The country would have been better served by an honest discussion of matters indispensable to any meaningful debate of immigration policy:
Today's immigrants are not so different from those who came to America from Europe a century ago. The fact that the earlier wave came legally (there was no way to come illegally until the early 20th century, when Congress first took steps to limit immigration) didn't make them any more welcome at the time.
Then, as now, racism and nativism were intrinsic parts of the discussion whether or not people were willing to admit it.
Illegal immigration is a self-inflicted wound. Local municipalities complain about the cost of providing education, health care and other services to illegal immigrants and their children.
But they should at least be honest about the benefit their communities derive from the availability of cheap labor, which, in many cases, keeps local economies humming.
Despite popular misconceptions, Hispanic immigrants and their children, indeed, are assimilating just as they have been for generations. According to recent studies, they learn English and lose Spanish, adopt the common culture and shared values, and become Americanized.
Our dependence on illegal immigrant labor, combined with the fact that most of the job displacement has occurred with younger workers, confirms what Americans suspected: that, along with modern-day advances, our native-born young people don't have the work ethic they did a generation or two ago and that illegal immigrants pick up the slack.
Despite talk about the impact that illegal immigration has on working-class Americans, the untold story is the effect that illegal immigrants have on those in the middle and upper class. Illegal immigrants let Americans fulfill their earning potential while making accessible to the middle class what used to be considered luxuries reserved for the wealthy, such as nannies and maids.
And lastly, you can't control illegal immigration without cracking down on employers and you can't crack down on employers without going after the "casual user."
The day after our historic election, it is good to see article like this that begin the discussion. Readers, I'd be interested to know what you think of Navarrette's list.