By Joe Guzzardi
May 20, 2013
Since the United States’ fate depends on the outcome of the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744, Americans should be paying close attention to the ongoing Senate Judiciary Committee markup. To flatly state that American sovereignty is contingent on defeating S. 744 is no exaggeration. Despite its flowery name, S.744 provides no border security, offers economic opportunity exclusively to already thriving corporations, the 11 million illegal aliens who would be given work permits and could be considered “modern” only by those who define the word as amnesty for illegal aliens.
Americans have gotten an earful, especially on the Sunday morning talk shows where Gang of Eight Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain were frequent guests, about how S.744 will seal the border. But after three weeks of committee meetings, we found out—no surprise—that the promises were a pack of lies.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has completely failed to strengthen the loophole-filled enforcement provisions or to reduce the harm of radically expanded immigration numbers on 20 million unemployed and underemployed Americans. Every amendment failed that was designed to demonstrate good faith by requiring at least token enforcement before giving amnesty benefits.
The bill authorizes the automatic issuance of work permits under provisional legal status to illegal immigrants. Citizenship will eventually follow. As for true enforcement, that’s down the line—maybe. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act’s disastrous consequences are, as far as the committee is concerned, ancient history. IRCA also promised but didn’t deliver enforcement or employer sanctions for those who hired aliens.
S. 744’s long term consequences are equally dire. In spite of a sustained labor glut, over the next decade S. 744 would allow as many as 33 million overseas workers, low and high-skilled, to come to the United States to take Americans’ jobs.
The committee rejected even the most obvious improvements like speeding up a mandatory E-Verify system to once and for all shut down the jobs magnet for illegal immigrants. Ditto for electronic monitoring for guest workers to ensure they leave when their visas expire.
The U.S. admits about 1 million legal immigrants annually, the world’s most generous immigration policy. The average immigration rate from the 1950s through the 1970s was 3 million a decade. From 1980 until today, the rate has been 11 million per decade, nearly quadruple the level from 50 years ago.
More than 13 percent of America’s population is foreign-born with the majority coming from Mexico and the Caribbean. Tripling the total to 3.3 million immigrants each year would put pressure not only on jobs but also on social services, the environment and assimilation. Only 13 percent of immigrants who arrived in 2000 or later have become naturalized citizens.
Needless to say, the committee didn’t address any of those inevitable challenges but instead babbled on incoherently about the “needs” S. 744 would meet.
Unfortunately, the needs the Gang of Eight so frequently refers to aren’t your family’s, your neighbor’s or your work colleague’s. Instead they’re the demands of unscrupulous employers who have access to American labor but prefer cheap, more pliant overseas workers. The needs also represent the want list of ethnic identity Beltway lobbyists.
What’s certain to emerge as S.744’s final version is a bill without any enforcement but with a grab bag of benefits for business. Whether such lopsided legislation can pass even the Democratic-controlled Senate should be a major Gang concern. We’ll find out soon. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to bring the bill to the floor in June.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]