Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The hazard of overreaching

My column this week in the Manassas Journal Messenger is about overreaching in the illegal immigration policy debate.

Both sides are guilty of it. Mr. Sign Guy might be learning that by flouting the law, he does his cause great disservice. The HSM folks may someday learn that by pushing draconian rules that can't in the end be enforced and which eventually are revoked, they just make things worse.

The most recent example is Bob Marshall's attempt to put into law a requirement for proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. Unfortunately, because Bob was smart enough to know we couldn't retroactively force millions of Virginia citizens to re-register with proof of their citizenship, the anti-illegal crowd falsely labelled him "pro-amnesty", and joined forces with the pro-amnesty folks to defeat his bill.

The fact is that if the anti-illegal folks had their way with this bill, in a year they would have so many people mad at them that it would greatly hurt the cause of the anti-illegal movement, much like the overreaching on the local business license rule has led to gutting the rule and leaving us worse off than before.

Because, make no mistake about it, even those who hate the idea of illegals voting would have been pissed off at having to take time out of their own busy schedules to prove to the government that they were legal citizens.

If we had passed Marshall's bill, we would have stopped illegals from registering. Then we could have taken the next step, which would be to allow the registrar to revoke registrations when it was found that the registrant was not a legal resident. We didn't need to force everybody to prove their innocence -- over time, it all would have settled out.

But because of their stupidity, we have no bill, and illegals can still register to vote, so long as they are willing to say they are legally here.

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