“Laws are like sausages,” said Otto von Bismarck famously, “it’s better not to see them being made.” That’s probably true even for good laws and good sausages. But there are times when the law or the sausage seems to represent the dubious process of its manufacture all too faithfully. In a word: it smells. And the last week of law-making in the U.S. Senate, which is expected to produce “comprehensive immigration reform” by the end of today or tomorrow, has been especially odiferous.
Let’s take the amendments passed, rejected or tabled in the last week:
Beneath all these legislative deceptions and contortions, the politics of this bill are not hard to read. It is being pushed by an alliance of Big Business (cheap labor), the Democrats (cheap votes), the immigration lawyers (more business), and the White House (economic illiteracy plus moral preening) against the opposition of most Republicans in both House and Senate–and of most Americans. Yet if this legislation is passed, the Republicans will share the political blame for what the media will call a bi-partisan compromise–and they will suffer at the polls for a bill drawn up by Teddy Kennedy.
But a political party is not a suicide pact. Neither House nor Senate Republicans need follow George W. Bush–a lame lemming if ever there was one–over a cliff. Senate Republicans can mount a filibuster against the bill. And if that fails, House Republicans can refuse to go to conference on it and halt the bill that way.
They would be entirely justified. The net effect of this legislation is that in the next 20 years 66 million immigrants will “enter” the country. Most of them will be either illegals or “temporary” guest-workers who, in return for paying a small fine and modest back taxes assessed by themselves, will get first place in the line for U.S. residency, a green card (worth at least $100,000 on the world market), a social security entitlement of unknown size, and a early path to citizenship in a newly bicultural America.
That sausage is highly inedible. It may be swallowed by the Senate. But the House Republicans could choke swallowing it. If they manage to get it down, however, it is the American people who’ll be poisoned.
—John O’Sullivan is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington and editor-at-large of National Review. He is currently writing a book on Reagan, Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. This first appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times and is reprinted with permission.