Funny how these things always seem to happen at the last minute in politics.
Republicans, including the President, have been saying for more than two years that his immigration “reform” bill was not – repeat – not an amnesty measure. Anyone who said any differently was a “racist” or paranoid. There was no way that this bill would be used to grant permanent legal status to the 12 million illegal immigrant scofflaws residing in the United States.
Senators negotiating a bipartisan immigration reform bill have settled on the details of a plan that would immediately grant legal status to all illegal immigrants currently in the United States.
The deal on “Z visas” for illegal immigrants is one of several issues where Democrats and Republicans have reached broad agreement.
But as senators emerged from what they had hoped would be a final round of negotiations Tuesday, they indicated that painstakingly slow progress would keep them from meeting the deadline set by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to begin debate on a bill today.
Late Tuesday, Reid agreed to push that deadline to Monday.
“They tell me they’re 80% of the way,” Reid said in announcing the delay. “That’s fine, the other 20% is hard.”
The plan to award legal status to all illegal immigrants who meet certain qualifications would occur only after other “triggers” are met. These triggers would require that certain border security and work-site enforcement measures be in place before other aspects of the overhaul go forward.
The Z visa plan would start with the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States going on a probationary legal status. If the triggers are met â€” a process that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) estimated would take 18 months â€” then illegal immigrants who qualify could get Z visas. Those who have committed felonies would not be eligible, Graham said, and all participants would have to pass security checks, pay a fine and a processing fee and pass an English proficiency test.
I am a cynical old curmudgeon, having long ago lost my wide eyed innocence when it comes to worshiping the men and women who occupy seats in the House or the Senate. In fact, I lost my schoolboy notions of government and the people who serve the United States within about 6 months of coming to Washington. They are not paradigms of wisdom and virtue nor are they evil manipulators. They are human. There are nice ones and mean ones. Smart ones and dumb ones. Clever ones and clueless ones. Serious and unserious, trustworthy and untrustworthy – the whole, rich panoply of the human tapestry encompassing all the good, the bad, the bald, and the ugly resides in those chambers of lawmaking. So it is entirely possible to revere lawmaking but be cynical about the lawmakers. Such is the way of Washington.
But one thing that all politicians can’t help being – good, evil, and everything in between – are liars. The very same thing that you might spank your child for, politicians do on a regular basis. The very same thing that you would divorce your spouse for, politicians do without thinking.
Hence, the illegal immigrant amnesty bill and what seems like an abrupt about face by many of the politicians involved. Long time Hill watchers took a look at that immigration bill when it first saw the light of day and could smell the amnesty provisions in it a mile away. Despite the denials that this simply wasn’t so. Despite the name calling by proponents, tarring the opposition with horribly hurtful epithets questioning their fairness and empathy. Despite all of it, the opponents of the bill turn out to be right and the advocates are revealed as liars.
Our politics have become so cynical that politicians know there is a very good chance the public will not penalize them for their lies, that the people will simply shrug their shoulders and chalk it up to “politics as usual.” And they would be right. The infection of fatalism regarding our politics and politicians has so sickened the public that expecting honesty and integrity in our public officials is no longer a given. When someone like Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) can be caught with $90,000 in cash stuffed in his freezer and be re-elected by a comfortable margin, you know that something might just be amiss with the body politic.
It’s their fault, of course. And ours. And our parents and grandparents and the long, illustrious line of Americans going all the way back to the Founding Fathers. The Founders may not have imagined a republic the likes of which we have today. But they knew what men were capable of doing when in power and tried to set up a system that mitigated against the worst of what we were capable of. The fact that they largely succeeded is astonishing. It’s just too bad they couldn’t imagine an age where lying became second nature to the politicians that people have grown weary of making excuses for.
Ed Morrissey doesn’t seem alarmed, pointing to increased border security measures. better workplace enforcement, and a slight roadblock placed in the way of amnesty seekers.