Immigration reform. It's the latest red herring from our friends in le Maison Blanc to get our minds off our kids being killed in the Surge or the Iraq War or the Global War On Terror, or whatever we're calling it this week. But let's not digress. It's Immigration Week.
A new "bi-partisan" immigration bill popped up from seemingly nowhere at the end of last week. I saw it on the news. A whole bunch of Democrats and Republicans were on camera, saving me the trouble of having to think about whether it was a good plan or not, by decisively declaring that indeed it was. Well, thank goodness for that. Democrats, Republicans, Mexicans, even President W, who normally hates multilateralism, was joining in the fun. Everybody seemed to be onboard. It almost seemed too good to be true.
Frankly, I was surprised I hadn't heard about it before. Then I found out why. It was done in secret. Really. About a dozen Senators and the W-House got together and wrote it up. And it's great. They promise!
Here are some of the Secret Senators: Arlen Spector, Lindsey Graham, Ted Kennedy, Jon Kyle, Mel Martinez, Diane Feinstein, John McCain, Harry Reid, Saxby Chambliss, Salazar, Leahy, and Menendez. Sorry, but I don't know all of their first names. Some I like, some I don't. I like Spector. I like Kennedy, I campaigned for him in college. I like McCain, but not as much as I used to. Saxby Chambliss is my very own Senator, but as near as I can tell he's just an old school draft dodging chicken hawk. The rumor around here is that he is a real jerk to be around. Our other Senator is Johnny Isakson, who even the Democrats seem to like, but he's not in this senatorial secret squirrel club.
Sorry - tangent. Back to the Mexicans, I mean immigration. This whole deal smells fishy to me. Very, very fishy. And I'll tell you why.
First, apparently the full text of the bill was not even available to be read until yesterday (Sunday, according to the Washington Times), and they want to start debating it today. I downloaded it to Adobe, and it came in at a cool 433 pages. Holy cow that's a lot of reading for one Sunday night. Those Senators must be wicked good readers. They want to allot one week for our 100 Senators to debate this 433 page bill. They don't work on Fridays you know. I guess our politicians have learned to keep their comments brief. Another surprise.
Beware. This is a classic con man's gambit. Don't give the victim time to think. You must decide now!!! Either vote yes or alienate all of your Hispanic voters as well as your corporate sponsors who employ them. So what's it going to be Saxby? A yes vote or early retirement? Do you want to be responsible for all of the Georgia chicken plants closing down?
The next thing I don't like is the shell game this bill's sponsors are playing with the amnesty issue. We are assured that this bill contains no "amnesty." Why shouldn't it? Well, amnesty basically rewards people for breaking the law, by letting them retain the fruits of their crime. Even the folks who want to let all of the illegal aliens stay know this. They don't even try to argue that we should just pardon all of them. Instead they try to fool us into thinking we are not, when we are.
By the way, amnesty is the exact same as a pardon, only for a large group of people. It is generally used when a government decides that enforcing a law against a large group would be more trouble than it is worth. Amnesty and amnesia come from the same root. So basically it means "let's just forget the whole thing."
I hate to join the "is not," "is too" debate on amnesty, but here I go anyway - IT IS AMNESTY. In fact, it is TRIPLE AMNESTY.
How do I pardon thee? Let me count the ways.
1. No trial or jail time for breaking the law by breaching the border. Deportation is not punishment. It is just putting the criminal back to square one. Punishment would be 90 days in the clink, followed by deportation.
2. No deportation. This allows the criminal to keep the fruits of his crime.
3. Class Z visa. This grants the criminal an additional reward for his crime. He or she now has been granted legal status in the US. They have a legal right to be here.
Diane Feinstein was spouting some baloney about the bill not granting amnesty because the criminal aliens would have to earn their citizenship. Who's talking about citizenship? She is playing bait and switch here, which is illegal in the private sector by the way. 12 million illegal (criminal) aliens are about to be pardoned for their crimes, allowed to keep the fruits of their crimes, and then also given a reward of a Class Z visa. That's not just amnesty, that is triple amnesty. But these Senators are trying to fool us by talking about citizenship instead.
Why would they do that? Why are W and Ted Kennedy suddenly buddying up on this? Were they sitting at the Queen's reception, exchanging old college "man, one time I was so wasted . . . " stories, and discovered that they both loved Tex-Mex? Did W turn and say, "Hey Teddy, heh heh, you know what would be a real hoot?" No, it's something much more sinister.
Ted, who loves all food and is used to strange bedfellows, sees this as a chance to enlarge the Democratic voting base, Mexicans generally being working class and Catholic. W wants to live up to the Bush family legacy of pandering to big business, by securing the continued import of cheap labor. (See Wal-Mart, US Chamber of Commerce, National Restaurant Association, etc.) Hidden in all the hoopla is the little nugget that employers of illegal aliens will also get amnesty. Win - win! Republicans please their donors and Democrats get more voters.
Well, I still don't like it. For one thing, I don't like things crammed down my throat. I never read new laws unless they directly affect my business. But I'm going to read this one out of spite.
For another, I don't like the amnesty thing. It's not fair. The argument that we can't afford to deport 12 million illegals is nonsense. Did you know that we arrest about 750,000 people a year for marijuana possession? I bet that costs a bundle. How about we just ticket them $500 apiece? Then we save a bunch on jail and court costs and make $350 million to boot. I'd rather pardon the pot smokers. What's the worst they do? Eat all of your cookies?
Here's a plan: If we fined the companies that employ illegal aliens $10,000 per head day one, and then billed them $100 a day until their particular alien was deported, we could make the whole program self-funding. That statement is at least as true as any budget proposal W sends us about the Iraq War. So why not just believe it and proceed?
I don't really know the answer to how to deal with illegal aliens, but this ain't it.