Squeaker Harry Reid, the lame duck Senate Majority Leader pulled the DREAM Act amnesty off the floor of the US Senate on Thursday, knowing he didn't have the votes to win. No wonder. What a legislative abomination.
House Speaker Pelosi had expected a breeze vote, but it squeaked with 52% vs. the 60% she predicted. Many members from both parties simply didn't show—eight Democrats and 11 Republicans.
Still, DREAM simply did not have the 60 votes it needed in the Senate. The switchboards were flooded. I tried repeatedly—even going through the home office numbers of my Democratic Senators (I'm a donor!). But I was told even there the voice mail boxes were too full to take calls.
OK, there is a case to be made for helping young aliens brought here by their illegal alien parents. But the DREAM Act is neither the forum nor the vehicle for making a real, lasting solution.
In fact, at this time of extended depression, why aren't we having a MORATORIUM on all immigration, until the level of unemployment goes to half or less of its present almost 10%??
As columnist Alan Abelson of Barron's recently noted, the true rate of unemployment is 17% when the exiting college students and those out of work for a long time are counted.
I took a couple of my young grandchildren to the famous Civil War Battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania last weekend. To me, the Democrats' immigration drive seem a wild charge like the one General Pickett made that fateful third day of that historic battle. If the South had won there, the USA might now be two countries, one without the progress in civil rights initiated then with a Northern victory—but still far from fully achieved even today in either the North or South.
So what should really happen now when the smoke of the current wild charge abates? A real debate should start with an immigration moratorium. No-one seems to be talking about a moratorium these days. But, hey, Mr. Obama, you accepted a two-year layoff on the tax increases in your present deal, so why not a two-year (or whatever) moratorium—followed by a bi-partisan Commission for Defining Immigration Needs and Legislation to report to Congress before that immigration moratorium ends?
We could then decide, just to list a few obvious items, on:
Enforcement of present laws—which the present Administration has largely eschewed;
Decide the basis for dealing with those here illegally, including DREAM Act candidates—not the type of unenforceable hodgepodge like the three-times-voted-down-Comprehensive Immigration legislation.
Unfortunately, so far the voices of the majority, the constant 65% of all Americans who say we have too much immigration, have not been listened to by either major party.
As the late California demographer Meredith Burke once opined, "If we are going to allow present policy to double America's population in this century, shouldn't we at least have a national debate about it?" Indeed we should.
Like those charging Rebs at Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg, the House vote on December 8th may yet be seen as the "High Tide"—and ultimately the failed end—of the lengthy campaign to pass yet another amnesty.
But for now, today's deferral of the DREAM Act may not be permanent. Senator Reid will try again. And this time, he will flash the House-passed bill in front of his battered colleagues.
Think of the power of the elites massed against the American people! A huge Democratic majority (although some of them right on about immigration), all these heavyweight national elites like the US Chamber of Commerce, the Roman Catholic Bishops, the liberal foundations like Carnegie, Ford and others pouring huge money into flooding the country. And somehow the DREAM Act is still not yet passed.
Could it finally be that the Congress knows in its heart of hearts that its precious priority of electability may be on the line? Another big amnesty is simply not palatable. If this Congress should pass it and President signs it, they may well be provoking their own further dismissal in 2012.
If the tax proposal gets passed shortly, the amnesty advocates have more time to work on those Senators now saying "no". Patriots were not able to kill the DREAM amnesty once and for all today.
They must keep faxing and phoning and emailing.
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.