Dear Tea Party grumps. I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and count you among the reality-based population. It is a long shot, I know, but I am going to assume you can still process and analyze facts, even if they clash with the scary worldview you are fed by the you know who's at you know where.
The topic is illegal immigration. According to a new study, the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States dropped by almost two thirds between 2005 and 2009. That has led to an 8 percent drop in the number of illegals living here.
The reason? No doubt the recession played a role. After watching the market tank, many of us cut back on hiring cleaning ladies and gardeners, eating at restaurants, or improving our homes, cutting the demand for low-paying work. The housing slump surely has led to a drop in the number of construction laborers needed here.
And here's to George W. Bush, whose administration got real about guarding the borders. I guess someone at the Bush White House finally summoned the nerve to tell the Chamber of Commerce that cheap immigrant labor, which tends to suppress American wages, wasn't such a great policy goal.
So here is our challenge. We can use the pause that the recession has provided, study what enforcement methods are most effective, and otherwise use our brains to come up with an immigration policy that builds on this progress, or we can ignore the evidence that things are improving and keep whining and moaning about taking our country back from dark skinned babies. After all, it feels so good to be stupid.