Will Sharron Angle Use Immigration Patriot Harry Reid (1993) Against Treason Lobby Reid (2010)?
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Embattled Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in trouble again in Nevada, this time for clumsily trying to brush off the Pew Hispanic Center's estimate of the numbers of illegal aliens in the state. (Critics slam Harry Reid's immigration remark, by Scott Wong, Politico.com, July 14 2010).

Reid has a history of verbal slips. Last year, he suffered the usual two minutes of Politically Correct hate for noting that Barack Obama did not always use a "negro dialect."  Reid was actually praising Obama, but the use of the word "negro" was the kiss of death for the PC Left and for the usual opportunistically unprincipled Republicans.

However, in the early to mid 1990s, Harry Reid did more than make a verbal slip— he advocated what is now an even more timely, but profoundly Politically Incorrect, policy.

In 1993, Reid introduced the Immigration Stabilization Act [S.1351] which cracked down on illegal immigration, greatly reduced legal immigration, and ended birthright citizenship. He reintroduced a slightly watered-down version (e.g. did not deal with Birthright Citizenship and allowed an additional 35,000 legal immigrants) in 1994. [S.1923]

Reid was virtually alone in this fight. He got only three and four cosponsors for the respective bills.

While I knew the Open Borders lobby had stolen the word "immigration reform" to mean amnesty, it was not until I read Reid's press release from the 1993 that I realized they also stole "comprehensive immigration reform."  Reid announced his bill as "the first and only comprehensive immigration reform bill in Congress."  

Needless to say, Reid's idea of "comprehensive immigration reform" is quite different today. Earlier this year, his office began circulating a detailed "Conceptual Proposal for Immigration Reform" around the Hill. [PDF] The differences could not be more striking.

Family Immigration

  • Harry Reid 1993: Limited family reunification to 300,000 minus the number of refugees admitted the previous year. It completely eliminated all family visas for people other than spouses and dependent children. Parents, siblings, and adult children were only admitted if the immediate family and refugees did not total 300,000, in which case they could fill the remainder of the visas.
  • Harry Reid 2010: Expanded the definition of immediate relatives and would issue and additional 3.4 million family visas over the next 8 years—that's on top of the approximately 700,000 family visas we already issue.

Work based immigration:

  • Harry Reid 1993: Restricted high skilled immigration to people who are truly high skilled—those with advanced degrees, extraordinary ability, and investors—and caps that number at 40,000 people a year.
  • Harry Reid 2010: Reid's proposal uses the fraudulent concept of "recapturing" visas that are "unused" over the last 10 years. In other word adding up every single visa category that was below the cap and letting that number of people in. This will end up granting at least 600,000 additional work visas. Besides the fact that the visa ceilings are not minimums, all unused work visas are transferred for additional family reunification visas the next year. Additionally, the bill expands the definition of high skilled immigrants and lets any foreigner pursuing an advanced degree get permanent residence.

Other Immigrants and Refugees:

  • Harry Reid 1993: Eliminated the Diversity Visa Lottery, and restricted refugee admission to 50,000. He also added numerous safeguards to prevent refugee fraud.
  • Harry Reid 2010: Gives expedited legal permanent resident status to refugees.

Birthright Citizenship:

  • Harry Reid 1993: Called for the 14th Amendment to be clarified so that "any person born after the date of enactment of this title to a mother who is neither a citizen of the United States nor admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident, and which person is a national or citizen of another country of which either of his or her natural parents is a national or citizen, or is entitled upon application to become a national or citizen of such country, shall be considered as born subject to the jurisdiction of that foreign country and not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States within the meaning of section 1 of such Article and shall therefore not be a citizen of the United States or of any State solely by reason of physical presence within the United States at the moment of birth."
  • Harry Reid 2010: Creates a deeper anchor for anchor babies by stating that no illegal alien " shall be transferred from his/her area of apprehension until arrangements have been made for the detainee's children, and the government has given due consideration to the best interest of the child in decisions concerning detention, release or transfer of a parent.:


  • Harry Reid 1993: The bill would have actually repealed the amnesty that granted the dependents of illegal aliens granted amnesty in 1986 legal status.
  • Harry Reid 2010: Every single alien present, or capable of pretending that they were present, at the time of the bill's passing will be eligible for amnesty. There is a phony "back of the line" provision where they are given "lawful prospective immigrant" status prior to becoming a "legal permanent resident", but these "prospective" immigrants are eligible for federal benefits and can sponsor additional immigrants.


  • Harry Reid 1993: Would not allow any immigrant into the country, including family based visas, unless they can demonstrate that they will are able to support themselves. It would have barred illegal aliens from any federal benefit that is not already required by law (e.g. reimbursements to Hospitals for emergency care.)
  • Harry Reid 2010: Reid's proposal gives in state tuition to illegal aliens, and does not include any sort of public charge requirement to get amnesty.

So what Happened to Harry?

A look at Reid's voting history on immigration at Numbers USA showed that he continued to vote against amnesty and in favor of immigration reduction through most of the 1990s.

By 2001, however, he was consistently showing as a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, 245i, and other amnesties.

In 2006, The Drudge Report dug up Reid's press release on the bill from August 5, 1993. Reid did not mince his words in that release.

"Our borders have overflowed with illegal immigrants placing tremendous burdens on our criminal justice system, schools and social programs. The Immigration and Naturalization Service needs the ability to step up enforcement. Our federal wallet is stretched to the limit by illegal aliens getting welfare, food stamps, medical care and other benefits often without paying any taxes. Safeguards like welfare and free medical care are in place to boost Americans in need of short-term assistance. These programs were not meant to entice freeloaders and scam artists from around the world. Even worse, Americans have seen heinous crimes committed by individuals who are here illegally." [FLASHBACK: Dem Senate Leader Harry Reid: 'Our Federal Wallet Stretched To Limit by Illegal Aliens Getting Welfare', Drudge Report Archives, April 5, 2006]

Reid's spokesman explained the shift: "He had a change of heart on this issue brought about by several meetings in the community with immigrants and a conversation with his wife." [Reid flips on illegals, World Net Daily, April 5, 2006]

(Reid himself has said he was confronted by his wife, whose father was apparently a Russian immigrant.)

This "change of heart," happened to coincide with Reid's elevation to Democratic Whip in 1999.

Reid should really consider having a discussion with the community of citizens in Nevada. The state has the highest unemployment rate in the Country at 14%. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 12.2% of the state's workforce is illegal. California, the next highest state is at 9.9%. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, 20% of the population is foreign born.

Advocating for more legal immigration and rewarding illegal aliens is not going to win him too many friends in Nevada.

Reid's Republican opponent Sharron Angle has come out strongly in favor of Arizona's immigration law. But she has not mentioned legal immigration—yet.

However, when given Numbers USA's survey, she responded in the affirmative to questions about "Do you favor reducing overall immigration numbers toward the traditional [250,000] levels?"

Reid has given Angle a perfect opportunity to stand up for the 14% of Nevadans who are unemployed: simply call for 1993 era Reid proposals on reducing legal immigration.

Will she take it?

"Washington Watcher" [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.

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