MEGAN MCARDLE: “I find the argument that the problem with immigrants is illegal immigration pretty uncompelling. . . . It is far from clear to me that being an illegal alien is a morally wrong, as opposed to legally wrong, act.”
I certainly agree that we’re talking about malum prohibitum rather than malum in se here. Just like if you don’t pay your taxes. But it seems to me that most of the anger out there isn’t about the immigrants at all, but about the arrogance of, and the transparently disingenuous arguments made by, Trent Lott and the other folks in Congress and the White House in support of the bill.
UPDATE: Readers wonder if we’ll have an amnesty for people who don’t pay their taxes? Well, we’ve seen that kind of thing before, actually. Of course, moral arguments aside there’s a good argument that the already-swamped federal immigration bureaucracy can’t possibly handle the demands that the immigration bill would impose. And there’s the question of assimilation, which to me is most important: We’ve assimilated big waves of immigrants before, but that was back when the folks in charge of education and government thought assimilation was a good thing — as we see in Britain, when the dominant ideology is PC-ish and multi-culti, we tend to see a sort of reverse-assimilation instead.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A look at one-time tax amnesty: The sequel.
MORE: Speaking of Trent Lott . . . .