No Do Overs

Published on August 4th, 2013

When we were growing up and playing a game, if somehow something went wrong, one of us would yell, “Do over!”

We then got to replay the last play of the game we were playing.

When laws are passed that create unintended consequences, those laws can be tweaked or even repealed altogether by subsequent laws. Even the United States Constitution has seen this sort of process play out. The 18th Amendment outlawed alcoholic beverages. The 21st Amendment was ratified to repeal the 18th Amendment. In essence, this constituted a “Constitutional Do Over.”

Where Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), the DREAM Act and other such legislative “solutions” to the immigration crisis are concerned, there would be no going back if such laws are passed. The government could not, for example, create laws that would provide millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and then decide to undo the damage created by unintended consequences.

Advocates for CIR claim that about 11 million illegal aliens would participate in the program. In 1986, the advocates for the Immigration Reform and Control Act “guesstimated” that roughly 1 million to 1.5 million illegal aliens would participate in that supposed “one time” amnesty program, only to find that nearly 4 million illegal aliens ultimately participated. If CIR were enacted and a similar proportion of additional aliens were to participate, more than 30 million illegal aliens might participate. Once legalized, aliens could not be summarily stripped of their lawful status.

There would be no remedy to this problem. Even if it were determined that insurmountable problems were created for national security, the economy, employment, education, healthcare, critical infrastructures of towns and cities and a host of other areas, there would be no remedy. There would be no way to call for a “Do Over!”

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off into an unusually frigid sky above Cape Canaveral. Many engineers and others involved with the countdown and the launch process warned that the conditions were too hazardous for a safe launch, but the managers at NASA were suffering from “Go Fever.” They were eager to launch the shuttle to maintain the schedule. Once the solid rocket boosters were ignited and the shuttle was committed to launch, the fate of Shuttle Challenger and her valiant astronaut crew was sealed. Approximately 72 seconds after liftoff, the shuttle and its crew were obliterated.

On June 22, 2007, the Washington Times published my Op-Ed, “Immigration bill a ‘No Go,’” addressing concerns about Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation that was then being hotly debated in the U.S. Senate. I drew the same analogy back then as I have today, comparing the wrong-headed decision to launch Space Shuttle Challenger with the wrong-headed arguments to enact horrible legislation, for all the wrong reasons. What I said back then is just as relevant today.

In my Op-Ed I suggested that Comprehensive Immigration Reform be given a more honest and accurate name – the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act. Back then, on the Senate floor Senator Sessions quoted from my piece on three separate days during the floor debate.

When Chuck Schumer and his other gangsters say that it is unacceptable to not act, I respond by saying that the wrong action is worse than no action.

Our leaders, in considering the well-being of American citizens, need to adopt the provision of the Hippocratic Oath that succinctly states:

“I will keep them from harm and injustice.”

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