And now comes immigration "reform!" For a federal government that is stalled on health care, financial reform and creative ways to boost jobs, it seems an odd time to be talking about something as complex and incendiary as immigration reform.
Yet in the middle of the chaos comes talks this week on ways to reform the crucial problem of illegal immigration in this country.
This discussion, however, will be far different than the health care debate. There will be little partisanship but there will be ample opposition. Geography will play a greater role on the issue of immigration than party affiliation.
The President met Monday with the two co-sponsors of what will likely be a new immigration reform bill. But frankly the meeting was on the agenda only because a massive march by immigration reform advocates is scheduled for March 21 in Washington, D.C.
Trying to find accurate numbers on the issue of illegal immigration is at best tricky. An estimated 12-20 million undocumented aliens are presently in this country. Any valid attempt at true impact numbers is flawed because no one honestly knows the full scope of the immigration issue.
If you polled the American public today, there would be overwhelming support to post troops on our southern borders to help stem the tide of illegal immigrants coming into this country. But reform is more than stemming the tide. Much more.
There has always been a legal pathway by which those seeking to immigrate here can achieve their goal. Millions upon millions have taken that path throughout our history.
But the dynamics in place today and the sheer numbers alone pose a problem of massive size and complexity.
One argument holds that the taxes paid by this immigrant population proves that they are already a part of the American fabric. An equally compelling argument holds that the burden on education, health care and law enforcement is simply too great.
Pick your side.
But beneath the surface is the tricky issue of cultural assimilation. If the immigrant population adheres to their native culture and their native language - by way of example - then most Americans would object to any measure that increases this population. There are some aspects of immigration you can mandate. Assimilation is not one that can be mandated.
Our President came into office with several campaign promises. He is now learning that campaigning and governing are much different.
Here's one final argument repeated constantly when it comes to the discussion of illegal immigration.
You've heard it before.
The immigrant population comes to this country to better themselves and their families (which I universally believe) and they do those jobs that Americans are unwilling to do.
Does anyone ever ask the question of why Americans are unwilling to do some of the difficult jobs held by the alien population? Is it because we have established a welfare system - call it what you want - that is more enticing than taking a job that is less than ideal?
If we reward people through countless federal assistance programs more than they could earn at the jobs taken by the immigrant population, then we have created the problem we now seek to solve.