The Word Police

Sometimes, the very best intentions produce the very worst ideas. And so it is with the recent campaign to rid our national lexicon of what some people are calling the “I-word.”

The word is “illegal.” You and I know that word to simply describe something that is against the law. But, to those activists who agitate on behalf of illegal immigrants – including people who favor an open border and a suspension of all laws against unlawful entry into the United States – the word is an unfair and dehumanizing slur against a group of people who are more accurately described as “undocumented.”

To this bunch, “illegal” is a bad word. And those who use it are bad people. Ironically, that includes a wide swath of the liberal media that often expresses support for comprehensive immigration reform and condemnation of reactionary measures like virtually anything coming out of Arizona these days.

Murder of the DREAM

I’d like to report a murder. The DREAM Act is unresponsive and appears to be gasping its last breath. The trouble is that the cowards who committed this heinous act didn’t even have the guts to show their faces. They killed it in secret, using political sleight of hand and parliamentary procedures. So we don’t know – as President Obama famously said during the health care debate – whose ass to kick. But, if it helps, we do have a last known address for the culprits: The U.S. Senate.

What is Immigration?

Congressional Republicans talk a lot about immigration. And they seem to care a lot about immigration. They just don’t seem to understand a lot about immigration.

They don’t understand that it’s an economic phenomenon and not strictly a law enforcement issue. Poor people in a neighboring country who can’t feed their children but could earn 10 times as much next door aren’t going to let little things like a long treacherous journey across the desert or a shiny billion-dollar border fence stand in their way. U.S. authorities could deport 5,000 illegal immigrants a day, and it won’t do any good because those people will always come back – until they have a better alternative to keep them at home.

And they don’t understand that enforcement-only is not a workable strategy. We can’t simply round up and deport our way out of our immigration fix. While Americans have every right to deport each and every one of the estimated 10.3 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States, that’s never going to happen. And even if it were to happen, most of the deportees would (see above) come right back.  And before it was over, we’d take those millionaires who currently do a brisk business smuggling illegal immigrants and provide enough additional clients to make them into billionaires.

The DREAM Act: Back With a Vengeance

Many Latinos and other Americans have this recurring dream, and they hope Congress has the same one. It involves allowing about 600,000 college-age students who also happen to be illegal immigrants a shot at earned legal status if they complete two years of college or join the military.

And while, just a few weeks ago, the chances that Congress would pass the DREAM Act made the whole idea seem more like a pipedream, the legislation is back with a vengeance.

Democrats are threatening to push the bill through Congress in the lame duck session as what President Obama calls a “down payment” on comprehensive immigration reform. According to, in a meeting at the White House, Obama recently told a handful of Latino lawmakers that he wants Congress to use the lame duck session to pass the DREAM Act. Obama even promised to call reluctant lawmakers personally. That is quite a departure from the timid and hands-off approach that Obama has taken with immigration in the last two years.

Meanwhile, both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have said that they plan to bring the DREAM Act to the floor before the end of the year.