|Going Down the Same Trail: Amnesty
By Maria Fotopoulos
February 2, 2013
An oft-repeated definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That’s the perfect description of the amnesty, cloaked as “immigration reform,” that the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” and President Obama are poised to hoist upon the U.S.
The recently unveiled immigration reform outline closely mirrors legislation defeated in 2007, which itself was successor to several other failed “reform” attempts. Altogether, these are the results of more than 25 years of lack of resolve to enforce existing immigration law to the letter of the law after President Reagan signed on to an amnesty at Sen. Teddy Kennedy’s urging.
The Immigration and Reform Act of 1986 (IRCA) ended up giving amnesty to about three times the number of people expected, or more than 2.8 million. Another impact was the addition of 140,000 dependents of those amnestied. And even though the legislation included border security provisions, the succeeding years clearly have shown we didn’t get secure borders, as millions have invaded our borders and otherwise remained illegally through means such as visa overstays.
Perception is that IRCA was the last amnesty, and the be-all, end-all of amnesties. But an additional 5.7 million people have come to the U.S. through several lesser known amnesties – a 1994 amnesty, followed by an extension of that in 1997, the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act which amnestied almost 1 million illegal aliens and the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act. Additionally, in 2000, there was an amnesty for an estimated 400,000 illegal aliens who said they should have been amnestied under IRCA, and the LIFE Act in 2000 amnestied another 900,000 illegal aliens.
Clearly there’s a pattern of amnesty begetting more amnesty, and growing the U.S. population by tremendous numbers. There is no basis for the American people to believe that this time will be different – that after nearly three decade of incomplete enforcement, we’ll have an immigration system with any integrity. For all the self-congratulations about a bipartisan approach – which is supposed to translate to it being a good idea – the Senate and President have no street cred on this.
Any legislation that might pass in any form close to what’s proposed will be tantamount to a “Still Open for Business” sign. The neon message: if you can get here – be it through illegal border crossings, overstaying visas or other methods – you’ve got a pretty good shot of being able to stay.
Open borders advocates have been energized by last summer’s Executive Order, in which the President basically gave permission to anyone under the age of 31 here illegally, who can prove they were brought to the country as a child, to get a work permit and compete with Americans for jobs.
These opponents to rule of law have now been emboldened by the reelection of the President and the immigration proposal, which the Gang of Eight and President seem intent on fast-tracking. So it would be no surprise to see another big mystery package of legislation complete with another Nancy Pelosi-like moment à la health care “reform.”
While our attention in recent weeks has focused on gun control, the last thing Americans need in our immigration system that’s been so severely compromised for decades is a bill we have to pass so that we “can find out what is in it.” Legislation passed in any form close to the proposals will have profound impacts on the future of the country for decades to come. We all need to follow this one very closely.
Maria Fotopoulos is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (capsweb.org). Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.