Debra J. Saunders

Some conservatives argue that illegal immigration is good for the economy. Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute recently told me that if government action forced industries such as meatpacking to pay higher wages, owners would respond by moving their operations to another country.

To which Chicago attorney Howard Foster, who has initiated class-action lawsuits against those who hire illegal aliens, responded that those companies "in effect" already have moved elsewhere.

But instead of moving their plants abroad, employers import workers -- and their poverty -- from Third World countries to the United States.

At least Bush has stopped referring to "the jobs Americans will not take." In his primetime speech last week, Bush spoke of "the jobs Americans are not doing." It seems the Bushies are fed up with being reminded that Americans will take those jobs -- if they pay better wages.

Language is important. It's so important that the Senate voted 63-34 to proclaim English as America's "national language." Yes, English is so important that Washington struggles to mangle the meaning of every word in the debate -- and to pass a "national language" provision that, like everything else in the Senate immigration package, is designed to appear tough but is utterly feckless.

Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz., complain bitterly that it is unfair to refer to what they call "earned citizenship" as "amnesty," when amnesty is the proper term for a law that would grant citizenship to illegal residents. Senators tout "guest worker" provisions, even if the provisions will be so under-enforced that most of America's "guests" will never leave.

I buy that Bush believes in his heart he is doing the right thing on immigration. But he doesn't show enough faith in his agenda to sell it truthfully. And he doesn't show enough faith in the law to enforce it vigorously -- especially on white-collar criminals.

Ditto the Senate. Surely, members of Washington's reputed deliberative body know the English provision is a scam.

When it comes to the immigration debate in Washington, double talk is America's national language.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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