Skip to comments.Making illegal residents legal
Posted on 01/08/2004 10:41:37 AM PST by kellynla
President Bush's immigration reform plan, delayed three years because of Sept. 11, is a politically expedient confession of the massive failure of U.S. immigration policy for two decades.
Bush's plan would legalize 8 million to 9 million people in this country illegally, and does nothing to shut off the flow of more illegal immigrants. In fact, it will encourage more to come.
Bush is not solely to blame for this misguided policy. He has simply signed on to policy Congress has followed since the last so-called reforms, in 1986, 1990 and 1996, from which our government has apparently learned nothing.
The idea behind the Bush plan is to pretend to Americans who in poll after poll oppose the current high levels of both legal and illegal immigration that reform is being done, while in fact writing laws that do nothing to close U.S. borders that are essentially open.
The administration even has the nerve to pretend that the raft of homeland security measures announced in recent days will help to stanch the illegal immigrant flow. In fact, those measures, painful as they are, carefully avoid the one provision that would stop illegal immigration instantly: requiring forge-proof Social Security cards for Americans, without which employment would be denied.
Bush no doubt hopes his generous plan for illegal immigrants, most of whom are from Mexico and 40 percent of whom are in California, will win him sympathetic Latino votes in states like California, Arizona and Florida. It may well do so if the defection of people who object to this immigration flimflam does not offset any gain.
Mexican President Vicente Fox will be satisfied with Bush's plan because he long has called for an amnesty for Mexicans illegally in the United States. Bush does not call his plan an amnesty, but when laws are changed so that lawbreakers miraculously are transformed into law-abiders, that is amnesty.
Congress will tinker with Bush's proposals, but will endorse them for they closely track existing bipartisan bills in Congress if anything, they are more generous. If Congress seeks a name for its new bill Congress likes flashy names for its sillier legislation I have one: the Federal Anti-Reform Control Evasion act.
FARCE, for short.
Immigration advocates say the proposed measures simply recognize reality: You've got 8 million illegal immigrants here, most are gainfully employed, government has neither the will nor the resources to find and deport them and so, voila, let us embrace them in the spirit of true American pragmatism.
As a utilitarian argument, it is irrefutable, and the very Americans who say in polls they don't want them here are the same ones who employ them by the millions in fields, firms and households. At least the new proposals have the virtue of not being hypocritical, like so much past immigration policy. Government is simply throwing up its hands. I imagine managers at Wal-Mart, under investigation for employing illegal immigrants, are relieved.
At its heart, it is a catastrophic admission of failure. It is a confession that, despite massive border controls, a generation of immigration reform bills and billions of dollars spent in a ballet of smoke and mirrors, America's borders are essentially wide open. It is a confession that the reform acts of the past 18 years were complete failures, and during that period 8 million to 9 million people have entered this land and settled here permanently, patiently awaiting the next amnesty.
Don't expect much opposition to Bush's proposals. Right-wing nativists will rant and rave, but their reasoning is always suspect. As for the politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, they see only political gain in FARCE. They will outbid each other to see who wins the most. In their legislating, they will carefully avoid loaded words like "amnesty" and "guest workers." Fox and Bush will embrace each other sometime before the November elections, and bands will play.
In the land, people will be offended at the fecklessness of these policies, but will be powerless to stop the freight train. They won't be fooled by the flag-waving, though they also won't be laying off any illegal workers they happen to employ.
The core problem with FARCE is this: It will not stop more illegal immigrants from coming. For a decade, I have said that amnesty would only be justified if it simultaneously cut off the flow of millions more people awaiting the next amnesty. Mexico, in other words, should agree as a quid pro quo to control its borders and stop illegal passage across them.
The 8 million may not be going anywhere but such a quid pro quo would stop another 8 million from coming before the ink is dry.
Mexico, however, refuses such an agreement.
We are reliving the failure of 1986 when 4 million people were amnestied, only this time we have
8 million. As we embrace the new immigrants, we should be learning from our 1986 mistake so that, at the next amnesty, in 2022, the figure is not 20 million.
But both Bush and this Congress will be gone by then.
We don't have nearly enough GIs.
Talk about letting the FOX guard the chicken coop!
FARCE, for short.
Maybe next year we'll decide to pardon all convicts because our prison system is not working -- we can call that the Federal Anti-Reform Prisoner Act (FARPA).
8: Seize the assets of businesses knowingly hiring Illegals under the RICO Act, as they are ongoing criminal enterprises. Prosecute executives who knowingly hire Illegals.
I think five years minimum mandatory for employing illegals would go a long way towards solving the problem.