Joe Feels Good About Immigration Bill…
June 02, 2006, 05:00 AM
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I am feeling confident—very confident—about our chances to kill off the horrible S.2611 – the Bush Amnesty and Immigration Acceleration Bill.

And when I think about the list of rats that would go down along with the S. 2611 ship, I confess that I am overjoyed.

To start at the beginning, the fact that ours, the true version of immigration reform—not the pious nonsense touted by the other side—is front and center in the public eye is a huge triumph.

Those of us who have been alarmed over immigration for more than a decade remember those black days when we were left to scratch our heads, and wonder if anyone would ever pay attention.

We no longer toil in obscurity. Instead, we are headline news all across America.

Of course, while our hard work has paid off, we must not take all the credit. Let`s acknowledge that the organizers and participants in the arrogant and impotent May 1st "Great American Boycott" deserve kudos aplenty.

To each of you who waved a Mexican flag, cut school and demanded "justice" please accept my heartfelt thanks. We`ve been trying to wake up Americans for years; you did it overnight.

And thanks also to the MSM, symbolic Mexican flag wavers. The media has outdone itself by not only refusing to write about immigration reasonably, but also by insultingly comparing the illegal alien clamoring to the Civil Rights Movement or the Southeast Asian War protests.

We expect nothing from the MSM. It never disappoints us.

When conference time between the House and the Senate rolls around, tentatively scheduled for later this month, we`ll prevail for three reasons:

  • First, the House knows that our argument to secure the borders first and grant amnesty never is the only intelligent position. S. 2611 is off the wall. Even if the Senate offers up olive branches like throwing out the Social Security provision in S. 2611 exchange for amnesty, it`s still no sale. Social Security for aliens and the other similarly preposterous amendments are too farfetched to be talking points. Plus we don`t need to double or triple legal immigration.

  • Second, the Congressmen would like to be re-elected. They won`t be if they cave in on S. 2611

  • Third, and this is no small thing, S. 2611 is not administratively manageable. Has anyone wondered how many hundreds of millions of pieces of paper would have to be processed to legalize tens of millions of aliens? Forget it.

News reports repeatedly emphasize that House Republicans are bombarded with irate calls demanding a border security approach only…no amnesty, no guest workers. [Immigration Deal At Risk As House GOP Looks To Voters, Jim VandeHei and Zachary A. Goldfarb, Washington Post, May 26, 2006]

A Congressional aide representing a border state told me that over 90% of the calls his office receives are adamantly opposed to amnesty. According to the aide, so that at least some non-immigration related work would be done during the day, his staff will only accept phone messages from his district`s residents

And get this. In an interview with Lou Dobbs, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson said that when she added up her calls the tally was 1,578 against S.2611 with only 12 in support.

The re-election angst is not limited to the House either. Here is a great example of how heavily illegal immigration plays in the mind of an incumbent.

Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow, who ironically won her seat in 2000 because the Coalition for the Future American Worker exposed then-incumbent Spencer Abraham as a shameless immigration enthusiast (read election details here), cast a "Yea" vote to end discussion on Republican Senator John Ensign`s (also up for re-election) amendment that would prohibit aliens from receiving Social Security benefits based on contributions allegedly accrued while working here illegally.

(And I thought Social Security is on the brink of insolvency!)

Stabenow`s vote may have been the deciding one in a 50-49 defeat of Ensign`s amendment.

But Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Stabenow`s likely Republican November opponent, immediately ballyhooed her support of Social Security for illegals.

And in the end Stabenow, running scared, voted against S. 2611.

Stabenow joined West Virginia`s Byrd, Nebraska`s Nelson and North Dakota`s Dorgan as the three Democrats to oppose S. 2611.

House members are thinking exactly the same way as Stabenow.

The canny survivalists among the politicians know that the immigration winds have shifted.

But those who insist on touting the Bush party line are poised at the edge of the cliff. And won`t it be sweet to see them fall off?

Ed Rollins, who served in the White House under Republican Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan surveyed the post S. 2611 scene and made the following comments to Lou Dobbs about:

  • George W. Bush: his presidency "is over." Rollins said that when a sitting president goes on prime time national television to push his agenda and fails, it is a public humiliation.

  • John McCain: made "a terrible mistake" in his unqualified endorsement the amnesty bill. Rollins thinks that McCain, with his delirious remarks about illegal aliens, ended any chance he may have had to win the Republican 2008 presidential nomination.

Other politicians whose pro-immigration positions might create voter backlash (especially if they run against aggressive immigration reform candidates) are:

  • Utah Congressman and long time open borders advocate Chris Cannon who came in second in the Republican primary to a well-funded challenger, John Jacob. Said Jacob: "Immigration is huge with the delegates."

  • New Jersey Democrat Senator Robert Menendez, "Yea" on S. 2611, appointed when Senator Jon Corzine won the gubernatorial run-off, is in a tight race with State Senator Tom Kean, Jr., son of popular former Governor and Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the U.S., Tom Kean.

  • California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, "Yea" on S. 2611, is normally considered one of the most popular politicians in the state. (Damning with faint praise?) But Feinstein, a too familiar face who would be 79 when her term ends in 2012, has been consistently bad on immigration and a disaster on non-immigrant work visas. Feinstein`s Republican opponent will most likely be former State Senator Dick Mountjoy who would have to campaign hard on immigration reform.

  • Ohio Republican Mike DeWine, "Yea" on S.2611, is in a tight battle with Democratic Congressman Sherrod Brown. In recent days, Brown has shown signs of an awakening on immigration, a weapon he knows he can use against DeWine.

  • Massachusetts Democrats Teddy Kennedy, "Yea" on S.2611, universally considered a 2006 lock. But how much can Massachusetts voters take? Kennedy has served more than 43 years in the Senate, would be 80 in 2012 and is nothing more than a name out of history book to at least two generations of Massachusetts`s voters. And a recent Harris poll found that 70 percent of those questioned had a negative opinion of Congressional Democrats…of which Kennedy is perhaps the most visible.

In the meantime, I believe that our prospects to escape from the conference unscathed grow stronger every day.

Led by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the House is firm. The House and the Senate, he said, have gone from "miles apart" to "oceans apart" [Sensenbrenner: House, Senate `Oceans` Apart on Immigration, Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, May 26, 2006]

After ruling out amnesty in any form, Sensenbrenner said:

"A guest-worker program I think can be on the table if it does not contain an amnesty, but only if the employer sanctions and the increased border patrols are effective." [Amnesty Jams Compromise Bill, Jerry Seper and Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, May 26, 2006]

Key words: "I think," "if," "employer sanctions," "border patrols," and "effective."

Sensenbrenner obviously has to make noises like he is willing to compromise with the Senate.

But reading between the lines, a compromise between the two Chambers is possible...but highly doubtful.

Reflecting on what his role in history might be, Sensenbrenner remarked that he doesn`t want to be approached after retirement by people who say: 

"You made the biggest mistake of your career in signing off on a bill that ended up making the problem worse."

Right now, if you ask me, things look pretty darn good for us.

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.