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Don’t Cry for the Failed Immigration ‘Compromise’

Just make sure it’s dead
 Listen to streaming audio of this column | MP3

I thought nothing could be worse than the corrupt status quo on illegal immigration, but I was wrong. The much-touted immigration “compromise” that is currently stalled in the Senate is far worse.

You can tell it is a bad bill by three simple signs.

  1. The mainstream media is apoplectic that it has been stalled. As soon as it appeared that the bill might be dead, it became to many in the press the legislative equivalent of James Dean — cut down too soon and far more perfect in early death than it could have ever been had it lived to potbellied big-nosed maturity.
  2. Teddy Kennedy (speaking of pot-bellied big nosed maturity) is said to be angry with Harry Reid for not taking any deal that would have gotten the bill passed last week. The original open borders behemoth knew a good deal when he saw it. Bill Frist may have tried to sell the plan to middle America as NOT an amnesty. But Senator “Amnesty Is the Only Option” Kennedy had already bought the bill on insider knowledge.
  3. Supporters wanted the bill voted on before anyone had time to read it. The 471-page monstrosity, cobbled together last Thursday, was originally due to be voted on by 10:30 the following Friday morning. You know a bill is a forthright and quality item when its authors think their best chance of getting it passed is to railroad it through before any of those annoying “voters” get wind of it.

I believe these three signs are mentioned somewhere in Revelations as foretelling the illegal immigration apocalypse. And with good reason: the bill offered a group of highly watered down border security measures, to be enacted later, in exchange for a massive conditional amnesty of millions of illegal aliens today.

The “conditional” part is supposed to convince you it is not really an amnesty. The Senate has decided it can get its way and then just lawyer you into believing you got yours. But then it all depends on what the meaning of the word “amnesty” is. Supporters of the compromise define amnesty as only a total pardon delivered at no cost to every illegal alien in the country.

To claim their bill is not an amnesty, they charge a fee of $2,000 per eligible immigration criminal that wishes to be made totally legal and put on a track to citizenship. You see, if they charge a little tax for it, then they can claim it’s not an amnesty. Amnesty is free. By this logic, Marc Rich did not really receive a pardon from President Clinton. He just paid a “fee” to the Clinton library fund and then got what he wanted as a punishment.

A legal immigrant might spend about $2,000 in lawyer’s fees in a few months just to get a legitimate job in this country. Also, everyone paying the $2,000 “fine” would, upon receiving legal status, become eligible for welfare, food stamps, Social Security and a host of other programs that will pay back that fine in no time flat. So you can see what a mighty blow for justice the fine is, and how it’s not an amnesty.

The bill, which is NOT an amnesty, divides immigration criminals into three groups, and increasingly rewards them based on how long they’ve been breaking the law. No, that is not a joke.

Those who have gotten away with breaking the law the longest (five years or more) will get legal status and a track to citizenship for being so bold and successful as criminals. Those who have broken the law between two and five years will need to go to a border checkpoint or an international airport and leave the country for a few hours with a guarantee of readmission before getting their legal status and a track toward citizenship. That’s the Senate’s idea of deportation, I suppose. Those who have only been breaking the law for two years or less are supposed to leave. You know, just like they weren’t supposed to come in.

I would say that these slackers will have to wait for the next amnesty, but here’s the best part: all they need to “prove” how long they’ve been here is a jumble of receipts and utility bills with old dates on them. That system is so good, I think we should use it to determine who can board planes and cash checks. Oh, but then we will be doing that essentially, since everybody with such a treasure trove of crumpled trash can then get a real legal driver’s license and visa! My advice is to save your old receipts; you never know when they might be worth something on “eBay de Mexico.”

Let’s adopt such an amnesty system for other crimes too, such as tax evasion. Those who have not filed a tax return for more than five years will be totally forgiven. Those who have not filed for two to five years will have to pay their taxes, with a guarantee that it will be refunded the same day. And those who have paid their taxes properly until just a year or two ago, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law — unless they can find an old receipt showing they didn’t pay sales tax on a “Furby” doll they bought back in 1998. That plan should decrease tax crime just like the Senate immigration plan will decrease immigration crime. And it’s not an amnesty, because I’m going to charge a small fee for the right not to pay taxes.

The Senate bill also makes illegal aliens eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges in the United States, and would force most current immigration court judges to retire and be replaced by immigration lawyers, who will presumably be very hard on their former business partners and clients.

This is the bill that is so mourned by the media. It should have died. The only real shame is that proponents plan to try to pass it again in a couple of weeks. What will be different then? They believe that massive protests by illegal aliens and their supporters will have softened you up by then and will provide the Senate with the political cover it needs to defy the overwhelming majority of (actual) Americans.

As Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) said Sunday, "There are going to be some expressions by many people very unhappy with the Senate not passing a bill and very unhappy with the House bill." Apparently, this is as close as the lugubrious Specter can come to saying “No Justice! No Peace!” You middle America types will be intimidated into surrender.

The first mob scenes were crucial in getting the bill this far. As bill opponent Rep. Peter King (R.-N.Y.) said, "The Senate, I think, was, quite frankly, intimidated by having hundreds of thousands of people in the streets waving flags, but I don’t think we should pass legislation or devise legislation based on how many people you can get out into the street."

King is correct on that point, but some in Congress think that is precisely why you should pass legislation. Although it is unprovable speculation on my part, I believe the real reason that Senate minority leader Harry Reid allowed the bill to stall Friday, is that he believes the Democrats will get more credit for the bill’s eventual passage if they wait until after the second round of illegal alien protest rallies, which were already scheduled and organized.

The bill was stalled, to be blunt, so as not to spoil the energizing and intimidating effects of the illegal alien rallies. If Reid and friends won before the protests, the marches would seem silly, and it would seem less like a victory of “people power.” And it is a belief in people power that will send illegal aliens and their sympathizers to the polls after they receive amnesty.

There is debate over whether the influx of millions of illegal aliens has lowered the value of Americans’ wages. This week’s “compromise” in the Senate should leave little doubt, however, that it has lowered the value of Americans’ votes.

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Written By

Mr. Johnson, a writer and medical researcher in Cambridge, Mass., is a regular contributor to HUMAN EVENTS. His column generally appears on Tuesdays. Archives and additional material can be found at www.macjohnson.com.

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