It's really fascinating to see the two sides of the Republican party so obviously exposed and President Bush so obviously caught between them. The two sides are, of course, the social conservatives, and the big-business conservatives.
Big business is clearly in favor of a guest worker program--it gives them access to cheap labor. Social conservatives are afraid of increased immigration for more cultural reasons. John Gibson (from FOX) the other night warned white couples that they need to have more babies because hispanics are starting to outnumber them. To them, the problem with hispanic immigration is more about race and culture.
Bush has sided with the big business conservatives. And the social conservatives are unhappy. I find it truly interesting and can't wait to see how it plays out.
Many of you have asked about my own feelings toward immigration. Here's what I think: in order to deal with this problem, we have to deal with both the push and the pull factors that lead people to come here seeking a better life. No one wants to have to come to the U.S. No one wants to leave their family behind. But the lack of economic opportunities in the sending countries and employers who are willing to hire undocumented workers in the U.S. cause a massive flow.
How do we fix it? Securing the borders is important, but unless you ameliorate the flow by stemming the sending and pulling factors, people will always find a way in. We need to really enforce laws that criminalize the employment of undocumented workers. We need to invest in the economic development of the countries that send workers here, creating jobs.
And making humanitarian workers criminals? That's just idiotic.