Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Congress Sells Out U.S. Security

After days of heated argument and political arm twisting by the White House, the Senate tonight voted 89-2 to pass a new bill reforming the structure of the U.S. intelligence complex. The House voted 336-75 to approve the bill yesterday, which will shortly be signed into law by the president. Unfortunately, under pressure from the White House, key provisions of the original version of this bill were jettisoned, according to the Washington Post [registration required].

Although much of the recent debate focused on protecting Pentagon turf, several House Republicans said the fiercest resistance centered on immigration questions. The original House version -- drafted with no Democratic input -- included numerous provisions to keep undocumented foreigners from entering the country and to make it easier to deport visitors who overstay their visas or break laws.

[House Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI)] repeatedly noted that the 19 hijackers of Sept. 11 had obtained multiple driver's licenses, which he said helped them open bank accounts and board planes. He urged the House to retain language that would require states to verify the legal status of non-citizens applying for driver's licenses.

After the horrific events of September 11th, and the discovery of literally dozens of valid drivers licenses held under a variety of different names by the Islamic terrorists who inflicted so much death and destruction to New York and Washington, one would have thought that securing identification documents - and keeping them from the hands of illegal aliens - would have the U.S. government's top priority. Drivers' licenses are the primary photo-identification cards used in the U.S.; permitting illegal aliens to gain valid drivers' licenses based on non-existent or dubious background information is a recipe for catastrophe - a recipe that has already resulted in nearly 3,000 American deaths. Nevertheless, there are far more important concerns than the mere lives and safety of American citizens.

Opponents, including businesses that rely on low-wage undocumented workers, state governments and civil liberties groups, said Sensenbrenner's proposal would require extensive scrutiny and national debate. In weeks of House-Senate negotiations over the intelligence legislation, the driver's license provision and others were dropped.

Yes, flooding the country with unskilled workers willing to work for pennies a day has done marvels for the living standards of lower class Americans. But by driving down wages, it has increased profits for the corporate magnates who have purchased the ear of the president. The so-called "civil liberties groups" have a vastly different agenda, which disregards U.S. security in favor dilluting the U.S. population with massive numbers of immigrants drawn from vastly different foreign cultures in the hope of dilluting and destroying the American culture they so virulently despise. The various state governments have become dominated by bureaucrats imbued in the same mindset.

In yesterday's closed GOP meeting, several participants said, Hastert promised to include immigration provisions in a package of "must pass" legislation early next year.

Some members, however, said the promise might prove empty. The White House and Senate, they note, are much less receptive to sharp crackdowns on illegal immigration than are many House members. "There's a real lack of confidence that we'll get a bill to secure our borders," said Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.).
If the GOP had any intention of moving to curtail illegal immigration, it would surely have done it by now. If the GOP really intended to bar illegal aliens from obtaining licenses, they would have enacted legislation after September 11, 2001. To pass up this latest chance, offering only half-hearted assurances that they'll do it in the next session seems tantamount to admitting that they won't even try. If ensuring U.S. security were a priority for the Congress, the Bush administration or the Republican Party, they'd have passed this bill with the provisions prohibiting drivers' licenses for illegal aliens. That they didn't ... tells us where that their real priorities lie elsewhere, regardless of their rhetoric.


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