Dems Poised to Screw Up Immigration Reform

It's no wonder that Congress has proven itself incapable of reforming the nation's immigration system.

Liberals and conservatives have different ideas of what "reform" means. Liberals think it means legalizing the undocumented, while conservatives think it means securing the borders. Liberals are reluctant to confront labor unions that oppose guest workers, just as conservatives never miss a chance to weaken employer sanctions opposed by big business. But another problem is that, once in power, both sides have the same tendency to overreach.

When Republicans controlled Congress and the White House, they abandoned common sense, pandered to the extremes, devised simplistic solutions, and attacked the problem with outrageous proposals that never stood a chance of being accepted by the other side.

Now that Democrats control Congress and the White House, they're ready to abandon common sense, pander to the extremes, devise simplistic solutions, and attack the problem with outrageous proposals that don't stand a chance of being accepted by the other side.

Republicans started out with strong arguments that enjoyed a substantial amount of popular support -- that the United States couldn't have porous borders after the Sept. 11th attacks, that existing laws should be enforced, that those in the country illegally have earned a one-way trip out of the country, etc. Then some of them lost focus and veered off into more controversial territory by declaring English the national language, threatening to deny citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, and targeting churches and social service agencies that aid illegal immigrants. These ideas were more divisive and unrealistic. And so they ultimately helped rally the opposition and kill reform.