Tony Snow is Right: Illegal Immigration is Like Speeding

White House compares illegal immigration to speeding,” by Bill Sammon, The Examiner, 26 May 2006, (from Drudge Report).

President Bush’s press secretary, Tony Snow, delighted this blogger by accurately describing illegal immigration as a non-criminal illegal activity, similar to speeding

The White House on Friday said a Senate bill that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants is analogous to a traffic law that allows a speeder to pay a fine and continue driving.

“If you had a traffic ticket and you paid it, you’re not forever a speeder, are you?” White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said in response to questions from The Examiner.

“So the fact is, you have paid your debt to society,” he added. “And we have come up with a way to make sure that the debt to society gets paid. Then you move forward.”

Of course, the Know-Nothings weren’t happy about that…

“I don’t know if Tony meant to trivialize it or not,” said Will Adams, spokesman for Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. “But it’s certainly misleading.”

Snow emphasized that illegals would have to pay fines, learn English and wait years for a chance at full citizenship. But Adams called that “a slap on the hand” compared to deportation.

Here Bill Adams summarizes his own position, those of the know-nothing anti-immigrationists: “Punishment!” No thought on what’s good for America, because they cannot win that argument. No thought on what are laws should be, because that distracts from kicking brown Catholics out of the country.

Snow’s remarks are just what the Bush administration should be doing: accurately describing the situation. People are here illegally but not criminally, so they should be treated like those who break the laws but are not criminals.

The greatest domestic issue currently on the agenda is immigration. While annexing Mexico will have to wait for the future, increasing the size of immigration is the current conservative project. To the extent House Republicans are unable to embrace that, they are undeserving of conservative support for the November 2006 midterm elections.

3 thoughts on “Tony Snow is Right: Illegal Immigration is Like Speeding”

  1. Carl,

    Why? What US interest is served by such a policy? As far as building connectivity with Mexico, why should be disrupt the most dynamic links?

    My problem with Tancredo's punishment rhetoric is it sacrifices American gains for his peculiar version of justice.

    See also my comments here [1] and at junkpolitics [2].


  2. The comparison to a speeding ticket may be accurate with regards to the severity of the obvious crime… but what about the others that they likely have committed, the criminal ones.

    Given that in most states they cannot get a drivers license, if they ever drove on public roads they’d be driving illegally. If they attempted to look a little less illegal by providing forged or false identification information to acquire a drivers license or get a job (social security card, birth certificate, etc), they are committing a criminal act.

    Sure being illegally in this country is according to our law isn’t that big of a thing, it’s much of what they do here while here illegally that is the problem.

  3. Dan, I've had the comparison (with the speeding ticket) in mind from the beginning. In fact, during GWB's speech I kept hoping he would bring up the analogy or something like it. But, y'see, he had to entice his so-called “base” — y'know, those base thinkers.

  4. Brendan,

    Your comment is much more coherent than Tancredo's. Good job! 🙂

    To the extent a system forces people into an underground economy, it's a bad system. That's why I support the use of consular ID cards whenever possible — it avoids that mess.

    Curtis, Bush is taking a lot of flack from the know-nothings for his stand on immigration. So far this term he is 1-1 on big issues: success on the SCOTUS judges, failure on SSA reform. This is the third one he's tackled, and he's doing it from his heart against a large number of Republicans. God bless him.

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