This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.
The political ice jam that’s been blocking immigration reform may have broken at last.
On Monday, key Republican senators joined key Democratic senators in announcing a plan for dealing with America’s long-festering illegal immigration problem.
The endorsement of Marco Rubio of Florida is especially promising: At the moment, at least, he’s the Republican Party’s strongest presidential prospect for 2016, and he carries considerable weight in the party.
The sound you don’t hear (so far) is a chorus of firebrands shouting “No amnesty!” or “What part of illegal do you not understand?” Mantras like that have helped kill past efforts to legalize the millions of undocumented immigrants who are firmly rooted in the United States and aren’t going away.
Many of them have broken no law since entering the country and have children who are U.S. citizens. Some American farmers – especially Washington orchardists – can’t get their crops harvested without illegal labor.
There’s no conceivable scenario under which as many as 11 million illegal immigrants could be forced out of the country. But the status quo is intolerable. The only solution lies in letting the honest majority of them emerge from the shadows – without creating a grand incentive for further illegal immigration.
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