Monday, April 03, 2006

What Amnesty?

Today's Boston Herald pours water on the idea that the Senate is currently offering some form of "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants. Their editorial page urges compromise, noting that "anti-immigrant voices" are "generating more heat than light." From the editorial:

[C]ritics of a bipartisan immigration bill passed by a Senate panel last week are choosing their words carefully, too - especially their flogging of the word "amnesty."

Opponents of the bill insist it gives a get-out-of-jail free card to immigrants who have entered the country illegally. It's hard to argue with folks who consider the requirement that immigrants learn English, pay back taxes, work for six years, pay a fine and only then be allowed to apply for citizenship the equivalent of "amnesty," so we'll agree to disagree.
Speaking of this issue, Fareed Zakaria was on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last week and he made this point. Does the United States really want to follow the example of European immigration -- particularly the French -- with things like guest worker programs, deportation and the like? His argument was that this has not worked particularly well there, and there's little reason to emulate their solution here. Many European countries have a disaffected immigrant population that is, in his words, "ripe for radicalism and prone to terrorism." Both Zakaria and Stewart noted that given Europe's current problems it's hard to even think of another country that 'does' immigration better than the United States has done. It's hard for me to argue with that.