They fooled us once in 1986. Will they fool us again? By all appearances it would seem so. Those who are paying attention know that the illegal immigrant amnesty bill of 1986 was supposed to secure the border and end further illegal immigration. It didn't. In 2006 a further immigration measure was defeated because it proved to be too tame on enforcing the border. Now, here we are again with the Senate debating yet another immigration bill which promises amnesty first and then border security....maybe.
That's not the way it's supposed to work. Polls continue to show that Americans support EFFECTIVE border security measures BEFORE another round of amnesty.
John McCain Tells Mike's America Border First, But Now???
I remember a testy conversation with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2007 during his presidential campaign:
On immigration, Senator McCain admits that he's learned his lesson. "Americans want a secure border first" he said, because they "have no confidence, no trust in government" to implement a workable comprehensive reform. Under McCain's plan "border state governors will certify" whether or not the border is secure.In his 2010 campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate McCain reiterated his support for border security first. But now? GOP Senators Graham (SC) McCain (AZ) and Rubio (FL) have consistently voted against amendments to the current senate bill which would strengthen border security.
From all appearances it looks like we're in for another senate "deal" which gives away the goodies but the hard part of the deal never happens. Sort of like budget deals with tax increases that take place right way and spending cuts that never materialize. Voters are right to be skeptical. After all, previous border security measures like the one to build the fence were signed into law but the fence was never built.
Perhaps the best wrap up of the issue comes from the editors of National Review online. In an article titled "Rubio's Folly Cont." this excerpt is a must read:
It is an amnesty-first, enforcement-maybe program drawn up mainly to reflect the priorities of 11 million citizens of other countries rather than the concerns of more than 300 million citizens of the United States.Giving power to the Obama Administration to determine whether the border is actually secure is a surefire way to assure that the border will NOT be secure. After all, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already declared that the border is more secure than ever. Really? Illegal border crossings are way up.
Most of the so-called security triggers in the bill are paper tigers. The requirement that those applying for amnesty have clean criminal records in fact allows for two misdemeanor convictions and, like most of the triggers, can be waived by the Department of Homeland Security. Senator John Cornyn of Texas has sought to have those with drunk-driving convictions excluded, but he is meeting resistance — Senator John McCain called the Cornyn amendment, which modestly strengthens other security provisions as well, a “poison pill.” The bill as written excludes only those with three or more drunk-driving convictions — “habitual” drunk drivers.
Likewise, the fines for illegal immigrants contemplated by the Gang of Eight can, under the current bill, be waived by DHS, and the collection of unpaid taxes applies only to levies already assessed by our dear friends at the IRS. The main security provisions of the legislation require only that DHS draw up a plan for security. (That is classic Washington: a plan to have a plan.) The much-vaunted requirement that DHS achieve 90 percent effectiveness for border security requires only self-certification by the DHS; in the unlikely event that DHS does not give itself a passing score, the only result under the law would be the creation of a commission to study the problem. Completing a border fence is left to the discretion of the DHS, which does not support doing so. Likewise, the requirement that the federal government institute a system of controls on those who overstay their visas — which already is a legal requirement and has been since 1996 — is left largely to the discretion of DHS.
All of the concerns above are problematic on their own, but they are rendered especially troublesome by the fact that the legalization of millions of illegal immigrants happens first, immediately and irreversibly. If this bill should be signed into law, the amnesty would go into effect immediately, and the most that any of the so-called triggers would do is delay the process of allowing the formerly illegal immigrants to apply for green cards and citizenship. That is the fundamental flaw of Senator Rubio’s design, and none of his playing Hamlet about the issue is going to change that. The bill is not wrong only in its details, but in its fundamental architecture, including in its guest-worker program and increases in other categories of low-skilled workers.
John McCain was right when he told me Americans "have no confidence, no trust in government" on this issue. I thought he had learned his lesson and I'm disappointed that he's involved in this deal and has dragged Marco Rubio into the mess with him!
UPDATE: Amendment to require 90% border violation apprehension watered down. On Thursday, an amendment which would have "a requirement that 90 percent of the people who attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally must be apprehended or turned back," has been changed to one requiring the hiring of 20,000 new border agents. The problem is that there is nothing requiring these new agents from actually enforcing the law. They could end up investigating the Tea Party!
UPDATE 2: Obama killed 90% border apprehension measure. Do you think he's serious about border security?