President Bush’s plan to legalize 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens – maybe considerably more – is one of the most irresponsible, dangerous, reckless proposals to come out of Washington in my lifetime.

And that’s saying a lot.

In my lifetime, I have witnessed:

  • wage-and-price controls imposed by Richard Nixon;

  • the greatest expansion of unconstitutional, immoral wealth-transfer programs in the history of our country;

  • the use of the Internal Revenue Service by President Clinton to harass and intimidate political adversaries;

  • the sacrifice of more than 50,000 U.S. servicemen in a war they would not be allowed to win;

  • the shredding of the Constitution in a thousand ways to bring us to the point at which politicians no longer even question the limits of the federal government;

  • the transfer by President Clinton of sensitive technology with military applications to a budding superpower for campaign cash;

  • the demoralization and emasculation of the country under President Carter;

I watched all this and more in nearly a half-century of life. But, honestly, President Bush’s proposal to legalize untold millions of illegal aliens is potentially worse than any of these blunders, any of these mistakes, any of these abuses.

Why?

First, because it is immoral. Bush claims this is the “compassionate” thing to do. But he is misusing the term “compassion” the same way do those who would most like to unseat him from power. There is nothing compassionate about inflicting pain on others, in hurting the country, while accepting none of the responsibility, nor pain, nor sacrifice yourself. This move will not materially affect George W. Bush’s life. But it will impact those competing for jobs at the lower end of the economic ladder. It will impact those who live in crime-plagued areas of the country and who don’t have Secret Service protection. It will impact those who chose to obey the laws rather than flout them as their first act in America.

Second, it is unconstitutional. The federal government has few and limited areas of responsibility in our republican system of government. Among those clearly defined areas are the defense of the nation and the defense of our borders. This act is a reprehensible betrayal of the president’s oath of office to uphold the law and execute it.

Third, it is bad policy. Even the simple act of proposing this notion encourages more illegal immigration into our country. More foreigners will want to get in on the action. It sends a horrible signal that America doesn’t really believe in enforcing its laws. It promotes chaos at our borders and crime in our streets.

Fourth, it risks national security. Presumably, there was a reason this president placed the Immigration and Naturalization Service under the Department of Homeland Defense. The American people assume it was because he finally recognized that out-of-control immigration is a real threat – especially at a time when terrorists are trying desperately to kill and maim as many of us as possible.

It’s not strong enough to call Bush’s proposal “irresponsible.” It is borderline seditious. And there is a widespread perception he is making this move because he believes there is personal political gain in it.

That is hardly “compassion,” Mr. President. That is the worst kind of cynicism. That is the worst kind of selfishness. That is the worst kind of example a leader could set for the nation.

Shame on Bush. Shame on his party for standing by quietly as he sets out to destroy the fabric of our nation. Shame on the opposition for suggesting his move doesn’t go far enough. Shame on all Americans who lie down and accept this outrage from Washington.

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