I got home last night and turned on the TV looking for the Duke–UNC game (sorry, Jason), but instead was pleased to find the USA–Mexico soccer match. The Americans managed to pull out a 2–2 draw, extending their home unbeaten streak against Mexico to ten, but El Tri was in control for most of the match and scored one more goal than they had in their previous nine trips to the States combined. All in all, not a great showing for Bob Bradley's boys, but it was just a friendly and Jozy Altidore sure looks good.
Why do I bring this up? Well, John McCain is speaking at CPAC this afternoon, and the folks over at National Review are urging McCain to renounce his earlier support for "amnesty," at least temporarily*. This puts McCain in a bind: he can't very well abandon his previous position (it would make him look like a flip-flopper and anger Latinos who might consider voting for him), but he also needs to stake out a more hard-line position to placate conservatives who believe that forcing undocumented immigrants to learn English and pay a fine in exchange for legalization amounts to a slap on the wrist.
I have a suggestion for a perfect McCain middle ground. In order to earn a path to citizenship, undocumented immigrants must learn English, pay a fine, and pledge to switch their allegiance to the American national soccer team. To no one's surprise, at last night's match, the crowd at Reliant Stadium in Houston was overwhelmingly pro-Mexico. Now, I don't mean to suggest that the phenomenon of rooting for one's ancestral-country team instead of the USA is limited either to undocumented immigrants or to Mexican-Americans generally, but it's certainly the most glaring manifestation of the trend. It's why, when the Americans host World Cup qualifiers and want an actual home-field advantage, they usually have to pick small stadiums in places like Columbus and Birmingham. To be fair, the soccer culture in these cities, especially Columbus, seems to be truly fantastic, but still.
I think this solution ought to mollify both sides: It's a genuine path to citizenship, and no one who's attended Mexican national team matches in the American Southwest could possibly claim that asking immigrants to forswear El Tri is anything close to a slap on the wrist. That's a real sacrifice. And I'm only half joking here: no self-respecting nation ought to find itself confronting a heavily hostile crowd whenever it plays its primary rival in any of its major cities.
* Note: Phrasing has been changed to more accurately reflect NR's position.