Lie at Heart of “Immigration Reform” Exposed

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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“Trust” is for Con Men: The reaction to the border chaos in Texas has accomplished one thing: It has exploded the lie at the heart of current “comprehensive” immigration reform plans.  The basic structure of those plans is a swap of a) near-immediate legalization for b) increased border security in the future. The appealing idea is to let current illegals stay while taking the steps necessary to prevent further waves. The lie is the assumption that, once current illegals get their legalization, pro-immigrant activists in both parties will continue to support the second half of the bargain, the increased security.

The chaos in Texas shows they won’t.  Faced with a clear hole in the border — with a wave of tens of thousands of undocumented Central Americans crossing into the U.S. in order to get in line for hearings years from now, which they likely won’t attend while they continue to live here — pro-reform activists have scrambled, not to show their border security bona fides, but to generate arguments and outbursts designed to let the new wave stay.  As National Journal’s Major Garrett reported, when President Obama, met with activists at the White House, he proposed that he make it clear that new migrants who don’t qualify for humanitarian relief won’t get in. The activists would have none of it:

Angelica Salas, executive director of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, piped up and warned Obama that the driving energy to reach the United States could not be stopped. “Mr. President, when my family and I came to the country, I was 5 years old, and when we were caught crossing the border and were sent back, we didn’t give up,” Salas said. “We kept trying until we made it.”

Faced with a revolt among pro-immigrant Democrats and ACLU types, Obama omitted a request for greater deportation authority from the “supplemental” package he sent to Congress (which is focused mainly on feeding, transporting and resettling the new entrants). Latino conservatives seem to agree with this retreat: “From a policy perspective it’s bad, in terms of optics, it’s just terrible” in “the Hispanic community” for Republicans to insist on quicker deportation authority, said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of something called the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.

Obama’s old policy seemed to be to forget about illegals who make it into the interior of the country while increasing deportation of new arrivals at the border (an emphasis that coincidentally juiced up Obama’s deportation stats). Now, under pressure from the advocates, he’s moving to accommodate new arrivals at the border as well. Who’s left that the left wouldn’t let in? True, you could imagine migrants less appealing than those flocking into Texas–adults, none of whom had credible claims of fear or persecution.**  But activists like Angelica Salas wouldn’t want to block them either. She’d be supported in that effort by professional amnesty-pushers like Rep. Luis Gutierrez — who once at least paid lip service to enforcing the Southern border at some point, down the road, after a “comprehensive” legalization.

Likewise, does anyone think the people attending Obama’s White House meeting will accept any other new security measures that might actually succeed in blocking their co-ethnics from moving to El Norte–even as part of a “comprehensive” reform bill?***  They won’t. Once today’s illegals get their immediate “provisional” (i.e. permanent) legal status, security measures like E-Verify (computerized checks of new hires), the border fence, and exit-entry visa controls will be subject to the same sort of counterattack as Obama’s request for more deportation “flexibility.”

Overcoming those attacks will only get more difficult as the Latino population grows — and it will grow even faster once a reform bill legalizes millions more eventual voters. It’s not hard to imagine that we’re at a tipping point: Implement border security measures now, or else they will never be implemented.

And the only way to implement them is to require they be done first, before any legalization — before the activists are free to attack them with full force (lest they jeopardize the eventual amnesty prize). The other way around, the McCain-Schumer-Obama way — ‘Legalization First, Security Later’ — is a swindle in the classic tradition. Just give us our amnesty. We’ll be there for you when it’s time to appropriate for the border fence. Really we will. You can trust us! You just have to wire the money to the Nigerian prince give us what we want first.

If we didn’t spot the fraud before, we do now.

P.S.: Smart amnesty backers, like Schumer and McCain, seem to realize they need to act forcefully to stem the current border surge in order to build “trust” for a future “comprehensive” immigration bill. But we don’t need “trust” — if we structure the “comprehensive” bargain so the enforcement measures come first. It’s con men who need “trust.”


** —  Although there are plenty of adults in the current wave (see #10).

*** –“Immigration reform” has been explicitly sold to Republicans as a way to appeal to Latinos, and that same appeal is clearly a big reason why Democrats have been near-unanimous in pushing for it. It’s not surprising if Latino activists — and many Latino voters — share this tribal view.