FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
They Lied to us Then About Immigration; They are Lying Now
“First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same … Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset … Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia … In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think.” […]
“The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.” [Ted Kennedy at Judiciary Committee hearing on Feb. 10, 1965, commenting on the Hart-Celler Act]
What is it not? It is not millions of people cascading across the border….It is not welfare benefits for those folks immediately. In fact, it’s in the bill right now that they cannot get AFDC benefits….It is not immediately wives, husbands, and children will come across. Not the case.” [Chuck Schumer on the House floor, commenting on 1986 amnesty bill].
Well, the rest is history. It is impossible to quantify how much the last two decades of illegal immigration – a direct result of the ’86 amnesty – has cost us in education, healthcare, welfare, refundable tax credits, and criminal justice. It is impossible to quantify how much the 1965 Kennedy bill has upset the balance of the country, ballooned the welfare state, and created a permanent Democrat majority in many parts of the country.
Now, instead of being ashamed of his past failures and lies, Chuck Schumer is back pushing amnesty for the people who were never supposed to come here as a result of his original amnesty. This is about as Orwellian as it gets. Now he has Marco Rubio to do his bidding and use mellifluous language to cajole conservatives into supporting another “Charlie Brown” style immigration bill.
“This is not amnesty — amnesty is the forgiveness of something.” “We’re going to create an alternative that says OK, you want to stay here, you’ll have to wait more than 10 years, you’ll have to pay this fine, you’ll have to pay your registration fee, you’ll have to be gainfully employed, you won’t qualify for any federal benefit, and then after all of that you don’t get to apply for anything until the enforcement mechanisms are in place. I would argue to you that it will be cheaper, faster and easier for people to go back home and wait 10 years than it will be to go through this process … and that’s why it’s not amnesty.” [Marco Rubio on Fox News Sunday, 4/14/13]
In an effort to paint this bill as something other than blanket amnesty, Rubio keeps mentioning all these conditions for receiving green cards and a number of exclusions from the amnesty process. They will have to pay fines and submit to a background check. Only those who came here before 2012 will be eligible. Yet, there are three fundamental problems with the framework for this proposal:
1) The day this bill would go into effect, almost every illegal alien would become legal. Period. So before any enforcement is put into place – before the fence is built, the biometric visa tracking system is put into place, E-Verify is implemented, and all the magnets such as refundable tax credits and birthright citizenship are eliminated (not that this bill will ever do those things) – they will all become legal. There is a reason they are unwilling to implement enforcement first. They want to continue the circuitous cycle of amnesty.
2) There is no way to stop the legalization train once it takes effect. Legal status will never be revoked; it can and will only be expanded with every inevitable subsequent act of Congress. Both for political and legal reasons, there is no way they will stay in temporary legal status for years once they are granted that status. The same political pressure that people like Rubio are feeling now to grant amnesty will be demonstrably stronger over the coming months and years to grant green cards and citizenship after they are recognized as legal and legitimate. We will never have a legally-sanctioned underclass for the 10-year period Rubio suggests.
Incidentally, Rubio is now jettisoning the mention of ‘citizenship’ from his charm offensive, opting instead for a dialogue over green cards. But the reality is that all green card holders are eligible for the myriad of welfare programs (even current illegals and temporary legals are eligible for refundable tax credits.) The only thing they won’t be able to do is vote. However, there is no way we would be able to withstand the relentless pressure to grant them full rights. This proposal would give the open-borders hustlers 1st and goal position at our one-yard-line, with unlimited opportunities to score. We would have to successfully block every last attempt to adjust the status of the amnestied illegals forever, whereas our opponents would merely have to succeed just once in expediting citizenship, the wait-time for green cards, or access to welfare.
3) The same rationale that is motivating them to grant amnesty to A, B, and C in situations A, B, and C, will motivate them to grant further amnesty to all illegals in all situations. Instead of demanding that we enforce all the laws now and employ attrition through enforcement (which has worked on a state level), the open-borders crowd advances the straw man argument that “we can’t possibly go house-to-house and deport everyone.” To that end, they are demanding legalization and a path to citizenship for those already here. So we are supposed to believe that this rationale suddenly won’t apply to those who came here recently; those who don’t pay the fine; those who don’t learn English; those who constitute a public charge? What are you going to do with all those who don’t qualify? Deport them?
Even if this bill won’t inevitably lead to full citizenship for everyone (it will), the problem will persist. We will hear from the same malevolent fools a few years down the road about the need to grant green cards to those who didn’t qualify the first time and for the new illegals who will invariably overstay their visas in the coming months in order to take advantage of the new liberalization. The fundamental arguments are the same. Far from solving this as a political issue, it will keep this issue alive for years to come, continually providing Democrats with a new way to outbid Republicans in further legalization or expediting the process. They will view this proposal as a mere downpayment. And again, once they are all legal, it will be even harder to stop further legitimizing their status than it is today. In fact, it would be better to truly implement border and interior enforcement first and then grant a blanket amnesty, than to grant a muddled, yet inevitable, amnesty now with no definitive guarantee of enforcement ever.
Folks, they lied to us then; they are lying to us now. It’s time to enact true immigration reform – and do it our way. Only in Washington can politicians hold the core government responsibility of border security hostage for amnesty. We should pass stand-alone legislation to implement border, interior, and workplace enforcement in separate pieces. We should cut off the loopholes that allow illegal aliens to collect refundable tax credits and other benefits.
The House should also immediately pass laws restoring the 287(g) federal-state enforcement program, and write in unambiguous language that states have the right to enforce federal immigration laws. Then, we must see a new attitude emerge from the administration – a new alacrity to enforce our laws. Instead of regurgitating the vapid cliché that “we already have defacto amnesty,” conservatives must fight Obama’s insidious war against borders and sovereignty. Why are so many of them willing to reward Obama’s violation of his oath of office by granting him the desired outcome of his administrative power grabs?
Concurrently, there is no reason we cannot deal with some of the legal immigration problems by making it easier for those who benefit the country to get green cards and by terminating the ridiculous diversity visa lottery. Then, and only then, after the administration implements the new enforcement measures and they hold up in court, we can begin to discuss the most prudent way of dealing with those already here illegally. If we decide to grant legal status at that point, we will be doing so from a position of strength and with the knowledge that it will truly be the last amnesty.
Putting in place measures that will finally enforce current laws before discussing any legalization is required by law; it’s commonsense, and it’s the right thing to do. Everything else is just a sack full of lies.