And that’s exactly the path that President Bush’s prime-time speech on illegal aliens took. Liberals are whacking at the plan to tighten the border, especially the part about using the Guard temporarily; while conservatives hate just about everything else. Let’s review the “high” points:
- Moderately-increased enforcement of the border – It truly is only moderate, even though we’ll start out with a temporary non-combat/border enforcement deployment of National Guard troops. We’ll have more than double the number of Border Patrol agents we had at the start of 2001, but 18,000 agents for 2,000 miles of border isn’t enough. As for not “militarizing” the border, when the Mexican Army is taking potshots at both civilians and Border Patrol agents, maybe it’s time to “militarize”, complete with shoot-to-kill orders.
- Increased enforcement against companies who hire illegal workers, along with “tamper-proof” ID cards for legal aliens – Good idea, even though most of those employers still won’t be able to tell the difference between a legitimate card and a forged one. Something’s missing; requiring state and local governments to sift through those they come in contact with to determine who is and isn’t here legally.
- A “guest-worker” program – Well, we’ve seen just how successful that’s been in France. Sure, they might be “required” to go home after their two years, but between a continued “anchor baby” policy and a complete lack of enforcement of current laws, something tells me they won’t go home after their two years.
Added to that, the economics just don’t support this. The whole reason why some employers are willing to hire illegal aliens at “sub-standard” wages (whether those wages are below minimum wage or not), and why illegal aliens are willing to work for those “sub-standard” wages is because they don’t have to pay taxes on those wages. If we make every worker “legal”, those taxes will be there on both sides, eliminating the competitive advantage illegal aliens have. Further, paying those taxes would necessarily reduce the main legitimate reason why aliens come here; to earn enough to send back home to the family.
- Semi-amnesty for the 12 million illegal aliens already here – Don’t mistake my use of the accurate term for complete opposition to this, but not sending them back to their countries of origin to begin their legal immigration is a form of amnesty. President Bush would, however, not make citizenship automatic, would first make them pay some sort of penalty taxes, and would send them to the back of the line of the path to citizenship. That is far preferable to what the Senate wants to do, a full, blanket and, for many, immediate amnesty for almost all the aliens.