Friday, April 07, 2006

Krauthammer Has Half of the Solution

Charles Krauthammer writes that the solution to the immigration impasse is to build a wall, then welcome the 11 or 12 million illegals who have already snuck into the country as citizens.

The wall is, quite obviously, long overdue. Citizenship for the illegals is another matter.

From Krauthammer's column in the Washington Post:
My proposition is this: A vast number of Americans who oppose legalization and fear new waves of immigration would change their minds if we could radically reduce new -- i.e., future -- illegal immigration.

Forget employer sanctions. Build a barrier. It is simply ridiculous to say it cannot be done. If one fence won't do it, then build a second 100 yards behind it. And then build a road for patrols in between. Put in cameras. Put in sensors. Put out lots of patrols...

This is full amnesty (earned with back taxes and learning English and the like) with full border control. If we do it right, not only will we solve the problem, we will get it done as one nation.
Except that the wall only solves half of the problem, and Krauthammer's breezy "taxes...English and the like..." assumes that the supply of magic wands has increased since the last "immigration reform", and that there aren't people with a vested interest in maintaining an oppressed class of indentured servants.

Leaving aside the fact that most Americans have a sense of fairness, and see rewarding criminal acts as inherently unfair, why will we suddenly be able to identify the millions who have been hiding successfully for years? How many will the prospect of citizenship bring into the open?

And there are other, more powerful forces at work.

The politically connected employers who make their profits by paying sub-legal wages to desperate people with no other choice depend upon a fresh stream of illegals. They will not abide a wall if they have anything to say about it, and so far, they've had plenty to say about it, mostly to Republican Congressmen.

And the Democratic Party, in its heart of hearts, knows that clinging to political power means maintaining a large victim class to which to pander, while ultimately seeing to it that they remain victims. It's worked for the Democrats for generations of African Americans.

Krauthammer's noble impulses will be thwarted by powerful economic and political forces.