Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
If you've visited the Statue of Liberty, you may have seen these words which are the last two sentences of the poem "The New Colossus" on a plaque on the inner wall of the pedestal.
Many of my fellow conservatives are high-fiving each other today, happy that they have killed immigration "reform". They are thrilled that there will be no amnesty for 12 (or 20) million illegal aliens who have crossed deserts and oceans to arrive in America. They understand that no further legislation for immigration reform is likely to occur before 2009. By this time, there will still be 12 (or 20 or 40) million illegal aliens who will be working outside the protection of labor laws...because we know that very few of these people will be deported. Even the conservatives admit that we cannot (and do not want to) send back the folks who serve our meals, pick our vegetables, clean our hotel rooms, and landscape our homes and businesses. We have simply kicked the issue down the road for another administration to handle.
I have heard no proposed solutions for what to do with the wretched refuse that has washed up on our shores. Instead, I've heard and read gleeful celebration of "Victory!" and vindication for hurt feelings in a sensitive debate. I have even read one usually moderate conservative voice suggest to the President of the United States that he "had better ask nicely and have a long list of persuasive arguments" when he needs help in the future.
So, immigration "reform" is dead until President Clinton or possibly President Obama is in office. President Bush has been humbled like Gulliver in the land of Lilliput. All the while the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses continue to dream of gaining a place in this land that is their last best hope.