Rarely does a day go by in the Congress where the term "Rule of Law" isn't bandied about on the floor.  While its overuse has made the term almost cliché, the Rule of Law effectively shields us from arbitrary governance and establishes civil order.  It is the glue that keeps our social and political order intact because of its permanence and predictability.  But under the Senate immigration package unveiled last week, the Rule of Law -- as it applies to our nation's sovereignty -- would be significantly undermined.
Two critical components measuring the sovereignty of a nation are the integrity of its borders and the supremacy of its governing laws.  The Senate immigration plan strikes at both of these principles.  It amounts to a form of legal relativism -- if enforcement of the law becomes problematic, then ignore it.  Millions of Americans use illicit drugs each year, and drug enforcement costs run into the billions -- yet we do not legalize them to spare us the troubles.

Nations have borders for a reason.  As compassionate as our nation is and Lady Liberty notwithstanding, from both an economic and security standpoint, we cannot possibly absorb all of Earth's inhabitants who wish to come here.  For two centuries, America's immigration policy has centered upon our nation's needs and its ability and willingness to absorb additional new Americans.  Today, we have reached a level of saturation.  Illegal immigration places untenable and impossibly concentrated burdens on every facet of society -- education, law enforcement, employment, housing, health care and welfare.  We cannot in good conscience sacrifice good government -- its ability to deliver on these basic services -- simply because we lack the resolve to otherwise deal with 12 million people who remain here illegally.

Over the coming months, considerable energy will no doubt be wasted on whether the Senate package is or is not amnesty.  While its intentions are noble, it is amnesty.  It pardons 12 to 20 million people in this country who remain here illegally because our government feels incapable of tackling the problem.  The debate on immigration should start with border security, enforcement, and enhancing tools to help employers more easily determine immigration status; only then can we make this problem a manageable one.