The Nov. 12 article “GOP divide grows on immigration, threatening election prospects” contains analysis that its author, David Lightman of McClatchy’s Washington Bureau, presumably thinks is knowledgeable and shrewd. It “ain’t.”
Lightman divides Republican candidates into “hard-core conservatives who have had enough of compromises” (Trump and Cruz) and “pragmatists” (Rubio, Kasich, and Bush ). The division is between those who agree that illegal aliens must leave our country, including by deportation -- a strategy that journalist Lightman clearly thinks is “nuts” -- and those who favor amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, the pragmatic approach according to Lightman.
This reveals Lightman’s ignorance, for consider the history: The original 1986 mass amnesty, promised to us citizens as a one-time evasion of the rule-of-law, to fix a long-festering problem, was expected to legalize about one million illegal aliens. The number turned out to be around 2.7 million, and the incidence of fraud was enormous (estimated at 800 thousand concentrated in the Special Agricultural Worker component of the amnesty.) Despite that “one time” promise, there have been six subsequent mass amnesties, aggregating to about another three million illegal aliens gaining legal status.
Yet after all that, there are now well over 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S., far more than when we started down this road to nowhere. So what would be “pragmatic” about yet another mass amnesty?
The only strategy that will actually end illegal immigration is to rigorously enforce the laws so that illegal aliens can’t get jobs, can’t collect public benefits, and will be deported (individually) if they have encounters with police. Then most illegal aliens will leave (“self deport”) on their own, the “attrition by enforcement” approach that’s worked whenever it’s been tried. Trump and Cruz understand this, while Kasich, Rubio, Bush and journalist Lightman choose not to. Militarized mass deportations aren’t needed.