December 25, 2004


Immigration bill won't come easy in new Congress: Definition of 'reform' highlights conflicts members will face. (Michael Doyle, December 25, 2004, Sacramento Bee)

Everyone considers immigration reform a top priority when Congress reconvenes next month.

But no one agrees what "reform" means.

"I fully understand the politics of immigration reform," President Bush assured reporters this week.

Many lawmakers, including the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, call tougher enforcement the centerpiece of reform. Many others interpret reform as a code word for a guest-worker program that puts illegal immigrants on track toward a green card.

This apparent contradiction could doom legislation. Or perhaps Capitol Hill's long immigration stalemate could be broken by some deft combination of getting tough and giving hope.

"A lot of people have said that could be a good compromise," Mariposa Republican Rep. George Radanovich said. "It depends on who you want to please to get a bill passed."

That was the gimmick that enabled Ronald Reaggan to get a bill through, pretend there'll be enforcement in exchange for amnesty. Of course, the key is that serious enforcement is too intrusive and expensive to be tolerated by Americans in general and Republicans in particular, so they let it die quietly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 25, 2004 2:07 PM

It's a good thing Al Qaeda is too inept to make use of this gaping hold in our national security. Serious enforcement will undoubtedly come when there is a mind-boggling breech of this "pretend" enforcement.

Posted by: JimGooding at December 25, 2004 9:11 PM

It didn't.

Posted by: oj at December 25, 2004 9:14 PM

What about something simple like fingerprinting every resident alien? If your fingerprints aren't on file, then you're here illegally.

Posted by: Bart at December 26, 2004 11:50 AM

Just fingerprint everyone.

Posted by: oj at December 26, 2004 11:57 AM

Aren't citizens generally fingerprinted? I was when I went to grad school.

Posted by: Bart at December 26, 2004 12:43 PM