Can immigration mess be solved?

The immigration bill has been defeated. That does not mean the immigration problem has been solved. Nor does it mean that Sen. Lindsey Graham backed the wrong horse. It was the only horse in the race!

The problem stems from the legacy of James K. Polk. He should have taken the West all the way to Panama when he had the chance and made us the 60 United States of America.

After all, the citizens of Mexico are North Americans also. Spanish is a beautiful language; we should be fluent in both. The problem is multi-dimensional - poverty south of our borders, greed north of the border - and work to the lowest bidder.

All three were well-represented in the defunct bill. What killed the bill were the earmarks - the greed of unnamed senators - the cost to those who had little or no stake in the outcome, and all the benefits to those who created the mess in the first place: agribusiness and their compatriots in the marketplace.

So we are back to square one. Certainly a 1,500-mile wall is no solution, nor are 2,000 more border patrol officers. Neither was Ross Perot's warning of a "sucking sound" to the south.

President Bush has made a royal mess of things. Let's hope he can get his unemployed brother Jeb on this case, and solve at least one problem in eight years. Then maybe his legacy will actually be "compassionate conservatism."

Tom Zwemer, Augusta

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