James Carroll
August 12, 2013

Last week, the White House said it wants a two-part immigration reform bill: a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, in tandem with enhanced border security that will halt further illegal crossings into the United States. But Americans should not accept this combination, born of political necessity, without deeper examination.

A further militarization of the border with Mexico appears to be the immigration debate’s equivalent of the Afghan surge. Just as an escalation of the war in Afghanistan was the political price candidate Barack Obama paid in 2008 for his promise to end the war in Iraq, it’s obvious that more helicopters, razor wire, border agents, and drones to keep Latinos out have become the price being paid to regularize the status of Latinos who are already here.

Yet must every humane initiative be shackled to something inhuman? If so, this reform bargain on immigration will have unintended consequences, comparable to those that followed Obama’s deal with the devil on Middle East wars.

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