Friday, June 08, 2007

The Bloody Immigration Debate

I will be honest, I hate the immigration debate, with a passion!! It is an issue that divides Republicans and people, the likes of which I've never seen. Which is why I usually avoid the subject at all costs. That said, it is time for me to wade into shark infested waters and talk about it.

Why am I so reticent to talk about it? Its one of the few issues on which I can see both sides. If I talk about it, I will get bludgeoned by both of these sides. Yet, I am never one to back down from a challenge, so here it goes.

A liberal friend sent me the video of the Wall Street Journal talking about the immigration debate and in it you see them trashing National Review. It made my heart sick to see 2 Conservative organizations at such odds. I was going to post the video but it is no longer available.

Some bulletin points for how I look at the immigration debate:

1) Border Security is the bottom line! It has absolutely nothing to do with race and everything to do with not wanting terrorists sneaking into this country through an open border.

2) I hate to say it but some on our side have become irrational about this issue. When I heard the Wall Street Journal people talking about how irrational some on our side have gotten over this, I couldn't help but agree. I can't tell you how many blogs I have come across that have vowed to never vote for any Republican again because Republicans haven't done enough to fix immigration. Many of these same people have crucified Bush over this and have completely abandoned him. Meanwhile, these same people praise Reagan in the same breath when Reagan had the same views on immigration, if not a more lax stance.

There seems to be this anger that causes people to start saying things that aren't even logical to me. I get that many are extremely passionate about this issue and it trumps all for them. Yet, we need to stay clear headed if we are to do anything constructive and make real progress on immigration reform.

In the '06 elections ticked off people voted some Republicans out because they were mad about immigration. What was so ironic to me about that was they just shot themselves in the foot. Talent was voted out and he was stellar on immigration. So what was the result? More Dems in Congress and now the bill before us is even worse than the earlier one that everyone was so unhappy about. How is any of this logical? If you want to be angry at McCain & Specter and weed them out in the primaries I am all for that, but don't vote out any incumbent just because you are mad in general.

3) I'm glad the current immigration bill was killed! Anything with the names McCain/Kennedy on it has to suck!! Rush said if the bill passed it would be worse than the status quo and thats when I knew I was against it. I am for a compromise bill that give us more security than what we have now but not one that makes it worse.

4) I am for RATIONAL debate on this issue even though its hard to stomach at times. One of the reasons Rush and Sean Hannity are my favorite talk show hosts is because even though they are honest when they aren't happy with our side they don't descend into bitterness and pessimism. To be honest people like Laura Ingraham and Michelle Malkin get too defeatist and negative for me when they talk about this issue. Open, honest debate is good but when you just start getting people so mad that they start to become bitter you've lost ground, IMHO.

5) Progress isn't made over night. If those of us who were passionate about abortion demanded that it be outlawed or we wouldn't vote for anyone that didn't outlaw it tomorrow what would be accomplished? Its that all or nothing thinking that I've talked about before. Guess what? You get nothing. Lets be willing to be rational about this and make some progress even if we don't get everything we want right away. If conservatives abandon Republicans over this one issue then we once again usher more Dems into Washington to screw things up even worse.

Finally, I think Peggy Noonan says it best in her column, Slow Down and Absorb. Here is her solution:
"We should stop, slow down and absorb. We should sit and settle. We should do what you do after eating an eight-course meal. We should digest what we've eaten.

We should close our borders. We should do whatever it takes to close them tight and solid. Will that take the Army? Then send the Army. Does it mean building a wall? Then build a wall, but the wall must have doors, which can be opened a little or a lot down the road once we know where we are. Should all legal immigration stop? No. We should make a list of what our nation needs, such as engineers and nurses, and then admit a lot of engineers and nurses. We should take in what we need to survive and flourish.

As we end illegal immigration, we should set ourselves to the Americanization of the immigrants we have. They haven't only joined a place of riches, it's a place of meaning. We must teach them what it is they've joined and why it is good and what is expected of them and what is owed. We stopped Americanizing ourselves 40 years ago. We've got to start telling the story of our country again.

As to the eight or 10 or 12 or 14 million illegals who are here--how interesting that our government doesn't know the number--we should do nothing dramatic or fraught or unlike us. We should debate what to do, at length. Debate isn't bad. There's a lot to say. We can all join in. We should do nothing extreme, only things that are commonsensical.

Here is the truth: America has never deported millions of people, and America will never deport millions of people. It's not what we do. It's not who we are. It's not who we want to be. The American people would never accept evening news pictures of sobbing immigrants being torn from their homes and put on a bus. We wouldn't accept it because we have hearts, and as much as we try to see history in the abstract, we know history comes down to the particular, to the sobbing child in the bus. We don't round up and remove. Nor should we, tomorrow, on one of our whims, grant full legal status and a Cadillac car. We take it a day at a time. We wait and see what's happening. We do the small discrete things a nation can do to make the overall situation better. For instance: "You commit a violent crime? You are so out of here." And, "Here, let me help you learn English."

I normally hate the C word (compromise) but when it comes to this issue I think we need to. And lets be logical about it. Vote out the losers but don't punish everyone just because you're ticked off!!

Other great posts:
Chas' Compilation
Sister Toldjah
Chickenhawk Express
The Anchoress

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