There are too many constituencies demanding Congress reform our immigration laws for too many good reasons — national security, humanitarian, the strain on state and local governments, the global competitiveness of our economy — for lawmakers to ignore all the problems associated with our current system.
Republicans who will never approve giving citizenship to the 11 million who came here illegally can bellow “amnesty” as loud and as long as they want. They can pretend they haven’t had time to read all its provisions. They can fume and demand more opportunities to offer amendments intended to kill the bill rather than improve it. But these realities won’t change. Ever. It is idiotic or disingenuous to protest otherwise.
It all gets done or nothing gets done. If this bill doesn’t reach the president’s desk, all that will be proved for the present is that a rational immigration system that benefits rather than injures the country remains for the time being beyond the capability of Washington (and, though some might pretend otherwise, Republicans in Congress are part of Washington).
In that case, American businesses will be hurt. Our economy’s competitiveness will suffer. And 11 million people who came here for a better life will remain here for the same reason, even without the legal protections that common sense and simple decency suggest they ought to have.