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Congress Proposes Shamnesty for Illegal Aliens

Shamnesty for Illegal AliensWASHINGTON: If you are not already overwhelmed and perhaps apathetic due to the onslaught of legislation working its way through the halls of Congress this year, then toss this latest straw upon the camel’s back.

Members of the House have unveiled a bill authored by Illinois congressman Luis Gutierrez, which I affectionately call “Immigration Reform version 2.0.” Because this bill, as opposed to the defeated immigration bill of 2008, by Astroturf activists, would have to be new and improved. It must be fresh and innovative; otherwise what’s the point? The American people have already said no to previous attempts at reform.

Here is the meat of Rep. Gutierrez’s new bill. It would allow migrants to legalize their status without returning to their home countries. It would give nonimmigrant status to the 20 million illegal aliens living in the United States upon registering with the federal government, paying required application fees and a $500 fine, plus pass a criminal and security background check. And best of all, the bill eliminates the ability of local law enforcement from enforcing immigration laws. Thus only the federal government and its agents will have the ability to arrest and prosecute immigration violators.

If this all sounds vaguely familiar, then it should. Rep. Gutierrez’s bill, for the most part, includes the same ideas that the American people soundly rejected in 2008. The number one item that Americans take issue with is that the bill grants amnesty to lawbreakers, and strips states and cities of their ability to deal with illegal immigration.

But proponents see an opportunity. Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President of SEIU is claiming that the bill “charts a new course for our country—a course that protects workers, respects families, and reflects our nation’s interests and our better instincts. It upholds our values as a nation of immigrants and embraces the vitality and diversity that are the fabric of a vibrant and strong society.”

SEIU is a labor organization that stands to benefit immensely should amnesty be granted to illegal aliens. SEIU hopes to unionize the 20 million undocumented workers which would greatly strengthen its power base. And given SEIU’s links to the Obama Administration, formal recognition, in the form of voting rights for illegal aliens would give the Democrat party a nice advantage at election time.

But let’s ignore this insight for the moment and address the claim on its face. In contrast to SEIU’s claim that illegal immigration protects workers, it in fact does the opposite. Unemployment is at a level not seen since the 1980’s. More Americans are out of work and looking for jobs. Illegal aliens occupy jobs that instead should be available to unemployed Americans. And in rebuttal to those of you screaming “illegals do the jobs that Americans refuse to do!”, I say that times have changed for many of us. Attitudes among unemployed workers are changing and they are now willing to take work where they can get it. Besides, are we willing to create a new underclass out of illegal aliens? Does the creation of a new underclass uphold our values as a nation of immigrants?

It is true that we are a nation of immigrants, and it has been to our benefit. Those who have immigrated over the last few centuries came to America looking for opportunity. Often willing to start at the bottom, these hardworking individuals were willing to leave their homeland behind, to adopt a new culture, language, and way of life. They have prospered, both in private industry and in government. The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a prime example of an American immigrant success story. But success stories like Schwarzenegger’s are tied to legal immigration.

We welcome legal immigrants with open arms, eager to share the numerous blessings of this country, but under one condition. Become one with us, become an American. The door is not open for everybody, it is not possible and it is not logical. We are a compassionate people, but we adhere to the rule of law, and we expect those seeking entry to our borders to respect our laws also.

So what do we do about those illegals that are already here? Nothing. David Frum, resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute writes:

Okay, not literally nothing. Just nothing new.

By making illegal employment more difficult—and deportation more certain for criminal aliens—we can encourage current illegals to depart and discourage others from ever arriving.

Of course, enforcement will not reduce the illegal population to zero. Perhaps over half a decade we might drive the number down by a quarter, a third, conceivably even half—but unlikely more. What then?

That’s where the “nothing” part of the plan kicks in.

Those illegals who remain in the U.S. because they have formed deep attachments here —a stable job, home ownership, children—will remain exactly as they are now. They may legalize themselves through marriage or sponsorship by a citizen relative. Or the passage of time will remove them, as it removes us all, and their U.S.-born children will grow up as lawful citizens.

Yes, their lives will be uncertain—that’s the point. They signed up for that uncertainty, and the costs to society of alleviating that uncertainty are very great—including the creation of new incentives for further illegal migration.

This is one of those rare occasions where statesmanship coincides with the classic advice to the risk-averse politician: Don’t just do something—stand there.

I couldn’t have explained it better myself.

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  1. Hey You!
    May 4th, 2010 at 00:12 | #1

    The real flaw in the logic here is that some folks believe that the violence and illegal activity is due to undocumented workers. In reality, violent crime is down in Arizona but the media and the hard-liners in AZ make sure that if an undocumented worker is involved, it’s big news, but the facts are that violent crime has slowed in the last few years in AZ. The law passed isn’t going to stop the real problem which are drug runners and smugglers, It isn’t even going to slow them down.

    There was a great article in the LA Times featuring an interview with an ex-Phoenix cop who had to deal with these issues. (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/immigration/la-me-0502-lopezcolumn-20100502%2C0%2C2732982.column)

    And he said it very plainly after a white cop was killed: “I told people that it’s not whites or Hispanics who killed Marc,” he said back then. “It’s drug-dealing cop killers. The issue isn’t ethnicity — it’s crime and drugs.”

    And this is the real problem with this law is that it doesn’t address the real issue, at all.

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