Thursday, April 27, 2006

The President Prefers Amnesty

President Bush has told lawmakers that he would prefer to deal with the illegal immigrant problem by granting legal status to the millions of aliens who have deliberately and flagrantly violated American law by illegally crossing our borders and residing in our country. The president has made a farce of the US-Mexico border, and now perpares (like presidents before him) to make a mockery of our laws as well. Of course, the president jumps through rhetorical hurdles to avoid the word amnesty, rightly fearing the political consquences.

President Bush generally favors plans to give millions of illegal immigrants a chance at U.S. citizenship without leaving the country, but does not want to be more publicly supportive because of opposition among conservative House Republicans, according to senators who attended a recent White House meeting.

Under the Senate bill, immigrants in the U.S. longer than five years could apply for citizenship without leaving the country. Those in the U.S. for more than two years but fewer than five would be required to go to a border point of entry, but they could return quickly as legal temporary workers.

Several senators said Bush had spoken in favorable terms about the overall bill, but made it clear he will not issue an endorsement.

Giving illegal immigrants a "chance at citizenship" means, stripped of its obscurant language, absolving them of the crime they committed by crossing American borders illegally and permitting them to remain in the US legally. That’s an amnesty. No other word describes it. But it’s even worse than that. The bill’s wording tries to make it seem like less than an total amnesty by claiming that only aliens here illegally for more than five years would get to remain here. Of course, how can the government tell how long an illegal alien has been in the US? Since most illegals work "off the books" or use fake social security numbers (another crime in itself – and one for which any native-born American would be arrested and jailed), it will be next to impossible to verify when a particular illegal actually crossed the border. The government will, in most cases, simply have to take the alien’s word for when he or she crossed the border. This gives the aliens every reason to lie about it.

The president, whose poll numbers are rapidly approaching Jimmy Carter-style lows, rightly fears trumpeting his real position on amnesty. He knows that will only sink those numbers further and cause more Congressional Republicans to break with him. So much for the nonsense about Bush being a bold leader with the courage of his convictions. Americans remember the 1986 amnesty, which succeeded only in encouraging millions more Mexicans to flood across the border. They don't want a repeat. Bush apparently does.

The president has spoken repeatedly in favor of legislation that includes stronger border protection and a guest worker program, but has been vague on specifics.

On Monday, Bush said "massive deportation isn't going to work," and that the Senate "had an interesting approach by saying that if you'd been here for five years or less, you're treated one way, and five years or more, you're treated another."

Bush did not mention that measure would allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. while waiting for citizenship _ a provision sharply criticized by some conservative lawmakers.

The House approved border security legislation last year that does not address the fate of illegal immigrants. Several Republican conservatives have criticized the Senate bill, saying it was little more than amnesty for lawbreakers.

President Bush has spoken of "legislation that includes stronger border protection" but has done exactly nothing to implement stronger border protection. When authorized by Congress to hire more border patrol agents, the White House deliberately declined to do so. The border situation has become so grave that the governors of several border states have declared emergencies and are acting to improve enforcement on their own – even though that its entirely a federal responsibility.

Meanwhile the talk of potential amnesty has encouraged even more Mexicans and Central Americans to swarm across the US border, hoping to take advantage of America’s worsening weakness. Make no mistake, that is what a failure to defend one’s borders signals to other nations: weakness. Mexico has already exploited that weakness to serve its own interests, exporting to the US an enormous percentage of its lowest and most unskilled class. That has shifted the economic burden of caring for those people from the Mexican taxpayer to the American taxpayer. As an added benefit, Mexico also receives an infusion of American cash back into its economy through the remittances sent home by the immigrants themselves. Many Central American nations are now subtly doing the same thing. But as the number of illegal aliens grows, they become a political force inside the US, a force whose loyalty is not to the US or American traditions, but to their home countries and co-ethnics. This growing population – which resists assimilation through its different language and culture – will only become even more powerful a force as its numbers grow. And as the numbers of Spanish-speaking illegals grow, the sheer size of that population will make it even more resistant to assimilation. They will become, increasingly, like the Muslims in Europe. Radicals already haunt the fringes of the illegal alien population, preaching a gospel of racial hatred and Marxist class struggle – a message to which many of these aliens are already sympathetic (note the prevalence of Marxist politics and movements in Mexico and Central/South America). The seemingly laughable rhetoric of La Raza and Aztlan may sound farcical today, but it won’t in the decades to come when it finds more and more adherents among the swelling illegal populations. Worse, American political correctness and multiculturalist dogma prevents mainstream Americans from pointing out and criticizing the leftist radical element trying to recruit Latino immigrants to their cause. This leaves the US even more vulnerable.

House Republicans are correct to oppose any bill granting amnesty and to pass legislation that compels border enforcement first. Of course, given the president’s woeful track record on defending US borders, passing the legislation and allocating funds will not be enough. The president will have to be compelled by Congress to act on the legislation. Only strong pressure – or outright rebellion by House Republicans – can ensure that.