Jeff Flake to the rescue on immigration reform?

Ain't no cake walk for Flake's new bill, but it does offer hope.

At first glance, Rep. Jeff Flake's new immigration reform bill seems to offer hope of a compromise on the issue between the pro and anti camps. It presents a pathway to legal residency for the 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants in our midst, though that pathway is by no means a cake walk. They'd have to go to a "point of entry" and touch foreign soil and return, this time legally, into the U.S. There would be fines to pay, they'd have to learn English, and they'd have to wait and wait and wait for their status to be finalized. But at least, finally, there would be a way.

Flake's bill would also establish renewable, three-year guest worker visas, and require that border security be upgraded before the whole shebang starts. I haven't read the doorstop-sized bill, and few have at this point, but it does sound like a very, very promising possible compromise. Of course, that's from someone who believes the more the merrier when it comes to immigration. So I'm not the person you have to convince. Those in favor of treating the undocumented like human beings have never been against compromise. It's the crazies in the radical right, the Minutemen and bull-headed bigots like state Rep. Russell Pearce, who've wanted no compromise on this issue.

Indeed, Chris Simcox's Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has, predictably, already rejected the Flake bill as a "roadmap to amnesty." But of course, should there ever be comprehensive immigration reform, the Minutemen in all their various guises would cease to exist. And what would the rednecks down at Rusty Childress's PHX Kia dealership do every Thursday night when they normally hold their whiny white man bitch sessions? No, these folks want the situation to remain intractable. They want to punish Mexican immigrants here, and send all of the illegals back in one fell swoop, no matter that this punitive "final solution" to the immigration problem will likely never occur.

The racist wing-nuts, weekend warriors and white pride pols will have to be presented with fait accompli in the form of a Congressional compromise that they'll fuss about, but must accept as the law of the land. I don't know if Flake can pull this off with the help of like-minded individuals and break the deadlock. As we're heading toward the 2008 Presidential contest, I would not be surprised if it goes nowhere or is scuttled with each side blaming the other for the failure. All the same, Flake earns plaudits for trying.

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