Saturday, April 01, 2006

Trail of Tears

Though the right has been ridiculing Russ Feingold for his censure proposal, declaring it as an accepted fact that the only possible rational for such a position is posturing for the presidential primary, there is much more extremism and political posturing by Republicans.

Bill Frist has taken just about the most extreme position imaginable in politics today, calling for the U.S. government to round up and deport over 11 million illegal immigrants. From Frist's recent appearance on Hannity and Colmes:
COLMES:And you can't just deport 11 million people. That's just not a workable policy, is it?

FRIST: Well, I think it is workable. And, really, if you don't do that, Alan, what I'm worried about is that you will increase just the opposite of that. If you say that every 10 or every 15 years you're going to say, "Well, you broke the law, but that's OK," that's going to create a huge underground of people coming into this country, five years from now, 10 years from now, no matter what bill we pass.

COLMES: How would you get 11 million people out of the country?

FRIST: Well, I think it's a challenge. First of all, we have about 7.5 million people who are working right now that we need to identify them, we need to have the appropriate -- what we call Real I.D., which is also a part of my bill. We need to be able to identify them. We need to charge them with a misdemeanor, if that is necessary, if they're here illegally...

COLMES: Deport them?

FRIST: ... if they've broken the law. And then, indeed, have them go back home.
There are any number of angles from which this position is unbelievable. The least of those is economic: how many millions or billions of dollars would it cost the federal government to locate, apprehend, and deport 12 million people? That's the size of the population of Ohio. As Jon Stewart pointed out, imagine the Elian Gonzales fiasco (knocking down a door, guns loaded) and multiply that by 12 million.

Secondly, how completely inconsistent is this with small-government conservatism? If an American citizen is hiding an illegal immigrant in their house, is the federal government going to send the FBI to forcably enter the home, arrest the immigrant as well as his co-conspirating citizen friend?

To grasp how enormous an endeavor this would be, see Geoge Will's recent column, in which he points out that to detain 12 million illegal immigrants would require 200,000 coach buses, creating a caravan that would stretch from San Diego to Alaska (seriously).

Russ Feingold is calling for the Senate to slap the wrist of a President who has circumvented the Constitution and broken statutory law, while Bill Frist wants the federal government to round up 12 million illegal immigrants and ship them back (assumedly at taxpayer's expense) to their respective countries of origin.

And just to bring up a small point that seems to have been do we locate ILLEGAL immigrants? Force every human being within our borders to produce identification, and those who don't are assumed illegal? Something tells me that those who did cross the border with intent to harm America will be able to outmanuever such draconian measures.


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