May 30, 2007
Guaranteed to Fail
Why we ought to oppose the current immigration bill, regardless of our view on immigration.
For all of the debate surrounding the Senate immigration bill, pro and con, you might think the bill had some chance of solving America's illegal immigration issue. Not so much, says an editorial in this week's edition of The Economist.
Among other problems, The Economist points out, rightly, that no one outside of the airline industry benefits from the bill's "tortuous and vindictive" stipulation that would require illegal immigrants to return home for an interview as part of the legalization process. Combine that with a points system that favors highly skilled immigrants and a guest worker program scaled down to 200,000 annually, and you have a new system guaranteed to get little buy-in from the illegal immigrants it seeks to bring out of the shadows.
Of course, the bill does include a host of security initiatives. This is likely to please many evangelicals, who have polled consistently higher than the general population in opposing a path to legalization. Personally, I suspect we're on the wrong side on this issue -- I agree with The Economist's leader, which says that deporting 12 million illegal immigrants is "impossible, economically illiterate, and morally wrong." But that's beside the point. The real problem is that in the midst of the compromise and give-and-take that all legislation must endure in order to get passed, America may get stuck with a bill that accomplishes nothing.
Christians will continue to disagree on immigration, no doubt. But perhaps we can agree on the need to rework the current Senate bill into something that has stands a chance of success.