them a reason to want to leave, which is going to involve giving citizenship to a few. Make it few, make it for economic reasons.

(Dons asbestos suit, awaits angry calls.)