It appears immigration reform may pass after all. A big obstacle was the reluctance of Republicans to allow a bill that didn’t come with increased border security. That was a sticking point for Democrats until some genius took Democratic leaders aside and reminded them we can always hire Mexicans and Canadians to build the fences, so it’s a win-win.
Another obstacle has been Republican resistance to the idea of immigration policy that guarantees the same treatment for citizens’ same-sex spouses as opposite-sex spouses. I didn’t understand the objection to this until I looked at a map showing which states recognized same-sex marriages. Except for Iowa, all are solidly blue states. There you go.
Let’s put this in historical perspective. You all know how the U.S. Constitution originally defined each slave as three-fifths of a person, but many of you probably thought that was how the slave owners wanted it. The truth is that white Northerners wanted slaves to be counted as zero people so the South would have that much less power in Congress.
Had there not been compromise on this issue when the Constitution was first written, the United States would have had its Civil War 70 years earlier, before the technology of warfare was sufficiently advanced for it. The numbers of casualties would have been far less impressive. Ken Burns wouldn’t have been able to use slow pans of photographs of soldiers and generals for his documentaries, Civil War re-enactments would be almost indistinguishable from American Revolutionary War re-enactments, and our lives today would be correspondingly less fulfilled.
Fortunately the white Northerners were persuaded that their position was inconsistent with their view that slavery was inhumane. It was pointed out, time and again, that if slavery were inhumane, then, ipso facto pterodactyl, slaves must be in some measure human. Admitting this opened the way for the brilliant compromise, the declaration that slaves would count as three-fifths human. I haven’t got around yet to making up a reason why they didn’t demand halfsies.
Thinking about all this, and as I said, looking at the map, it suddenly became clear to me. Of course, the Republicans don’t want all those Democrat-controlled states to count more in the census. But, if same-sex spouses of citizens get an immigration pass, you know where they’re going to settle, don’t you? They’re going to settle in states that recognize same-sex marriage, and those are never Republican strongholds. And Republicans are as white as Northerners of yore were and hate losing power every bit as much.
Having realized the role that power played made everything simple. Not only could I see the problem better, but I could see clearly to its natural resolution by way of a compromise for our time. That’s right. We can put this battle off to another day, when, thanks to improved technology, it would make a better documentary.
We can’t go so far as to give Republicans everything they want. If we grant them exactly what they want, we would have to declare both members of a same-sex couple to be zero persons so that the lure of same-sex couples to blue states did not give those states political advantage. Besides, before the spouse enters the country, the sponsoring partner is already a citizen, and it isn’t fair to have to give that one up.
But I believe the Republicans, like white Northerners before them, understand that fundamentally, homosexuals are human beings, somewhat. So I am sure they would accept a compromise like what our Founding Fathers accepted and let these spouses enter the country as three-fifths of a person.
I can’t imagine that the Republicans would turn down such a compromise.