So on the morning of Friday, June 8th, the President had stomach flu at the G-8 Summit and Paris Hilton was ordered back to jail. Those stories dominated the news in our Mainstream Media—the morning after the American people got a major reprieve from the greatest legislative disaster since the 1986 immigration reform law. The previous night, the US Senate had voted against "cloture", which means that more amendments to the abominable S1348 "compromise" Amnesty/Immigration Surge bill could be introduced. Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) then pulled the bill. Which was good—but, as a Democrat, I found the sickening failure of most of my own party's leaders to be on the correct side of this scandal most disheartening.
It was an interesting time to be in Washington, as I was, attending board meetings of the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) on Thursday June 7 and Friday, June 8.
For over 20 years, many Americans, such as the prescient founder of FAIR, Dr. John Tanton, have been urging sensible, sane, secure, safe immigration reform. Prominent among these leaders is FAIR President, Dan Stein, who was honored at a reception following our board meeting on June 7th for his 25 years of outstanding service to FAIR and to the cause of immigration reform. Dan and other leaders have been honing the basic principles upon which true reform rests. At this reception, many voices were raised in Dan's praise, including remarks by Republican congressmen Duncan Hunter and Brian Bilbray.
But where were the leading Democrats at this reception?
With the (temporary?) defeat of S1348, it is more important than ever to reiterate basic principles—which were also embraced by 37 of America's leading radio talk show hosts who convened at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill on April 22 to 27, 2007. CNN's Lisa Sylvester broadcasting at that time from the hotel said "the atmosphere is electric". The talk show hosts' role in getting the message about the Senate Sellout bill out to all Americans was enormous.
This is especially important right now. Since immigration burst on the scene as a major national issue some 20 years ago, the term "reform" was associated with those who believe that large-scale legal and illegal immigration is a serious problem and overall levels of immigration needed to be reduced. But very recently, the political winds have shifted. As opponents of reform learned that the majority of the public were "pro-reform", they changed their tune and have tried to wrap their defense of unchecked illegal immigration and record levels of legal immigration as being "reform measures—when, in fact, they are measures that will "deform" our already broken system.
True patriotic immigration reform must adhere to this set of immutable principles:
First Principle: Cut the Numbers
Any level of illegal immigration is unacceptable. Current legal immigrant admissions of about one million persons each year are entirely too many. Any measure that increases either illegal or legal immigration violates this principle. Immigration is a discretionary public policy. Its primary purpose, since our founding, is to advance the interests and security of the nation.
Second Principle: No Amnesty or Mass Guest-Worker Program
The 1986 amnesty was a failure. Rather than reducing illegal immigration, it led to an increase. Any new amnesty measure will further weaken respect for our immigration law. Therefore, all amnesty measures must be defeated. Laws against illegal immigration must be enforced to act as a deterrent. Redefining illegal aliens as "guest-workers" or anything else is just that: a redefinition that attempts to hide the fact that it is an amnesty, not reform.
Third Principle: Protect Wages and Standards of Living
Immigration policy should not be permitted to undermine opportunities for America's poor and vulnerable citizens to improve their working conditions and wages. The need for guest workers must be determined by objective indicators that a shortage of workers exists, i.e., extreme wage inflation in a particular sector of the labor market. The current system accepts self-serving attestations of employers who seek lower labor costs as protections of American workers. True reform requires an objective test of labor shortage.
Fourth Principle: Major Upgrade in Interior Enforcement, Led by Strong Employer Sanctions
Employers who knowingly employ unauthorized workers are the magnet that attracts illegal entry into the U.S. These employers are complicit in the illegal alien cartel activity of smuggling, trafficking, harboring, and employing and must be punished. These punishments should be fines, jailing for repeat offenders, and loss of corporate charters. Employers who knowingly or unknowingly employ illegal workers must be broken of their addiction. No U.S. industry has jobs categories in which there are a majority of non-American workers. If illegal workers are decreased over time, wages offered will rise to attract back more American workers. Real shortages, as noted above, can be met with short-term temporary foreign workers. The Basic Pilot Employment Verification program must be made mandatory and at no extra cost to employers. Effective immigration enforcement on the border and the interior of the country requires that staffing, equipment, detention facilities, and removal capabilities be adequate to fully meet current needs. The measures needed to identify and remove illegal aliens will also remove the ability of potential terrorists to operate freely in our country as they plot the next catastrophic attack on our people.
Fifth Principle: Stop Special Interest Asylum Abuse
Reforming the refugee and asylum system means returning to the original purpose and definition of the program: "any person who... is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion...." I believe that America must honor its responsibilities to protect people who are fleeing true political persecution as defined by U.S. and international law. But efforts to expand those definitions to include all forms of "social persecution" invite massive fraud and endanger the security of this nation. Similarly, treating aliens illegally residing in the country the same as foreigners on legal visitor visas for purposes of the Temporary Protected Status designation is illogical and a form of amnesty that must be ended.
Sixth Principle: Immigration Time Out
We must restore moderation to legal immigration. Beginning with the recommendations of the Jordan Commission in 1995, we need to restrict immigration to the minimum consistent with stabilizing the U.S. population. Overall immigration must be reduced to balance out-migration, i.e., about 300,000 per year while still permitting nuclear family reunification and a narrowly focused refugee resettlement program. A moratorium on all other immigration should be immediately adopted pending true comprehensive immigration reform. We should abolish the extended family preferences.
Seventh Principle: Equal Under the Law
There should be no favoritism toward or discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, creed, or nationality. All admission of immigrants should come within a single, stable ceiling which is periodically reviewed on the basis of a reasoned, explicit goal of achieving population stability. We should abolish special preferences such as the Cuban Adjustment Act.
This manufactured crisis, this attempted rush to judgment, this open border giveaway bill had many protagonists. Now, even in defeat, which these open border mavens regard as only temporary, we hear the crying of those lobbyists who were so anxious to enact S1348, which could readily be dubbed "Son of Frankenstein", Frankenstein being the 1986 immigration reform act.
As a Democrat, I can only say that this chorus of anger against this legislation and in favor of the real reform principles listed above, should be coming with far greater intensity from my own party, whose leaders.
Where are my fellow Democrats? Doubtless behaving in most cases like those open border Senators who were flogging S1348. Some of S1348's features were:
What happened this past week in the Senate struck seasoned observers as a re-run of the debates in 1990. At that time, the debated legislation was touted as a plan to increase the skill level of overall immigration. Guess what happened? Before the bill got through Congress, the additional "skill" visas were more than offset by the additional family visas, humanitarian visas, and the so called "backlog reduction" visas. Presto, many more aliens than anticipated—just like what happened originally in the ill fated legislation of 1965.
This happened again in 1996. Then-Senator Spencer Abraham succeeded in knocking out the alternatives to chain migration on the Senate floor. Because Senator Kyl did not work to build any advance public support, this may well happen again with this or future legislation.
To eliminate chain migration, voters need to realize and get hot about understanding the enormous effect this ability to import family members has on the influx of aliens. A healthy immigrant may get citizenship, but then the old, erroneous interpretation of the Statue of Liberty inscription really comes into play! "Bring me you tired, your poor" really means family members of all descriptions like aged parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins–anyone who can be brought in to get on US health care, etc.
S1348 would have eaten and drunk up our precious tax dollars like a gourmand at a 3 star French restaurant. And the people who tried to pass it no doubt would no doubt have gotten 3 star treatment from their backers in industry and elsewhere.
We were told that S1348 is "the grand compromise". McCain told a Presidential debate audience on June 5th that "We cannot have 12 million people washing around America illegally." Thus, the fact of aliens breaking the law is "fixed" by giving them all amnesty. The media seems to allow every pro open border discussion to begin by asking "what do we do with 12 million (probably 20 million) illegal aliens here now?" Hey, why should this be a question now? How about when there were only 6 million? Why not put it off until there are 30 million or 60 million?
No, Senator, you fix it by knowing who is here first, insuring that our borders and ports are secure by testing the system over a period of years, not rushing to judgment for no reason other than to satisfy your corporate paymasters.
These pro Compromise (i.e. sellout) Senators suffer from a bad case of "amnesty amnesia." As introduced S1348 might in a few ways be better than the bill passed by the Senate last year, but in others it is far, far worse. For example, the amnesty is immediate and universal. This Kennedy-Bush amnesty bill was even more liberal than last year's Senate-passed bill since the Kennedy Bush amnesty allows nearly all illegal immigrants currently in the US to stay and work on a Z visa, without first going to their country of origin. However, in last year's bill, only the people who were in the country for 5 years were eligible to stay and work without first going home.
Strangely, Senators who called the 1986 IRCA bill an amnesty won't do so now. Even Senator Kennedy, architect of today's immigration crisis, called it "amnesty" in 1986. Then he solemnly promised on the Senate Floor that this was the last amnesty. Today, legislation is under consideration that provides more immediate benefits with fewer anti-fraud safeguards. But, now, Folks, it's being dubbed a "path to citizenship." Trust you are not confused by this absolute lie.
In stark contrast to the debates in 1986, there's not even a pretense in this bill that this is a serious effort to stop illegal immigration.
Why? Because although 80% of us want it stopped, the elites who are controlling our so called democracy don't want it stopped.
As Dan Stein, President of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) noted in his comments to his board on June 7th before the final cloture vote, "We are dealing with the kind of institutional amnesia that emerges when both political parties seem determined to ignore all the lessons of the past. At the end of the last Congress, a sweeping series of House hearings were held across the nation, building a huge record covering nearly every phase of today's immigration crisis. That record is now being ignored."
Let's first answer the main question of border control with action, not hand wringing. How can we restore credibility to the immigration control system in this country? Frankly, that what so many of us are asking. The passage of S1348 and its enactment into law would have been a thunderous sign of something more than the passage of a bad, nay horrible, bill. It would have signified and borne witness to the fact that the American people have not only lost control of their borders, we would be well on the path to losing our democracy.
Think about this, folks! Understand the real principles of true reform, which starts with border and port security, time tested plans that can be demonstrated to be effective. And remember, waiting in the wings as a corollary legislative action, is the so North American Union (NAU) which will completely lost us the sovereignty for which we have fought so many wars. Democrat or Republican or Independent we must guard vigilantly against losing our democracy by losing the chance to elect true representatives, not those fully bought and paid for by the special interests as is so true under this present corrupted system.
As the witches in Macbeth asked, "When shall we meet again?", these dangerous legislative scams will be back. When? Hopefully not for awhile, but let's use this precious time to again express to the widest possible audience the correct solutions as outlined in the seven principles above. They are vital to American democracy and to our future as a sovereign and strong nation.
The same Democrats and Republicans who have blood on their hands with S1348 are still there waiting for their next best chance.
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.