Jewish World Review May 30, 2005 / 21 Iyar, 5765

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Drawing the line on the border | One of the problems with demanding that the feds enforce immigration law is that you will immediately be branded a mean guy or gal. If you want to stop poor people from illegally coming to the land of milk and money, the USA, some of your fellow citizens will define you as insensitive, selfish, racist, ghastly and downright anti-Christian. Those are tough charges to digest.

A co-worker at Fox News caught me in the hallway and said: "You don't like immigrants very much, do you, Bill?"

I gave my usual answer, which is if I were a poor man with a family in Mexico, I'd jump the border as well. I don't blame the aliens, I blame the corrupt Mexican government, which cannot build an effective economic infrastructure, and a cowardly U.S. government, which will not enforce immigration laws.

Then I asked the guy: "so it's OK with you that we pretty much let anyone into this country who can get to the border?"

The man said it was OK with him. Immigrants are good for the USA and how could any feeling person deny them entrance.

And so it goes, the compassionate want the doors to the nation left wide open, the mean people would like some order to the immigration process.

Cardinal McCarrick of Washington has also weighed in on this from a theological view. He says that true Christians must treat illegal immigrants with compassion because that's what Jesus would do. And the cardinal is right. Jesus would probably not be a border patrol agent. But, then, Jesus did direct us to "Render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar's." And the law comes under the Caesar heading.

The good cardinal would not talk with me, but his spokesperson did. I wondered if Jesus had a spokesperson, but that's another topic. Anyway, the cardinal's guy said illegal immigrant should be given all assistance possible. Then I asked him if the cardinal had any solutions to prevent about 11 million human beings from sneaking in here. The man said the cardinal believed the American government should reform the economies of poor nations so folks would not have to come here. That is what the man said.

Jesus might be able to do that, but no amount of American largesse can lift countries like Mexico and Honduras out of poverty. We simply do not have the power to do that. Somebody tell the cardinal.

What we do have the power, but as yet the will, to do is to tell the world we will accept foreign workers in a well-organized program that requires applicants to clear background checks and obey our laws. Is that so unreasonable?

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But in order to implement such a program, the borders of the USA would have to be secured. Why bother to register and wait for legal status, when you can dance across the border and have dinner in Tucson that very evening?

A new study by the "Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus," which is fighting illegal immigration, says that deploying 36,000 military personnel to back up the Border Patrol would stop the flow of people from the south and severely dent the narcotics traffic as well. This, of course, is the immediate solution to the problem, and President Bush could do that with a stroke of the pen, he could simply sign an executive order, and it would happen.

But the president will most likely not do that, and the chaos will continue. Illegals will die in the desert, border states will face bankruptcy from providing services to thousands of non-citizens, and some very bad people will enter this country unsupervised.

It is hard to image that Jesus would be down with that picture, but I could be wrong. Caesar certainly would not have permitted it. And so the debate goes on — the compassionate people versus the mean people.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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