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David Bernstein

I say bring on the birds. And, while you're at it, the national guard and the English only bills as well.

If such acts of transparent symbolism make lawmakers appear tough and give them the cover they need to avoid truly pernicious immigration policies, then they are fine by me.

Today's immigration debate is not about immigration; it is about illegal immigration. And while the previous look-the-other-way policies need to be rationalized (including, in my opinion, by sealing the border)--that's no way to run an immigration policy--we need to find ways to avoid the push for deportation, criminalization and coercive attrition.

This latter approach, especially, seems to have gained ground in the public discourse. Create conditions that make it utterly miserable for illegals to stay, the reasoning goes, and they will leave. Outright deportation will not be necessary.

The problem, of course, is that that we are now going on the third generation of illegal immigration. They have children. If illegals are forced out, many, many children--native born citizens--will be left in this country to fend for themselves. We need to remind proponents of this approach that by forcing out the gainfully employed parents they would be planting the seeds of a massive new welfare program for their children.

This country needs a dose of realism. The Mexicans are not going anywhere. And if they cannot accept the obvious truth, birds will do.


The problem isn't that "we are now going on the third generation of illegal immigration." The problem is that we have, de facto, a two-faced policy, and your get-tough solutions will only make it more so. On the one hand, we don't want them here. On the other hand, we want them here, mowing our lawns, processing our poultry, bussing our tables and building additions on to our houses.

The other problem is systemic, and any legislative solution we pass now will only be a band-aid. The big problem is economic inequities between the U.S. and Mexico. I know that's a given, and I know there's not much we can do about that in the short run, but it's really what driving everything.

But why not, as you say, rationalize and legalize what's happening? That's not a surrender. It's an acknowledgement that these immigrants (legal and illegal) have a value to us. Why do we want to punish them for that?

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