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Tancredo: Specter’s Bill Won’t Pass House

The good news about today’s amnesty bill that emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee: Arlen Specter’s bill has no shot of passing the House, according to Rep. Tom Tancredo (R.-Colo.), who has about as good a pulse on the immigration debate as anyone.

Here’s Tancredo’s take on today’s events:

“The immigration rallies over this weekend and today show how disordered our immigration system has become. For years, the government has turned a blind eye to illegal aliens who break into this country. It isn’t any wonder that illegal aliens now act as if they are entitled to the rights and privileges of citizenship.

“The McCain-Kennedy-Specter bill that came out of the Judiciary Committee today provides nearly universal amnesty for the more than 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. The bill also adds hundreds of thousands of foreign workers to a background check system that is already on the brink of collapse. The Judiciary Committee even adopted Durbin’s amendment, which reduces penalties so that visa overstays will continue to undermine our immigration system.

“If the Senate follows the Judiciary Committee’s lead, the prospects of getting a reform bill to the President’s desk this year are slim, to say the least. No plan with amnesty and a massive increase in foreign workers will pass the House. Amnesty and foreign workers are fundamentally incompatible with the House’s approach and, according to every recent poll, they are not what Americans want. Americans want enforcement first, and disagreement over foreign workers should not prevent us from securing our borders.”

Can’t say I always agree with Tancredo’s harsh rhetoric, but I do respect him for his devotion to this issue.

UPDATE — March 28: An alert House staffer questioned my characterization of Rep. Tom Tancredo as someone whose “harsh rhetoric” I don’t always agree with.

Let me be clear: Tancredo is one of my favorite congressmen because he’s never shy about voicing his opinion. But sometimes his words get twisted by liberal journalists, who want to paint him as anti-immigrant. That’s not true. He’s one of the biggest advocates for immigrants who come to America legally, even attending naturalization ceremonies.

What I was trying to say last night was that while I admire Tancredo for his passion, I also think he can sometimes turn off people who would otherwise agree with him because of the words he uses. A quote from Newsweek — "They are ‘a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation,’ he says" — is exactly what I mean.

Written By

Mr. Bluey, a contributing editor to Human Events, is director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation. He maintains a blog at RobertBluey.com.

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