That deficit might be tolerable if it were for a short and fixed term and illegal immigrants were required to learn English, receive a good education and improve their lot beyond manual labor. But the chances of illegal immigrants doing that are equal to politicians telling the truth about the immigration bill. The Pew Hispanic Center reports that one-third of all foreign-born persons in the United States are Mexican and of that number half are illegal. At least half of the adult illegal aliens in the U.S. lack a high school degree, compared to 25 percent of legal immigrants without one.
In the Journal interview, the president reveals what's really at the heart of the debate: politics. "If people think that a party is against somebody or some group of people, you'll pay a political price for it." He then likened those opposed to the immigration bill to people who once opposed civil rights for blacks. Strassel links civil rights opponents to the Republican Party, but the majority party during most of those years was the Democratic Party and the majority of those opposed to civil rights legislation were Southern Democrats.
If the president thinks this is about politics, he should open the borders and let anyone come who will come. Why tell any immigrant "no" if they, or their native land, might be offended? Democrats clearly believe illegals are potential recruits into their party. If Republicans fall for this crass appeal to import new voters, they will deservedly suffer electoral deportation from what remains of their power. Already, contributions to the GOP by grassroots donors have declined 40 percent, according to The Washington Times. They cite the immigration bill as their main reason for reduced donations. This trend will continue if the Washington politicians keep trying to force a bill down the throats of those who don't want it.
Whose country is this? Does it belong to illegal immigrants and politicians, or to the citizens of the United States of America?
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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