Who are the felons here, the illegals searching for work or the rapacious bosses who hire them?
There's Bush's German-sounding, business-friendly idea of letting people come in to perform underpaid work with no benefits, but why should they leave? Why can't they stay, those who want to, and get their situations normalized? Why create a class of marginalized, second class citizens like the Turks in Germany? Has anybody noticed that isn't exactly working out?
The illegal immigration issue is extremely complicated, but one of the things it clearly does is create an underclass of exploited people of color who then are blamed for all of society's ills by disaffected Americans who wouldn't get up in the morning for less than the minimum wage.
Some people complain that the illegals are willing to work for much less than them and they take their jobs away from them. They have a point. They should make sure employers don't hire illegals. They should demand to have those jobs. That's where the law enforcement would probably work best and it would probably help curb the immigration tsunami more than threatening to convict people crossing the border illegally or helping those who do. How exactly is the government going to enforce millions of felony charges? Mass deportations? Mass incarcerations? Can you imagine what it would do to the court and the jail systems?
And all because of some very miscalculated political blundering from the Republicans. They are trying to act tough on immigration to appease their white constituents and they didn't count on major business interests, plus a substantial amount of immigrants who can actually vote and potential citizens who see these anti-immigration measures as a huge betrayal. This is a political gift for the Democrats which they will probably screw up, as they do everything else.
According to the NYT:
"It's an entirely predictable example of the law of unintended consequences," said Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, who helped organize the Chicago rally and who said he was shocked by the size of the turnout. "The Republican party made a decision to use illegal immigration as the wedge issue of 2006, and the Mexican community was profoundly offended."...Frankly, given the dismal choice of a country overrun by white Protestant right wing Republicans or one overrun by brown Catholic Democrats, I'd much prefer the second one.
Others... noting that foreign-born Latinos voted for President Bush in 2004 at a 40 percent greater rate than Latinos born in the United States, said that by pursuing the proposed legislation, Republican leaders might have squandered the party's inroads with an emerging bloc of voters and pushed them into the Democratic camp.
(You know: Better food, better parties, better music... etc)
You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You can't exploit people and then criminalize them for it. Something's gotta give and I fail to see why, in this equation it's the hardworking people who stand to suffer the most.