Immigration Reform ... or Amnesty?

In offering his support for the Simpson-Mazzoli immigration bill, aka the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Sen. Ted Kennedy said it would be the final time we would have to deal with this issue; that this bill would be the last and final amnesty.

Yet, here we are again.

Real, actual reform of our immigration laws is a completely reasonable and prudent undertaking by our federal government.  A fresh look at immigration policy is necessary every so often, given the conditions on the ground in America.  One glaring example is the legal process that hopeful immigrants are forced to endure.  It’s unreasonably burdensome and lengthy, and the process needs to be improved.  

Legal immigration levels and the number of visas we issue each year should be re-evaluated regularly.  We need a much better system for keeping track of those that are here on a temporary basis to ensure they don’t stay longer than allowed.  These are things that a prudent and responsible federal government should be doing.

On the other hand, history shows that when government talks about “immigration reform,” that means little more than providing amnesty for illegal aliens.  Part B of the 1986 IRCA is related to improving immigration enforcement, but clearly, any “improvement” either wasn’t implemented or just didn’t work.  That’s a big reason why we now have another 14 million illegal aliens within our borders.  14 million more, despite six additional amnesties that have been enacted since the IRCA in 1986:

  • Sec. 245(i) rolling amnesty (1994):  578,000 illegal aliens legalized
  • Sec. 245(i) amnesty extension (1997)
  • Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) amnesty (1997): 1 million illegal aliens legalized
  • Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA) amnesty (1998): 125,000 illegal aliens legalized
  • Late Amnesty (2000; related to stragglers from the 1986 Act): 400,000 illegal aliens legalized
  • LIFE Act amnesty (2000): 900,000 illegal aliens legalized

Today, president Obama is poised to give legal status to millions more illegal aliens with nothing more than his pen and his phone.  This time, border and immigration enforcement isn’t even part of the picture.  In fact, Obama has already limited enforcement actions to only those illegal aliens that are known to be violent criminals or repeat offenders.  Even with this limited scope, the fact is that the federal government has knowingly let thousands of violent illegal alien criminals loose onto America’s streets.

Predictably, word of this lack of enforcement got around pretty quickly.  Hordes of illegal aliens, many of whom are children, are making the trek right now from Central America through Mexico to our southern border.  Once here, they actually want to be “captured” by the Border Patrol.  After all, these border crossers know that the Border Patrol, aka Illegal Alien Concierge Service, will just give them water and a ride into town to be “processed”, after which time they will be free to go within our borders until they are to appear in court, which is highly unlikely.

Now, some Republican politicians that support “comprehensive immigration reform” argue that relief for those here illegally isn’t amnesty because after a bill is passed, those to whom it applies would have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn the language, and fulfill other requirements before they would be eligible for citizenship.

The problem with that is when these millions of illegal aliens are rewarded with legal status for breaking our laws, they will get to breathe a sigh of relief, come out of the “shadows”, and take advantage of all that America has to offer.  They’ll enjoy a safer environment in which to live, a job, taxpayer subsidized healthcare, taxpayer subsidized housing, and children will be provided a taxpayer-funded education.  Not only that, but many don’t want citizenship.  They’re not asking what they can do for our country; they come asking what our country can do for them.  Otherwise, they’d come here legally and learn the English language.

Meanwhile, thousands if not millions of would-be legal immigrants trying to get here the right way are still stuck in their countries of origin, often in dangerous and squalid conditions, unable to enjoy even basic necessities let alone the benefits of living and working in the United States.

That’s unfair, that’s wrong, and any action without effective strengthening of border and immigration enforcement is amnesty, pure and simple.

In offering his support for the Simpson-Mazzoli immigration bill, aka the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Sen. Ted Kennedy said it would be the final time we would have to deal with this issue; that this bill would be the last and final amnesty.

Yet, here we are again.

Real, actual reform of our immigration laws is a completely reasonable and prudent undertaking by our federal government.  A fresh look at immigration policy is necessary every so often, given the conditions on the ground in America.  One glaring example is the legal process that hopeful immigrants are forced to endure.  It’s unreasonably burdensome and lengthy, and the process needs to be improved.  

Legal immigration levels and the number of visas we issue each year should be re-evaluated regularly.  We need a much better system for keeping track of those that are here on a temporary basis to ensure they don’t stay longer than allowed.  These are things that a prudent and responsible federal government should be doing.

On the other hand, history shows that when government talks about “immigration reform,” that means little more than providing amnesty for illegal aliens.  Part B of the 1986 IRCA is related to improving immigration enforcement, but clearly, any “improvement” either wasn’t implemented or just didn’t work.  That’s a big reason why we now have another 14 million illegal aliens within our borders.  14 million more, despite six additional amnesties that have been enacted since the IRCA in 1986:

  • Sec. 245(i) rolling amnesty (1994):  578,000 illegal aliens legalized
  • Sec. 245(i) amnesty extension (1997)
  • Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) amnesty (1997): 1 million illegal aliens legalized
  • Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA) amnesty (1998): 125,000 illegal aliens legalized
  • Late Amnesty (2000; related to stragglers from the 1986 Act): 400,000 illegal aliens legalized
  • LIFE Act amnesty (2000): 900,000 illegal aliens legalized

Today, president Obama is poised to give legal status to millions more illegal aliens with nothing more than his pen and his phone.  This time, border and immigration enforcement isn’t even part of the picture.  In fact, Obama has already limited enforcement actions to only those illegal aliens that are known to be violent criminals or repeat offenders.  Even with this limited scope, the fact is that the federal government has knowingly let thousands of violent illegal alien criminals loose onto America’s streets.

Predictably, word of this lack of enforcement got around pretty quickly.  Hordes of illegal aliens, many of whom are children, are making the trek right now from Central America through Mexico to our southern border.  Once here, they actually want to be “captured” by the Border Patrol.  After all, these border crossers know that the Border Patrol, aka Illegal Alien Concierge Service, will just give them water and a ride into town to be “processed”, after which time they will be free to go within our borders until they are to appear in court, which is highly unlikely.

Now, some Republican politicians that support “comprehensive immigration reform” argue that relief for those here illegally isn’t amnesty because after a bill is passed, those to whom it applies would have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn the language, and fulfill other requirements before they would be eligible for citizenship.

The problem with that is when these millions of illegal aliens are rewarded with legal status for breaking our laws, they will get to breathe a sigh of relief, come out of the “shadows”, and take advantage of all that America has to offer.  They’ll enjoy a safer environment in which to live, a job, taxpayer subsidized healthcare, taxpayer subsidized housing, and children will be provided a taxpayer-funded education.  Not only that, but many don’t want citizenship.  They’re not asking what they can do for our country; they come asking what our country can do for them.  Otherwise, they’d come here legally and learn the English language.

Meanwhile, thousands if not millions of would-be legal immigrants trying to get here the right way are still stuck in their countries of origin, often in dangerous and squalid conditions, unable to enjoy even basic necessities let alone the benefits of living and working in the United States.

That’s unfair, that’s wrong, and any action without effective strengthening of border and immigration enforcement is amnesty, pure and simple.