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A Broken Immigration Debate

In 2010, 54 percent of Americans thought our immigration system was broken. Today, that number is 74 percent. Aaron Blake of the Washington Post contends that this means “immigration reform” is winning.This seems a strange comment, because public fears about our defunct immigration system don’t guarantee better policy. We could, by a seeming lack of options, simply exacerbate all that is worst in our current immigration system. Alternatively, critics of the current system could begin the process of creating a broad-based reform coalition. Continue Reading »

Opportunity and Incentives

President Obama’s recent actions to effectively exempt millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation and to issue them work permits has caused frustration among many who believe that neither the precedents nor the law support the his actions. The president’s opponents have focused on what can done in the short-term to reverse his executive orders, or at least make him pay a political price. But rather than simply reacting, conservatives should learn from their experiences with Obamacare. In the short-term,, the ability of the Republican Congress to reverse the president’s executive orders or repeal Obamacare is very limited. It matters much more what President Obama’s opponents are prepared to do the next time they wield greater policymaking power. Continue Reading »

The Conservative Principle in Obama’s Refusal to Act

Conservatives have been critiquing President Obama’s proposed executive amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. But the principle underlying the proposal is one that conservatives might want to accept rather than criticize. He is refusing, under certain conditions, to take action authorized by law. That is, he is choosing to allow certain categories of private action to stand by refusing to apply authorized responses. Continue Reading »

Conservatives’ Mixed Message on Immigration

America has “bad-faith open borders.” We limit immigration but we enforce those limits only sporadically. Fred Bauer argues that this “is a distorted hybrid of the United States’ tradition of ordered borders and of the transnationalist aim of entirely open borders.” The distortion is real, but it is not rooted entirely in transnationalism. It is also rooted in a certain kind of American exceptionalism that has a history on the right, but that conservatives don’t talk about very much. Getting past “bad-faith open borders” will require rejecting romanticism and looking to the facts of the American present. Continue Reading »

Tragic Compassion

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 90,000 unaccompanied minors will be apprehended attempting to enter the United States this year, up from 40,000 last year. DHS expects the number to grow to more than 140,000 next year. Ranging in age from six to seventeen, many of these minors travel more than 1700 treacherous miles from Honduras across Guatemala and Mexico. Continue Reading »

The Folly of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Advocates of a mass amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens, under the banner of “comprehensive immigration reform,” seldom fail to mention “church leaders” and “faith groups” as part of their “coalition.” One might think that the complex issues of how many and which aliens should be permitted to immigrate and how we should deter unlawful immigration by the millions who will not qualify comes down to a simple moral question: What would Jesus do? Continue Reading »

Forgetting Middle America

Speaking at a party retreat, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told his colleagues that the party had spent too much time talking about the concerns of business owners and entrepreneurs and not enough about the concerns of that majority who were not (and in many cases did not want to be) business . . . . Continue Reading »

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