DON'T LET A THOUSAND COMPROMISES BLOOM. The Senate's "compromise" bill on immigration is pretty bad, in addition to being poorly labeled. It's really a compromise thrice removed, as the proposed law it's supposedly compromising on was itself already a compromise bill fashioned by Republican Arlen Specter from the bipartisan McCain-Kennedy legislation and passed with a bipartisan majority out of the Judiciary Committee. Why we needed to compromise further right is a little unclear.
Semantics aside, the new bill Frist's pushing allows illegal immigrants who've been here five plus years to apply for citizenship, three to five years to leave the country and reapply for citizenship on some sort of fast track, and those here less than two years to simply leave. That, of course, won't happen, and the distinctions based on time rather than, say, income or language mastery or work status, make no sense. Given that any bill passed by the Senate will have to be reconciled with the House's draconian legislation by a team of negotiators handpicked by the Republican leadership, Democrats seem thoroughly screwed, and should probably just smother the legislation and hope to revisit it from a stronger position after the 2006 midterms. Conversely, if you wait until after the midterms to subscribe to The American Prospect, you'd miss all our awesome election coverage, not to mention hundreds of thought-provoking, well-researched articles. And you don't want that.