Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cry Me A Rio Grande.

Anti-immigrationists are jumping up and down and crying "no amnesty" at the news of the proposed immigration legislation. Radio talk-show ratings must be through the roof and phone lines in Congress must be red hot by now. Anti-immigrationists are one pissed off and vocal constituency.

Thomas Sowell is the latest commentator to criticize the plan to offer legal status to current illegal immigrants. He complains that the plan would not be tolerated as a way of dealing with other crimes. As he puts it,
"Does anyone suggest that, if domestic criminals come forward, pay some fine, and apply to have their crimes overlooked, they can be put on a path to be restored to good standing in our society?" (Here.)
One wonders if he's ever heard of probation.

What he describes is pretty much what we do with petty criminals who deserve some kind of punishment and monitoring but who don't deserve imprisonment. We have them pay a fine, we may make them serve a bit of time, we monitor their behavior, and we set them on a path to be restored to good standing in our society. We'll even expunge their crimes from court records in certain cases.

If probation is an option for petty criminals, it should be an option for illegal immigrants. Illegal aliens violated our immigration laws to come and stay here, but at least they are here to work. Let's secure the US-Mexican border as needed. As for the illegal aliens already in our country, let's make probation an option.


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