Politics & Policy

Comprehensively Bad

Faux immigration reform.

Deputy White House chief of staff, Joel Kaplan, a key negotiator in the Senate immigration bill, told the Washington Post that there are “things in this bill that Republicans and conservatives have wanted for a long time.”

Did he have any of the following items in mind?

One-day amnesty: Once the bill is enacted illegal aliens can apply for and receive probationary legal status immediately. Criminal/terrorist background checks are required to be completed by the “end of the next business day.” Illegal Monday, legal Tuesday, now that’s almost instant amnesty.

Tax amnesty: Unlike last year’s Senate amnesty bill, which required the illegal immigrants to pay three of five years back taxes, this year’s bill does not require them to pay any back taxes. Senator Kennedy wanted them to pay some taxes, but the White House insisted upon a complete tax amnesty.

Faux enforcement “triggers”: The so-called “enforcement” measures do not require that the border be secure. They only require that a few thousand more Border Patrol agents be hired (not deployed); that about half (370 miles) of the already authorized 700 miles of border fence be built; and that a few other bureaucratic inputs are announced. Then DHS will authorize the second phase of the amnesty by awarding the Z visas. Can anyone imagine Michael Chertoff declaring that these phony “triggers” have not been met?

Weak employer verification: This is not the long-promised “tamper proof” identity for employment. No serious fingerprint digital system is required, massive fraud will continue.

No exit system for guest workers: The guest workers are supposed to be “temporary” and required to eventually leave. But there is no way to enforce their leaving because there is still no Entry-Exit system in place.

Trust criminal gang members: As former Ashcroft deputy Kris Kobach notes there are more than 30,000 illegal immigrant gang members “trafficking in drugs, arms, and people.” They get a Z (amnesty) Visa if they simply sign a “renunciation of gang affiliation.” I guess the Senate-administration “negotiators” trust these M-13 guys.

“Section 136: Nothing in this section may be construed to provide additional authority to any State or local entity to enforce Federal immigration laws.” Why not? The illegal aliens who were part of the Fort Dix terrorist conspiracy were stopped by local law enforcement 56 times but their immigration status was never checked. This bill does nothing to ensure cooperation between local and federal officials in combating terrorism.

No real merit or skills-based (point) system instead current extended family chain migration is accelerated: The chain migration of extended family members will continue and be greatly expanded for the next eight years and only then would a skills-based merit (points) system supposedly go into effect. That is, if you really believe that after eight years a skills system would be adopted against strong business and liberal opposition.

‐ Costs over $2 Trillion: Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation has estimated that the costs to American taxpayers for low-skilled immigrant households is $19, 588 per household, per year. The lifetime costs for the Senate amnesty are estimated to be over 2 trillion dollars.

Okay, maybe Kaplan was not referring to any of the above. Perhaps he meant that the Senate bill has begun a serious effort at assimilation, which many of us “have wanted for a long time.” After all, the White House press office trumpeted, “Strengthening the Assimilation of Immigrants.”

Title VII: Section 707 spells out the details. The term “assimilation” disappears; the concept of “Americanization” never appears; and the Euro-speak weasel word “integration” enters the text. Thus, 100 million federal dollars will be given to states and cities to award grants to “nonprofit organizations with experience working with immigrant communities” for “effective integration of immigrants into American society.”

In plain language this means that the State of Illinois’s Office of New Americans funnels federal funds to groups like La Raza and MALDEF. The type of “integration” that the new citizens will be learning can be gleaned from remarks of Jose Luis Gutierrez, the head of the Illinois Office of New Americans as reported in the Chicago Tribune April 6, 2007.

“The nation-state concept is changing. You don’t have to say, `I am Mexican,’ or, `I am American.’ You can be a good Mexican citizen and a good American citizen and not have that be a conflict of interest. Sovereignty is flexible.”

Gutierrez is a dual citizen who is actively involved in Mexican politics. He votes in both the US and Mexico and is active in political campaigns in both nations. His political allegiance is clearly divided. He will not choose the United States over Mexico. Remember this is the guy in charge of assimilation; sorry, I mean “integration.” In short, the Senate bill can’t even get assimilation right.

There is almost nothing in this bill that “Republicans and conservatives,” Democrats and liberals, or Americans of any political persuasion “have wanted for a long time.” What the American people have “wanted for a long time” in the five and half years since 9/11 is for the Bush administration to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to “provide for the common defense” by securing the borders and interior of the United States of America — in this solemn duty the administration has failed miserably.

– John Fonte is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.


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