Reaching A Real Compromise Between The Security First & Comprehensive Immigration Reform Positions

Yesterday, on Ed Morrissey’s internet radio show, he asked me what I would require to sign on to an immigration compromise.

So, let’s talk about that a little bit: my ideal position would include cutting off federal funds to states with sanctuary cities, denying illegals any service in the US other than emergency medical care, long prison terms for people or businesses who knowingly hire illegals, and no illegal aliens being allowed to legally stay in the United States for any purpose, including a guest worker program.

Since that’s the case, what’s a genuine “meeting in the middle” have to entail?

* Security first. That means a wall fully built, the border patrol gotten up to full strength, and a workable, verifiable system with strong penalties for preventing employers from hiring illegals would have to occur first, before I’d consider any guest worker program or normalization of illegals.

* No citizenship, tax breaks, tuition benefits, legal help or anything else for illegal aliens. If they want to leave the country and put in an application from there, while they wait in line for a few years outside the country like everyone else, that’s fine, but any provision that allows illegal aliens to apply for citizenship from the United States is unacceptable.

* We need a provision — and I do think it is constitutional, by the way — that denies citizenship to children born in this country of two illegal parents. When foreign diplomats have kids here, their children aren’t American citizens and it should be the same for illegals. We should also prevent anyone caught sneaking into the country, overstaying their visa, or caught in the country illegally from ever legally visiting, becoming a citizen, or participating in a guest worker program.

If you put all those things in place and then wanted to come up with a plan to keep the illegals that are already here as guest workers, TEMPORARILY, then my ears would be open because that would be a real compromise between the “Americans first” position on illegal immigration and the comprehensive immigration plan.

Now, some people might say, “But, John, the Democrats won’t agree to that.”

Here’s my response to that.

If the proponents of comprehensive immigration don’t want to meet us halfway, that’s their problem, not ours, because slowly and surely, we’re winning the debate in the real world. Almost everybody, Democrat, Republican, from Jeff Sessions or Ted Kennedy, at least publicly claims they want to get the border secured and stop illegal aliens from coming into the country.

So, piece by piece, those of us in the Americans first crowd are going to get what we want. Whether this bill is passed or not, there is a bill that has been signed into law that says we’re going to build 874 miles of fence. We also have bills in place that guarantee the size of the border patrol is going to be increased. We could very well get even more of what we want in 2008 because cracking down on illegal aliens is wildly popular.

Furthermore, if this bill is killed now, “comprehensive reform” will have been killed twice from the right and won’t be taken back up until 2009. By then, we’ll either have a much more secure border because of the fence and increased border patrol, so we’ll have less reason to deal, or alternately, if they’ve dragged their feet, we’ll have that much more reason to say “security first.” Combine that with the fact that the bill will have been stopped twice from the right and they will have no choice but to move it way to the right to try to get it passed, even if there were to be a Democratic president in charge.

For that reason, people who are serious about dealing with illegal immigration have every reason to fight this bill tooth and nail now, because this is the last, best chance for comprehensive immigration forces to pull out a victory. Either they win now or it’s all downhill from here for them.

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