'Two Years and You're Out' Comes to Immigration Reform: Hillary Clinton seems to have settled on an immigration position--a hard-soft compromise that superficially resembles her husband's famously effective 'two years and you're out' position on welfare reform.
"A country that cannot control its borders is failing at one of its fundamental obligations," she said of America's "broken system." She also said that "we do need an earned path to citizenship" for illegal immigrants here.
[S]he will be accused of Clintonesque parsing and wanting it both ways. She may well be guilty, but, on the basis of two conversations with her, I'm persuaded she believes in both border security and firm, practical measures to deal with those already here.
Most important, her support for a time lag between the two steps, with border security coming first by as much as two years, could be the right mix that breaks the congressional deadlock and solves much of the immigration problem.
"I would not support it if the legislation was just for border security and we had to come back to Congress for everything else," she said. "We need to structure it as one piece of comprehensive legislation, with a staged implementation." For example, she said, the legalization process could begin "12 to 24 months" after border control measures take effect. [Emphasis added]
The only problem with this appealing position is that it might produce a debacle. Think about it: We tell the world that the process of legalization will begin in "12 to 24 months" after border control measures--including a "smart" fence that can "spot people coming from 250 or 300 yards away"--take effect. Message: Sneak in now and you can become a U.S. citizen--but this offer ends soon! The fence is going up! Wouldn't that prompt an undocumented rush for the border that would make the settlement of Oklahoma look tame?
Repl Harold Ford's similar left-right, soft-hard compromise doesn't have this problem, or at least not to the same extent. Ford says he wants to enforce the borders first and then at some unfixed date he'd be ready to talk about possible legalization--not write it into the law, as Hillary would. He avoids promising anything to illegals--and therefore maybe avoids provoking a stampede of illegals to get in before the gate closes.
The Ford approach doesn't have to be one-sidedly anti-immigrant--you could accompany it with a finite guest worker program, even one that promised eventual full citizenship to the guest workers, who would after all be legal workers. That shouldn't provoke a stampede because it wouldn't promise legalization or citizenship to unlimited numbers of other, non-legal workers. It seems a sounder Clintonian position than Clinton's Clintonian position.
There are worse things than not being "comprehensive"! (Wasn't that supposed to be one lesson of the Hillarycare debacle?) ... 2:13 A.M. link
New York TimesScammed by Clinton-Burkle Spin? The NYT's John Broder and Patrick Healy describe the origins of the life-giving friendship between Bill Clinton and Ron Burkle with a PR-perfect paragraph that should have set off the BS-meter:
The two men first met when Mr. Clinton was running for president in 1992 and touring neighborhoods in Los Angeles that had been torched during riots after the acquittal of several police officers charged with beating Rodney King. Mr. Clinton noticed that some supermarkets were still open, and asked why, his aides recalled. He was told that those stores were not burned because the owner, Mr. Burkle, treated his customers and employees fairly. Mr. Clinton asked to meet him.
Hmm. Too good to check? Not if you have NEXIS! At the time of the riots, Burkle owned a chain of markets called Food 4 Less. (He apparently didn't acquire Ralph's markets until 1994.) Here's the lede paragraph of a June 1, 1992 story in the Orange County Business Journal:
Ron Burkle was in the middle of a meeting in a downtown Los Angeles hotel room when the Rodney King verdict came in last month. As word of the ensuing riots spread, television sets in the room were turned on. Burkle, chairman of La Habra-based Food 4 Less Supermarkets Inc., soon found himself watching intently. Buildings were burning. His buildings.
When the smoke finally cleared, Food 4 Less tallied its losses. The operator of the Boys' Markets, Viva and Alpha Beta stores that provide inner city residents with most of their groceries had sustained some $ 25 million to $ 30 million in riot-related damage. At the height of the riots, 44 of its stores had been shut down. A handful were burned to the ground. Another dozen were so badly damaged that it would take from a month to several months to make them operational once more.
Burkle says he never once considered turning his back on his turf.
"When you watch your stores burn and watch the looting, you can get upset by events," he says. "It would probably be easier to just abandon (the inner city). But we're not going to do that." [Emphasis added]