What is happening in the Senate on the immigration issue is arrogance. Plain and simple, old-fashioned, “we know better than you do” arrogance. In the face of overwhelming public opposition to virtually every facet of the McCain/Kennedy Senate bill regarding immigration reform, the Judiciary Committee, by a vote of twelve to six, reported the bill to the full Senate.
The proponents of this bill, or variations of it, cry repeatedly that it is not an “amnesty” plan. But as the old saying goes, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. This bill could have a picture of it next to the word “duck’ in the dictionary.
The most controversial element of this “reform” is a scheme that would allow illegal aliens to stay in the United States permanently. The long and short of it is that if people who broke the law and came here illegally will report in and pay a fine and some back taxes, they get to stay. Moreover, they get put on track to full citizenship.
And without any serious border enforcement, much less the proposed physical barrier that could be erected along the most difficult to patrol areas of our border, the Senate bill would lead us full circle to our present situation a decade from now. This is to say nothing of the fact that, once potential border-crossers see that we’re an easy touch once they actually get into the country, more of them are sure to follow.
Proponents of the Senate version of a “guest worker” plan say that it is not feasible to expect illegals to return to their home countries and apply for such status or even for American citizenship. Why not? They came here, didn’t they? They obviously know the way. What they are really saying is that they broke the law to get here, so we should just accept that they would break any law that asks them to come here through legal channels.
It is axiomatic that, if you want more of something, you subsidize it. If you want less of something, you tax it. The same principle applies here. If we want to see the number of illegals increase, then give the ones that are here now amnesty and a green light towards citizenship. If we want fewer, then secure the border and begin penalizing the businesses that knowingly hire them. Period.
And what about the fiscal realities associated with such a scheme? If all of the illegals in this country “reported in”, paid their fine and back taxes as required by the McCain/Kennedy bill, how much are they likely to cost taxpayers in government benefits once they’re legal? I’m sure the proponents of the Senate bill will fail to trumpet that piece of information.
Then there is the lesson of “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” In other words, we’ve been down this road before, in 1986 to be exact. That year some four or five million illegal aliens received amnesty. The political tradeoff for that deal was, you guessed it, enhanced border security. We were going to get tough. “This more and no more”, so to speak.
So how did that work out? Well, here we are, twelve million illegal aliens later, hearing the same old song and dance. This time, House Republicans wisely moved to put the horse in front of the cart and focus on border enforcement. The idea being that there would be no legislative tradeoffs on that issue — it would stand on its own.
But this is Washington, and the politics of immigration prevents that from happening. Too many politicians see future political advantage in several million more poor immigrants with voter registration cards. Too many liberals see an advantage to having a larger constituency to lobby on behalf of for government benefits. Too many members of the business community see the dollar signs that come with cheap labor.
So how do the American people feel about all of this? According to each and every major poll on the subject, they disagree. Overwhelmingly. The various polls were conducted by Time/Warner, Quinnipiac, Gallup, NBC/Wall Street Journal and IQ Research and, while the numbers vary slightly from poll to poll, suffice it to say that an average of three-fifths to three-fourths of the American public agree on the following:
They support construction of a security fence on our border; think illegals should be treated as felons; oppose giving them a path to citizenship; want employers who hire them penalized; think illegals increase the likelihood of terrorism; and think they cost taxpayers too much because of demands for public education and health care.
A whopping eighty-eight percent of Americans consider illegal immigration to be a serious problem, and seventy-one percent say they would vote for Congressional candidates who would tighten immigration.
It doesn’t seem that the solons in the Senate are listening. That arrogance problem again.