After a full-court press since November of the meme “Republicans have to do something for Hispanics or they’ll lose every election,” Republican members of both the House and Senate have been working hard to come up with some version of “comprehensive immigration reform” that will make Hispanic voters like them more, but not alienate the base. The broad outlines of a plan have emerged from the Senate with none other as Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio acting as chief salesman, the President has made a speech about his plan, and members of the House will probably announce their own plan in the coming weeks. None of these so far actually seem to recognize the reality of the issues we face, employ a different approach that hasn’t failed terribly in the past, or hope in any way to make things better for the American people.
In 1986 we had the same problem, with about two million illegal aliens unlawfully residing in the US. Something had to be done about the problem we were told, and Congress decided that the best way to handle this was to give amnesty to these illegal aliens and promise to secure the border. The program was overwhelmed with fraud and abuse, three million illegal aliens were given amnesty, border security was largely ignored, and the provisions to punish employers for hiring illegal aliens were unenforced for the most part. Twenty six years later the illegal alien problem had exploded to between twelve and twenty million illegal aliens, and Congress is busy crafting yet another amnesty that somehow is not an amnesty.
The key provisions of that 1986 act aren’t fundamentally different than the outlines of this new amnesty plan, which we know by now was not a solution to this problem at all. The 1986 act required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status, made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit unauthorized immigrants, legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants and legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided here continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt. We’re being told this iteration of “comprehensive immigration reform” isn’t an amnesty because it requires illegal aliens pay fines and back taxes, and that it’s different because in the future border security will be addressed. No, it’s the same approach, the same approach that didn’t work before and won’t work now.
Supporting this plan are some Republicans who have apparently swallowed the idea that they can’t win elections without pandering to the open borders lobby, that Hispanics demand amnesty for illegal aliens and if all they do is throw away their principles Hispanics will stop hating them and happily pull the lever for these new “enlightened” Republicans. Anyone who swallows this wholesale garbage doesn’t deserve to win elections because their understanding of the dynamics here are utterly and hopelessly flawed.
After the 1986 amnesty, George H. W. Bush garnered all of 30% of the Hispanic vote, despite his cheer-leading position for that amnesty. Any politician who thinks they’re going to outperform these numbers needs to have their head examined. Why didn’t Bush the Elder get rewarded for his pandering to the open borders crowd? Because immigration policy isn’t the most important issue for Hispanic voters, as both Gallup and the Pew Hispanic Center attest. What they do care about are the same social welfare issues you’d expect of any demographic with a high percentage of single-parent families, high enrollment in welfare programs, and a very low rate of participation in the tax system. To top it off, Hispanics tend to have the highest negative views of capitalism of any demographic in the country, like big government over smaller government by a margin of 75-25%, and look favorably on Obamacare. These folks aren’t suddenly voting for Republicans because they back a another “one-time” amnesty, they’re voting Democrat because they’re statists. If you want to get their votes, you better start talking to them about economic issues.
That in itself is quite an issue when so many Hispanic voters are getting their news filtered through younger family members who are more fluent in English. Although Grandma might have some pretty conservative ideas about a few things, when everything she is learning about candidates comes from her fifteen year-old grandson, she’s pulling the lever for Obama. Amnesty won’t change that. This amnesty plan, especially if it adds a few tens of millions of folks from socialist third-world countries to the voter rolls, isn’t the path to recovery for Republicans that have gotten beaten in the last two presidential elections — it is a funeral notice.
The partisan problems with this pale in comparison with the fiscal and policy problems inherent in this plan, though. Our federal entitlement programs are already on a road to bankruptcy, and adding twenty million primarily low-income to these programs is going to exacerbate the problem tremendously. Our federal tax system already redistributes a massive chunk of wealth to low income filers, and a vast number of illegal aliens would reasonably qualify for tax credits if they were treated fairly, making that problem worse. The Un-Affordable Care Act would be burdened with yet another massive, budget-bursting outlay. Our unemployment problems would quickly rise with an influx of low-skilled, under-educated, now-legal workers. To make matters worse, by the time an amnesty got working, the number of illegal aliens who could qualify might well suddenly jump another 50% through fraud and abuse, just as it did in 1986 when two million illegal aliens suddenly became three million.
I can only imagine what’s going on at the border tonight, with all this talk of amnesty rippling through the crime-ridden, disease-infested shantytowns of northern Mexico. You bet they’re packing up for a trip north. They’d be crazy not to, and clearly they already are.
Right now about 4.6 foreign nationals are trying to immigrate to the country legally. No effort is being made to increase the efficiency of the system that makes them wait for many years, sometimes even decades. Instead, an illegal alien who crossed the border a month ago gets amnesty under this plan, while that legal immigrant is going to have to wait another ten years while immigration authorities deal with the crush of millions of amnesty applicants. Why would immigrants even bother with the legal immigration system, if it is more expensive, takes longer, and is more onerous than just overstaying a visa? What is the point of having laws, then?
Yet Congress and this administration ask us to trust them on this. They’re working hard to make a responsible deal and keep their word to the American people. Let’s review for a second their track record on keeping their word, just on this one issue.
There are 500,000 fugitive illegal aliens in the United States right now. They were ordered deported and the federal government just let them go, and now they don’t know where they are and aren’t making much of an effort to find them and deport them. Some of these people are risks to our national security, but instead of making any effort to find them, Congress wants to hand out amnesty.
Congress repeatedly promised they would resolve our border security problems. Hey Senator McCain, where’s that “dang” fence you were so hot about getting built during your last campaign? It’s still not there. Neither is much of the enforcement we were promised, and the enforcement measures we got back in 1986 are now being dismantled by this administration through executive orders.
A dozen amnesties have been handed out since 1986 for an addition five million illegal aliens on top of the three million given amnesty in 1986, each one accompanied by a promise that this would end the illegal immigration problem. Instead the problem has only gotten worse. Every promise has been unfulfilled. Every one.
That’s not much of a basis to place any trust at all in what Congress or this administration may try to do.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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