By Joe Guzzardi
April 17, 2013
After working behind closed doors for weeks, the Senate Gang of Eight walked an extra mile to keep the comprehensive immigration reform bill a secret. Normally, legislation of this magnitude that has been surrounded by massive publicity would be introduced mid-day to allow the press to write stories in time to meet their deadlines.
However, the Gang preferred to keep the details under wraps for as long as possible. The 844-page bill, formally titled the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013,” dropped in the middle of the night while most of America slept. For the record, the Gang includes Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
The Gang can try to delay revealing its poisonous legislation with clandestine meetings and a pre-dawn drop. But ultimately, it can’t hide the bill’s content—immediate legal status and work authorization for 11 million illegal aliens that will devastate 20 million unemployed and underemployed Americans. More people will compete for fewer American jobs.
Furthermore, instant legal standing means aliens will automatically qualify for entitlements like Medicare, food stamps and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash program. As if granting legal status to aliens isn’t bad enough, a preliminary analysis of the bill shows that legal immigration could increase by up to 100 percent. Current legal immigration totals about 1 million annually. Under the new bill, more visas to low and high-skilled foreign-born workers will be issued which could double legal immigration to 2 million a year.
The Gang trumpeted border security features. Unfortunately, those come months later and have no guarantees. This year’s empty promises echo the pledges made but left unfulfilled during the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act.
Expect a long and bitter fight in the Senate and House before immigration legislation passes, assuming it ever does. Tentatively, two Senate Judiciary Committee hearings are scheduled that will expose the bill’s flaws. Gang members have agreed to consider amendments but on the condition that they aren’t intended to kill the bill.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT.), part of the original gang who dropped out because of disagreements about whether aliens should be granted citizenship, sounded a cautionary note. Lee, a Judiciary Committee member, said that it’s “unfortunate” that his colleagues have “so little time to digest and evaluate such expansive legislation” before the first committee hearing. Added Lee, “our duty is to read the bill and fully understand the impact it will have on our immigration system before casting votes.”
Ironically Rubio, who replaced Lee in the Gang, spent most of yesterday defending his indefensible bill. Rubio tried to appease outraged Republicans, especially the Tea Party which was instrumental in his 2010 election. On his Twitter account, Rubio made dozens more empty promises assuring that “Americans’ voices will be heard” before a vote. Rubio insists, falsely, that the border security measures will be the “toughest” in America’s history.
Only the most naïve could still have faith in Rubio. In a matter of months, he has developed a well-earned untrustworthy reputation. The amnesty legislation that Rubio and his snarky White House aides and pro-immigration lobby lawyer pals have written smacks of complicity and a determination to acquiesce to Beltway special interests.
If Congress has America’s best interests at heart, it should vote nay on the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act.”
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]