Bush had a golden opportunity tonight.
I actually thought he might come out and announce something real. I thought he might acknowledge that the time may not yet be right for his "non-amnesty" amnesty program. I thought he might acknowledge that we need real enforcement now, while we start to work out the details of how we handle our domestic labor shortage.
And we do indeed have a labor shortage. Our economy needs those workers. Shutting off access to Mexican labor would have some seriously bad effects on our economy. Do we really want this? I don't think we do.
At the same time, can we live in border chaos forever? I don't think we can. There are a number of serious concerns with the open border. One is assimilation. A country of 300 million citizens is simply not capable of assimilating tens of millions of people over the course of a few years, particularly when they congregate in Spanish-dominant areas. Massive waves of foreign nationals flowing into our country will change our culture, particularly in the areas of heavy concentration. Are we prepared for that change? Are we satisfied that we can accept and live with that change? At present, the border area of Texas is a rock-solid constituency for Democrats and a dream come true for plaintiff's lawyers. Are we prepared to accept this across the state of Texas? If you haven't really though about it, let me strongly suggest to you that you do so sooner rather than later.
Bush could begin solving this problem tomorrow. He could start by going after the most egregious employers of illegal workers. It's even better if they're mistreating their workers. Show us you're serious about doing your job, Mr. President, and then we may start trusting you again. Then, and only then, will you have the political capital to start unraveling the Gordian Knot of immigration.