Cal  Thomas

That this bill is hundreds of pages long and was mostly crafted in secret without hearings and without input from the public should also make us wary. So should Sen. Edward Kennedy's enthusiasm for it. Each time Kennedy embraces a Republican, the Republican usually gets his pocket picked. Worse, Republicans don't seem to mind.

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh predicted last week that if the Senate draft legislation becomes law "there is an 80 percent chance that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States Š we are doomed in '08." He predicted this would be "the last straw as far as the Republican base is concerned in being able to trust Republicans that it elects to represent them."

Why do our elected leaders care more for noncitizens than they do citizens? There is no constitutional right to come to America; neither is there a right to become a U.S. citizen. Do we let robbers keep the money if they successfully break into a bank? Isn't this the message we have been sending to illegals: if you can get here, you can have all sorts of goodies previously reserved for people who abide by the law?

Former Attorney General Edwin Meese thinks the only way to solve the illegal immigration problem is for lawmakers to "uphold the principle that the rule of law requires the fair, firm and equitable enforcement of the law." He would avoid granting amnesty to those who've lived and worked in the United States illegally and ensure that any temporary-worker program is short term.

Meese knows something about the subject. He admits 1986 legislation that attempted to stem the tide of illegal immigration by combining amnesty with increased workplace enforcement of immigration law failed.

The stakes are enormous, for the country and for the future of the Republican Party. It's not worth passing this measure just so both sides can claim "victory," if the victory is a Pyrrhic one.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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