Is the solution to the immigration debate simply to break it? Maybe.
If they’d really wanted to help, as opposed to braying about their own wonderfulness, they would have created not one big bill but a series of smaller bills, each of which would do one big clear thing, the first being to close the border. Once that was done–actually and believably done–the country could relax in the knowledge that the situation was finally not day by day getting worse. They could feel some confidence. And in that confidence real progress could begin.
Even John Fund came to a similar conclusion (last minute or two of video) while the WSJ editorial board was spitting on conservatives who don’t agree with them (Toranto stayed quiet and Noonan wasn’t present).
I believe that conservatives and the nation is (past) ready for a real solution to this problem. However, the nation (and its conservative subset) want a clear, open debate of the issue and proof that the government will actually enact enforcement measures, rather than just handing out another amnesty.
Noonan nails it with her suggestion. Break things up so that they are clearly focused on an issue (or set of closely related issues) and allow for open public debate (rather than the closed door, ‘we’re ramming this through in a week’ debacle).
By first addressing the long promised (and never effectively acted on) enforcement and border security measures, a massive amount of mistrust will be alleviated. This, in my opinion (and, I’m guessing, Ms. Noonan’s), would result in a huge evaporation of opposition to subsequent bills dealing with temporary worker visas and legalizing those currently present in the US (w/o criminal records, informing victims of id theft, fines, going to the back of the line, etc). A focused bill would also allow for a better assessment of methods to verify the alien was, indeed, working here and isn’t just providing false documentation of work history (the current bill seems very open to this type of abuse).
In the citizenship path, it would be critical to provide a FAIR set of rules to both former illegal immigrants and those who’ve spent the time and money in the legal immigration process. This fairness would also have to extend to other benefits (like the DREAM act).
Ultimately, the sum of the various bills’ pages would likely be longer than the current bill but it would provide a clear and complete understanding and debate. Most importantly, public trust would be regained.
UPDATE: Newt’s take on the immigration bill. Is Newt on board with this idea too? Near the end of the clip he states: “Now, why can’t we do a series of small, smart steps…”
UPDATE: McCain threatens riots.
For more background on the bill etc:
Free Ford Mustang? (Update) – No this isn’t about a free car, per se
(Bennett) Placating Utahns on Amnesty Bill (Update)
Calling Your Senator (special number) plus misc stories (update)
Immigration Act’s Unacceptable Flaws (with suggested fixes)
The Immigration Analysis Consolidated (Update)
Count The Amnesties Game (Illegal Aliens and Businesses get Felony Amnesty)
Illegal Immigration ID Theft in a Nutshell (Amnesty)
More can also be found at the Illegal Immigration category.