But he received his biggest applause for blasting the bipartisan plan
for immigration reform, which he called unworkable. "We are a nation of
compassion, a nation of immigrants," he said. "But this is our home . .
. and we get to decide who comes into our home."
Isn't this an essentially socialist view of property, that the whole country is essentially owned by all of us collectively and it is our government's responsibility to administer access to this community property?
I am just completing a course on the history of Rome from the Teaching Company (whose products have been universally excellent in my experience). One of the interesting things that contributed substantially to Rome's strength, at least through the BC years, was their flexibility and success in absorbing many different peoples into the state. They actually had various grades of citizenship, including such things as Latin Rights where certain peoples could get access to some aspects of citizenship (e.g. ability to conduct commerce and access to the judicial system) while being denied others (e.g. voting).
Can't we figure out something similar? Shouldn't it be possible to allow fairly open access to being present and conducting commerce in this country, while still having much tougher and tighter standards for voting and getting government handouts? The taxes immigrants pay easily cover things like emergency services and extra load on the courts, but fall short of covering extra welfare and education.
Unfortunately, the debate seems to be dominated either by Lou Dobbs racists who see Mexicans as spreading leprosy or by Marxists who see poor immigrants as a wedge to push socialism. The problem is again traceable to a President who tries to lead on divisive issues without trying to clearly communicate a moral high ground. For example, I would have first tried to establish one simple principle that has the virtue of being consistent with most of America's history:
"The US should allow easy access to our country for immigrants, but immigrants should expect that immigration involves financial risks which they, not current Americans, will need to bear. Over time, they will have access to full citizenship but the bar for such rights will be set high."
OK, it needs to be shorter and pithier, but you get the idea. Reagan was fabulous at this, and Clinton was pretty good in his own way. Bush sucks at it.