Past Broken Immigration Promises Pose Big Hurdle for Congress

Published on March 6th, 2013

By Joe Guzzardi
March 6, 2013

Promises, promises—when Congress debates immigration legislation, it promises the moon. But in the end, it delivers nothing. With today’s Gang of Eight amnesty in full blown congressional discussions, empty vows about interior enforcement, securing the border and putting immigrants at the back of the line are distractions thrown out to appease a skeptical public.

Congress’ amnesty double talk could have been lifted word for word from the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. Not only didn’t IRCA enforce immigration law, shore up the border or impose employer sanctions on companies that hire aliens, its failures resulted in millions more illegal immigrants arriving.

In fact, some of the tough laws that Congress pledges it will write into the 2013 amnesty legislation are being broken as they speak.

As an example, several days ago the Department of Homeland Security released thousands of criminal aliens. Secretary Janet Napolitano disingenuously claimed that, because of looming sequestration, she had no money to detain aliens. After public outrage, the White House and DHS engaged in comical finger pointing. Each blamed the other and both insisted they didn’t authorize freeing the detainees. Given the disclaimer dialogue, Americans might logically expect that that the in-your-face policy wouldn’t be repeated.

But this week the House Judiciary Committee obtained an internal DHS document which revealed the administration’s plan to release 1,000 additional aliens per week through March 31. Recognizing that freeing more criminals blatantly disregards public safety and noting the DHS has “plenty of funding to detain criminal aliens,” Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte called decision part of a political agenda that has nothing to do with getting Congress’ fiscal house in order.

Another example of empty words is Congress’ laugh out loud guarantee to provide electronic verification at the work place. In 2011, the Judiciary passed the Legal American Workforce Act that would have mandated E-Verify. But the Republican-controlled House refused to bring it to the floor for a full vote even though it had the votes to pass. Furthermore, the American Civil Liberties Union has repeatedly announced that it would challenge E-Verify, all the way up to the Supreme Court if necessary. ACLU suits would tie up verification for years.

Putting enforcement further out of reach, Cecelia Munoz is the White House Policy Council Director and former National Council of La Raza Senior Immigration Policy Analyst. Munoz has a documented 25-year history of opposing any type of mandatory identification. The chance of a mandatory ID provision winning White House support is zero.

Despite what Americans have been repeatedly told, there’s no back of the line. The instant aliens receive permanent legal residency, they go to the front of the line to receive work authorization, social security cards and qualify for a cornucopia of welfare benefits. Overnight, 11 million previously unemployable illegal immigrants will compete with more than 20 million unemployed or underemployed Americans.

Finally, amnesty’s price tag would be crippling. The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector estimated that based on what the failed 2007 amnesty deal would have cost taxpayers, the 2013 total will easily exceed $3 trillion over the next two decades.

Based on the administration’s ongoing, aggressive immigration law subversion, no one in their right mind could put an ounce of credibility into the false promises it makes.


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

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