Immigration Reform—Dead at Last?

Published on October 17th, 2013

By Joe Guzzardi
October 17, 2013

Immigration advocates have entered the last desperate stage of their amnesty activism. Along the way, they’ve spared no cost; overlooked no strategy. After scheduling early October protest marches in major cities that culminated with a grand but failed finale in Washington D.C., the deep-pockets immigration lobby is starting all over again.

And why not? Earlier this week, President Obama promised to “push immigration reform” the day after the government reopens and the debt ceiling is raised. As the president has said many times before and despite overwhelming economic evidence that refutes him, “Immigration reform is really important for the country. Now is the time to do it.”

Proponents have developed a two-tiered strategy. First, so called conservatives will participate in an October 28 fly-in to meet with House Republicans to persuade them to legalize illegal aliens, aka grant them amnesty. The group has more than 300 members including pastors, farmers, police chiefs and business owners, all of whom have a long pro-immigration history. 

Of interest is that the fly-in, although it’s made up of self-described conservatives, is funded by liberal Democrats. Among them are New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Partnership for a New American Economy, FWD.us, the brainchild of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Zuckerberg visited the Capitol Hill earlier this summer for one-on-one meetings with key congressional players.

Last weekend, Phoenix immigration radicals developed a second and more aggressive approach than the fly in. Taking a page from the previous week when they chained themselves to busses carrying detained aliens and blocked federal courts to delay proceedings that could result in deportations, they promise to conduct similar disruptive actions at ICE. Their goal, as expressed by Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, is to force President Obama to “suspend deportations wholesale.”

Americans who favor enforcing existing immigration laws have seen it all before—civil disobedience and empty promises made for political gain.

After the last hurrah, though, amnesty always dies because it’s never “the right time.” Legalizing millions of aliens depresses wages, hurts unemployed Americans and encourages more illegal immigration. These unarguable facts, even though Congress rarely addresses them, trump the rhetoric and, in the end, help kill the legislation.

When the Senate Gang of Eight first drafted its 1,200-page monstrosity, the odds were no more than 50-50 that it would pass. Senators John Hoever and Bob Corker introduced last minute enforcement that won over enough skeptics to get the necessary votes.

But from Day One, the House refused to take up the Senate bill, drastically lowering its probability of becoming law. Besides the challenges of backing a horrible bill, the government shut down and the fiscal cliff nightmares which eclipsed immigration reform dealt the advocates an unplayable blow. Now, with the government on the verge of resuming its operations and an agreement on debt looming, House Republicans are united that they oppose passing any immigration legislation lest it lead to a Senate conference.

Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, once pro-amnesty, said that the shutdown had created bad blood between the Democrats and Republicans and would make going to conference “crazy.” Labrador also told a reporter that reform is “dead,” soothing words to Americans who feared the worst.


Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]

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