Amnesty or homeland security? Mercy for some or justice for all?
Left for dead a week ago, legislation to strengthen border security while bestowing legal status on millions of illegal immigrants is showing signs of life. President Bush said on Friday it's time for Congress to act.
"Each day our nation fails to act, the problem only grows worse," the president said at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast. "I will continue to work closely with members of both parties, to get past our differences, and pass a bill I can sign this year."
I would like to see if he would decline to sign a simpler, more straightforward and more urgently-needed bill than the "comprehensive immigration reform" misbegotten mishmash with loopholes, choking points, and sticking points galore; one that would instead just provide FIRST and solely for national border and port security and enforcement of the current immigration laws. Would President Bush dare to veto such a simpler homeland security bill just because it wouldn't deliver further immigration reform in the same package?
Would he dare to continue holding the security of our national borders hostage until he gets the amnesty/guest worker programs for illegal aliens he's demanding?
I would like to find out the answer to that question. I hope those in the Senate who are listening to the will of the majority of the U.S. citizens demanding simple and factual border security and enforcement of our laws will hang tough with that as a first priority and insist on a bill that provides for that, and just that. Let's see who would dare to veto that and then still say "Something must be done!" Show us where you really stand, Congress. We're not falling for your rhetoric. And we're also wise to your tricks of voting for security measures like fences, and then not authorizing the funds--or authorizing the funds, but then not appropriating them! Or having the funds and then not letting them be used for what you promised.
Unfortunately I can see who not only would veto such a simple, straightforward bill, but I can also see who won't even give it a chance to be brought forward and voted on. That would be Harry Reid and the rest of the pro-Amnesty, pro "comprehensive" Senators, Republicans and Democrats, who are holding our national security hostage for political gains under the guise of being merciful to a special interest group: "undocumented Americans."
And unfortunately there are plenty of people in the U.S. who agree with such disingenuous tripe, including my own church, which seeks through wishful thinking and slight of semantic hand to make no distinctions between the differing moral issues involving immigration reform for legal aliens and curtailing the invasion by illegal aliens (thinking that by expressing the sentiment "there is no such thing as an illegal person" everyone will ignore the reality that people committing illegal acts both sin and commit crimes with consequences hurting others).
Perhaps President Bush, as a Methodist, is sincerely seeking to do what his spiritual advisors suggest: making no distinction between legal and illegal "sojourners" or "migrants" by ignoring those who break our laws, and elevating their status above that of all the legal immigrants who wait their turn in line and respect our laws. But such displaced mercy is a clear injustice to those who must pay the price.
I think it could debatably be a legitimate stance for a bishop or a minister, or a private individual to find a blanket moral equivalence among all "sojourners" including those who break our laws (certainly every individual is equal in the sight of God), but I find it sadly disappointing, and even perhaps a reprehensible stance in a public servant who has a sworn duty to uphold the laws of the United States which after all, are meant to protect our nation of millions of equally precious individuals and deliver justice for all.
UPDATE: Peggy Noonan writes a beautiful essay on all of this. A portion:
A little love would go a long way right now. We should stop putting newcomers in constant jeopardy by blithely importing ever-newer immigrants who'll work for ever lower wages. The ones here will never get a sure foot on the next rung that way.
We should close the border, pause, absorb what we have, and set ourselves to "patriating" the newcomers who are here. The young of AmeriCorps might help teach them English. Those reaching retirement age, who happen to be the last people in America who were taught and know American history, could help them learn the story of our country. We could, as a nation, set our minds to this.
We shouldn't be disheartened. So much good could be done once a Great Pause begins, once the alarm is abated.
What will we do about the 12 million here? Nothing radical. We're not really a radical people, Americans.
Having no borders--that's radical.
Saying, to the American people, in essence, Back my big bill or I will not close the borders, is radical.
Insisting on "all or nothing at all" is radical.
Leaving your country wide open in the age of terror is radical.
She understands and expresses well how the American people in toto are not anti-immigrant, are not racists, are not unkind or even being unmerciful, when they wish to end illegal immigration first and then broaden, regularize and make fairer legal immigration. I, for one, refuse to be tarred a racist or a bad guy for expecting my government to do its job protecting me, my family, my community, and my country in a competent, and thorough manner.
Comprehensive border security for everyone in the U.S., that's what I want. And that is an ultimately merciful and a just aim.
UPDATE: David Frum (via Power Line) expresses how a lot of Americans feel about amnesty and when (if ever) it might someday be appropriate.
UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer agrees: if we all want border security, where's the simple fence?