Hey, it is really finally heartening to know that the part of the Republican Party not represented by the lunatic fringe (i.e. the Bush Administration) has finally decided that their best interests do not lie in bringing in another 20 to 60 million aliens, most of them uneducated, into the US over the next 20 or so years.
And, lo and behold, here am I a Democrat, wishing them well.
Why? Fortunately, and at long last, this impulse, possibly partly born of a nasty comeuppance at the polls on November 7th, seems to have surfaced, as some hardheaded Republicans, any of whom survived the election debacle, looked at the future and saw no reason to believe that this flood of newcomers represented, as apparently the ex political mastermind, Karl Rove, does, that these mostly Hispanic arrivals from Sunny Mexico, will soon vote for any of the former policy icons which once formed the backbone of their party`s beliefs.
Remember those principles? As I recall they used to include fiscal restraint, measured military actions, downsizing government bureaucracy, etc., But certainly not since Bush 43 ascended the throne in 2000 and blew the best chance ever for long-term Republican hegemony by embracing the evangelical right, driving out the social moderates and the fiscal conservatives with inane blasts of arrogant bluster seldom bettered in our history.
Evidence of this new sensible attitude surfaced in an article in the November 14th Washington Times by Charles Hurt, Republicans gird for fight over amnesty for illegals, in which Arizona Republican Senator John Kyl was reported to be ready to start "a Republican-led filibuster would be on the table to block immigration legislation supported by congressional Democrats and President Bush that grants citizenship rights to illegal aliens."
Jeepers. Of course, "It would be in order", the Arizona Republican told radio host Laura Ingraham November 13th. "My only question is whether we`ve got the votes to do it."`
It`s a start toward sanity. After Bush waited until after the election to fire Rumsfeld, after lying about keeping Rummy for the rest of his term, his stock in his own party has dropped so low it likely couldn`t even get a listing on the OTC penny sheets.
While Kyl worries over getting enough votes to stop a filibuster override, I suspect there are a number of my fellow-Democrats who are also feeling the heat. For example, Congressman Sherrod Brown, newly elected Senator from Ohio told Lou Dobbs in a November 14 interview that he sees the outflow of US jobs as having a devastating effect on his home town of Mansfield and other small cities. This incoming Senator did promise that the borders and ports be secured before considering what any sane citizen would regard as gross malfeasance, the dreaded concept of "comprehensive immigration reform" or CIR as I call it, which means allowing the present 11 to 20 million illegal aliens here a pathway to citizenship ala the Senate`s S2611.
However, simply stopping the greased track for S2611 through the new House and onto Bush`s waiting signature will represent progress.
Getting real security into our broken immigration system, knowledgeable observers recognize, is a complex process which cannot be done quickly. Furthermore, any system which is to be installed needs to be tested for reliability in truly keeping our borders and ports secure will at best take several years.
Thus, if true border and port security measures would by a miracle be enacted in this next Congress, Congress should not then rush to CIR legislation.
So, folks, if any of these long-time reform-minded Congress members or the Johnny Come Lately Reformers who see the voter groundswell want to do legislation on amnesty immediately, that is the sure tip-off that they want to pull replay of the failed 1986 and 1997 amnesties, rather than really fix the system.
Hurt`s Washington Times article concludes by saying:
"All hope among tough opponents of illegal immigration rests with the House, where Republicans maintained a hard line against any legislation with even a hint of amnesty in it. Democrats picked up some 30 seats in last week`s elections, but many of the new Democrats are from conservative areas and are opposed to amnesty. The challenge would be for Republican leaders to pick off enough of those conservative Democrats to overcome broad support among most in the caucus."
A challenge indeed, and one which voters need to watch closely.
Bad as the present open border situation is, passing a version of S2611 would be worse, and a very divisive way for the new Congress to commence its sessions. True reform would involve setting fair and enforceable standards for entry, letting them be put in place carefully over several years, then testing them in place to take out the bugs, just like any competent business would do in introducing a new product.
Then, if effective, this system would allow us to know who was coming here and allow us to keep track of them. Then, and only then, should we consider amnesty for the illegal aliens now here.
It is just common sense to do it this way. But will the corporate owners of Congress allow that? Depends on the voters, who must say again and again to their elected officials, "Fix the border and ports first or we won`t reelect you." Folks, your safety, your public services, the survival of our cherished Rule of Law and the welfare of your children and grandchildren depend on your enforcing this course.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.