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Enforcement Futility and Compromise Impossibility

By Mike Tate

President Bush is blunt.

While speaking in Southern California previously, he blasted any conservative dreams and ambitions of deporting this nation's entire population of illegal aliens - "Massive deportation [of illegals] here is unrealistic." Our president could be right.

If Congress legislates on the concerns of the American people and compromises to pass a bill advocating for the deportation of many illegal aliens, instituting large scale immigration law enforcement, and eliminating social services for illegal aliens, who would enforce such a bill?

The authorities running major bastions where illegal immigration is rife will definitely not. In California, Maywood recently voted against any federal law criminalizing illegal immigrants or requiring police departments to enforce immigration law. Coachella, California, just declared itself a "sanctuary" city; nulling immigration enforcement. Cambridge, Massachusetts is "reaffirming its 1985 resolution declaring itself a sanctuary city." San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom opposes any immigration legislation "criminalizing" illegal aliens. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa succinctly provides his city's stance on illegal immigration when he audaciously proclaims that there are "no illegal people here." Chicago, too, will resist any immigration law advocating the felonization of illegal aliens. The list where illegal immigrants are safely harbored goes on: Houston, Seattle, Denver, Austin, Portland, Long Beach, San Diego, New York, and many more scattered towns across America. Amnesty is not inevitable, it is already here.

Compounding the rise of sanctuary cities across the United States is the powerful influence of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Roger Mahony claims the Los Angeles Archdiocese "will ignore a proposed federal law that would require churches to ask immigrants for residency documents before administering help." Nearly mirroring Cardinal Mahony's view is San Antonio's Archbishop, José Gomez, who, "cannot endorse a law that makes criminals of an estimated 11 to 12 million [illegal immigrants]." Mahony and Gomez are hardly alone among many Catholic leaders backing comprehensive immigration reform advocating for a guest-worker program and allowing for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship.

Reconciling viewpoints on this immigration issue is difficult enough in the Senate. Resolving differences between the two chambers of Congress on this immigration issue in conference may prove impossible. The immigration bill passed in the House late last year includes building vast border fences along the U.S.-Mexico border, disallowing employers to hire illegal aliens, and tightening border security with military and local law enforcement if needed. The immigration bill being debated in the Senate now has provisions for permanently doubling the number of legal immigration into the United States, eventually legalizing most illegal aliens, and unsurprisingly a guest worker program allowing thousands of foreign workers entry into the United States. The Senate continues to gravitate towards President Bush's hopes of "earned" legalization for illegal aliens while the House continues to distance itself from any bill allowing illegal aliens to obtain the grand prize - U.S. citizenship.

The distance between the House and Senate bill is so great, compromise will probably not be reached until after midterm elections later this year. Either the House's form of immigration reform will prevail or the Senate's version with the President's backing will be victorious. One chamber will give.

As Congress stalls, the most valuable natural resource is running out: time. Time is crucial. Time is everything in this debate. Every day, every week, more illegal aliens cross into the United States. These numbers aren't showing any signs of stopping and are rising dramatically too. If compromise is not reached this year, when will it? In 5 years? In 10 years? By then immigration reform will be futile, more sanctuary cities will inevitably exist, and the border between Mexico and California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas will exist only on paper and the region will fuse. Are we planning on deporting the entire southern half of California or Arizona? Immigration reform competes with the reality of demographic transition throughout America.

At some point reality has to intercede.

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