Our goal at DHS is to completely eliminate the 'catch and release' enforcement problem, and return every single illegal entrant, no exceptions. It should be possible to achieve significant and measurable progress to this end in less than a year.Sir Shane over at The Catholic Knight applauds this as an instance in which conservatives have gotten their way by complaining loud and hard about the Miers nomination.
I'm not so sure, though, that conservatives are exactly united on this one. It's true that there are some conservatives who are opposed to relaxing immigration laws, but there's quite a continuum out there, from the lunatic fringe of xenophobic ranting of the Pat Buchanan variety to the more docile economic and national security arguments of members of the Bush administration. But there are some conservatives, including, by the way, your Humble Blogger, who look at the whole immigration problem from a slightly different perspective: namely the perspective of social justice.
The United States, on this view, is arguably the best ordered polity in the world and, as such, represents a form of the Common Good to which the dignity of every human being is entitled. On this view there is a sense in which it is a matter of justice to let as many people as possible into the country. Indeed, as many people as want to come in ought to be let in. It is no accident that the few conservatives who hold this view happen, for the most part, also to be Roman Catholics, since the concept of the Common Good is a solid part of the Roman Catholic moral theology that goes back to St. Augustine and beyond. But I'm not claiming that it is a widely held view even among Roman Catholic conservatives. I do claim, however, that it is the correct view for Rolman Catholic conservatives to hold.
The argument in favor of the view is not a simple one, however, and it is complicated by the very problems of national security and economics that other conservatives use to argue for stricter immigration policies. I will have more to say on this issue in the coming days, however, as I attempt to articulate what I take to be the best argument in favor of an open immigration policy.