A New York Times headline reported earlier this month that "Republicans put immigration laws back on political agenda." [by Rachel L. Swarns, August 4 2003]. Lest you imagine that this means the Republicans are about to enforce such laws or enact new and tougher ones, you are sadly misinformed.
The "agenda" onto which the Republicans are returning is the one that President Bush was happily pursuing before Sept. 11, 2001, an agenda that included amnesty for illegal Mexicans in the United States. Now three Republicans from Arizona have introduced legislation that essentially does just that, under the guise of "controlling" or "regulating" illegal immigration.
Rep. Tom Tancredo, a fourth Republican who decidedly is not supporting the bill, calls it what it really is: "Amnesty on the installment plan."
The legislation, sponsored by Arizona Sen. John McCain [S. 1461]and his House colleagues, Reps. Jim Kolbe and Jeff Flake, [H.R. 2899]would grant permanent residency status over a period of years to illegal aliens already in the country and to legal immigrants who come in the future. Despite a waiting period and some requirement for sponsorship by an employer, there's no other word for the plan but amnesty. Mr. Kolbe says that on a recent trip to Tucson President Bush was "supportive" and "enthusiastic about the bill."
One of the main features of the measure is that it sets up a "registry" to be run by the Labor Department that would list available jobs. Jobs listed for 14 days and not taken by Americans would be open to immigrant guest workers. That way, you see, the immigrants wouldn't be taking jobs Americans want.
The fallacies are obvious enough. In the first place, how many workers read notices from the Labor Department? Aside from that, the point about immigrants taking American jobs is that they take them at wages below what most Americans will work for or drive down wages below what most Americans can accept. The mere availability of Third World immigrant labor, often off the employer's books, is what makes American jobs unacceptable to American workers. It's also why employers want immigrants here to take the jobs. The Republican legislation does nothing to alter that.
Mr. Kolbe claims the bill will allow "99 percent of the currently undocumented population" to be "documented, screened and monitored to give the U.S. a better understanding of who is living within the nation's borders."
But illegal immigration into this country today is already so simple, easy and rewarding that there may well be more incentive to sneak in illegally than to come across and go through the red tape the bill would create. Like any amnesty program, the bill will simply create more reasons to enter illegally and wait until lawmakers pass another one.
The bill still doesn't go far enough for the Open Borders nuts, but their spokesmen regard it as "a good start," which is how a Washington Post editorial describes it. "To have Republicans stepping up and proposing these important but imperfect bills is something of a breakthrough," the New York Times quoted Frank Sharry, head of "a policy group" called the National Immigration Forum. The Forum is a bit more than "a policy group." It's probably the major umbrella organization for several left-wing, libertarian, and "conservative" pro-immigration lobbies.
It's significant that Mr. Sharry is pleased, because it tells us that the Republicans as a whole have learned absolutely nothing from Sept. 11 and absolutely nothing about the reality of mass immigration. Mr. McCain, as the Times reported, was unable to justify his bill in any language other than the prefabricated clichés of the Open Borders boys, gabbling about how "many illegal immigrants did jobs that Americans do not want."
It's particularly significant also that the legislation is sponsored by Republicans from Arizona, since it's in that state that for the last several years American ranchers, farmers and householders have been under literal attack from the immigrant invasion these and other lawmakers have allowed to take place.
The McCain-Kolbe-Flake legislation tells us - as it ought to tell their own constituents - that neither the lawmakers nor their party nor the administration itself gives a holy damn about them, their security and interests or the borders of their own nation.
"The status quo is no longer acceptable," Sen. McCain mooed to the press a few weeks ago about his own bill.
You bet it's not. If he and his colleagues and the president really want to do something to change the status quo of the immigration reality, they can take troops out of Liberia and the Middle East and start protecting their own country for a change.
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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control. Click here for Sam Francis' website.]