After this, that is. Last week, the WSJ ran a hagiographic 'interview' (the "Weekend Interview" feature is more accurately described as a press release issued by the interviewee, with the WSJ's interviewer serving as the PR firm producing it) with President Bush. It is laced with condescension and blatant lies (I hate throwing that descriptor around, but in this case it's verifiably true--see my take here, or read the source material for yourself).
This weekend, Senator Jon Kyl is the man on the pedestal, with Collin Levy narrating. The first paragraph is the self-indulgent fluff of the sort you expect to hear on NPR, of no value whatsoever. In the second, Levy asserts without evidence that those on the restrictionist side are salivating gorillas, irrational and without factual arguments, while at the same time insinuating that the open borders crowd has a boatload of slamdunk polemics (as usual, those polemics are nowhere to be found):
This is the season when most of the political establishment would rather keep controversial topics for stump speeches or direct mail campaigns.Oh, it's the Senate that is leading the charge against its own bill, to the chagrin of an American public that so desperately wants to see it passed! I had it all backwards.
In reality, by a 3-to-1 margin (69% to 23%), those who are the most up-to-speed on the immigration debate oppose the bill. Among the more oblivious, the legislation is only down about 2-to-1. And it is the pro-sovereignty Republican contigent (along with a minority of Democrats) in the Senate that wants to give the bill more time for floor discussion and amendment review, so the accusation that they don't want to spend time dealing with legislation on the immigration issue is ignorant.
Jon Kyl is insulated by the caprice of time, as he's not up for re-election again until 2012. Still, his support for the surprise bill was crucial, and the potential political damage is of consequence. In contrast to Arizona's senior Senator, Kyl generally comes down in opposition to the open borders crowd. Cognizant of this, Levy is sure to portray Kyl as a sensible immigration hardliner:
The intra-GOP fighting over immigration will only get more furious as we move toward the 2008 House and presidential races. And the administration, without a lot of political capital of its own, will need him more than ever. With 20 years in Congress, he's built a reputation as a go-to guy on border security--tough, but without the tinge of nativism that afflicts some hardliners.Nativists like myself are "afflicted" by a concern for the well-being of the country we live in and the citizenry that comprises it. I'll take that figurative affliction over the literal affliction that are the disease cocktails being brought over by the migrants Levy wants to inundate my neighborhood with (living in DC, a prohibitively high cost of living allows him to avoid seeing these helots outside of their servile functions--a luxury we don't enjoy in Kansas).
In brushing aside the charge that granting legal status to those who've entered the country illegal is amnesty, Kyl asks what the alternative is. Because it's either this bill or a continuation of the Bush Administration non-enforcement!
Of course, that's a false dichotomy. A few high-profile raids have reduced the flow of illegals into the country by a full 30 percent in one year. History suggests that for every one forcibly removed, another seven or eight will leave voluntarily. In 2006, ICE deported 221,664 illegal immigrants. Significantly decrease the inflow through tougher employer punitions, the construction of a wall running the length of the 1,951 mile US-Mexico border, and an ending of sanctuary policies, and then increase ICE's paltry activity by five-fold, and we've conceivably cleared out the illegal immigrant population in a few years. Meanwhile, France is doing what the neocons claim we can't and then some.
Interestingly, Kyl laments the need to make concessions to Democrats:
There are a lot of things in the bill I'm still not happy with . . . It's impossible to make the existing system work so we have to change the law, and changing the law requires Democratic votes, so you have to make concessions to Democrats."If the GOP hadn't abdicated control of Congress by supporting the Iraq War and by opening itself up to charges of corruption, they wouldn't be in that situation. While only 5.9% of Republicans member to the Immigration Reform Caucus lost their re-election bids last November, 16.7% of non-caucus members did. The right's stance on immigration is a political winner--the putative right's stance on Iraq is a political disaster.
Only a small minority of Democratic, as well as Republican and Independent, voters support this bill. The Republocrats in Congress don't represent either Party's constituency on immigration.
A frequent conservative mantra is "enforcement-first."Actually, most Americans want enforcement-period. And then they want less legal immigration in tandem with no more illegal immigration. But to label the desire for enforcement "conservative" is misleading. Yes, it is conservative. It is also 'liberal' and 'moderate'. Eighty-nine percent of Republicans favor "enforcement-first". It's 65% and 63% among Democrats and Independents, respectively.
In attempting to make the perfect the enemy of the good, Levy quotes Kyl explaining the employee verification system (something the "nativists" definitely do support):
You can try to prevent people coming in, but there is a magnet of employment. Resourceful people can find ways to get here.A wall obviously won't stop everyone. It's not a binary question, though. It will cut down the flow enormously. And the illegal immigrants who do evade the physical and virtual barriers are likely to be the most intelligent and industrious Latin America has to offer. Sounds like a win-win to me.
In Arizona, the economic realities are clear and immigrants are part of them.Indeed, they are quite clear to Arizonans. Consequently, by a margin of more than 2-to-1 (50% to 24%), they oppose the legislation their two Senators were critical in putting together. They are slightly more opposed even than the rest of the country is.
McCain and Kyl want amnesty. Arizona voters don't. Why would they want to sink their educational standing, strain their state's infrastructure, increase entitlement recipiency, accentuate the state's wealth gap, and decrease levels of mutual trust among the residents of their communities?
I note that Democrats have played things closer to the vest so far, though they would seem to have as many problems with the current bill as Republicans.
No, they don't. A few special interests on the left are feigning opposition to make the amnesty bill look like a 'compromise'. Harry Reid knows that a repeat of the 1986 amnesty, albeit on a grander scale, is a long-term boon for the Democratic Party. Impoverished, welfare-using, urban-concentrated, affirmative-action eligible, ethnic minority--this is the stuff the Democratic pol dreams of. It also happens to be the profile of most illegal immigrants in the US right now.
But the Democratic leadership is rightly worried about an immediate political backlash due to the vast unpopularity of the Senate bill. Why not try and make Bush look like a dolt for not being able to do anything about immigration, let the lame duck continue to run his party into the ground, gain the Whitehouse in '08 while maintaining control of both Houses of Congress, and pass an amnesty then?
You'd think lining up with Ted Kennedy, La Raza, and the AFL-CIO against the Republican voting public would give the WSJ op/ed board pause enough to realize this bill isn't in the best interest of the party that is with them on the vast majority of the policies they favor.
Kyl brings up fears of outsourcing (something the WSJ mocks at every opportunity it gets, save this one):
"Everyone says enforcement first, and that's important, but in Yuma County, what that means is you are basically going to send that crop, the melons and the tomatoes and the lettuce . . . to Mexico. So when people complain about outsourcing..."Uh, I don't think picking fruit and putting it into burlap sacks in the desert heat is the kind of work most Americans are concerned is being outsourced to tech hubs like Bangalore and Hong Kong.
I thought this immigration amnesty was necessary because without it we'd be stuck with lots of jobs Americans won't do. Again, I had it all backwards. If we don't pass S1348, a bunch of jobs Americans would otherwise do will disappear to Mexico!