I may have more to say later on the defeat yesterday of the immigration bill. While I welcome its failure, I found much to like in the bill (and a lot to dislike). Still, I was rooting for its defeat for two primary reasons, both of which my Athena articulated (giving words to my thoughts, helping me express ideas with which I was struggling — as do all great writers*) in her column last week (which I have already noted and praised.
I think more conservatives might have supported the bill had it been less unwieldy and had it focused more on securing the border, making that a necessary first step before all other reforms.
Peggy called the bill “a big and indecipherable mess.” Such legislation can lead to much mischief, particularly by activist courts. Peggy’s solution to this mess was to divide up the bill into several smaller pieces of legislation — and to first secure the border:
If they’d really wanted to help, as opposed to braying about their own wonderfulness, they would have created not one big bill but a series of smaller bills, each of which would do one big clear thing, the first being to close the border. Once that was done–actually and believably done–the country could relax in the knowledge that the situation was finally not day by day getting worse. They could feel some confidence. And in that confidence real progress could begin.
In the wake of 9/11, we have to think differently that we did beforehand. That is why (and for other reasons) securing the border is so important. Peggy’s right; if we’re serious about immigration reform, we have to first secure the border. At that point, we’ll be ready to confront the difficult task of how to deal with the millions of illegals who are already here.
And we should do so in legislation that is more concise, easier to understand, with fewer loopholes which would only serve to pass the problem onto future generations — as have previous reforms.
*UPDATE: Of course it’s Peggy who’s the great writer; she helped give words to my thoughts about why this bill troubled me so.