Thomas Sowell

Just when it looked like the Senate Republicans had finally gotten the message that the American people in general, and their own supporters in particular, are outraged over amnesty for illegal aliens, some Republican Senators have come up with yet another disguise for amnesty -- and gotten bipartisan support, including Ted Kennedy and John McCain.

Under this new plan, its advocates claim, illegal immigrants would "have to leave the country" and re-apply to come back in legally and get on a path toward citizenship. It sounds good but on closer examination it turns out to be a fraud.

How long would the illegal immigrants have to leave the country? According to the Senate bill they "may exit the United States and immediately re-enter." In other words, do a U-turn and come right back. How is that for "tough" border control?

Nobody else gets into the United States that easily. You can say "tough" all you want and still be a wimp. Or a politician.

How long do the Senate Republicans think they can keep insulting the public's intelligence, with an election just a few months away?

Every gesture that the Senate has made toward controlling the border is one that they have backed into under pressure from an outraged public. The Senators' whole focus has been on what they could do for the illegal aliens, in order to win Hispanic votes -- and how they could camouflage it in order not to lose other votes.

Businesses that want cheap labor are also in favor of amnesty, under whatever name. So are citizen-of-the-world intellectuals, for whom national borders are just unfortunate relics of the past and illegal aliens are just like everyone else except for not having legal documents.

Nobody is just like everyone else, individually or collectively. Second-generation immigrants are not even just like their parents. Their crime rates are far higher than those of their parents who came here to work and who can appreciate the difference between what they had in Mexico and what they have here.

The second generation does not compare their lives here with how people live in Mexico. They compare their lives with the lives of other Americans -- and there are all sorts of people around to tell them that the difference is due to injustices that they suffer.

Some of the more doctrinaire free trade advocates see the free movement of people across national borders as being just like the free movement of goods. But, when you buy a Toyota, it doesn't issue demands that our automobile laws be in Japanese and it doesn't have little Toyotas that add to the crime rate or to the burdens of our school system.

Moreover, when a Toyota needs repair, it doesn't go to an emergency room and expect the taxpayers to pay for parts and labor.

Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate