Kevin Carter writes:
A lot of immigration reformers right now seem convinced that the Bush-McCain-Kennedy bill is dead and done for. I hope they're right, but they ought to tell it to the Open Borders crowd. On Tuesday, June 27, the National Immigration Forum held a press conference at the Dirksen Senate Building to tout the supposedly dead Senate bill and its "comprehensive" approach to immigration reform.
Practically all of the usual suspects showed up for the soiree. John McCain was there, informing everyone that immigration was at least a "number two" issue for the American public and said that we needed to "elevate the dialogue" on the subject. Ted Kennedy was there, assuring us all that the good folk from south of the border were coming to "join the American family" and "be a part of the American Dream." Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ken Salazar (D-CO) also showed, chiding any politician who would ever dare to wave immigration restriction "as their flag for reelection in November."
Tamar Jacoby and Grover Norquist were there, along with all of the major lobbyists: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Hospitality Industries Union, La Raza, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Asian American Justice Forum, etc. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had intended to send a representative, but instead chose only to send their blessings.
I will spare the reader most of the banalities, half truths, and outright lies spun at this little gathering; suffice to say, by the end of it, this immigration reformer was on the verge of lurching towards the lavatory. The basic message, reiterated by virtually every speaker, was that the Senate bill was a "rational," "logical," "sensible," and "humane" approach and that anyone favoring an "enforcement only" strategy was simply a lunatic.
The reporters, however, seemed surprisingly incredulous. One asked how the proponents of the Senate bill could possibly move public opinion to their side. Frank Sharry, executive director for the National Immigration Forum, answered that the polls showed the public was on their side and quipped that immigration restrictionists were "loud but not very large." He seemed confident that the more the public learned about the "comprehensive" approach, the more they would like it.
Personally, I don't think that will be the case, but if this conference makes anything clear, it's that the Open Borders crowd has far from given up. When a reporter asked McCain about whether or not the president was going to become more visibly involved, he said "I had a conversation with the president this morning and he is fully committed," adding that "we want to negotiate, we want conferees appointed."When the reporter asked what would happen if conferees weren't appointed, McCain simply smiled and said, "Oh I think they will be."