One of the biggest news stories of today seems to be the immigration bill making its way through the Senate:
A key Senate panel broke with the House’s get-tough approach to illegal immigration yesterday and sent to the floor a broad revision of the nation’s immigration laws that would provide lawful employment to millions of undocumented workers while offering work visas to hundreds of thousands of new immigrants every year.
With bipartisan support, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12 to 6 to side with President Bush’s general approach to an immigration issue that is dividing the country, fracturing the Republican Party and ripening into one of the biggest political debates of this election year. Conservatives have loudly demanded that the government tighten control of U.S. borders and begin deporting illegal immigrants. But in recent weeks, the immigrant community has risen up in protest, marching by the hundreds of thousands to denounce what they see as draconian measures under consideration in Washington.
“There is no issue outside of civil rights that brings out the kind of emotions we have seen,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), one of the bill’s primary sponsors, who called the controversy “a defining issue of our times.”
I realize I’ve been a little coy about my own views on the subject. I don’t believe that we have a problem in the United States with immigration, legal or illegal. I do believe that we have a problem in controlling our southern border and I believe that the exigencies that face us today require us to do so for the first time in the history of the Republic.
As I wrote yesterday the traditional practices of the United States are to keep our borders open and our neighbors weak. But in this age of proximity and weapons of unbelieveable power there are people who would do us harm who would use such weapons without hesitation if they could bring them to bear upon us. We’ll need to pay more attention to all of the avenues of entry to the country than we ever have before.
I’m dissatisfied with all of the bills making their way through Congress on the subject because they simply don’t do enough about controlling the border. We all know what the TSA is: a titanic waste of time and money at our airports that has no real capacity for improving genuine security but whose only apparent purpose is to appear to be doing something about airport security without actually doing anything about airport security.
We don’t need another TSA. No feel-good solutions.
If we actually control our southern border we will actually control immigration from Mexico. That should satisfy the nativists. As far as I’m concerned that’s a byproduct not an objective.
Dafydd ab Hugh has written a good post on the subject. He’s more positive about McCain-Kennedy than I am. McQ at QandO appears to be pretty much on the same page as I am as is Dan Riehl at Riehl World View.
Mark in Mexico gives the view from that side of the border. Unfortunately, he’s telling it like it is.
Joe Gandelman adds perspective from his days of covering immigration as a newspaperman.
UPDATE: shay has a round-up at Dean’s World of perspectives on immigration from black bloggers. She presents my main gripe about immigration of low-skilled and entry-level wage migrant workers (legal or illegal):
It is blacks (along with legal Latinos) who bear the brunt of illegal immigration, in employment rates. And it is lower-income black communities that are often overrun first with illegal immigrants, who drain social services that should go to citizens and legal residents.