If you missed it, read the always interesting Fareed Zakaria's "To Become an American" in yesterday's Washington Post. Zakaria has a fun little rhetorical gambit, suggesting that the anti-immigration forces in the U.S. are trying to transform American immigration law along European lines. (That ought to get under the skin of the oh so redder-than thou House Republians.) According to Zakaria:
Many Americans have become enamored of the European approach to immigration -- perhaps without realizing it. Guest workers, penalties, sanctions and deportation are all a part of Europe's mode of dealing with immigrants. The results of this approach have been on display recently in France, where rioting migrant youths again burned cars last week. Across Europe one sees disaffected, alienated immigrants, ripe for radicalism. The immigrant communities deserve their fair share of blame for this, but there's a cycle at work. European societies exclude the immigrants, who become alienated and reject their societies. . . . . Compared with every other country in the world, America does immigration superbly. Do we really want to junk that for the French approach?
Zakaria also pin point the fundamental contradiction faced by many conservative Republicans who support free trade in goods but not free trade in labor:
The United States has a real problem with flows of illegal immigrants, largely from Mexico (70 percent of illegal immigrants are from that one country). But let us understand the forces at work here. "The income gap between the United States and Mexico is the largest between any two contiguous countries in the world," writes Stanford historian David Kennedy. That huge disparity is producing massive demand in the United States and massive supply from Mexico and Central America. Whenever governments try to come between these two forces -- think of drugs -- simply increasing enforcement does not work. Tighter border control is an excellent idea, but to work, it will have to be coupled with some recognition of the laws of supply and demand -- that is, it will have to include expansion of the legal immigrant pool.
What he said...