Wiser counsel would insist on quietly continuing to close the border through increased security, employer sanctions, the use of tamper-proof IDs and completion of the border fence. Without vast influxes of illegals, society gains time to debate hot-button issues like guest-worker programs, amnesty and deportation.
In the interim, the illegal community would become static — and far more rapidly integrate, assimilate, intermarry or voluntarily return home.
But even as the number of illegal arrivals temporarily lessens due to stricter enforcement and the recession, the impatience of activists rises — especially calls for amnesty.
If the administration is foolish enough to go along with demands for such a blanket amnesty, President Obama may gain probable new registered voters, but it would be a political disaster that dwarfs the failed Bush administration attempt at addressing illegal immigration.