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Illegal Immigration: That was so 2006

August 05, 2008 - Posted by Maurice Belanger

It seems that, these days, crisis is the fuel of politics in Washington.  Not that crisis actually moves today’s politicians to solve problems.  No, what crisis provides is a new opportunity for a politician to come up with the sound bite that will give him or her an advantage over an opponent.

Today, the crisis is the price of gasoline, and the sound bite is offshore drilling.  Some of the people who yesterday were holding up business in the House and Senate by trying to attach deportation-only proposals to every piece of legislation are today maneuvering to attach drilling-only proposals to every piece of legislation.

Now, these politicians know as well as the next guy that oil from sources that haven’t yet been explored won’t make it to the gas pumps for many years but, if voters aren’t paying too close attention to the details, offshore drilling might be the sound bite that sounds like a solution, just as in 2006, a crackdown on illegal immigration was thought to be the magic sound bite that would hoodwink voters into thinking that the candidates were actually trying to solve a problem.

To paraphrase my favorite line from Lilly Tomlin: No matter how cynical you get in this town, it’s impossible to keep up.

On the positive side, until someone figures out how to tie undocumented immigrants to the price of gasoline, there is a bit of diminishment of attention to illegal immigration and harsh enforcement-only proposals.

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