On May 18, taking our cue from the immigration compromise bill put forth with much ballyhoo and great optimism, we resumed a long-running discussion concerning immigration and acculturation on this blog.

I compliment our readers and contributors for stepping up to the democratic task of engaging national politics on an individual level. I am extremely proud of the conversation we had here. Kudos to the Bosque Boys community.

Having said that, we are where we were:

In fact, what I said on 18 May, "Immigration Comes Home to Roost" (you may review that post here) seems to me appropriate still:

1. For political reasons, Republicans passed on their best opportunity to craft meaningful immigration legislation back when they ran Washington (109th Congress).

2. The Political Strategy failed miserably. A hard line on immigration could not save the dismal Republican majority in 2006.

3. Choosing politics over policy in 2006 risked that nothing got done on immigration for a long time.

4. Doing nothing (then and now) means de facto amnesty and affirming a status quo that almost all of us agree is unacceptable.

5. On May 18, the Republican House and the conservative grassroots woke up to find themselves on the outside looking in, befuddled and angry.

Today they are still on the outside looking in--but much happier as a result of derailing the latest bill. I give conservatives credit for a bravura performance in mobilizing against this legislation. If nothing else, conservatism illustrated its independence and residual power in American politics.

Okay, most of the above is water under the bridge. But many of the problems then are still the same today.

Where Are We Now? I am not sure much has changed since 20 May when I wrote about a "tangled immigration dilemma faced by conservatives" (the full post here):

1. Our system of regulating immigration (especially immigration from Mexico) is so dysfunctional as to be non-existent.

2. We have no idea how many illegal aliens we are currently hosting in our nation, but most credible estimates indicate somewhere around 12,000,000 undocumented persons.

3. If we do nothing, immigration will continue to exist as an unrestrained force of nature, disturbed only by market variables.

4. The hard-line stance of many conservatives (an impermeable fence, massive deportations, an army on the border capable of maintaining complete security, etc.) is not politically possible in the foreseeable future.


The Democrats control both houses of Congress. They are content to allow the current system to continue unmolested.

The Republicans are divided on the issue between nativists and market-oriented, Wall Street Journal type conservatives, who believe that a large segment of the undocumented (illegal) population are essential to our economy.

The rest of America is mostly divided, ambivalent or apathetic; there is no national consensus for action at this moment.

5. Doing nothing means the continuation of a regime all of us (conservatives) can agree is bordering on disastrous.

6. We cannot get everything we want. We cannot even decide on what it is exactly that we want.

For the record, here is what I [still] want:

--secure borders (as much as that is possible)

--national ID cards

--tough penalties for employers who employ illegal workers

--some humane system for allowing workers from Mexico to work for American employers as the need arises

--some humane system for allowing a larger percentage of those workers to become American citizens, recognizing our special relationship with Mexico and other neighbors to the South

What to do?

Join the process with reasonable expectations and honest intentions. Let's get in the game and help solve the problem.