Thursday, March 30, 2006

The President is Right on Immigration

Washington Post columnist George Will, who has forcefully criticized President Bush on issues such as federal spending and the Iraq War, says that the President is taking the right stand with regard to immigration:

Today the president is spending more of his depleted political capital by standing to the left of much of his political base, which favors merely preventative and punitive measures regarding immigration. He is right to take his stand there.

In opposition to some on the left, Mr. Will argues in favor of the need to establish control of the nation's borders. However, he also argues against those conservatives advocating punitive measures against the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country. He writes:

Conservatives should want, as the president proposes, a guest worker program to supply what the U.S. economy demands -- immigrant labor for entry-level jobs. Conservatives should favor a policy of encouraging unlimited immigration by educated people with math, engineering, technology or science skills that America's education system is not sufficiently supplying.

And conservatives should favor reducing illegality by putting illegal immigrants on a path out of society's crevices and into citizenship by paying fines and back taxes and learning English. Faux conservatives absurdly call this price tag on legal status "amnesty." Actually, it would prevent the emergence of a sullen, simmering subculture of the permanently marginalized, akin to the Arab ghettos in France.

Mr. Will -- and the President -- are advocating positions opposed to loud voices on both the left and the right. Those positions are right. Whether they are politically viable remains to be seen.

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