Illegal Immigration Bill: Some Sane Comments
[A]s the full Senate argues over the compromise in the weeks to come, it should keep in mind that there's a much larger issue to be resolved first: the fate of the illegal immigrants already here.Yes.
The assumption had been that Republicans in Congress -- reluctant to offend the party's base -- would never go along with a path to legalization. They've learned to live with the idea. In the negotiations, a consensus emerged that such a concession is acceptable -- provided the path includes numerous conditions, unfolds over a substantial period of time, and comes with a renewed emphasis on border enforcement.
Republicans must see the writing on the wall. Americans have warmed up to the idea of giving illegal immigrants a chance to earn legal status. Look at the polls. There's been a radical shift in public opinion since this debate first started almost six years ago. In 2001, when President Bush floated the idea of legalizing the undocumented, polls showed about two-thirds of Americans opposed to the idea. Now, surveys show as much as 78 percent willing to go along with a conditional path to legal status.
Maybe the public has been worn down and it just wants the issue settled. Or maybe it got tired of waiting for a realistic counterproposal from the radical restrictionists on the right who offer sound bites in place of solutions. Whatever the reason, more and more Americans seem resigned to the idea that we're about to see a massive legalization program -- albeit one that is conditional on immigrants paying fines, learning English, perhaps even returning to their home country briefly in a "touchback'' before re-entering legally.
Incredibly, even that is too much effort for some on the radical left who refuse to acknowledge that these people broke the law and need to make restitution, and that step one is acknowledging the wrongdoing. For many Americans, though, this is all they want -- some humility and remorse by those who wiped their feet on our laws on their way in the door and then demanded rights once inside.