Imagine, if you will, that tomorrow at noon, possession of marijuana is slated to become legal Not just decriminalized, but made completely lawfuL Should the police make as many busts as possible tonight and tomorrow morning, while they’re still able? Should they continue their crackdown in the early afternoon, on the grounds that anyone who has pot that soon after legalization obviously had it before legalization? What of the people already serving sentences for simple possession – should they remain incarcerated until they’ve completed their sentences?
Now imagine that instead of marijuana possession, what has been made legal is entering the United States for gainful employment. One of the putative sticking points in the current immigration debate is whether, and on what terms, to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Unless there’s some reason that sneaking into this country to better provide for your family is more reprehensible than smoking a little pot, the dismissal of the punishment must be at least as complete. And no matter how it’s gussied up, kicking someone out of the country (even if it’s done in the name of “fairness for those who waited”) is punishment.