A perceived weakness of the liberal argument on immigration is over-reliance on the concept of compassion. The perception is reinforced in part by reality, as liberals commonly call upon people to remember the importance of basic human solidarity and concern for others in the debate over immigration.
There's no time like a recession to find scapegoats, and immigrants are always a popular choice. Blame immigrants, legal and illegal, for the high unemployment rate. If they weren't here, the complaint goes, millions of great jobs would open up for native-born Americans who are ready and willing to do the work. Get rid of the country's 11 million illegal immigrants and you would solve the unemployment problem. Or would you?
Detractors of immigration reform legislation managed to defeat an effort to get it through Congress in 2006 and 2007 partly through publicly deriding the proposals as "amnesty bills," defining the legislation as efforts to give illegal immigrants a penalty-free opportunity to remain in the United States.
President Barack Obama pushed back his immigration reform agenda until 2010, but a little-known initiative requiring employers to verify the legal status of their workers may ignite a political powder keg.
Just the other day, I had an email from a young woman, a former student, who is trying to do what she can to pursue a nursing degree. Committed to helping others, she is a regular volunteer at Hospice of the Valley.