In the political debates I engage in, I've chosen a side and stay pretty consistent with it. This side normally aligns with the Republican party. But I disagree with President Bush's immigration policy, and the Senate version of an immigration bill.
I just listened to Sean Hannity interview Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and caught myself screaming at the radio. Here's why:
There are basically three parts to the immigration debate.
1) Securing the borders.
2) Dealing with those illegal immigrants already in the United States.
3) Providing a streamlined way for citizens of other countries to come into the US to work.
There is almost no disagreement between the warring factions about #1 and #3. We all want secure borders, and we all would like to find a simple, legal way for non-citizens to come here. There is some disagreement about #2 -- the "amnesty" question.
Hannity believes, as do I, that each aspect of the question should be considered in separate legislation. Legislation (if needed; I'm not sure we need any more laws than we have already) could be passed tout de suite on those parts that are in agreement.
Attorney General Gonzales, on the other hand, defended the President's plan, which is similar to the Senate plan, saying that "it would be wrong to consider only one point while we let the other points fester." [Paraphrasing mine. - kw] Therefore, according to his argument, we must have the "comprehensive" immigration bill which would encompass all facets of the immigration issue.
So the "comprehensive" bill passed by the Senate collides with the more conservative bill from the House, and nothing gets done because no compromise is possible. I repeat, nothing gets done. (Sidebar: Why do we let Congress vote for their own pay increases?)
The solution is clear, at least to me: Introduce three separate bills simultaneously, each dealing with a single part of the immigration issue. The only delay then would be on the bill over which there might be an honest debate. Meanwhile, the other bills would pass quickly, and the immigration issue could be addressed properly.
I'm not so naive as to imagine that those folks have not thought of the idea. There are obviously other reasons that the politicians on my side of the aisle -- my dogs, so to speak -- don't really want anything to happen on immigration. I wish I knew what those reasons are.
And just like having a mean dog, you want him to win the fights against other mean dogs, but you want to make sure that he doesn't turn around and bite you.
Maybe all politicians should be put on a leash.