Rich Lowry on the immigration deal:
It might be the fate of President Bush to be remembered as the emblem of an Age of Cynicism, when despite many encouraging economic and social indicators we experienced a deep public funk, driven by the feeling that government couldnt be trusted to do anything, at least not well.
This is the spirit that more than anything else brought down (for now) the Senates Grand Compromise on immigration. It wasnt Bushs declining clout or raging xenophobia so much as the collective grassroots reply to the White Houses detailed explications of the enforcement provisions in the bill: We simply dont believe you.
His administration had made no appreciable attempt to enforce immigration laws until recently. A government cant ignore its own laws without creating deep suspicions about its motives. Then there was the question of capability. At the same time the administration was maintaining it could process at least 12 million illegal immigrants into a complex path to citizenship, it couldnt even manage to issue passports in a timely manner when new regulations passed in 2004 came into effect.
It’s just that simple — if we are not enforcing current laws, why should we believe that any new laws would be enforced? There were some tough measures in the immigration bill that we could point to and admit that they were a step in the right direction. But words without action mean nothing. That’s what we are seeing from the Senate and the White House. They say that we are all wrong and that all these triggers will ensure that nobody gets amnesty (whatever the current definition of that word is). I don’t really see how that Z-visa amounts to anything else, when it can be renewed indefinitely.
Let’s assume for a minute that they were serious about enforcing the new laws. Even with the 10-12 million illegals already here, we don’t have the resources to do anything about those people. Yet we want to dump millions more on another overworked and overstretched bureaucracy. This makes absolutely no sense to me. We don’t have to deport them all, but we have to start somewhere. The madness must stop, and Congress can begin winning our trust back by sending up an enforcement-only bill first. Otherwise, we will remain skeptical of the need for the kind of comprehensive immigration reform the President and his Senate accomplices want to sell us.