Feature

Illegal Immigrants

Stemming the tide.

'œWhich side is the party of law and order on, anyway?' asked Michelle Malkin in the New York Post. Republicans are supposed to be tough on criminals, but when the issue is illegal immigration, it's hard to tell. President Bush wants to grant temporary guest-worker status to millions of illegal aliens, and this week, the GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee took up a proposal that goes even further. Under a plan by committee chairman Arlen Specter, illegals who snuck past our borders before 2004 would undergo background checks and 'œthen be eligible for two-year work visas that could be renewed. Forever.' Think about it. We're engaged in a war on terror and our borders are a sieve. Yet, rather than trying to secure the borders, Washington is considering 'œan unprecedented mass government pardon' for millions of people who defied our immigration laws.

That's because reality might finally be setting in, said The Denver Post in an editorial. Talking tough about immigration is easy, but the fact is, an estimated 12 million illegal aliens now call America home. Most are hardworking folks whose labor keeps the economy humming. Let's face it. 'œThere is no practical or humane way to deport 12 million people.' Instead, their status 'œhas to be normalized in some way,' and a guest-worker program is a viable option. But citizens need to feel their borders are secure, said The San Diego Union-Tribune in an editorial. Obviously, they are not—which is why in Arizona, desperate legislators recently voted to station National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexico border. It also explains why momentum is building for a plan to erect hundreds of miles of fences along the divide. The message is clear: It's time to 'œbatten down the hatches.'

Robert J. Samuelson

The Washington Post

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