Reading and listening to politicians talk about their Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill is an interesting anthropological exercise. Being a separate species of human, Homo Politicus exhibits all the characteristics one might expect from a breed apart.
The ability to talk out of both sides of the mouth at the same time is highly prized in Politicus although evolution has given the genus a forked tongue and a larger mouth to go along with this ability. This tends to force the nose to get out of joint on a regular basis which can be a hazard to the beast’s health considering all the hot air generated by an increased lung capacity. This tends to crowd the heart in the chest cavity, making that organ much smaller than ours. But evolution once again comes to the rescue as not only does Politicus have engorged bile ducts (a necessity given how much of that precious fluid they generate on a regular basis) but also a massive bladder – all the better to piss on the rest of us whenever they get the chance.
Many of these unusual attributes have been on display as Politicus has been busy trying to justify its sellout of the United States on immigration to a bored, cynical public who doesn’t believe half of what it hears and is depressed and discouraged by listening to the other half:
“The question is, ‘Do you want to solve the problem, or do you want to complain about it?’ ” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “There will be people who want to complain and will miss the problem if they can’t complain about it. This is about solving it.”
Yep. My opposition is based solely on the fact that I won’t have anything else to write about if immigration goes away as an issue. Who knows. Maybe I’d be forced to write a series of articles on incompetent lickspittle bureaucrats running the most spectacularly inept and hugely wasteful executive department in history. A department that after 5 years of existence still can’t figure out how to organize itself or, more importantly, settle the bureaucratic turf battles that make protecting the homeland effectively an impossibility.
Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me angry.
And Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), a White House hopeful, warned that “the proposed bill could devalue the importance of family reunification, replace the current group of undocumented immigrants with a new undocumented population consisting of guest workers who will overstay their visas, and potentially drive down wages of American workers.”
The guy sounds more Republican than most Republicans. Two out of three ain’t bad, Obie although the idea that “family reunification” would be “devalued in this bill is silly. We’re going to allow 750,000 immediate family members a year for the next 8 years to come into this country legally. Just how many more would you let in?
“Year after year, we’ve heard talk about reforming our system. We’ve heard the bumper-sticker solutions, the campaign ads, and we know how divisive it is,” Kennedy said. “Well, now, it is time for action. 2007 is the year we must fix our broken system.”
A broken system is preferable to one that surrenders to lawlessness, panders to interest groups, sacrifices our security, and promotes separateness at the expense of assimilation. And speaking of bumper stickers, how about this one: “Ted Kennedy’s Car Has Killed More People Than My Gun.“ Or how about “I would rather hunt with Dick Cheney than drive with Ted Kennedy.”
“It is intended to reflect the labor needs of the United States in the 21st century, rather than the 19th century,” a senior Republican staffer said on condition of anonymity.
Actually, given the low skilled labor performed by most of the illegals today, the bill reflects very much our labor needs from the 19th century. And don’t mention the fact that the German, or Italian, or Slavic, or Mexican immigrant from 125 years ago was pretty much forced by circumstances to learn English or not work and that the immigrant’s social network – unofficial and not sanctioned or created by any government – worked just fine in helping the new arrival assimilate into American society.
What our anonymous friend is talking about are the 180,000 or so high tech, high end immigrants with advanced degrees or special skills (H-1B visas) who would be allowed into this country every year under the new bill. For the overwhelming majority of the rest – hardworking, diligent, family oriented and illegal – any 19th century immigrant would have little trouble performing most of the jobs taken by today’s immigrant scofflaws.
No wonder the staffer wanted to remain anonymous. He’s ignorant.
“What part of illegal does the Senate not understand? Any plan that rewards illegal behavior is amnesty,” said Rep. Brian Bilbray (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif., chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus.
Such straight talk will get the Congressman in trouble, no doubt. He’ll be branded a “racist” before today is out.
Immigrant advocacy and labor groups also oppose the terms of a new guest worker program in which low-skilled immigrants would be forced to leave the country after temporary stints and would have limited opportunities to stay and get on a path to permanent legalization.
“Without a real path to legalization, the program will exclude millions of workers and thus ensure that America will have two classes of workers, only one of which can exercise workplace rights,” said John J. Sweeney, the AFL-CIO president.
I know, John. It’s tough to try and force unionization on people who are only going to be here two years. Not enough time to coerce enough people into checking that little box that allows you to grab a portion of their wages for political contributions.
Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., who helped shape the deal, called it “long overdue.” However, Mitt Romney said it was the “wrong approach,” which provided “a form of amnesty” to illegal immigrants. Fred Thompson, who is considering entering the race, said it should be scrapped in favor of a measure to secure the border.
I’ll tell you what’s “long overdue,” John. Your immediate and humiliating exit from Republican presidential politics. See Hugh Hewitt for Mitt’s complete remarks that strongly opposes the bill and takes a swipe at the soon to be ex-presidential candidate McCain. (Mama Romney didn’t raise no fool.) And good for Fred! Except this one is a no brainer if you’re running for President and want a “GOP” after your name on the ballot. It remains to be seen what would happen if Mitt or even Fred made it all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
What chance does this bill have in passing? They’ll fiddle with the family requirements a bit and fudge the numbers on the guest worker program. And they may even increase the security requirements thinking to peel off some GOP House members. But essentially, this is it. And since politicians love more than anything else to be able to announce to their constituents that they have “solved” a serious problem (or at least “addressed” it), the bill will pass overwhelmingly in both Houses – almost certainly before the July 4 recess.
But no matter what they do, the bill is still a disaster. It’s a disaster for the country first, party second, and I would even say a disaster for illegal immigrants as well. I devoutly wished they would have increased legal immigration and streamlined the path to citizenship to reward those who play by the rules and encourage new arrivals to assimilate quickly into American society. Draconian enforcement of workplace strictures against hiring illegals in the first place would make coming here a much more difficult proposition. And we could dramatically reduce the numbers of illegals already here that way while not having to “round up 12 million people” and send them home.
Not a perfect “solution” by a long shot. But to pretend this bill does anything except ensure that another 12 million people will cross the border illegally over the next few years waiting for their chance at the amnesty brass ring is stupid, silly, and self defeating. We have created a cycle guaranteed to keep illegal immigration a problem for the next generation to solve. And we will have devalued the rule of law, the security of our borders, and our national sovereignty in the process.
A pig in a dress is still a pig – even if you invite it to the Senior Prom and give it a corsage. You just can’t cover up the ugly stench of political pandering by gussying up a bill with so many flaws. It’s still a bad piece of legislation no matter how you try and sell it. And it should be soundly defeated if there were an ounce of sense left on the Hill.
Michelle Malkin’s post from last night rounds up late reaction. And go ahead and vote in her poll on what you think of the bill. (Sorry – nothing stronger than “No” and “Hell No!”).
Allah’s contribtion this morning is a pretty straightforward take on the politics of the bill and the Democrat’s line of attack in attempting to exploit their obvious advantages:
The reason the nutroots has started to reframe racial politics as Republicans versus â€œbrown peopleâ€ (which Ace, for one, writes about regularly) instead of relying on the traditional Republicans-versus-blacks paradigm is because (a) theyâ€™ve already got 90+% of the black vote, so returns are diminishing, and (b) with immigration front and center after 9/11, thereâ€™s a whole new minority group affected by key policies that they can demagogue the hell out of for votes. Hence the new, expansive â€œbrown personâ€ formulation, which pits most racial minorities against conservatives in one fell swoop by suggesting that â€œbrownnessâ€ itself is somehow frightening or intolerable to us and thus the real cause of all this hand-wringing over open borders. That term of art hasnâ€™t trickled up to the party establishment yet, so far as I know, but it surely will have by the time illegals are legalized and begin to unionize and register in numbers. If the rhetoric is deployed skillfully enough (and the left is very, very good at this sort of thing), it could raise what theyâ€™d doubtless call â€œbrown consciousnessâ€ to the point where itâ€™s worth another 10-20% of the already large and growing Latino vote.
I’m not so sure. The dynamic in the Hispanic community has always been hard to read because there are actually different “communities.” I doubt whether you would lump Hispanics from south Florida with southwestern Hispanics (many of whom have families that have been here longer than any English speakers) or even “barrio” Hispanics from Los Angeles with illegals from Texas. As time goes on, Hispanics are becoming less monolithic a voting bloc as more and more immigrants move into the middle and upper middle classes. I see where Bush/Rove were heading in 2004 but it may have been a decade too soon. The entreprenurial spirit is alive and well in the Hispanic community and I have little doubt that these “natural Republicans” will only keep growing in numbers over the next few years.