I caught most of the president's speech the other day. And I have to say I agree with 99% of what he said.
First off, his proposal was pragmatic: the vast majority of the est. 12 million people who come here illegally come in seek of a better life. I don't excuse them for breaking the law, but in their shoes (a family to support and a multi-year process to enter legally) I'd probably do the same thing.
As for the staunch Republican view that they are lawbreakers and should be punished – well, I agree. But the punishment should fit the crime. Would it be right to throw someone who rolled through a stop sign into jail for 6 months? Similarly, I don't think it's practical or right to arrest and imprison illegals who have been here for x-amount of time while keeping out of trouble.
Then there's the "they suck-up government services and keep minimum wages down". Well, for every study that "shows" illegal immigrants are a drain on the economy there's one that shows they help it. I think it really comes down to your level of paranoia: you either believe most folks are coming here illegally to work, or to cause trouble and suck off the government tit.
I think most are here to work – and if you have a clean record, a job, and are willing to assimilate (e.g. – learn English, pay your taxes, etc.) you should be given a path to citizenship. Why not? All of our ancestors came here with the same goal in mind (whether illegally or legally): making a better life for their kids.
So I agree with President Bush: let's get better at boarder enforcement, let's attempt to fix/streamline the process and let's pragmatically address the situation we have… from a compassionate/Christian :) standpoint – as opposed to a godless, authoritarian one.
Besides, we're already paying enough in taxes to keep pot smokers and other non-criminals behind bars. I don't want to spend even more tracking down and incarcerating Jose because he doesn't have a visa to trim the trees in my neighborhood.