"It is the policy of the executive branch to enforce fully the immigration laws of the United States, including the detection and removal of illegal aliens and the imposition of legal sanctions against employers that hire illegal aliens."
-- President George Bush, in an executive order
Has an alien -- uh, the space kind -- taken over our president's body?
When the illegal immigration crisis finally got the nation's attention -- after illegals took to American streets with Mexican flags in hand to demand recognition and rights -- the argument was made that there was nothing else we could do.
There's no way you can deport 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens, the argument went.
Of course, it was a ruse all along. It's not necessary to actively deport most illegal aliens in order to get them to leave.
You don't even need the "comprehensive" immigration "reform" pushed on us by both parties for two years, at least until they felt the brunt of Americans' anger at the idea of amnesty.
No, all you have to do is enforce existing laws -- something the Bush administration has been inexplicably loath to do.
Now, however, President Bush has signed an executive order requiring federal contractors to verify workers' residency status.
The federal "E-verify" system was established under President Clinton, but has been voluntary until now.
Could it be the federal government is waking up to its responsibility to enforce its own laws?
What next? A secure border?
Maybe. But don't hold your breath -- especially since this is an election year, and Democratic nominee Barack Obama seems to think the illegal immigration problem is just that you're racist and irrationally fearful. Nor has John McCain been right on illegal immigration; he was one of the main sponsors of amnesty. And both parties will step lightly around the issue in an election year.
We don't know why the lame duck president finally got religion, but it's about time.
The U.S. is being played for a sucker on illegal immigration anyway, but how block-headed would it be for the government itself to be employing illegals -- which, despite rhetoric from the left, is against the law?
"This is the first time the federal government is ensuring that it will not be responsible, directly or indirectly, for hiring illegal aliens," says Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for true reform advocate organization NumbersUSA.
Given the feds' chronic inaction on illegal immigration, an increasing number of states have passed their own laws requiring employers to check workers for immigration status.
They've been trying to enforce the laws the federal government was supposed to be enforcing.
It's nice to see the feds at least making a token effort to catch up.