Thomas Sowell

Many stores held sales over the Memorial Day holidays. In Washington, the Senate immigration bill has been selling our birthright for a message of political pottage.

Far from "controlling the borders" as advertised, this bill reduces our existing control of the borders. Under a provision inserted at the eleventh hour by Senator Arlen Specter, the Senate bill forbids the federal government from building a fence without first consulting with the Mexican government.

In fact, state and local governments are also forbidden by this bill to take any border control actions without first consulting with their Mexican counterparts. In other words, if the city of San Diego wants to put up any sort of barriers, it would have to consult with the municipal authorities in Tijuana before doing so.

This legislation was never about border control. The laws already on the books at this very moment allow us to control the borders, to build any fence we choose, without consulting the government of Mexico.

The laws already on the books allow any illegal alien to be arrested and expelled. Those laws are simply not being enforced. If a Los Angeles policeman arrests an illegal alien and reports him to the federal authorities, it is the Los Angeles cop who will be in big trouble.

Border Patrol agents can knock themselves out capturing people trying to enter the country illegally but nothing happens to most of those people, even the ones organizing the smuggling of people and drugs into this country.

An Associated Press dispatch reports: "The vast majority of people caught smuggling immigrants across the border near San Diego are never prosecuted for the offense, demoralizing the Border Patrol agents, according to an internal document obtained by the Associated Press."

In other words, we have make-believe border control and the current Senate legislation will weaken even that, all the while talking about "tough" enforcement. That "tough" enforcement is a promise but legalizing illegal aliens is immediate and irrevocable and its consequences irreversible and lasting far into the future.

"Border control" is just political cover for legalizing illegal aliens. The two things are put together in a package deal that is like horse-and-rabbit stew, whose ingredients are one horse and one rabbit. Border control is the rabbit.

The word games played about "amnesty" deliberately confuse the issue of violations of American law with the issue of acquiring American citizenship.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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