KRAUTHAMMER: Immigration reform: Fence first, then amnesty
Published: Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 7:04 p.m.
Immigration reform is coming. Let’s get it right.
Amnesty came. Enforcement never did. Reagan was swindled.
Americans are a generous people. They don’t want 11 million souls living in fear among them. They would willingly, indeed overwhelmingly, support amnesty
There is an obvious solution: enforcement first. Hence the attraction of the bipartisan Senate deal reached by the Gang of Eight, led by Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republicans John McCain and Marco Rubio. It is said to feature border enforcement first, then legalization.
It is true that only after some commission deems the border under control do illegal immigrants become eligible for green cards and, ultimately, citizenship. But this is misleading because on the day the president signs the reform
It is cleverly called
True, they must await the
And all this happens before the first scintilla of extra enforcement takes place. Which brings us to the second problem. What does this extra enforcement consist of? When I heard McCain talk about (among other measures) new high-tech border control with advanced radar and drones, my heart sank. We’ve been here. In 2006, Congress threw a ton of money at a high-tech fence. Five years, $1 billion and a pathetic 53 (out of 2,000) miles later, Janet Napolitano canceled the program as a complete failure.
That was predictable. And some of us predicting it were pleading for something infinitely cheaper and simpler: a prosaic, low-tech fence. Of the kind built near San Diego (triple-layered) that resulted in an astounding 92 percent drop in apprehensions. Like the Israeli fence built along the West Bank that has reduced terrorist infiltration to practically zero.
There’s a reason people have been building fences for, oh, 5,000 years. They work.
The current Senate proposal must be improved, either in the Senate or by the House. It’s not complicated. Build the damn fence. And give
With the sequencing
I know many Republicans are coming over to immigration reform because of the 2012 election results. Fine. I’ve been advocating this for seven years (
But remember: Enforcement followed by legalization is not just the political thing to do. It is the right thing to do