FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Expediting Amnesty and a Case Study in GOP Complacency and Treachery
Liberals despise a legislative process that is open and conducted under regular order. That is why they seek to pass the most sweeping, consequential, and onerous pieces of legislation through expedited means. Their plan to rush through an ‘amnesty now, enforcement never’ bill is the latest example of their aversion to a transparent legislative process.
In an effort to prevent Senate Democrats from jamming through the gang of 8 amnesty proposal, Senator Jeff Sessions, the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee, penned a letter to Chairman Pat Leahy requesting that he conduct full hearings on all aspects of the proposal. Sessions noted that this would be the most sweeping change to our immigration laws in 30 years. Undoubtedly, such a change to one of our most complex codes of law should undergo the full committee process. The letter was co-signed by fellow committee Republicans John Cornyn, Orrin Hatch, Charles Grassley, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz.
In response to Sessions, Leahy sent a petulant letter, essentially saying that they won the election and they will ram through the Gang’s proposal as quickly as possible. “If any of the more junior Senators need time to get up to speed, I will look forward to them discussing their specific readiness problems with me directly and I will look forward to working with them as well,” he added. As an aside, Leahy noted that he understands the frustration of Senator Sessions as someone “excluded from the group that Senator McCain has pulled together to try to develop a bipartisan proposal.” He mockingly concluded that is “not a beef you have with me.”
Well, vitiating committee process on such a sweeping piece of legislation is a beef we should have with the chairman of the committee with jurisdiction. But Senator Leahy does have a point. We should point the finger at the 4 Republican members of this puerile gang – Flake, Graham, McCain, and Rubio. Even if they have a different view on this issue from other Republicans, why are they completely ignoring the concerns of their Republican colleagues about a host of issues, most of all, the lack of regular order? In fact, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake – the two members of the Gang who are on the Judiciary Committee – did not join their fellow committee members in calling for regular order. Do they not care?
Basically, these 4 Republicans will be complicit in air dropping a secret proposal of complex changes onto the Senate floor, so it can be rushed through without shedding light on the details. Much like Obamacare, we will have to pass the bill in order to find out what’s in it. That’s why Lindsey Graham recently said it’s important for them to get this done quickly.
Seriously, members of the gang, even if you have some sympathy for a legalization process, if you have an shred of intellectual honesty you would not repeat the mistakes of 1986 by blithely letting this go through. If you are really serious about implementing enforcement first, you would not sign off on a proposal that Democrats and the DHS Secretary say will not require such enforcement as a precondition. If you are really serious about not making amnesty a public charge, you would not sign off on a Democrat amnesty proposal while every single Democrat votes to grant illegals access to Obamacare. Adding another 200,000 low-skilled workers every year is not a recipe for ending the public charge immigration policy.
The sad thing is that when Marco Rubio embarked on his talk radio charm offensive, he promised he would walk away from a proposal that doesn’t go through the committee process. Likewise, he promised that they would not be eligible for welfare and that any amnesty would be preceded by implementation of border security, workplace enforcement, and a visa tracking system. Democrats have already repudiated all those conditions, yet Rubio has not walked away. Nor has Flake said anything constructive, merely a few months after running on a strong enforcement platform.
The degree of insouciance of many Republicans, and even some conservative members in the House, to the concerns about these proposals is simply incomprehensible. I know there are certain conservatives in the House that have shown in recent months they couldn’t care less about anything that is not a line item on the budget. But unless we approach any legalization from a position of strength and with inviolable demands, all these proposals will invariably add many zeros to the hundreds of billions we spend on welfare each year. What is conservative about that?
The idea that we cannot deal with the security components before we agree on everything else in one large “comprehensive” bill is the same flawed mentality behind Obamacare. It is criminal for liberals to hold enforcement hostage for amnesty. Enforcement is not just an immigration issue; it is a national security issue. We should not allow the drug cartels to make one inch of our country unsafe, irrespective of what we do with illegal immigrants. What we really need is a comprehensive enforcement bill that dries up all the benefits and magnets that attract illegal immigrants. Only then should any conservative begin discussing what to do with those already here.
Despite the daily torrent of polls that suggest 90% of the country, including Republican voters, want amnesty and want it now, Republicans will find a different story when they begin to hear it from their constituents. Unless, of course, they shove through a bill before anyone gets a chance to digest the content.