IMMIGRATION REFORM….I guess I’m supposed to have an opinion about the immigration reform bill that was hammered out yesterday, but I really don’t. Guest worker programs are a disaster on a variety of levels, so that’s a strike against it. The path to citizenship for current illegals is good, though absurdly complex for dumb political reasons. (Note to Republicans: your base is going to hate this provision no matter how much you lard it up with idiocies designed to make it look like it isn’t “amnesty.” It’s a losing game.) The stiffer employer sanctions are a good idea, but only if the bill includes mechanisms to guarantee they’ll be enforced. That looks iffy to me, though I probably need to educate myself more on the enforcement details. The revised visa protocols are probably a step in the right direction.
So….I dunno. This is the precisely the kind of issue that never produces anything close to a clean bill, so complaining about that is pointless. On substance, I’d give it a C-: it’s worth passing — barely — but probably not worth mourning if it doesn’t. On the politics, it probably deserves about a B, since passing it is likely to piss off the Republican base way more than it will the Democratic base. On the other hand, virtually every leading Republican candidate for president has denounced the bill (McCain is the exception), which means it gives them a wonderful built-in opportunity to recapture the base next year with fire-breathing speeches about how they wouldn’t have sold our country for a mess of pottage if they’d been president. So maybe politically it’s only a C+.
In other words, it’s a mighty close call. Maybe I’ll think differently after I’ve read more about it. We’ll see.