Granting amnesty to the 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States would create a massive new Democratic voting bloc. At least, that’s clearly what the Democrats believe. Obviously, they’d never publicly admit such a thing. They claim that their desire for amnesty stems from their deep, abiding compassion. Night after night, they toss and turn, unable to sleep for fear that evil Republicans will break up families in their never-ending quest to send honest “undocumented laborers” back to their home countries. Perhaps, in darkened back rooms, behind closed doors, Democrats admit the truth to each other. But for fear of exposing their true intent, they dare not speak it in the light of day.
Newt Gingrich has just called their bluff.
His immigration plan calls for our borders to be secured, for gang members and criminal illegals to be deported and for law-abiding, tax-paying illegals to be able to stay. It does not offer illegal immigrants true citizenship, nor would it give them the right to vote.
With a few caveats, it’s a brilliant plan.
By denying illegal immigrants the right to vote, you acknowledge that they have broken the law by circumventing legal immigration procedures. By allowing them to stay in the country, with their family, you show compassion and take wind from the sails of the pro-illegal political movement. At the same time, you dash the hopes and dreams of cynical Democrats who see amnesty as the ultimate votes-for-citizenship quid pro quo.
More importantly, you force liberals into the uncomfortable position of voting against the measure. Since their goal has always been an increased number of Democratic voters, they’ll have to fight the Gingrich plan. In doing so, they’d be forced to deliver some bad news to their districts. First, they’re going to vote against a plan that would allow illegals to stay in the country — something sure to anger their beloved undocumented constituency. Second, they’re voting against the measure because it doesn’t convey full voting rights upon illegals — something already deeply unpopular with current legal U.S. citizens.
Staunch conservatives will bemoan the fact that deportation seems to be off the table. They need to get over it. No one on their side of the aisle has shown the backbone to enact such legislation. And if such legislation were enacted, it would spend years tied up in the court system while the problem continued to worsen. Even if the law survived the court challenges, the American people wouldn’t have the stomach to follow through with it. The minute that networks started broadcasting footage of police officers pulling babies from the soon-to-be-deported arms of their parents, the tide of public opinion would shift dramatically. The public would be bombarded with images of violence and poverty — real or staged — and the politicians who engineered the law would be pilloried.
When the dust settled, the modern American left would reap the political rewards created by a new trail of tears.
Gingrich’s plan would solve the problem, put the left behind the political eight ball and move the country forward — if he follows through with all of it and takes a couple of steps he hasn’t mentioned.
Obviously, none of it will work if our porous southern border isn’t secured. Before anything else happens, it needs to be sealed.
Current illegal residents with criminal backgrounds, regardless of how minor their crimes, must be deported.
U.S. companies that knowingly employ illegals must be punished harshly, since the problem will return if the incentive remains.
The country needs an easy-to-use system by which people can prove their citizenship. Currently, only 15 states require any kind of photo I.D. to fill out a ballot. That has to change. Whether it’s a difficult-to-forge I.D. card or some sort of digital solution, there’s no point in restricting an illegal’s future access to the polls if you’re not going to require proof of citizenship to vote. This should be enacted in every state, for every voter, immediately.
Assuming those preconditions are met, the Gingrich plan could be a real, workable solution to the immigration issue — perhaps the first one we’ve ever had.
Robert Laurie is a Michigan-based conservative columnist and freelance writer. He also runs a daily political commentary blog at RobertLaurie.net.