As is so often the case with great debates of any given age, there are a few points in the immigration battle, which, if conceded by either faction, could go some way toward facilitating an armistice. From such a platform of mutual agreement, common sense could take over, dictating the terms of cessation and reconciliation and thus allowing the nation to just get on with it. In the immigration debate, these incredibly simple, only slightly tongue in cheek points (one for each side to confirm the observations of eagle-eyed readers) are as follow:
1. Illegal immigration is illegal - Illegal immigrants differ from legal immigrants in that they are in the country illegally. There are many good reasons to protect borders, the drug war is just one. Using only the eyes and the years for statistical analysis, one can determine that this problem is closer than ever to home. Therefore allowing unfettered access to American soil is a dangerous game. Drug wars and crime aside, until something changes, illegal breaches of borders are breaches of the law. Therefore those who cross illegally should be punished, just like any other scenario where laws are broken in a society where such things are generally frowned upon.
Why this isn't taken for granted - People's strong belief that the 'bring us your...huddled masses' language on the Statue of Liberty plaque supercedes federal statutory law.
2. Without illegals, the American economy would collapse - It is widely estimated that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 million illegal immigrants in the US (government estimates usually range from 11 to 13; some private estimates are as high as 20; it has been some time before this writer has seen any number below 10). Most of them work, often in agriculture, services jobs and construction. While it is true that the overall unemployment rate is very high right now, most of the citizens who are out of work would not do these jobs at the pay grades they are being done for. Put succinctly, most 45 year old white males do not want to be busboys for $5/hr at their favorite restaurants, nor do they want their steaks there to cost 30% more, which they would without cheap labor.
Why this isn't taken for granted - Various interpretations of the 'they took our jobs' argument; willful blindness.
So there it is, a guide to solving the immigration problem. Step 1, get everyone to acknowledge that the rule of law still means something; Step 2, get everyone to acknowledge that the government will never be able round up and ship out all of the illegals without a serious disruption to the economy; Step 3, based on these simple facts, have the policymakers decide a common sense solution. No obvious flaws there... ...On second thought maybe the title above should be 'Fixing the Immigration Problem in Three Steps or Many, Many More.'