By Joe Guzzardi
June 10, 2013
Too bad for the Gang of Eight that its monstrously bad immigration bill—1, 077 pages, 27 times as long as the Constitution—came along at the same time as multiple administration scandals: the State Department lying about Benghazi, the IRS targeting conservative groups and the White House tracking Associate Press reporters. Because so many government agencies are investigating corruption charges, the public’s trust in government, never high to begin with, has plunged to new lows.
That’s a problem for the Gang that wants the nation to believe that just as soon as 11 million illegal aliens are granted amnesty and work authorization and 33 million more are given work visas over the next decade, it will secure the border. Americans heard those empty words in 1986 but the Immigration Reform and Control Act failed to deliver either border or internal enforcement.
Finally, after two months of false Gang predictions that S. 744 would be the most stringent immigration bill ever written, the truth has been set free. Contrary to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s oft-repeated lie that border security “triggers” would be in place before amnesty, she only has to submit a plan for greater enforcement. If the plan never evolves…well, sorry about that.
I also recall Gang pledges that aliens would pay back taxes and learn English. But in the final version neither requirement appeared.
When the Gang drafted S. 744 in Vatican-like secrecy, its too-many-to-count allies reacted as if comprehensive immigration reform was in the bag. Today, however, the tide has turned. Republicans and moderate Democrats have expressed serious, possibly crippling reservations. To name just one skeptic, ultra-liberal Bernie Saunders (I-VT) correctly labeled S. 744 a cheap labor ploy that would benefit major corporations but hurt unemployed Americans.
In the House, which will ultimately decide immigration legislation’s fate, the tone is decidedly hostile. Last week, the House rejected President Obama’s unilateral deferred action for childhood arrivals policy that removes them from possible deportation. In a measure that most Americans endorse, all but six Republicans voted against funding that would allow illegal aliens age 16 to 31 enrolled in high school or the military to remain. The House vote, spearheaded by Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King, is a clear reflection of the long odds that any surviving Senate bill would face in the House.
The voting details within King’s amendment are more ominous for the Gang than the final count. Even GOP members who represent districts with significant Hispanic populations stood their ground and supported King.
One day after conferring with Gang cheerleader Marco Rubio, King promised that the House would resist any Senate effort to ram amnesty down its throat. His exact words: “We’re not particularly persuaded.”
Rubio doesn’t know which way is up. The Gang leader spent last week fluctuating back and forth about whether he would support S. 744. Rumors swept through Washington that Rubio was poised to drop out of the Gang, a move that would kill even the slightest chance that S.744 would pass.
As S. 744 heads down the wire, Texas Senator John Cornyn announced that he will introduce the rigid RESULTS amendment that would truly secure the border. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Cornyn’s proposal a “poison pill” that he would refuse to debate. But if Reid rejects Cornyn, he’ll have a tough time attracting Republican votes. For Reid, enforcement is a lose-lose gamble.
Reid wants a vote before the Independence Day recess so that his members don’t have to face outrage back home. That’s telling. To Reid, a hurry up process is more important than the nation’s fate if S. 744 passes.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]