Still, the Republicans screwed up royally on this one. Royally.
No, not because they supported immigration changes, but because of their arrogance in doing so. Dubya spouted off more than once ("I'll see you at the bill signing")... Would that he manned-up quite so forcefully on some other things. Trent Lott pissed off the talk radio listeners who are the solid, reliable core of the Republican base. Now, Mel Martinez is throwing it back in the opponent's faces:
The Chairman of the Republican Party on Friday lambasted Democrats and Republicans who helped kill an immigration bill in the Senate and challenged them to come up with a solution beyond ``just build a fence along the border.''
``The voices of negativity now have a responsibility to come up with an answer,'' RNC Chairman and U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, R-Fla. said.
`How will you fix the situation to make peoples' lives better? How will you continue to grow the economy? How will we bring people out of the shadows for our national security and for the sake of being a country that is just?'' he demanded.
Okay. Where to begin? Why do opponents have a responsibility to come up with an answer that regularizes the status of those who are here illegally? What do we gain by doing so? What is so terribly wrong with the situation as it currently exists? The argument that we need to do so to "make people's lives better" is asinine. Why is it the job of the United States to make better the lives of those who violate our laws? That is so politically tone deaf that it boggles the mind. Particularly coming from a Senator who is also the head of the Republican Party. Are you accusing the country of being "unjust" because it refuses to reward criminal behavior?
The argument that we need to do this for national security is bullshit. Every time politicians really want something done over the last sixty years, they say it is for national security. How is this going to improve the national security? Does Mel honestly think that the Arab terrorists who sneak in under the cover of a group of immigrants are going to walk into an immigration office and register for a Z visa? Those who wish us harm aren't going to register. They are going to stay in the shadows.
Look, I'm not stupid enough to think that we can send law enforcement through the country to round up 12 million people and ship them back. It isn't going to happen. That doesn't mean we have to condone what they've done, however. It doesn't mean we have to reward it. Why not close the borders as effectively as we can and then let the 12 million who are here continue as they have? Some will go home over time, some will be sent home and the rest will continue as they have. We get the benefit of their cheap labor, they get the benefit of jobs, the government collects just as much tax revenue from them as it is ever likely to without having to pay them social security someday. They don't becomes citizens, gain the right to vote and skew the political system. In essence, they remain what they have made themselves - second class resident laborers. We didn't do that to them, they did it to themselves.