Sunday, April 02, 2006

On Immigration GOP should ask "What Would Jesus Do"

Some of the more strident voices on the right want the US government to round up 12 million illegals (most of whom are Mexican) and send them back across the border. The last time the US government tried to round up 1 foreigner ie Elian Gonzalez and send him back we all know how spectacularly successful that was!!!

The care and custody of foreigners in the hands of the US government especially in the post 9.11 world has been particularly horrible (Gitmo, Abu-Gharaib, the clandestine CIA prisons in foreign countries where we torture people). In addition it would cost $500 Billion to find and transport (in 200,000 school buses in a line stretching from LA to Alaska!!!!) these people back to their home countries.

Many of these illegals are related to US citizens either by having native born children or through marriage. These American citizens have influence because they vote and any attempt to treat their close relatives with a heavy hand will squander the painstaking efforts the GOP has taken in the last 10 years to appeal to Latino voters.

Therefore President Bush has taken a middle of the road approach to this issue. He favors a guest worker program, combined with stricter enforcement of borders and a gradated and slow road to citizenship (it would take 10 years, illegals would pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English, would need to have clean records etc). This puts his thinking in line with Ted Kennedy and John McCain.

The GOP is squandering an excellent opportunity to demonstrate compassionate conservatism in action. Instead the more strident voices have decided to take a strong anti-immigrant stance which would turn these people into criminals. Once again they show that speaking about Christ is always easier than following his example.