To measure what exactly the Senate is doing in putting together a “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” bill, we have to ask what is going to change after the bill is passed:
- No illegal immigrant currently in the United States will feel any increased pressure to leave.
- We will provide a way to grandfather residence legitimacy to some 80 to 90 percent of all illegal aliens who are already here, either through a “guest-worker” pass or a “pathway to citizenship” determination that awards LPR (Legal Permanent Residence) status to stay put.
- We will dramatically increase the number of people now classified as “illegal immigrants” who will be reclassified to be eligible for government-funded social services, including welfare, food stamps, Medicare and Social Security, to mention just a few.
- We are only putting National Guard on the border temporarily and there is no timetable or funding to build the 370-mile fence. Millions more illegal immigrants are certain to come across the border, eager to buy the documents on the black market that they need to prove they have been here five years or longer.
The bill has no penalties if the U.S. Internal Revenue Service does not prosecute employers who commit payroll fraud by hiring “illegal alien guest workers” off the books. So, we should expect current immigration laws will go un-enforced as well. If we are not willing to enforce current immigration laws, why will we enforce this one after it is passed? What happens if an illegal alien who is reclassified as LPR does not pay the $2,000 fine or learn English? Does anyone seriously think the person will not get citizenship?
The Congressional Budget Office prepared a cost assessment for S. 2611, the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act” or “CIRA.” Paragraph after paragraph spells out the increased costs we are placing on the federal budget by granting what amounts to a “procedural amnesty” to any illegal immigrant smart enough to follow the rules and get a “guest-worker” pass or an LPR status determination. Consider this CBO assessment:
CBO anticipates that changes in the number and status of immigrants resulting from S. 2611 would ultimately increase mandatory spending in a variety of federal benefit programs. Over the next 10 years, the additional spending would be primarily for refundable tax credits and programs such as Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare, and Food Stamps. Several other federal programs, such as Supplementary Security Income (SSI), unemployment insurance, and student loans, would experience spending increases of lesser magnitude.
The CBO report listed four ways Food Stamp spending would increase:
- Higher immigration limits. The additional immigrants who would enter the United States as family- or employment-based LPRs would become eligible for benefits after five years.
- LPRs under age 18. Additional immigrant children under 18 who become LPRs would be eligible without any waiting program.
- Children born as citizens. Children born in the United States to the new immigrants would be eligible just as other citizen-children are.
- Other adults. The current undocumented and other new immigrants eventually could become eligible for benefits, but they would experience a much longer period of ineligibility than the LPRs admitted through the higher family-sponsored and employment-based visa limits.
Immigration legislation in 1986 ended up giving amnesty citizenship to 3 million illegal aliens. S. 2611 is going to end up giving process amnesty citizenship to 10 to 12 million illegal aliens, on the low estimate. Ten years from now, or less, we will have 50 million or more illegal immigrants to worry about, whether we grandfather them into citizenship through these S. 2611 provisions, or if we just pass another piece of meaningless immigration legislation which justifies not caring what foreign national comes here, or why.
Who is going to pay the social benefits required when what we are importing from Mexico is an impoverished underclass that will never pay as much in taxes as they demand in social benefits?
No amendment Ted Kennedy finds offensive gets passed. If President Bush had campaigned in 2004 on open borders or “comprehensive immigration reform,” which amounts to open borders plus a process amnesty, we seriously doubt he would have carried Ohio, let alone half the Red States he needed for victory.
Passing S. 2611 is political suicide for the Republican Party, especially for the bill’s five Republican sponsors, including Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Sam Brownback, R-Kan., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and John McCain, R-Ariz.
If President Bush keeps up his charade at the border, posing for photo opportunities and media sound-bites with radio and television, he is just going to stimulate the move toward the first viable third party since Ross Perot contributed to the demise of Bush Sr.’s re-election bid. RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) like the bill’s sponsors had better forget about running for president in 2008.
Conservatives have already begun discussing making closing the border the election issue both in the midterm election of 2006 and in 2008, when possibly we might elect a truly conservative chief executive. Should S. 2611 ever get signed into law, “Throw the incumbents out!” could well become the battle cry throughout Middle America.