Bill Frist is going to give it a shot. This is a chance for Republicans to reject an abominable bill from the House of Representatives (Congressman Sensenbrenner should never have put the felony provision in the bill in the first place).
I've blogged about immigration before, discussing the broken system on at least two occasions, discussing my problems with the right on this issue several times. Even the "rule of law" argument does not fly with me, as the law has become unresponsive to the needs of immigrants and others.
What bothers me the most about this is the fact that I have seen conservatives willing to defend the system - demanding "enforcement first". But this is a nebulous concept, and one on which it is easy to move the goalposts, if you will. There will be some who will always insist on "more enforcement" rather than fixing the problems. One has to ask what the Border Patrol and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement have been doing all this time, playing tiddlywinks?
Yes, they are here and doing jobs - and proving that Americans are, quite frankly, asking too much for the jobs. If someone is willing to do the job cheaper, you can either lower your asking price, or do without the job. The fact is, it doesn't take much training or education to swing a hammer or to carry a lot of material. If you want $20 an hour (or other union-level wages), you're probably asking for too much. College students have little to complain about, too, if you ask me. There are paid internships out there - things that will provide more experience for one's career. Besides, businesses need people all year round, not just when your schoolwork is off. Business is not there to provide college or high school students with a job - they exist to make profits for their owners by providing goods or services to people at the price set by the market. A lot of these folks complaining about immigrants sound like they enjoy being generous with other people's money.
Short version, the economy in general is changing, and those who want to hold tight to the way things were in the 1950s are living in Wolkenkuckkucksheim (or cloud-coukoo-land) - to borrow from Erwin Rommel's description of the Atlantic Wall. That wall reminds us of one other thing - no wall can stand against people determined to break it. The same has been true of the Berlin Wall and the Maginot Line as well.
Will common-sense solutions prevail? Hard to say. On the right, it is acceptable to wage the sort of class warfare we see from Tom Tancredo, Pat Buchanan, and others. In essence, Buchanan and Tancredo want a restribution of wealth from sucessful businesses to those they deem worthy of largesse (namely, undereducated native-born workers in this country) - and they have no problem using "big government" to get it. Perhaps it is time for business to stand up and call these populists out. After all, business is a big part of any successful Republican electoral coalition. They should be heeded, too.
Or the Republicans may hear the sound of checkbooks snapping shut.