Every year another issue sucks all of the oxygen out of Washington, D.C. It will be billed as “the Issue of a Generation” and will be driven by politics rather than policy. If the proposed solution requires more government it will get favorable traction in the media.
In 1997, it was tobacco. Gun control is always just a tragedy away. Global Warming worked for a while. However, with 17 years of no warming behind us those folks have turned to Global Wierding: Storms, droughts, freezes, or whatever else that might occur that you can be blamed for. That issue, thankfully, is going away too. Obamacare was it for several years, but it seems not to be working out as intended so it is time to turn your attention to the new issue of our generation – Comprehensive Immigration Reform. And 2014 will be the year in which we must repair our immigration laws that are, as you know, irretrievably broken.
A U.S. Border Patrol canine team stands nearby after they helped detain a group of undocumented immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border on April 11, 2013 near Mission, Texas. Credit: Getty Images
Immigration reform has gathered a strange team of bedfellows. It is not often that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Labor Leadership find themselves on the same team. To be fair, they are united over the same pursuit – greed. Commercial greed drives the Chamber. The Unions are driven by electoral greed.
Business interests want cheap labor and Unions want cheap Democrat inclined voters. The Chamber is uninterested in the increased welfare costs that will follow. Democrats welcome them.
The Chamber will hire pollsters to frighten Republicans. They will be told that their political future depends on their support for reform.
Democrats have even argued that if Republicans do not help them reform the system that we will never again see a Republican as president. You just know that Democrats wake up every morning asking what can they do that day to help elect a Republican president.
You will hear that we must bring these unfortunate people out of the shadows. If they are in the shadows, then who is marching in the streets in all of the demonstrations?
Immigration reform advocates protest next to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images
We will be told that we need to know who they are. Why? We don’t deport them now. If we have no plans to deport them why do we care who they are?
The Senate has already passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill. All eyes, and not an insignificant amount of money, are on the House.
The Senate bill is largely focused on amnesty. We are not just talking about the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country, but also their relatives not yet in the country including those who have been previously deported.
Betsy McCaughey, former Lt. Gov. of New York actually read the 1,200 page bill. She explains why the Democrats are so interested in its passage.
…the most alarming provision is a section that creates a nonprofit called United States Citizenship, which will develop “citizen preparation” programs to teach immigrants about American history, voting, and the Constitution. The nonprofit will be run by national community organizers and will receive permanent government funding.
The federal Office of Immigration has previously done this job. This nonprofit would be allowed to rewrite American history with whatever slant they want without public scrutiny.
The goal of this provision is to register more Democrat voters.
The bill did not have the votes to pass until Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) came through with a 114-page amendment dealing with border security.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks during an immigration event with members of Fast for Families immigration reform movement, and other members of the House, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol December 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. Pelosi called on Speaker of the House John Boehner to take action on bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform during the event. Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images
The final version of the bill requires that within six months of passage a strategy must be developed to increase surveillance of the border. Significant new funds would be provided for more border agents as well as new electronic surveillance measures. However, the bill places the border agents under the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, an agency with a reputation for liberal activism.
The border fencing would be doubled to 700 miles, when we share a 2,000-mile border with Mexico. It also requires a commission to be established within a year to oversee border operations.
The Secretary of Homeland Security is given broad powers to waive all of the above.
In other words it is largely an amnesty bill that provides for more cheap labor and more cheap Democrat votes with border security to follow – perhaps.
U.S. Border Patrol agents look for footprints along the highly polluted New River which crosses from Mexico into the United States and forms part of the U.S.-Mexico border on November 15, 2013 in Calexico, California. The river and border fence separate the large Mexican city of Mexicali with Calexico, CA, and is a frequent illegal crossing point for immigrant smugglers. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images
As to its impact on the lives of American citizens, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office confirms that the bill will lower wages, increase unemployment and reduce per-capita Gross National Product. As they say, “There are winners and losers.”
For Democrats this is an easy vote. They win. They vote yes.
Republicans have a tougher decision. Do they vote for business interests or national interests? Do they vote for the CEO trying to lower labor costs, or the guy down the street trying to find one of those jobs?
I am not convinced that our immigration laws are irretrievably broken. I am not even convinced that they are terribly bruised. I will admit that border security is seriously lacking, but that just seems to be a construction project. You might call it a shovel ready job.
John Linder can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @linderje
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