Immigration: Just Because You're Paranoid...

Back in August, Mickey Kaus proclaimed that he was paranoid because he feared that the Bush Administration would crackdown on illegal immigrants in a manner that would generate animosity toward an enforcement-first policy:

Day In/Day Out wonders too. ... If it's option 2, of course, then Homeland Security might intentionally choose to enforce the law in as clumsy, heartless, and lawsuit-inspiring a fashion as possible, in order to create the maximum number of negative headlines. ... Certainly the case for the paranoid option (2) was enhanced by the LAT 's report on the crackdown, featuring bitter you-asked-for-it-now-you're-going-to-get-it quotes from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff:
Chertoff acknowledged. "There will be some unhappy consequences for the economy out of doing this," he said in an interview with The Times.Chertoff said he had little sympathy for businesses that hire illegal workers, saying they should have seen the crackdown coming after the Senate failed to pass immigration reform. "We have been crystal clear about what the consequences would be," he said. ...[snip]
Chertoff suggested that once the provisions had been in force for a while, Congress would see immigration reform in a different light."Everybody who criticized comprehensive immigration reform for being too complex, maybe now they're going to realize it's complex because there are a lot of interconnected pieces to this and when you try to deal with only one corner of it, you wind up with a huge impact on something else," he said. [E.A.] Link

This All Things Considered report from last night provides evidence that the Bush Administration is conducting itself in just the "clumsy, heartless, and lawsuit-inspiring" manner which had concerned Kaus.

I support the "Enforcement First" policy and would also like to barriers knocked down to legal immigration, but I think the type of enforcement being described by NPR is not what opponents of "comprehensive immigration" had in mind. I think this policy will posion our reputation in Latino countries and further disillusion those who already are unhappy with our government. But, I don't think it will be enough to push support for comprehensive reform over the top. I guess its Mutally Assured Destruction, except that nobody will come to their senses at the last second and take their finger off the button.

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