Carol Platt Liebau: Reform the INS / Voter ID

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Reform the INS / Voter ID

Michael Goodwin lays out, in sordid detail, the manifold technical and theoretical difficulties with the alleged "reform" bill on immigration that the Senate was considering last week.

Here's another point that can't be made enough: Any effective immigration reform -- along with border security guarantees -- requires two additional elements that few have been discussing so far:

(1)A wholescale overhaul of the INS. The agency is iineffective, inefficient and, it appears, supremely indifferent to its core function: Enforcing immigration law against those who break it, while serving those who attempt to functin within the law's parameters. Safeguards also need to be put in place to secure it from attempts to politicize it. Given its current impotence, is there anyone who really believes that the INS is in a position to administer any new law?

(2) Voter ID. Lots of Republicans are open to finding ways to regularize the illegal immigrants in this country. But that effort has to be accompanied -- not only by measures to reduce the flow of incoming illegals -- but by real measures that will secure the franchise against rampant voter fraud from guest workers and exploitation of them by lawbreakers from either party. As John Fund has pointed out, vote fraud imperils our democracy.

These elements won't necessarily make the effort to forge compromise any easier. But they're necessary for any reform actually to work.


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