The reason conservatives are losing the amnesty debate is that the issue has been successfully framed by the open-borders lobby as a matter of “fairness.” In reality, the question that will be decided by the enactment of one more amnesty is quite different.
What is at stake in the current amnesty debate is nothing less than our nation’s sovereignty. This is demonstrably and undeniably true. Democratic sponsors of amnesty understand this and think it is fine and dandy. Republicans continue to whistle past the graveyard.
What would stop the amnesty parade in its tracks would be for someone in the House Republican leadership to stand up and say that no amnesty bill will come to a vote in the House if it does not provide for verifiable and meaningful border security as a prior condition for the planned amnesty. No one in House Republican leadership is doing that.
In 2006 and 2007, the U.S. Senate debated “comprehensive immigration reform” as a disagreement over types of guest worker visas, the numbers of Border Patrol agents needed, what kind of documents might be required to show residency before a given date, criminal background checks, the size of fines to be paid along with back taxes, and so forth. Now, in 2013, the quest for policy coherence, safeguards and “triggers” has vanished. All we have left is a crass and misleading political calculation about “winning the Latino vote.”
How do we know that another amnesty inevitably leads to a loss of national sovereignty? It’s really simple. If our politicians do not care about border security before an amnesty, why does anyone think they will care about it after the amnesty? It’s now obvious that the border will never be secured, and once the world’s population of 7 billion people realize that, the game is over.
How many Americans today are deluding themselves by thinking that “borders are no longer needed to protect our sovereignty” and that we can maintain our national security and our constitutional liberties in a borderless world? How many people of a nominally libertarian worldview believe that the “free flow of labor across borders” has nothing to do with citizenship and the culture of individual freedom? Well, those dreams may be lovely, and they make entertaining bumper stickers, but when used as guides for political life and civic culture, they are fatal delusions.
There are two incontrovertible truths about border security and amnesty. Sen. Rubio appeared to understand these two truths in 2012, but he has now abandoned them.
First, if Congress legislates another general amnesty without first demonstrating border security, we will NEVER have border security. Second, if we have no border security and yet offer amnesty to all who succeed in violating those borders, it is tantamount to opening the gates to another 10 million unlawful entries tomorrow. We might as well stop debating the terms for amnesty legislation: it is simpler to hand our green cards to all applicants at the 200 or so foreign consulates scattered around the nation.
Does anyone seriously doubt that enacting a new amnesty without border security is a proclamation that our borders do not matter? Why would any rational Venezuelan, Pakistani or Russian citizen wait in line to apply for a visa at our embassy and then wait eight or 10 years for permission to emigrate? They will simply get a tourist visa or student visa, fly into DFW, LAX or DIA, and never go home. They know they will not be deported and will eventually be granted legal status and a path to citizenship in what was once the greatest nation on earth.
Every indication along the southwest border is that the number of border crossings has begun to increase after five years of decline. The main reason for the decline was our poor economy, not the small improvements in technology, fencing and Border Patrol manpower. Yet, even with our poor economy, we had over 300,000 illegal border crossings last year by official count.
A recent GAO report says that the Border Patrol only catches 60 percent of persons attempting to cross the border illegally, so at least 200,000 entered our country illegally in 2012. The association of retired Border Patrol agents believes the “gotaway ratio” is more like three to one, which would place that number at 900,000 successful border crossings. Janet Napolitano – and evidently Marco Rubio and Charles Krauthammer– think this is an acceptable level of border security.
Why should any Border Patrol agent risk his life to protect the border when Marco Rubio will not risk losing an election to do so? It is insulting enough that this new amnesty is being sold to the Republican Party as a necessary concession to identity politics. That totally mistaken electoral calculation will be judged by historians as the last gasp of a political party lost in the desert of abandoned principles.
Once surrendered in such a cowardly way, sovereignty will never be regained. The blood of 10 generations of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen will have been shed in vain. What was won at Yorktown, Gettysburg and Normandy will have been given away for a colorful but empty piñata.