When I sat down to write my column, I planned to lead by saying that no United States Senator is worse on immigration than the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter (R).
Based on his tortured immigration proposals this week, I thought that was a safe statement.
Then I looked at the entire committee roster. Specter has a lot of competition among the seventeen-man group.
Specter is touting what he calls "Comprehensive Immigration Reform of 2006," an as-yet unnamed bill that is several of our worst nightmares rolled into one: amnesty, guest workers, new worker visas and everything but official open borders.
Specter's proposal would give amnesty to 15-20 million illegal residents and create 1.1 million new green card holders among employment-based immigrants. Amazingly, the provision for more than 1 million employment-based green cards would renew every year in perpetuity.
And it would generate a brand-new American job-killer: the no cap H-2C visa for those soon-to-be omnipresent guest workers.
Read NumbersUSA.com's outstanding analysis of the entire Specter disaster here.
To accompany the NUSA analysis, VDARE.COM readers might find it useful to have the following armchair guide that I developed to refresh your memory regarding the individual senators' immigration leanings.
Meet, in all its ignominy, the committee:
A thumbnail profile of the Republican bad guys:
Hatch, Specter's predecessor as Judiciary Chairman, voted for S.1545, the DREAM Act, which would grant illegal aliens in-state tuition rates. And he cosponsored S. 1645 that protected illegal aliens granted temporary resident status from prosecution for Social Security fraud.
Brownback co-sponsored S. 644 to increase asylum claims by creating a new special immigrant visa category for an unlimited number of women and children who are said to be at risk of harm because of their gender and age.
Both Hatch and Brownback have moved sharply toward a more pro-immigration position in the last several years.
Among the low points of DeWine's recent record is that he voted to invoke cloture, a procedural move requiring 60 votes to limit debate and ensure a vote on the AgJOBS amnesty amendment for up to 3 million illegal aliens, introduced by Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID).
The cloture motion failed, but DeWine's attempt to force it revealed his sympathy for amnesty.
While Kyl was once rumored to be sensible about immigration, he has always promoted more foreign workers. In 2005, Kyl voted against the Byrd Amendment to the Budget Reconciliation bill, which would have stripped a provision to increase permanent, employment-based immigration by as many as 366,000 annually.
Cornyn, a first term Senator from Texas who immediately began as a La Raza bag man by talking about getting illegal immigrants "out of the shadows," voted in 2005 with Hatch and Brownback in favor of S.1545. He also co-sponsored S. 1387, a bill to create a temporary guest worker program for illegal aliens with an amnesty-on-installment program.
Graham is now a champion of more worker visas. During the current Congressional year, Graham has cosponsored S. 1033, the McCain-Kennedy bill, which would add an extra 150,000 employment-based visas (mostly for unskilled workers) annually. Additionally, it would create a brand new guest worker program that would bring in 400,000 unskilled workers during its first year.
Many Capitol Hill observers think that Graham is maneuvering for a Vice Presidential spot on a possible McCain ticket in 2008.
But Grassley also voted not to invoke cloture on the Craig AgJOBS amnesty amendment. Grassley's vote helped keep the amnesty off the 2005 Iraq supplemental spending bill.
Interestingly, Grassley's immigration voting record has improved over the last several years…unlike that of his colleagues.
On the other hand, Coburn co-sponsored S. 2061 to reduce illegal immigration through increased border controls. The bill requires construction of a border fence along the U.S.-Mexico border; provides for additional Border Patrol agents; and mandates the use of the entry-exit system at all ports of entry.
Unfortunately, predicting the way the committee will vote is child's play. Even before a single vote is cast, past history as outlined above tells us that the deck is stacked against us.
If the worst happens, lay the blame where it belongs: on the Republicans.
Whatever final scheme the Senate Judiciary Committee may come up with, the Republicans there are the heavies…they have aided and abetted the Democrats on immigration policy.
If the G.O.P. hadn't turned coat, Specter's crazy scheme would never have seen the light of day. But, unhappily, the Republicans of late are just as bad as the Democrats.
The good news is that even Specter admits that the road ahead will be rocky. Since the Senators are divided—each with his particular sell-out angle—no immediate consensus is likely.
"I have seen virtually no agreement on anything. Emotions are at an all-time high." [Immigrant Bill Faces Tough Fight in Senate, Suzanne Gamboa, Associated Press, March 2, 2006]
Thankfully, the committee's treasonous work is done for this week. The next hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 8th or 9th.
In the meantime, Specter remains hopeful.
"You can count on Specter, if he is given any chance, to do the wrong thing."
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.