Well, it looks like we’re finally going to have a substantive immigration discussion. Unfortunately, immigration is one of many issues the right always handles poorly. Whether it’s lack of information, general ignorance of immigration laws or what, I really can’t say, nor do I care to speculate. The immigration issue is a big one, not just in terms of political capital, but in the nuances of the laws themselves. Interestingly, it’s also the one issue where Republicans and Democrats agree on most contentions.
Depending on which estimates you consult, there are approximately 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the U.S.; some suggest anywhere from 7 – 20 million. Regardless of which figure you choose, the fact remains: there’s a very sizable population of people living outside our legal barriers but inside our legal borders. And this is where the right, at large, loses their ever-lovin’ minds.
For being the party of limited government, the party that reveres the federalistic musings of Jefferson, and the party that constantly criticizes federal government overreach, our only suggestion for handling millions of illegal immigrants requires massive government intervention; massive government intervention that would encroach on the lives of private citizens to an extent we’ve never seen. So let’s entertain this idea for a moment.
Supposing we did “round ‘em up and send ‘em home,” we would need a police force large enough to scour all fifty states. This law enforcement troop would have to track people down, because we don’t know where they are, well, most of them anyway. It’s reasonable to assume that not everyone would go willingly, so there would likely be casualties or at the very least, violent encounters. And if intel was less than accurate (and we all know the government would never make a mistake), we could expect collateral damage, but I suppose a few wrongfully busted doors is nothing and no one will be upset about having their Super Bowl party busted up, Christmas Vacation style because of government error.
I’m not arguing we should toss out the rule of law. I’m not making the case that allowing further illegal immigration is acceptable, what I am saying is that “sending them home” is not only impractical, it’s completely contrary to everything we claim we believe. Unless we want a government expansive enough to round up what equates to the entire population of Pennsylvania, we need to provide practical solutions. We can debate the merits of Rubio’s ideas, come up with new ones, whatever, but let’s leave the intellectual inconsistency and nanny statism to the left. If we expect to win the war of ideas, we have to have good ones.
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