By Bill Maher
Only when the borders are secure, only then can those who are in the US illegally, "come out of the shadows, get biometrically identified, start paying taxes, pay a fine for the law they broke. They can't stay unless they learn our language, and they have to get in the back of line before they become citizens. They can't cut in front of the line regarding people who are doing it right and it can take over a decade to get their green card."
- Lindsay Graham, on "Face the Nation"
He didn't mean it, really. It sounds harsh, but what Lindsay Graham was saying (as predictably as heartburn after a burrito) is that we're going to be having a great big Latino-loving legislative fiesta before Cinco de Mayo.
The language has to be harsh. The Republicans have to strongly condemn the idea of amnesty and the idea of forgiveness, and make it clear that such things will not be tolerated. And they will strictly enforce the letter of their law by making illegal immigrants suffer the deep, painful, merciless punishment of...paperwork!
That's right -- go back to Mexico, because there's no way, Jose. At least not unless you sign here. And here. And here. And give us a DNA sample. Okay, and wait a couple of years, just like you've been waiting, feel free to keep cleaning those toilets while you do. And then...Hey, welcome to America, citizen! Have fun, and please consider voting Republican!
The language that Republicans are going to be spouting for the next few months will continue to sound harsh, as they struggle to convince their base that they are Solving the Problems caused by shiftless Mexicans. And talk is all that's needed, because several of the key problems are imaginary, which are the easiest sort of problems to resolve.
So we'll "close" the border by beefing up security...and then be able to brag about the fact that we've attained a net cross-border migration of zero. Which, of course, we've already got. And we'll force those Mexicans to learn English, which, obviously, most of them want to do. We won't let them steal the jobs we want, which they’re not doing. And we'll make them wait patiently for their papers, which isn't a huge hardship for people who've been waiting anyway.
Obviously, this will be a huge victory for Democrats and something the Republicans are doing only because they feel they have to if they want to remain politically relevant. But let's not fool ourselves -- it's a victory for Democratic ideas, but politically it could work out to be a way better thing for Republicans. If they can convince their base that they've "solved" the illegal immigrant problem and take the nasty Joe Arpaio-type talk off the table, there's not a lot of reason why they couldn't find themselves grabbing much, much larger percentages of the Latino vote right away, and we'll be saying a fond "¡Adios!" to the new "permanent" Democratic advantage.
Then again, you can never underestimate the Republicans' ability to come across as racist douchebags.