8.There's no indication, and no reason to expect, that McCain will become an advocate for "enforcement first" the way Clinton was an advocate for "ending welfare." McCain certainly doesn't seem ready to run around the country convincingly "emphasizing 'enforcement first,'" as Lowry naively envisions, unless he's undergone an uncharacteristic conversion experience we haven't heard about. If McCain embraces the Isakson plan, it will be reluctantly under candidacy-threatening political pressure. His stance--at least after the GOP primaries are over--is likely to be less "Enforcement First" than "Amnesty Eventually, After a Few Hurdles." In any case, if the Isakson plan passes it won't matter much anymore what McCain says.
9.Lowry cleverly downplays Mark Krikorian's position. Krikorian agrees with me, buddy! He thinks the Isakson plan is a crock. I doubt he was happy with NR's strange, backsliding editorial either. If Lowry actually took Krikorian's "good substantive objections" to Isakson seriously, he never would have published it.
**-- It might not help Republicans duck a divisive immigration debate for the 2008 election or line up Hispanic voters for future races. Those things may matter more to Republicans than to non-Republicans. Anyway, Lowry doesn't couch his argument in those terms. 10:59 P.M. link
Friday, March 30, 2007
Eli Broad, Guest Editor? It's growing on me! The main teachers' union in Los Angeles successfully (if temporarily) blocked eight new charter schools in "impoverished, gang-ridden" Watts, despite support from local parents and representatives. 'Unions fight charters'--that's dog-bites-man, except that the L.A. Times' slant is decidedly and unusually anti-union and pro-charter. Is that because a) the move to block the schools was apparently illegal; b) charter entrepreneur Steve Barr is a skilled operator; c)Times reporters don't send their own kids to public schools and are convinced Barr's schools are better; or d) one of Barr's backers is billionaire Eli Broad, who may own the Times in a few days. ... It's overdetermined! But if teachers' unions have lost the liberal LAT, they're in trouble, no? ... P.S.: [At least none of these people are having sex with Broad--ed You always say that!] ... P.P.S.: The story's account of an attempt to close a non-Barr charter school (Academia Semillas) suggests that once charter schools get in, they quickly develop their own constituencies and are hard to close down. That could be good, helping to preserve them in the face of self-interested union opposition. It could also be trouble, if a school underperforms. ... 4:32 P.M.
It's pretty amazing that the N.Y. Times could report that legal immigrants "have opted to become American citizens in historically high numbers in the last decade"--quoting an expert to the effect that "today's legal immigrants are signing on to a closer relationship with the U.S. ..."--without even mentioning that the 1996 welfare reform granted citizens access to some benefits that are denied to legal immigrants. ... P.S.: I'm not saying legal immigrants come here for government benefits. I'm saying you have to at least consider whether it's a factor in the citizenship boom. ... 30 Seconds of Googling: See, for example, "Welfare Reform Sparks Rush for Citizenship," CNN, August 8,1996. ... Do Times reporters talk only to the interest group that hands them the study? [At least they weren't having sex--ed Yes, then they might be biased!]... 5:18 A.M.
L.A. Times Continues Editorial Transformation! Now we know how the LAT managed to turn out a new Sunday opinion section so quickly (after the publisher, on a Thursday, cancelled the scheduled section guest-edited by producer Brian Grazer). ... P.S.: Repurposing content is very Webby. Remember, it's not the platform that matters! ... [Via ETP]4:45 A.M.
Am I Wobbly? Over at The Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru and Rich Lowry attempt to answer the question of whether National Review has gone wobbly on immigration. It's pretty clear the answer is yes. Ponnuru says he's being "consistent" with NR's position when he defends--as the "framework for a compromise"--Sen. Johnny Isakson's plan, which would delay "an amnesty or guest worker program" until border and workplace enforcement measures were shown to be working.
The biggest problem with the Isakson plan is probably not either of the two objections I initially raised--1) that a Bush-like administration might cheat and falsely certify that enforcement is working or 2) that the promise of a "last chance" at amnesty would cause a one-time stampede of illegals across the border. That's not to say those aren't serious problems. For example, Ponnuru says the "stampede" would be prevented because any amnesty would "only legalize workers who could prove that they were here at the time of passage." Well all right then! If Ponnuru is confident that illegal immigrants who routinely purchase fake Social Security documents will have trouble with the easier task of faking evidence of pre-legislation residence, he's more naive than I think he is.** (My grandmother stretched the truth to get into this country, I've been told. Why shouldn't desperate, impoverished Salvadorans?)
The very hope of amnesty--if only from the millions of currently resident illegals--would put intense pressure on any subsequent Congress to fudge or relax any "benchmark" requirements written into the law, to make amnesty (or "earned" legalization, or quasi-amnesty, whatever you want to call it) happen sooner and on more lenient terms. ***
That gets to the major problem. As Mark Krikorian points out, the effect of the Isaakson plan in a) legitimizing the concept of amnesty and b) creating an expectation of amnesty outweighs any clever legalistic safeguards Ponnuru may think Sen. Isakson is writing into the law. The combination of (a) and (b) would make some form of amnesty, if not quite inevitable then a lot more inevitable than now--which would seem, in turn, to guarantee further waves of amnesty-seeking illegal immigration.**** If, as in 1986, actual enforcement on the border and in the workplace proved weak, that would mean, as in 1986, fresh millions of illegals for editorialists to debate giving amnesty to. Sen. Grassley has made this point quite effectively: