Illegality is Crime. Duh.
Bush's immigration proposal is a non-starter. The guest worker idea is a sham. The "workers" will in no way be "guests". They will stay. Why would they want to go back to their homelands after 6 years working in the US? "Guest Worker" is just another term for immigrant. Name one nation with a guest worker program where the "guests" left on their own accord. Here's a hint - the answers aren't France, Holland, or Germany.
Don't get me wrong. My wife is an immigrant, a legal immigrant. (and she is more anti-illegal immigration than I am). Both of us have endured the lengthy, confusing and expensive legal immigration process. To grant amnestry by paying some nominal fine is an insult to all those who have gone through the legal channels. (To be even remotely fair the fine would have to exceed the sum of all the various application fees for travel premission, work permission, etc. This is unlikely as it would make the fine would quite steep.)
The entire immigration reform discussion rests on several false premises. "The border cannot be secured." Wrong. The federal government may lack the will to secure the border. It may be expensive and inconvenient. It may piss off a lot of people but it is possible. Borders are and have been secured all over the world and throughout history. For the government to admit that it cannot secure the nation's borders is tantamount to abdicating sovereignty since one of the primary goals of the nation-state is control over a defined physical space.
"Illegals are taking jobs that Americans don't want." Wrong. They are taking jobs that Americans don't want at the wages the employers are paying illegals. It's Economics 101. If there are no workers at a given wage then the employer must increase wages to attract workers. Americans would take all the jobs that illegals now have if the compensation were sufficient. I would make beds in a hotel or wash dishes or cook for your neighbors for a certain wage, but not for $4 an hour and no benefits.
Sure, raising wages enough to attract Americans to agriculture, construction, and to the manual labor and service sector jobs illegals take would increase prices for a wide variety of goods and services but that's how the economy works. Suck it up buttercup. Maybe paying the true cost of goods and services would make American consumers re-evaluate our purchasing habits and stop buying crap we don't need.
Like it or not illegal workers are competing with American workers and driving down wages and prices. How could they not be? Think of the jobs illegals take. Now ask yourself who performed those same jobs 40 years ago? 75 years ago? Who washed our dishes, built our homes, mowed our lawns, unloaded our trucks and worked in meat packing in 1950? Americans. Why? Because employers paid them enough to do so.
Employers of all types, from Wal-Mart to the local bar to the family next door, love illegals because they get labor at below market rates. Any rational immigration reform must include draconian punishments against hiring illegals. Not simply crushing fines and jail time but orchestrated public shaming of those convicted. Display their names and faces in newspapers and on tv. Provide a searchable index on the Web. Ostracize them as the criminals that they are.
If we want to increase legal immigration as part of the reforms, I am all for it. Clearly I support legal immigration. The point is not, as the noxious Oliver Willis believes, to keep out the "brown-skinned folks" but to control who comes into our country and why. The point is Law. Illegal immigration is crime. Those who promote it and enable it are criminals. By definition.
Lawlessness promotes lawlessness.
Update: More in the comments section here.