Realizing the ocean of opinion, emotion, and true faith in beliefs that for this particular issue amount to nothing short of ideology I wade into the Immigration discussion with my goggles snug over my eyes.
Yes, in a series of posts on the subject, I have decided to hit, head-on, the waves of rhetoric of this discussion, and lets be honest, that what this should be--a discussion of ideas. Unfortunately it has not become so.
Similar to acts in an opera this is becoming just as tragic. First, the pundits talked, the immigrants and their supporters marched, then the "minute-men" marched, and Congress realizing they had little to show of accomplishment before they recessed for the summer, which this being the year 2006, means elections in November, where almost all of them are up for reelection, decided to act. The president attempting, in a rare, display of pragmatism; split the difference by addressing the nation, proposing a guest-worker program--path to citizenship--and the use of National Guard troops on the border. This has led to the second act, opening with the House of Representatives passing a bill that would almost require the deportation of every illegal immigrant in the nation. Granted the House did not address the issue of comprehensive immigration like the president had, but with so many constituants back home smelling blood, they had to throw some kind of red meat at the masses. Now the United States Senate took up the issue of immigration, attempting to follow the intent of the president's speech, while calming their siblings in the other chamber. A vote of 62-36 favoring an overhall of immigration laws, passed this past Thursday. The Senate bill (S 2611) deals with four major issues in the immigration debate: border security, interior enforcement, guest workers and the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in the country. It differs markedly from the bill (HR 4437) the House passed in December, which included no provisions on guest workers or legalization of those who are already in the United States. The response of the siblings across the hall? Wails of indignation. As one senior Represenative said, "according to what's going on now, in calling it a pathway to citizenship or earned legalization, is not honest because it is amnesty." This from Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who is running for reelection in November. For a brief summary of the Senate bill: http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/05/26/immigration/index.html
Both chambers now see the Senate bill (S 2611) as DUA, dead upon arrival, to the conference room where both bills are to be reconciled. Back in the House, Rep. Mike Pence is editing his own version of an immigration bill that would not offer any "amnesty" and leave the operating of any guest-worker program to the private sector. To see the full context of the speech that he gave at the Heritage Foundation where he introduced his ideas on immigration reform, please go to: http://mikepence.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=44113
Upon reading his remarks and his proposed bill I will not be cynical in this post. My intent for this blog is to be non-partisan and apolitical. However, let me bend my own rule a bit to make this one comment. I wonder what Mr. Pence's dead Irish immigrant forebearers are thinking of him now?
The one question that no one has asked, except my wife, is this: why? Why this issue and more importantly why now when we have so many more important issues to discuss like health care, the national debt, our various trade deficits, Iran and, of course, Iraq?
Since we are not discussing the above issues, rather we are focusing on having a dicussion on Immigration let us turn our attention to an important question hardly asked, but essential to this discussion: Who Carries The Burden?