By Matthew Vadum
Left-wingers are once again pushing a so-called comprehensive immigration reform package that helps their cause more than it helps America.
The proposal, still in rough outline, was unveiled at a Capitol Hill press conference Monday. It makes vague promises, the same promises that have been echoing in the corridors of power for decades, of finally enforcing the nation’s porous border with Mexico. It comes days after left-wing groups vowed to lay the groundwork to turn Texas deep Democrat blue.
The plan is backed by a bipartisan group of senators known informally as the Gang of 8. The four Democrats are Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Illinois), Robert Menendez (New Jersey), Chuck Schumer (New York), and Michael Bennet (Colorado). The Republican half of the gang consists of John McCain (Arizona), Marco Rubio (Florida), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), and freshman senator Jeff Flake (Arizona).
The proposal has less to do with helping immigrants, legal or otherwise, and more to do with helping politicians.
Democrats, on the other hand, know with much greater certainty that the legislation will secure their party more votes. “This legislation is all about the Democrats bringing in new voters who will assure them of a permanent leftist majority,” writes Paul Mirengoff at Power Line.
Radicals’ goal is to use immigration to subvert the American system, just as it has been since the 1960s when the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) shepherded reform of that era’s immigration laws through Congress. The concept is simple: Flood America with people who don’t share Americans’ traditional philosophical commitment to the rule of law, limited government and free markets, in order to force changes in society.
Candidates from the increasingly extreme Democratic Party traditionally fare well among new Americans and even better among those voting illegally.
Some illegal immigrants not only vote illegally, but also illegally help bring Democratic voters to the polls. In the recent election, Democrats enlisted thousands of young illegal immigrants to drag Democratic supporters to the polls.
Although amnesty remains unpopular among the American public at large, the activist Left wants the estimated 11 million illegal aliens present in the U.S. to be processed because they see them as future Democratic voters. Polling and various studies suggest that Latino voters tend to be sympathetic to big-government policies and that immigration is not an important issue for most Latino voters.
In addition, many labor unions, such as SEIU (which has executives focused solely on immigration issues) see today’s illegals as future union members. Business lobbies favor amnesty because they crave the cheap, largely unskilled labor.
Yesterday President Obama served notice he intends to harangue Congress into passing the upcoming immigration legislation.
“If Congress is unable to act in a timely fashion I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away,” the president proclaimed at an Obama love fest in Las Vegas, apparently unaware that the lawmaking process in America doesn’t quite work that way.
Trying to generate a false sense of urgency, Obama said over and over again, “now is the time” to act. “We’ve got to bring our legal immigration system into the 21st century.”
Later the same day, Organizing for Action blackshirt-in-chief Jim Messina, who was Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, blasted out a mass email. “Solving this problem is not only essential to a strong economy and a thriving middle class, it’s also the right thing to do,” he wrote, as Obama’s policies continue to destroy small businesses and harm working Americans.
Organizing for Action, previously known as Organizing for America, is Obama’s former campaign apparatus. The in-your-face Alinskyite activist group is in the process of reorganizing itself as a 501c4 nonprofit corporation separate from the Democratic National Committee.
In its current form the “Gang of 8″ proposal resembles the comprehensive immigration reform package that Congress considered in 2007. That plan withered away after a sustained public backlash forced lawmakers to back away. It also comes decades after President Reagan’s immigration amnesty granted legal status to about 3 million people but failed to stem the flow of illegals over America’s southern border.
The latest iteration of the plan calls for a halt to deportations and would give illegal aliens legal status, putting them on a so-called path to U.S. citizenship. At some point they would be made to undergo background checks and pay fines for breaking immigration laws and back taxes.
The currently pending applications of legal immigration applicants would have to be processed before illegal aliens would be processed through the system. The illegals would not be eligible for welfare and other public assistance immediately.
But this road to citizenship would not begin to be paved until the nation’s borders were deemed more secure and the government had produced a system capable of tracking visitors to ensure they weren’t overstaying their visitor visas.
A bipartisan commission would be created to examine the issue of border security but that panel would be strictly advisory in nature. As Sen. McCain has acknowledged, whether the borders are secure would ultimately be an administrative decision that would be rendered by the Homeland Security secretary.
In other words, the lawless President Obama would be free to pay lip-service to border enforcement while ushering in new waves of immigrants that the Left would be able to count on as new voters.
In June last year President Obama granted what amounts to a de facto amnesty of as many as 1.4 million young illegal aliens. Obama bypassed Congress and partially implement the proposed DREAM Act which would have offered a path to U.S. citizenship for youthful illegals who served in the armed forces or attended college. The administration says 800,000 illegal aliens could benefit although the nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies says the true number is closer to 1.4 million.
Like all amnesties the “Gang of 8″ plan rewards lawbreaking and serves as a flashing green light to would-be illegal immigrants, inviting them to jump the queue. Amnesties beget amnesties. Each one increases the likelihood that another immigration amnesty will follow in the future – and so on and so on and so on. Meanwhile, it remains difficult, and in some cases extraordinarily difficult, for would-be lawful immigrants to find their way through the existing maze of immigration bureaucracy.
At the Monday press conference, which rapidly degenerated into a pandering contest as Sens. Rubio and Menendez spoke at length in Spanish, Sen. Schumer said he was optimistic about the proposal’s chances.
“Other bipartisan groups of senators have stood in the same spot before, trumpeting similar proposals. But we believe this will be the year Congress finally gets it done,” Schumer predicted. “The politics on this issue have been turned upside down. For the first time ever, there’s more political risk in opposing immigration reform than in supporting it.”
“We have to modernize our legal immigration system, we have to have a real enforcement mechanism to ensure we’re never here again in the future, and we have to deal with the people that are here now in a way that’s responsible but humane,” Rubio said.
“This does that.”