Friday, August 5, 2005

Immigration is a mess

Americans and their political leaders are schizophrenic about immigration, and what passes today for policy is a mess.

Comes now more confusion: Western Idaho's Canyon County has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that large employers are violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) because, allegedly, they're hiring illegal aliens.

From this distance, the action looks like a stretch. Defendants also deny anything illegal. And there's the distinct appearance of politics involved: The lawsuit was spearheaded by Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez, who is a candidate for Congress in District 1.

That aside, states and local governments are left to deal with immigration issues that are properly the responsibility of the White House and Congress—neither of which have done much to take charge.

With Mexico now the preeminent exporter of illegal drugs into the United States, with the Mexican border still porous enough for more illegal crossings, and with an estimated 10 million illegals now here, delaying a firm, enforceable policy only worsens conditions for states where border-crossers head.

Deporting all illegals through eventual visa incentives (as U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, proposes) is unrealistic and unworkable, although politically appealing.

More workable is Sen. John McCain's legislation that provides an "amnesty" for illegals already here in exchange for registering. This would get a handle on the problem while not disrupting hundreds of employers who depend on unskilled labor.

In the end, however, sealing the Mexico-U.S. border is the only true solution. That will take more effort than the White House and Congress have shown thus far.

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