Jonah Goldberg has a very thought provoking column today at NRO on the immigration proposal:
I’m not furious about the president’s plan. In fact, I think he should be commended to a certain extent for even going at it. He may not always follow through in time, but this president has an almost unprecedented knack for proposing to actually fix problems (Iraq, Social Security) instead of just throwing new coats of paint on condemned buildings. Immigration is such an unholy mess, to propose fixing it at all is like agreeing to fix a big wood chipper by sticking your arm into it while all the parts are still moving.
And that’s my basic point of departure from my fellow conservatives. Everyone can agree that this is a problem George Bush inherited. He didn’t invite the eight million illegals currently working in the United States. He didn’t give them jobs, and he didn’t write the years of misguided policies and laws which have managed to tie the issue into a massive knot. He was presented with facts on the ground. To me, it’s actually a bit like the gay-marriage issue. Conservatives very often talk about homosexuality as if it were a problem coming down the pike rather than something that’s been here for decades or centuries. If you start from the premise that, for the foreseeable future, gays aren’t going anywhere — that they are going to continue to do their thing, live their lives, form their relationships, go to their jobs, make their political demands your policy options — legal or cultural — become extremely limited. You may oppose gay marriage — as I do — but you still need to answer the question of what should be done about gays. Because saying nothing will only result in your having nothing to do with the answer. Same goes for saying they should just keep to themselves or disappear from the radar screen. You have to talk about things inside the realm of the possible.
His basic question in the column is the chief reason I can’t decide whether to support it or not. We have an immigration problem and it’s not going away. So what do we do about it. Mass deportation? You’re dreaming if you think that will ever happen.