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Amnesty would be fatal political mistake

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GOP Senate on Immigration: How to Help Democrats Without Really Trying

Amnesty would be fatal political mistake

It appears that Senate Republicans are either trying to commit mass suicide in town square, or possibly they are doing their best to assure a 2006 Democratic midterm sweep.

A simple political analysis predicts that the Senate’s move to make illegal immigration legal is perhaps a fatal political mistake. It is also a vast abdication of congressional responsibility to work within realms of morals and principles, and to protect the United States from foreign invasion.

First, a couple of notable items from recent Republican political history:

In early 2000, I warned Senator John Ashcroft’s top aide that letting Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization out of committee (which Ashcroft kept bottled up until the last minute), and supporting its passage without substantial modifications, would cost him re-election in the 2000 cycle. I said this to him: “Do you really think that feminists and Democrats will vote for you no matter what you do? Do you want to lose your base entirely?” The prediction came true a few months later. An angry conservative base sat out the elections, and he lost.

Bill Federer, a quality Republican of high moral and ethical character, made a well-financed run in 2004 for former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt’s vacated seat. Federer had perhaps a better handle on social policy than anyone I know other than perhaps U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R.-Mo.).

I had recommended to Federer that he apply a pro-marriage reform slate in addition to the boilerplate Republican economic conservative/pro-life campaign. It takes more than a ho-hum campaign-in-a-can to ignite the conservative base these days. Federer didn’t listen. He lost the race to a disorganized lefty who makes Dick Gephardt look like dating material for Ann Coulter.

Times and politics have changed. Republicans haven’t. They think that outflanking Democrats at election time and playing deaf and dumb on social issues will win votes.

Inscribe this on the forehead of your senator with the nearest rainbow Sharpie: “No way, Jose.”

Instead of campaign contributions, perhaps we should buy seeing-eye dogs for our so-called “economic conservatives”?

Votes of low-income Americans just went south. Massive illegal immigration drives down salaries of low-pay jobs below the basement of poverty. This in turn destroys the marriages of low-income Americans and deflates the marriage market. It drives good American women into the entitled welfare machine, and good men into long-term indentured servitude to the federal government.

Votes of hard-working middle-class American taxpayers just went out the window, too. Illegal immigration costs states tremendously. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Florida taxpayers are spending nearly $2 billion to cover costs for education, incarceration, and healthcare of persons who pay no taxes and commit a disproportionate share of crimes.

Where Republicans were smart enough to stop Canadian lumber dumping, there is no reason why they should not quickly apply the same principles when it comes to organized-people dumping.

Unless there are enough millionaire conservatives out there to carry a majority vote, Republicans have just lost the 2006 races.

Massive illegal immigration means that drug interdiction is impossible. If you strap cocaine on the back of a million mice, and let them loose to cross the border, what are your chances of catching the few that are “loaded”? Drug interdiction cannot be effective until there is no incentive to cross the border illegally except perhaps to smuggle drugs.

The buzz amongst my numerous cohorts (who tend to be fairly conservative) parallels this article, which is actually comparatively kind.

Attention GOP analysts: the majority vote is now alienated. The disagreement is over much more than immigration — it is about a wide range of anti-family policies of both the Bush Administration and Congress, of which immigration is of a piece.

Individuals who had absolute faith that Republicans would do the right thing just two years ago are vigorously ridiculing them. The shock is across the board, but most evident among my black and other minority friends.

At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Haley Barbour told Republicans to keep their eye on the 2006 races. He missed a target that even John Kerry could hit: the races don’t mean a thing if you fail to keep your eyes on the issues first and trust the elections will work out fine if you do the right thing.

If Republicans want to shake the image that they are corrupt, they have a lot of work to do before even the most ill-informed voter will even find reason to visit a polling booth in November.

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Written By

Mr. Usher is senior policy analyst for the True Equality Network, and president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, Missouri Coalition.

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