I realize that illegal immigration presents some problems, particularly economic ones, but I don't think that the argument against open borders is moved forward any by the sort of sophistry and hand-waving that Tancredo indulges in at NRO. One hopes that there are more intelligent and articulate arguments to be had out there. Morally, however, the situation is really quite different. I'm not sure why so many conservatives confuse economic with moral issues (one often hears that this is a problem that is endemic among so-called "Neoconservatives", but that is hardly an explanation)--perhaps there is some echo here of the libertarian view that all rights are derived from property rights. In any case, it is difficult to justify, from a moral point of view, closing the borders in a place that is arguably the best place to live in the hemisphere, if not in the world.
It's worth remembering that the borders were not closed when Europeans first arrived here, and that they would not have cared if they had been. I suspect that much of the animus against illegal aliens is really a thinly veiled bigotry. And it's not just racial bigotry, either. Tancredo makes it a point to remark, regarding what would happen if there were to be a Day Without Illegal Immigrants:
If it fell on a Sunday, Catholic Churches in the southwestern states might have 20-percent fewer parishioners at Mass if all illegals stayed home, but they would be back next Sunday, so the bishop’s job is not in danger. The religious leaders who send people to the marches and rallies will never fear for their jobs, because illegal aliens need their special “human-rights” advocacy and some priests and nuns seem especially devoted to that cause. The fact that most Catholics disagree with the bishops’ radicalism doesn’t seem to affect their dedication to undermining the rule of law.It's too bad about those swarthy Catholics and their pesky moral values regarding human dignity. We don't have to worry about all of that, though, if we just re-describe religious leaders as folks doing a certain kind of "job". There's nothing like the corporate model for dispensing with actual arguments about ethics. Oh, don't forget to put the phrase "human-rights" in quotation marks. We wouldn't want anyone to imagine that we actually believe that such things really exist. That's just a tool that lefty "priests" use when they're doing their "job" of ruining our economy. Let's trumpet the fact, too, that "most Catholics" don't see things the way their "leaders" do--well, we'll trumpet it when it comes to this issue; when it comes to things like abortion rights or birth control, we'll just claim that those folks aren't "really" Catholics in the first place, or that that American Church is out of control, or something like that.
In short, let's just say whatever we have to say to stir up ire among our constituents and get them to think that we're tough leaders.