I think there are two unremarked elements of the debate (immigration) that are now contributing to the governments inability or refusal to come up with a solution.
The problem is not partisanship. It is not polarization, not really. Sentiments on this of all issues in the nation of immigrants are and would be complicated, nuanced. The problem is doctrinaire-ness. Even as both parties have become less philosophical, less tied to their animating philosophies, they have become more doctrinaire. The people who should be solving the immigration problem are holding fiercely to abstractionsto big-think economic theory, to emanations of penumbras in the lawinstead of facing a crucial, concrete and immediate challenge.
The second element is definitiveness. Our political figures say they have to concentrate on an overall, long-term, comprehensive answer to the immigration problem. So they huff and puff about the long-term implications of this move or that, and in the end they do nothing.
They are like people in a burning house who sit around discussing the long-term efficacy of various kinds of water hoses while the house burns down around them.
More and more our leaders forget the common sense of grandma. In most everyones family there was a grandma who used to sit quietly in the corner and say nothing. Then someone would ask her opinion just to be polite, and shed say something so wise, so commonsensical, it stopped everyone in their tracks. And you realized that she was smart, that shed lived a life and seen things.
In the case of illegal immigration in America I think grandma would say, Stop it. Build a wall. But put doors in the wall so when the problem is over, you can open the doors.
America has, since 1980, experienced the biggest wave of immigrants since the great wave of 1880-1920. And we have never stopped to absorb it. We have never stopped to digest what weve eaten. Is it any wonder we have indigestion?
We dont really have to solve the problem forever. We just have to solve it now. One wonders why we dont stop illegal immigration, now. Absorb, settle down, ease pressuresfor now. Why not be empirical, and find out whats true? Some say stopping illegal immigration will lead to an increase in wages for low-income workers. This is to be desired. Lets find out if it happens.
And why not give the latest waves of immigrants time to become Americans? Time to absorb our meaning and history and traditions. Isnt that the way to help them feel more attached and more firmly bound to the country we inhabit?
Im not sure we need more globalism, but I feel certain we need more grandmaism.