Meet the New Amnesty, Same as the Old Amnesty

A bipartisan group of senators has released an outline for an immigration bill they plan on introducing, in anticipation of an immigration speech by the president tomorrow in Las Vegas. It’s the same package as Bush, Kennedy, and McCain tried and failed to pass five years ago — immediate amnesty for the illegals plus effectively unlimited future immigration in exchange for promises of enforcement.

Whatever you think of amnesty, it’s the enforcement promises that are almost absurd. A key part is the development of an entry-exit system for foreign visitors, since about 40% of illegal aliens entered legally but never left. But Congress mandated the development of such a system 17 years ago, and has reiterated that demand five more times since. Why on earth would the completion of such a system be offered in exchange for amnesty? The government needs to honor its old promises before making new ones.

And that gets to the heart of the problem with the “comprehensive immigration reform” approach. Amnesty for knowing lawbreakers, distasteful as it is, has never been immigration hawks’ chief fear; rather, it’s the certainty that current crop of 11 million illegals will just be replaced by another 11 million a few years down the road — at which point the same people will be telling us that we just have to legalized them, too.

Instead, we need smaller, targeted measures, say mandatory E-Verify (the online screening system to check the identities of new hires) in exchange for amnesty for illegals who came here before, say, age 7. Then, if that works, we can discuss what the next step should be. But an all-or-nothing attempt to pass a 900-page law that no congressman will have read before voting on it is guaranteed to end badly.

  1. KayBee
    Mark Krikorian: But an all-or-nothing attempt to pass a 900-page law that no congressman will have read before voting on it is guaranteed to end badly. · · 1 hour ago

    Exactly what I said to my husband this morning: They’ll have to pass this bill to find out what’s in it.

    A real problem is the disconnect between the Democrats’ goal of bringing in new voters and what should be our aim of bringing in new citizens–a crucial and fundamental distinction, to my mind.

  2. Mark Krikorian
    C
    Pilli: The linked article states there are 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans that will bring this forward.

    Who are the 4 Republicans?  Why do they think their constituents will support this? · 1 hour ago

    McCain, Graham, Rubio, and Flake. As to what they’re thinking, your guess is as good as mine. McCain actually said we need to pass the amnesty bill as a tribute to Ted Kennedy, so he obviously has no idea what Republicans, anyway, want.

  3. Not JMR

    There are PLENTY of Republicans who would like to see the restrictions on immigration greatly relaxed. The cultural concerns are overstated, and the economic arguments against more open borders could be debunked by a first semester Econ student.I get it, though. Republicans are afraid that Hispanics are mostly liberals, or at least mostly vulnerable to liberal promises of free stuff, and so will vote for Dems at every opportunity. Here’s a compromise that might work: illegal immigrants would be granted permanent residency; they could (must) work and pay taxes, but would never be eligible for citizenship until they leave the country and re-enter legally.

  4. Barbara Duran

    Mark, is there a transcript (or audio or video) available for your debate with Hugh Hewitt?  I would so much like to hear your counterarguments to his rationale for continuing to change our country in this drastic and can’t-be-undone fashion.

    I used to be an avid listener to Hewitt’s radio program, but had to stop tuning in regularly because his views on amnesty and immigration were not good for my blood pressure.  Interesting guy, smart guy, but utterly blind to the effect his proposals will have on America’s future.

  5. Klaatu

    One of my biggest pet peeves with the left is the misuse of the language for political benefit; government spending becomes an investment, taxes become contributions, illegal aliens become undocumented workers, …

    It bothers me more when those on the right do it.  This is not an amnesty bill.  Amnesty means, “the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals” and pardon means “the excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty”

    This proposal, like the previous one requires that the illegal pay a fine in order to change their legal status.  A fine is a penalty for the crime.  That means it is not an amnesty.

  6. Patrick in Albuquerque

    I can find “mandatory verification” in the article you link to. Why can’t you?

  7. Mark Krikorian
    C
    Barbara Duran: Mark, is there a transcript (or audio or video) available for your debate with Hugh Hewitt?  I would so much like to hear your counterarguments to his rationale for continuing to change our country in this drastic and can’t-be-undone fashion.

    I used to be an avid listener to Hewitt’s radio program, but had to stop tuning in regularly because his views on amnesty and immigration were not good for my blood pressure.  Interesting guy, smart guy, but utterly blind to the effect his proposals will have on America’s future. · 1 hour ago

    National Review Institute (the magazine’s non-profit arm, though the whole thing is non-profit in a business sense!) was definitely taping it, but I asked an underling about where and how it would appear and they said they hadn’t decided yet whether they’d post it online or sell DVDs or what. I suggest contacting National Review Institute directly and asking that it be posted online: http://nrinstitute.org/contact.php

  8. Franco

    They keep proving that they want to solve problems when they can’t handle their current assignments. We are rapidly becoming a country where laws are selectively enforced against the middle class and the unconected wealthy.

    This is a recipe for turning the USA into a third world country. 

    Here is one reason why I am beginning to turn against the Republican Party.  It has been gradual for me. From solid supporter and defender to reluctant supporter ,to working to transform the party and now to complete contempt and being close to unwilling to support any of them.

    The argument,  ”Well you are just empowering Democrats because third parties can’t win.” Is no longer applicable because the Republicans will lose this one – in the short run AND most assuredly in the long run. I’m not going to stick with a suicidal party. 

    The GOP is so bad I’m willing to take that chance. Slow painful death of the USA is where the GOP is taking us. 

  9. Nick Stuart

    No matter what kind of strictures or requirements are stipulated in the bill, the effect will be free stuff for illegals, Dems get lots of new voters, and anybody who plays by the rules is a CHUMP.

    Stipulating that Rubio and Flake actually believe what they’re saying and promising, giving them the benefit of the doubt. They must be terribly naive.

    I believe it is safe to say, to the point of absolute metaphysical certainty, that enforcement will never, never, never, ever happen while Obama is president, nor any successor who is a Democrat. If the successor is a Republican, expect nothing more than lip service.

  10. Nick Stuart

    BTW Hewitt on his radio show just said he “crushed it” in his debate with you over the weekend.

    He has the glittering idea of giving children of illegals vouchers to attend whatever school they want. Meanwhile the children of citizens have to go to whatever government school they’re assigned.

    Play by the rules, and you are a CHUMP.

  11. Barkha Herman

    Mark, back in the late 80s when the Reagan Amnesty was still in effect, I knew many Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who ran a business of granting false papers for anyone who could find them.  They had farmers on their payroll  who could produce all the documentation needed to validate the requirements for the amnesty.

    The amnesty is inevitable.  Some deserving people will benefit.  Many others will take advantage.  Many legal immigrants who are doing the right think will pay a price.

    10 years from now, most won’t remember the role of Republicans in it.  

    And so it goes.

  12. Mark Krikorian
    C
    Nick Stuart: BTW Hewitt on his radio show just said he “crushed it” in his debate with you over the weekend.

    He has the glittering idea of giving children of illegals vouchers to attend whatever school they want. Meanwhile the children of citizens have to go to whatever government school they’re assigned.

    Play by the rules, and you are a CHUMP.· 2 hours ago

    I’m not one to judge whether he “crushed” me or the reverse, during our debate at the National Review Institute event this weekend, though gonzo journalist Stacy McCain suggested I “mopped the floor” with Hewitt: https://twitter.com/rsmccain/status/295312304281645056

  13. Simon Templar

    My wife is una Latina, and she thinks that Republicans have no cojones.  She also thinks that gringos are un poco loco to think that an Argentine (for example) who came here  legally, is working, paying taxes, and trying to raise a family is whole-hog in favor of open borders for all comers from Mexico (por ejemplo).  She and I both think that we should close the border, and end the family unification insanity.  Anecdotal evidence indicates that Hispanics who are here legally and hope to improve their lives, would prefer a pro-America immigration policy such as Australia’s.  Why would any one think that hard working Latinos who have come here legally looking for opportunities to escape the poverty of their birth countries would support others coming here illegally just to slowly turn our country back into the one they left?  Had a Peruvian Marine Colonel tell me how happy he was for his Dad who retired in Peru, moved to Miami, and without ever paying one dime in taxes here, immediately went on the dole.  This is unsustainable.  Also the anchor baby policy is a misreading of the Constitution and must end.  Forward!

  14. Simon Templar

    Continued from #12:

    The question is do we want the vote of Hispanics who are here to assimilate or those that are here to suck as long and hard on the American taxpayers teat as possible?  This can be a winning argument for the Republicans, but not by trying to out Democrat the Democrats. 

    Just saw McCain and Schumer discussing this on Fox News.  Our ruling class are either completely out of touch or undermining national sovereignty on purpose.  How many “average” Spanish speaking Latinos does McCain drink beer with?  I’m just saying that they don’t know what they’re talking about because they don’t rub elbows with the country class.  Think I’m going to be sick.  Gracias por leer mi nota y Forward!

  15. Mark Krikorian
    C
    Barkha Herman: Mark, back in the late 80s when the Reagan Amnesty was still in effect, I knew many Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who ran a business of granting false papers for anyone who could find them.  They had farmers on their payroll  who could produce all the documentation needed to validate the requirements for the amnesty.

    The amnesty is inevitable.  Some deserving people will benefit.  Many others will take advantage.  Many legal immigrants who are doing the right think will pay a price.

    10 years from now, most won’t remember the role of Republicans in it.  

    And so it goes. · 4 hours ago

    Barkha: Some amnesty is inevitable, eventually, but not now. Fraud is a real problem, but a bigger one is that with our enforcement infrastructure in such an incomplete state that we’d just end up with another 11 million illegals in a few years.

  16. Barkha Herman

    @Mark -

    I just heard Marco Rubio speaking to Rush on the radio (only for a few minutes).

    The trouble is that every one who lives in South Florida knows that Cubans have won America’s lottery.  All they have to do is show up here, and they are granted citizenship.  Much like the immigrants on Ellis island.

    So, for much of the Hispanic immigrant population who are not from Cuba, Rubio is pretty much rubbing salt on their wounds.  He didn’t have to work illegally for years.  He is not a kid that got brought over here, lived here all his life etc.

    While I have no answers to the amnesty / immigration issue, it is important to understand why just putting any old brown face with a Hispanic last name is not honestly addressing the issue either.

  17. Pilli

    The linked article states there are 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans that will bring this forward.

    Who are the 4 Republicans?  Why do they think their constituents will support this?