December 13, 2012
Here we go again. When the 113th Congress convenes in January, legislators are determined to waste valuable time and energy in yet another futile effort to pass what they refer to as comprehensive immigration reform. Most Americans call it amnesty.
A so called “group of eight” has met to discuss amnesty details. They are Democrats Chuck Schumer (NY), Dick Durbin (IL), Michael Bennet (CO), Bob Menendez (NJ) and Republicans John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), Mike Lee (UT) and Sen.-elect Jeff Flake (AZ). The Democrats are among Congress’ most liberal while the Republicans are notoriously aligned with the illegal alien lobby.
Speaking of the Hispanic lobby, it has been its usual vocal self post-election. Janet Murgia, National Council of La Raza president, said that when Hispanic voters went to the polls in November, they had immigration reform “in their hearts.” Other officials who represent like-minded groups promised massive pro-amnesty demonstrations and threatened to withhold future votes from congressional representatives who don’t play ball.
During the last decade, offended Americans have been subjected the same bullying dozens of times but to no avail. Alien demonstrations have been staged without success in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington. Ethnic identity Capitol Hill organizations’ saber rattling, of which more is on the way, has netted them nothing.
In addition to American grassroots resistance, Murgia et al have a major problem to overcome. Pollsters learned that Romney would not have won even had he garnered historic levels of Hispanic voter support. In key swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida if 80 percent or more of the Latino vote had gone to Romney, it still wouldn’t have been enough to put him over the top. Two things are clear. First, on immigration Republicans can’t move to the left of Democrats. Republican efforts to out- pander Democrats are doomed. Not only is it impossible but in the process, the Republican base is turned off. Graham, up for re-election in 2014 and trailing in the polls, will wake up to this once January rolls around.
Second, amnesty doesn’t resolve the immigration problem. Since the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which President Ronald Reagan promised would be the last amnesty, six more have passed. They include three in three separate years for aliens who qualified under Section 245 (i), two for refugees, one each for Haitians and Nicaraguans, and in 2000 one late amnesty for those who for various reasons resided in the U.S. in 1986 but didn’t apply for IRCA. Section 245 (i) allowed some aliens to adjust their status after paying a $1,000 fine.
Although many critics claim that long term immigration solutions must include amnesty, the reverse is true. The most effective tool to combat illegal immigration is mandatory E-Verify, which would guarantee that only Americans or legal immigrants get and keep jobs. Congress had an opportunity earlier this year to pass the Legal Workforce Act. After the House Judiciary Committee passed it, Speaker John Boehner kept it from getting to the floor for a full vote.
As for 2013, the probable scenario is that the Senate will narrowly approve a liberal, all encompassing amnesty that the House will kill. Nothing on Capitol Hill is more toxic than immigration. In the end, all the bluster inevitably leads nowhere.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org