Sunday, May 20, 2007

Immigration reform

Here's a link to the Register's editorial on the Senate "comprehensive" immigration reform proposal announced this week, with Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts as the lead Democrat and Arizona conservative Republican John Kyl as the lead Democrat. The administration supports this compromise, which has something to displease almost anybody.

The bottom line, however, is that if anti-immigration hardliners continue to refuse anything that can be defined as amnesty, and if immigration activists continue to balk at fairly heavy penalties and requirements for those now here illegally, they are effectively casting a vote for the status quo -- pretending we have an immigration policy and winking at violations because illegals are too important to the economy, which is chugging along with 4.5 percent unemployment.

Maybe the status quo is better than any imaginable reform -- except my own preference, which would be to lift all quotas and let the market decide how many foreign workers the economy really "needs" (which is politically not in the cards just now). But the status quo seems rather grim to me. This proposal would undoubtedly have unforeseen negative consequences, but it would almost certainly be preferable to the situation we have now.

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