New Republic says 'cease and desist'

A mostly political Weblog.
Aug. 20 2007 4:59 PM

You Asked For It, Yahoos!

Is Bush trying to "heighten the contradictions"?

(Continued from Page 3)

NBC's excellent First Read, on Huckabee's strong showing in Ames, Iowa:

He actually received more votes than he bought, a noble feat in the straw poll. ...

10:13 A.M.

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Bush--You Asked for It, Yahoos! Is the recently announced Bush crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants

1) a desperate, Lindsey Graham-like make-up call to placate conservatives by enforcing existing laws (a possible trust-building precondition to winning some of them over to legalization of currently-illegal residents) or

2) a Leninesque attempt to heighten the contradictions and create pressure for legalization by demonstrating to business and the media that actually enforcing the existing immigration laws is intolerable?

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Day In/Day Out wonders too. ... If it's option 2, of course, then Homeland Security might intentionally choose to enforce the law in as clumsy, heartless, and lawsuit-inspiring a fashion as possible, in order to create the maximum number of negative headlines. ... Certainly the case for the paranoid option (2) was enhanced by the LAT 's report on the crackdown, featuring bitter you-asked-for-it-now-you're-going-to-get-it quotes from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff:

Chertoff acknowledged. "There will be some unhappy consequences for the economy out of doing this," he said in an interview with The Times.

Chertoff said he had little sympathy for businesses that hire illegal workers, saying they should have seen the crackdown coming after the Senate failed to pass immigration reform. "We have been crystal clear about what the consequences would be," he said. ...[snip]

Chertoff suggested that once the provisions had been in force for a while, Congress would see immigration reform in a different light.

"Everybody who criticized comprehensive immigration reform for being too complex, maybe now they're going to realize it's complex because there are a lot of interconnected pieces to this and when you try to deal with only one corner of it, you wind up with a huge impact on something else," he said. [E.A.]

Bush Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez is also quoted saying, in effect, that the effort he just launched will lead to disaster. ("We do not have the workers our economy needs ... Ultimately congress will have to pass comprehensive immigration reform.")

Do you trust these men to implement the plan skillfully when they have an explicit interest in causing pain? For example, wouldn't it be better to focus enforcement on new hires whose Social Security numbers don't match, rather than disruptively forcing the firing of existing workers who may have been here for decades? But of course, if it's strategy #2 Bush is pursuing, then destroying the lives of decades-long residents exactly what Chertoff should be focusing on, because that's what will generate the horror stories that might fuel a new push for amnesty. ... It's a new twist on the old Washington Monthly "Firemen First" Principle, in which agencies defend their budgets by making cuts in the most disruptive manner possible, typically by firing firemen and cops. ...

I'm paranoid. I don't trust Chertoff--he seems personally embittered by his "comprehensive" humiliation. I'd focus on new hires, not existing workers. But so far the anti-comprehensive camp--including, for example, Mark Krikorian, Polipundit and Terry Jeffrey--thinks highly of the Bush crackdown. Will they wake up in a few months and realize they've been snookered, or Lenined? ...