Bipartisanship in Immigration

The new-ish editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution has spent the past year telling anyone who would hear that “Our goal is broader discourse” so that in the opinion pages “no single voice dominates the conversation.”

Today the paper ran two pieces on Newt Gingrich’s amnesty proposal and . . . well, you can guess what I’m going to say, but I’ll go ahead anyway. The two pieces not only fail to broaden the discourse, but they say the same thing and are written by members of the same pro-amnesty lobbying group.

The question was phrased as “A path to legality?” and the “moderator” said: “Two guest columnists offer views on this controversial issue facing the U.S.” The two are Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of GALEO (Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials), and Charles Kuck, president of the Alliance for Business Immigration Lawyers. Sounds balanced, right? Gonzalez is a left-wing professional ethnic (he used to work at MALDEF and is on the board of “one of the more progressive foundations in Georgia and the greater South”), while Kuck (pronounced “cook”) is a business-oriented “lifelong Republican“.

The fact that each of their columns says basically the same thing — Gingrich is to be applauded for proposing amnesty, but it’s inadequate — must mean that there’s consensus among reasonable people on the immigration issue.

Except that Kuck is vice-chairman of Gonzalez’s organization! Heck, they probably drafted the two pieces jointly, deciding which one would make which points.

As hilariously embarrassing as this is for the wannabe New York Times of the South, it’s a symptom of a broader problem in the immigration debate. Because the sides don’t split evenly between right and left, amnesty advocates in government and the media ceaselessly promote their latest open-borders scheme as “bipartisan,” like the connivance a few years back between McCain and Kennedy.

Bipartisan deals are possible, of course — the 1986 tax reform, for instance, lowered marginal tax rates (which Republicans wanted) in exchange for eliminating many loopholes (which Democrats wanted). A similar deal on immigration was attempted the same year: the ban on hiring future illegal aliens was combined with amnesty for current illegals.

But the outcome of that deal suggests the problem with any kind of comprehensive immigration reform — the promises of future enforcement made by the bipartisan group of amnesty supporters will not be honored, because once the illegals are legalized both the corporate right and the ethnic left will resume their permanent struggle against borders. This is why enforcement — real, across-the-board, consistent, unapologetic enforcement — has to come first, overcome all legal challenges, operate for a significant time, and shrink the illegal population before any consideration of amnesty is legitimate.

Mark Krikorian — Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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