It’s hard to have a debate when the people who want to participate don’t know what the debate is about. We mentioned this the other week–we took election week off–with Jonah Goldberg’s discussion of the border fence. And again in the past few days the my way or the status quo meme has reappeared:
>Increased border patrol, a 700-mile fence to stop the easiest access routes (something President Bush signed into law two weeks ago), employer sanctions and encouragement of one official language can all help solve the crisis. But once the debate is renewed, congressional reformers will be blitzed by advocates of the failed status quo with a series of false assumptions concerning the issue.
>Take, for example, the shared self-interest argument–that the benefits to both the U.S. and Mexico of leaving our borders open trumps the need for enforcement of existing laws and outweighs the costs to U.S. taxpayers that result from massive influxes of poor illegal aliens.
Take also for example the argument for turning the elderly into soylent green. “Leaving the borders open” is rather different from “tolerating illegal immigration as it stands.” I don’t think even these cold-hearted people would advocate the current system of institutionalized illegality. And so for the rest.