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Four Questions About Immigration

The issue that won't go away.

3:36 PM, May 6, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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The reaction to SB 1070 is as interesting as the bill itself. The hysteria, the boycotts, the rallies, and "Los Suns" suggest that, in the future, immigration, not health care, might be regarded as the dominant domestic issue of our time. The problem is that a lot of people who are worried about Arizona -- myself included! -- seem to want it both ways. They want America to remain a beacon for immigrants, a welcoming country that treats everyone equally.  But they also want to uphold the rule of law and the principle that a country is sovereign over its borders. Too often, the latter goal is seen to conflict with the former. So here are four questions for opponents of SB 1070 who claim not to embrace the radical, open borders position that ruled until 1875:

1. Does the law have meaning? That is, if Congress has declared certain forms of migration illegal, isn't the state (broadly construed) required to enforce those laws?

2. Does illegal immigration suppress the wages of low-skilled workers?

3. Does America have the right to fence its borders?

4. Of which enforcement measures should we approve?

After due consideration, it's hard to answer Yes to questions one, two, and three, and not think SB 1070 is a basically sensible answer to question four.

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