I would think a bill that mandated rapid construction of the 700 miles of double-fencing, significantly hiked fines on employers paying illegals who could not mount an affirmative defense based upon a tamper-proof ID, and the stipulation that citizenship could never be available to anyone who had entered the country illegally and who had either not returned to their country of origin for a legal entry that was separated by a period of at least some months from their exit or had served in the military. I think it might also be possible to insist on a constitutional amendment being sent to the states on the subject of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens. [E.A.]
This isn't a serious list. It would allow immediate legalization of all current illegal immigrants, as long as it stopped short of full "citizenship." Meanwhile we wouldn't find out if Hugh's "tamper-proof ID" and double-fence and increased fines actually worked until the next wave of illegals--smart enough to realize that those in the previous wave had just been amply rewarded-- tested them. ...
P.S.: I suspect Hewitt's spooked** about the inevitablity of an "amnesty light" bill passing. See Kate O'Beirne for the contrasting assessment. (She stresses that "border security — not amnesty — was popular on the campaign trail last year.") It's entirely possible a bill will fail because it's opposed from both sides--by anti-amnesty conservatives and pro-amnesty pols who think it doesn't go far enough. Happens all the time. (It happened to Nixon's equally misguided guaranteed-income plan, for example.) Just because 60 Senators favor some sort of amnesty doesn't mean 60 Senators will vote for the same bill, especially if they decide a stalemate that they can rail against is in their interest. It doesn't mean they won't. But Hewitt's analysis is too crude. ...
P.P.S.: Hewitt also worries that the threat of terrorists sneaking across the border with WMD's is so great we need to accept semi-amnesty to get tougher border control--as if you couldn't have the latter without the former. Is Bush holding "homeland security" hostage until he can get his amnesty?
**--Spooked or Spooker? I'm assuming Hewitt's sincere and doesn't want a bill to pass just to help the GOP in the next election (though he admits that's a factor). ... 1:54 P.M.
Wednesday, Ap ril 11, 2007
Whether any Democrat will attempt to gain an advantage by tapping into these currents within the party, or whether they'll remain unified around proposals to offer illegal immigrants access to citizenship, remains an open question.
It seems like a big niche waiting to be filled. ... P.S.: Hillary Clinton, of course, could be the candidate to fill it. True, her problems are with the netroots left these days--but it's not at all clear to me that the netroots left is pro-amnesty, as opposed to Dobbsian populist. You'd think Hillary might be able to shift to a stance of outright opposition to Bush's reform without making them any angrier than they already are. ...
Update:Instapundit, with whom I was on the Hugh Hewitt Show today, seems to be thinking along the same lines. ... On the show I tried to express my deep suspicion that Hewitt overestimates the virtue of passing "something" in part because that would help Republicans put an issue that's dividing them behind them. I don't care that much about helping Republicans and don't understand why it's so necessary to have a bill now, especially if enforcement efforts are showing progress. A usefully sharp disagreement begins around 19:20 mark. ... 6:32 P.M. link
Thinly-sourced kf item of the day: May 4. Fred Thompson announces. ... 2:56 A.M.