It's becoming pretty clear the immigration "reform" crowd is going to push this monstrosity through, no matter what the American people think. In fact, they will delude themselves into thinking everybody but a few cranky, conservative racists is coming around to the right way of thinking:
After a week at home with their constituents, the Senate architects of a delicate immigration compromise are increasingly convinced they will hold together this week to pass a sweeping overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.
Momentum is building behind one unifying theme: Today's immigration system is too broken to go unaddressed.
Congress's week long Memorial Day recess was expected to leave the bill in tatters. But with a week of action set to begin today, the legislation's champions say they now believe the voices of opposition, especially from conservatives, represent a small segment of public opinion.
Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, who led negotiations on the bill for his party, said the flood of angry calls and protests that greeted the deal two weeks ago has receded every day since then.
"You just have to recognize you will get 300 calls, you'll get conflicts at town hall meetings, all of them negative," said Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, who consulted with Kyl and hopes to carry a similar deal through the House in July. "The last few days have really turned things around."
Public opinion polls seem to support Kyl's contention that Americans are far more open to the deal than the voices of opposition would indicate. In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 52 percent said they would support a program giving illegal immigrants the right to stay and work in the United States if they pay a fine and meet other requirements. Opposition to that proposal was 44 percent.
If there has been any shift in public thinking, it's not likely because anybody has "come around." People can see what's going on, and they're just giving up on the whole thing. But I suspect they will be heard from again, no matter what the politicians tell themselves.
The current immigration system is not "broken." It is merely being ignored. Every time there is "reform," it is supposed to include forgiving, to one extent or another, the illegals already here and things like border security and employer sanctions to keep any more from coming in. But what happens, as in 1986, is that the forgiveness is the only thing that sticks. Everything else goes away.
So the few million illegal immigrants in the 1980s became the 10 to 12 million today. If officials are willing to ignore the current laws, why should we trust them to enforce any new ones. Why won't the 10 to 12 million today become 20 or 40 million the next time around? Then, there'll be more talk about a "broken" system, and we'll start the whole thing all over again. Call it amnesty or anything else you like, but the minute the bill (if in its current form) is signed, all the illegals will suddenly be given legal status, Then watch the pressure start building for not being so "cruel" as to actually enforce anything.
Here, for what it's worth, is a poll that's probably closer to the truth because it takes the trouble of sorting out the opinions of people who actually say they understand the basics of the issue:
As the Senate prepares to vote on a landmark immigration bill, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds that Americans who have an opinion about it are overwhelmingly opposed to the deal.
By nearly 3-1, those who have a view say they're against the compromise supported by Senate Democratic leaders and President Bush. However, 58% of those surveyed say they don't know enough about the legislation to favor or oppose it.
This should just about end any illusions anybody has about George Bush being a conservative president -- it's becoming a mystery why liberals still hate him so much. (Oh, wait. He just caved on global warming, too.) Just as the war in Iraq is energizing the liberal base and making it more important in the primaries, this is energizing the conservative base and making it even more important in the primaries. Don't expect we'll see a lot of moderate thoughtfulness in any of the debates for either side. We'll have to wait for the second round, after the primaries, for that and then decide how much of it to believe.