The immigration debate: The good, the bad, and the ugly – and suggestions

Posted by: ST on June 8, 2007 at 11:08 pm

This post is an extension of the thoughts I expressed in this one, which I wrote a few days ago.

I think the Republican party has lost its collective mind. I don’t think I’ve ever been more ashamed to be a Republican than I have been after these last few weeks. Why? I’m appalled at some of the rhetoric, tactics, blatant hypocrisy, and pot-calling-the-kettle-black that has been on display on both sides of the conservative aisle on the immigration issue, and I say this as someone who isn’t in any side’s “camp” but is just frustrated on the whole with how the debate was conducted. And before I really get going on this, let me just say that I know that not everyone who argued for or against this bill is guilty of what I’m about to discuss, but it was far more than just the ‘fringe’ in the Republican party who made the Nutroots look like bastions of civility and maturity by comparison. Also, I will be using the terms “we” “us” “let’s” “our” quite a bit in general, and should not be construed into meaning “all.” I’m well aware there are exceptions to the rule.

The issue of illegal immigration, as we all know by now, is one of the most – if not the most – hotly debated issues in the country and has been even since before the President was elected back in 2000. Understandably emotions run high no matter who’s talking about it, because not only is it considered a cultural issue, but a national security issue, too. The debates primarily consist of but are not limited to what to do with the estimated 12 million illegals we already have here (deport ‘em all? Jail ‘em?), what to do about the ones pouring over our borders and draining our resources and, as some say, steal our jobs, how to more effectively secure our borders in order to keep potential terrorists out of our country, and how to strengthen our existing laws against illegals who will come here.

I don’t question the good intentions the conservatives who opposed this bill had/have, nor did I oppose the calls to contact and put pressure on Congressional representatives from both the House and Senate to oppose this bill. As citizens of this great country, it is our right and duty to get involved in the democratic process and that includes writing and calling our Congressional reps when we’re in favor of something, as well as letting them know when we oppose something. As our representatives, they have an idea of how we feel on the issues in general, but if we don’t let them know how we feel on certain key controversial issues, they’re going to cast their votes without that knowledge in mind. It is fascinating to see how this country’s government works when the citizens of it actually take an active role in trying to inject change on issues that are important to them. Generations ago, men died for our right to play active, not passive, roles in our government, so it is vital for the survival of our nation that we not take that right for granted.

By the same token, I don’t question the president’s good intentions on wanting to pass ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’ He came into the WH after being a two-term governor of the border state of Texas, and it wasn’t exactly a secret that he was in favor of naturalization then, so the positions he’s taken on the issue of illegal immigration have not been a shock to me, nor should they have been to anyone else. To accuse the President of ‘betrayal’ on this issue when his position should have been well-known from the getgo is baffling to me.

What I despised, deplored, and was disgusted by throughout all this was the way conservatives treated each other as it related to disagreements over this issue. There were strong arguments for and against this bill, but lost in all that was the need to “one up” the opposition, whether it was Senator Graham foolishly accusing the bill’s opponents of being “bigots”, the President wrongly questioning the patriotism of conservative critics or people like Tom Tancredo and others like him claiming that anyone who didn’t oppose every aspect of this bill “had to be” a proponent of “open borders” and “shamnesty” and were, essentially, “traitors” to their country for “not wanting to secure its borders.” Incidentally, Tom Tancredo is a guy I do not respect, considering he’s not just against illegal immigration, but he’s against legal immigration as well.1 Tancredo is popular with many on the anti-immigration bill side, and I hope to see more denounciations of his suggestion in the immediate future. Of course, I have to wonder how many Tancredo supporters agree with that sentiment, especially since he’s been expressing it for a few years now and has maintained his popularity amongst staunch immigration bill opponents. Oh, and let’s not forget the calls for impeachment from Michael Savage and Pat Buchanan, either. Along with that, there’s at least one full thread devoted to Bush’s impeachment not at the Daily Kos or the usual Nutroot hangouts … but the Free Republic. This is insanity.

Conservatives talk all the time about how liberals shouldn’t whine about “hurt feelings” and tell them they need to “suck it up” but deep down, conservatives, too, are very passionate about what they believe in and they get hurt and angry when members of their own party start insulting them over policy disagreements. It’s not wimpy to be honest by admitting that. And let’s not pretend that the insulting only started once President and key members of the administration started badmouthing opponents of this bill. It’s been going on for a while now, because the immigration issue can’t seem to get resolved in Congress no matter how often its brought up, because it’s so contentious and the warring factions can’t come to an agreement as to what the final bill should look like because so many people involved in the debate are “all or nothing” types. I can’t count the number of times over the years I’ve seen accusations towards the President of of “being in bed with the Mexican president” by other conservatives, calling the president “Jorge,” putting his face on the Mexican peso, assertions that the president is a ‘sell-out’ and ‘apparently doesn’t care about national security’ which is total BS, because he’s taken a lot of crap from the usual suspects on the left about the Patriot Act, Gitmo, warrantless wiretapping – you name it. Just about every measure the President has taken in order to reduce the chances of another attack on our soil has been vilified by the left. He’s been accused of going ‘too far’ so let’s not kid ourselves by thinking that because he doesn’t take the typical conservative view on illegal immigration, that he’s not concerned about our national security.

Our best chance to get a remotely meaningful immigration bill has passed because we no longer have control of Congress and likely won’t for years to come. Sure, under the Republican Congress the issue didn’t get resolved the last time it came up but we still would have stood a better shot at getting even a halfway decent bill had Republicans maintained control of Congress. As it stands, they didn’t, so we’re stuck with what we have now: A Democratic House we have little to no control over, and a Democratic Senate that has more often than not been gridlocked, thanks in large part to the leadership of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who, in spite of his woefully ignorant comment about “I don’t think there’s a single member of either party next year who is going to fail to be re-elected over this [immigration] issue,” has been a solid rock in the Senate by playing Senate Majority Harry Reid like a fiddle. I disagree with anyone, including my friend John Hawkins, who believes that because of one ignorant comment by McConnell, that he’s “mediocre” and “out of touch” and shouldn’t be reelected next year and should be replaced by a candidate nobody knows. McConnell’s strengths far outweigh his weaknesses and if I were a constituent in Kentucky, I would personally campaign on behalf of the Senator for his reelection, the same as I would Senator Jon Kyl, who was considered a rock-ribbed conservative until he decided to join the compromise for a meaningful immigration bill both sides could (hopefully) come together on and from there on was, like any other Republican who shared similar viewpoints to his, villified as a sell out and traitor to his country.

I frequently read arguments from some of the people who opposed this bill who say, “better no bill than this one.” While I understand the sentiment behind it, I don’t agree with it in this case, because if we don’t do something about this issue now (and by “now” I mean before this Congressional term is over), the immigration bill under a Democratic administration (which I think we’ll have) is going to make Bush’s “shamnesty” bill look like the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel. I’m ok with the bill being ‘tabled’ for now, but I want it resolved before the election year campaigning starts going full force next year, because if this thing keeps getting shoved to the back burner, we can look forward to one of the worst illegal immigration ‘solutions’ this country has ever seen and it could very well happen under a Democrat president’s ‘leadership’ and if Democrats get more seats in the Senate, we will be powerless to stop a real “shamnesty” plan, because do you think they’re going to give a damn what Republicans have to say about it?

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years about the issues that are the most important to me, it’s to learn to be happy with the little victories because the big victories are hard to come by. Take, for example, abortion. It’s no secret that I oppose abortion, but I’m also a realist and realize that abortion can’t be outlawed tomorrow. It’s just not going to happen. So I take comfort in the little victories – like the ban on PBA, and the restrictions on funding for embryonic stem cell research and US funding for international abortions (both advocated by this President, BTW). Those are baby steps (no pun intended) towards a – hopefully – change in attitude on right to life issues. I believe that step by step with each small victory, one day, we just may get to a point in this country where babies aren’t looked at as a “choice” but instead a “child” by an overwhelming majority of the American people. That will be the “big victory” for me. Abortion, as I’ve said before, is my “no compromise” issue, so if the party ever did turn it’s back on its pro-life platform, I’d be saying goodbye.

I think conservatives need to take the same approach with respect to the immigration issue. We simply aren’t going to get everything we want in an immigration bill. We’re going to have to take a little bad with the good. And as I noted earlier, if we don’t get this issue resolved soon, it may very well be in the hands of a Democrat administration to deal with. Which would you rather see? Have it resolved this year? Or under a Hillary or Obama adminstration? I shudder at the thought of any of the Dem nominees in charge of securing our borders and tackling the illegal immigration issue.

Was this bill “amnesty”? No, it wasn’t, as the USAToday explains today in an editorial I agree with much of:

Over time, illegal immigrants would have to pay fines and fees of more than $9,000 (plus thousands more for each family member). They’d have to prove they’re working and have no significant criminal record. They’d have to learn English and American civics. And, if they want legal permanent residence, they’d have to return to their home country to apply for it there. Getting a green card would take at least eight years, citizenship at least 13.

I don’t really consider that “amnesty” nor “fast-tracking” and I’m not sure how anyone else could, either. What am I missing?

The 1986 immigration bill Reagan signed into law (gosh, I guess he too was a ‘sell-out’ and traitor to his country?) paved the way for the problems we see now, problems that Bush inherited when he was elected president. The president has essentially said when he talks about illegal immigration (and I agree with him) that it is not practical nor economical to arrest and deport the millions of illegals we have here. The cost to beef up law enforcement and build more jails to hunt for, arrest, and deport illegals would be astronomical and likely much higher than the cost it would be to keep them working here. Why not have them pay the fine and take the other steps necessary to become legal? Yes, I know that the fine would probably keep a lot of them from stepping up to the plate, but it’ll be a hell of a lot easier to have the ones who do want to step up to the plate, rather than go on an illegal immigrant round up that won’t yield the results we’d be hoping it would (as we’ve seen all too often over the last few years). Not only that, but then they’d become actual citizens of this country and they’d be paying their taxes and contributing to society just like everybody else instead of mooching off of it. That way, our law enforcement could primarily focus on more serious crimes rather than wasting their time in fruitless roundups.

What’s that? Some of the illegals commit crimes? Oh yes, believe me I know. There is not a month that goes by where I don’t hear of a car accident that was caused by an illegal immigrant caught driving drunk going the wrong way. It’s enraging. If illegals became legal, when stuff like that happens, they’d face a much stronger sentence than just ‘deportation’ because we all know that when they’re deported, the ones who do commit these crimes are just going to keep coming back and getting away with more crimes, no matter how solid our border are/will be. This problem deserves realism, not idealism.

As to the question of “why have laws penalizing people for being here illegally when you’re not going to enforce them?” It’s a good question, but one that again has to be looked at from a realistic standpoint, considering what has transpired since the 1986 immigration law was signed. The government has already screwed up by not enforcing existing immigration laws to the point that illegals have flooded our borders by the millions making deportation an unrealistic answer just due to the sheer numbers. Telling these people that they are going to be arrested and deported isn’t going to bring them out of the shadows. If anything, it’s going to push them even further back. Encourage them to come out of the shadows and become legal members of society, while at the same time strengthening ALL of our borders so the same problem doesn’t keep happening. And while we’re at it, don’t make things so bleeping hard for people who HAVE obeyed the laws when applying for citizenship in this country.

And like it or not, these illegals are contributing to our economy in positive ways (scroll), but obviously they would more if they were legal. Do I detest the way they’re draining our public resources (like in the California healthcare system, for example)? Yep. That’s why I don’t want to make it harder for them to become legal. If these people become legal, there would be less of a burden for states like California to fund healthcare (for example) because they’d be getting more tax money from more legal workers coming in to help manage the burden of keeping public services in place for those who need them. Making them legal would also force them into real job competition, with the advantage being that not only would legal American workers who’ve been here all their lives stop getting the short end of the stick, but the newly legalized American worker could actually be getting paid more over the table than under it.

Now, on to the hypocrisy factor and other misc thoughts:

1) We Republicans joke all the time about Democrats and their party purity as it relates to any number of issues and how party purity and ‘one issue’ voters are bad for the party, but on the issue of immigration, we don’t mind being purists ourselves, do we? There’s no middle room, no wiggle room. It’s just “them versus us” with both sides throwing out nasty accusations about the other. Republicans cannot complain about Democratic party purity with the same face anymore, not after this.

2) I remember reading this week a Washington Times article about how “big business” was lobbying heavily in favor of this bill, presumably because without the cheap labor, their companies would have a hard time making it. As a result of that article, there was quite a bit of snark in the conservosphere about how evil big business was, which I found a bit curious, considering that we normally don’t frown when big business directly or indirectly influences certain federal policies on taxes, among other things. The complaints I heard about that sounded suspiciously like the left’s round-the-clock non-stop complaints about evil big businesses and how they were so evil for actually wanting to make a profit. Big businesses want cheap labor? I’m truly shocked. Not.

3) The complaint about the attempt at shoving this bill through without much debate: Yeah, I totally agree, but I also remember how House Majority Leader Tom DeLay used to shove stuff through the House and make an end run around the normal legislative process to keep the opposition’s opposition to a minimum. He was applauded and admired for that, but this time around it’s not right? It’s not right – period – so a little more consistency on that argument is in order, I think.

4) One of the most outrageously hypocritical and bizarre things to come out of this drama was the sudden rampant fawning over Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND). This is a guy who had a piece published this week in National Review railing against the current immigration bill, a piece that was referenced aplenty by conservatives, some of who apparently were either duped, too ignorant to do a little background check on their new found go-to Democrat, or didn’t care because he happened to be voting alongside immigration bill opponents. Who is this man? Senator Dorgan is a solid liberal with a lifetime 85% rating from the ADA and he did not oppose the “shamnesty” bill on principle – he opposed it because he’s a slave to labor unions (in 2003, he had a 92% rating with the AFL-CIO). So, no, he wasn’t interested in protecting the American worker per se, he was interested in protecting the American unions, which, of course, translates into votes for him. In other words, like a typical liberal, he tried to make it look like he was ‘looking out for the people’ but in reality was only looking out for himself, which is, incidentally, what some of the opponents of the bill were accusing the proponents of doing! Yet somehow, I’m supposed to get whipped up into a patriotic frenzy because this solidly-liberal union guy happened to be a Democrat on the ‘anti-illegal immigration’ side? Spare me. And while the strange Dorgan-”kill bill” alliance was being forged, some of the same people calling me and others ‘open borders traitors and sell outs’ were having a grand old time chuckling about weird and ‘traitorous’ alliances between a solid conservative like Jon Kyl and a solid liberal like Ted Kennedy. Talk about chutzpah!

5) Senator Reid’s claim that the Senate was taking “too long” to vote on this bill. Um, get a clue, clueless. Exactly how many months did it take for the House and Senate to settle on a war supp they were confident they could get the President to sign? If anything, the opposite should have happened here where the war supp was passed and signed in short order and the immigration bill taken several months to hash out. It doesn’t take months of debate to figure out that our troops in harms way need to be funded and quickly, but it does take months to debate an immigration bill reasonable people can get behind. Duh.

6) The administration’s attitude towards criticism of the bill was just weird. I mean, how many times in the past on any number of issues have we heard the President say in one form or another that “reasonable people can disagree”? Yet over this, apparently any disagreement was unreasonable? Please. Now, I can understand if he logged online and saw all the comments from the likes of the people calling him “Jorge” and accusing him of a derelection of duty on the issue of immigration because he supposedly wanted to ‘sell out to Mexico and big business’ but surely he had to have seen the other more rational criticisms coming from the likes of National Review? If he didn’t, there really must be some truth to the accusation thrown around by the left that the President is a little too insulated for his own good.

7) On the other hand, even though I have been disappointed in how the administration responded to the criticisms levelled at them over this bill, I was a little surprised to see the reactions to the criticism from some of those opposed to the bill. The level of vitriol that has been thrown at the President over this issue for years has been voluminous, so at some point he and others in the admin were bound to respond back in kind. That’s not an excuse, BTW, just a speculation at an explanation. The President is supposed to be above the fray and not engage in some of the same arguments used against him, all the same, people shouldn’t be shocked when it happens. Yes, a lot of the people who felt personally attacked by the President and the admin were upset because they’ve been loyal to him through thick and thin yet some of those same people were the very ones engaged in the “Jorge” “sell out” “impeachment” arguments. When some people on the right start making attacks on the President that resemble something the Nutroots left would say, in all likelihood someone in the admin – sometimes even the President himself – is going to bite back. Think Joe Scarborough. We have always loved it when the President has fought back against some of the more outrageous criticism from the left over the policies he advocates, yet don’t like it so much when he uses some of that same bite against certain critics who don’t sound any different than those on the left.

Have you been discouraged over the President’s stance on the issue to the point you’re asking yourself “I’ve been loyal to the bone to this President, and this is the thanks I get?” Well, the Anchoress provided a reminder this week of just how much the President has done for us and if you click on this post and scroll about midway down, you’ll see. Has he been perfect? No. In fact, there are times when the President has driven us absolutely nuts (like the admin’s tepid and defensive response to the fired attorneys non-scandal, for starters). But in the heat of the moment and with all the back and forth about this issue, we have forgetten about all the other stances he’s taken that we’ve agreed with and cheered him over. Now more than ever is a good time for a reminder of that.

It’s going to take me a while to get over how this debate was waged by both sides. To say I’m disillusioned would be an understatement. I’m starting to see calls for ‘healing’ in the conservosphere over this issue. For me, it’ll be a while before that happens. Instead of handling the issue with class and maturity, the debate over the years on this issue has disintegrated into back and forth name-calling with claims of the opposition being ‘traitors’ or ‘bigots,’ and came full circle this last week – not very mature, not at all healthy for the overall public discourse, and certainly not worthy of being in the majority in DC. While in the meantime, the rational arguments on either side of the debate have all but been ignored or marginalized. We’ve proven – with this debate – beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we can’t have disagreement in this party without turning it into a schoolyard brawl. Furthermore, we’ve shown that when all is said and done and the dust is cleared, that we refuse to take responsiblity for our reckless rhetoric towards each other and in turn do what the left routinely does when they start playing the “shift the blame” game: We blame it on Bush.

Why are we ripping ourselves apart? In spite of our disagreements, we are supposed to be on the same team. Getting the Senate to wait on voting on the immigration bill when they were initially trying to shove it through, and then getting the Senate to essentially ‘kill’ the bill for now – all of that could have been accomplished without conservatives turning on each other like they were mortal enemies. Is this how we’re going to act everytime we disagree with each other (and we know this isn’t the first time this has happened)? If so, count me out.

It’s never a bad thing in the aftermath of a battle to reflect back and figure out where we went wrong, and how we can do better.

We can do better. We must do better.

——

Bonus: Though he’s come out in opposition of the “shamnesty” bill, here’s a flashback on Fred Thompson:

However, in the Senate, Thompson voted in 1998 for a bill that established a temporary farm worker program, similar to the guest worker program supported by Bush.

John Vinson, president of American Immigration Control, said no candidate is perfect but believes there are reasons to oppose Thompson.

“I’m happy he condemned the bill in the Senate,” Vinson told Cybercast News Service. “But I’m bothered he doesn’t seem to think we should encourage them to go back.”

Do you believe Thompson’s being truthful, or just rolling with the anti-illegal immigration bill tidal wave?

Talk to me.

——-

Think I’m the only one who feels this way? I’ve already noted one post by the Anchoress, but here are a few others who’ve been similarly frustated: Dafydd at Big Lizards, J’s Cafe Nette, Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred, Beth at MY VRWC, Lorie Byrd, Dee aka Little Miss Chatterbox

—–Note:

1:34 AM: I have done some minor editing of this post for clarification and spell-checking to this post in the last hour, but the central point of the post has not changed.

——

  1. Since I’ve been chastized over not mentioning it, for the record Tancredo is calling for a ‘temprary’ moratorium on legal immigration. But temporary or permanent, does it really matter? It’s an outrageous suggestion, not to mention a slippery slope. [back]

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  • 36 Responses to “The immigration debate: The good, the bad, and the ugly – and suggestions”

    Comments

    1. TLB says:

      I stopped reading shortly after you falsely stated that Tancredo is “against legal immigration as well”. He wants a timeout with very limited immigration, which is not the same as being opposed to immigration in toto.

      I note also that George Bush pledged to work for immigration “reform” to both the Mexican people and the Mexican government, so if people have been saying bad things about you due to your support for him, perhaps they were right.

      It’s not “falsely stating” that Tancredo is against legal immigration. Whether he means ‘temporarily’ or not, his little ‘moratorium’ against legal immigration goes against some of the very principles this country is founded upon. The reason I suspect you stopped reading is because you’re not interested in reading some harsh realities and would prefer to keep your head buried deeply in the sand. And as for your other comment, thank you SO much for proving my point. I want to talk about this, not sling mud! Buhbye, loser. –ST

    2. Beth says:

      =d> *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* =d>

      What else is there to say? Well done!

    3. Karl says:

      I have said much the same on my blog, just not as comprehensively.

      You are my hero ST. I will be posting more on this next week, once I get past all my horror at the plight of Paris Hilton.
      :-ss

    4. Jeanette says:

      You sound as frustrated and disillusioned with our party as I am.

      The reason we lost control of congress in 06, I am convinced, is the purists who decided to stay home and show the Republicans. They actually thought we would regain power in two years.

      It didn’t make sense then as a Democrat congress would give them a worse deal than a Republican congress, but they’re purists and would rather have the whole cake than half a cake.

      This was a good starting point and could have been improved upon later, but it’s dead now and probably will stay dead.

      We have a congress comprised of a majority of young kindergarten or pre-school children who get into food fights over evertything that comes up.

      They have accomplished absolutely nothing and have turned me off politics. Oh, I’ll vote and I’ll vote Republican for President, Congress and even Lindsey Graham if I have to because I don’t want to give the dems too much control, but I’m not overly excited about our presidential candidates and pray daily God will lift someone up who is capable and willing to lead our country and reveal that person to us before we all become another Rome.

      Excellent post, and when they get nasty with you then you know you’ve hit a nerve.

      BTW Tancredo is a jerk.

    5. Great White Rat says:

      On the topic of amnesty, ST quotes from USA Today:

      Was this bill “amnesty”? No, it wasn’t, as the USAToday explains today in an editorial I agree with much of:

      Over time, illegal immigrants would have to pay fines and fees of more than $9,000 (plus thousands more for each family member). They’d have to prove they’re working and have no significant criminal record. They’d have to learn English and American civics. And, if they want legal permanent residence, they’d have to return to their home country to apply for it there. Getting a green card would take at least eight years, citizenship at least 13.

      I don’t really consider that “fast-tracking” and I’m not sure how anyone else could, either.

      I agree. That’s not fast-tracking. As I see it, the problem with that approach is there is nothing in that list that would motivate your average illegal alien to begin that process.

      Yes, of course, some will “step up to the plate”, as you put it, but my suspicion is that would be minimal. And you can surmise where events would move from there.

      Here’s how I see it would play out a few years down the road. Border enforcement continues to be lax, the number of illegals grows unabated, and the topic once again becomes a central political issue. Meanwhile, it has become clear that the huge majority – let’s say 90%, though I believe it would be higher – of illegals are not participating in the plan. The left, acting as always in pure political self-interest, would argue that the fines and other requirements are too harsh and should be reduced. Conservatives who earnestly seek a solution to the problem go along to some extent. If that cycle happens often enough, you begin to approach real amnesty in time.

      Here are some questions I’d like answered by the people who favored this bill:

      How would you plan to go about bringing those illegals who have no desire to be assimilated into the American family?

      Do you honestly believe this is fair to those who have come here legally – Mwalimu Daudi’s wife, for example – and who have been given far less consideration by our laws? If yes, why? If no, what do you plan to do to correct that?

      Once again, I do not think that those who supported this bill are traitors. I do not think President Bush is trying to be president of Mexico, or wants to sell out. I do think those on the right who supported this bill are patriots who are acting in good conscience, but they are mistaken on this issue.

      Let the brickbats commence flying….

    6. Drewsmom says:

      You go Sis, tell it like it is.
      I’m wondering how they’d enforce the $9,000 and more for each family member, hell, they don’t enforce the laws that are already on the books.
      I’d just like to have my country back, its being taken over by Mexicans and at this rate it will be mostly Mexicans if we don’t stop this insanity.
      Please bring us a candidate who can lead us outta this mess, hope its Fred.:-w

    7. Redhand says:

      Well thought out post. What’s infuriated me about the paleo-conservatives’ posturing on this bill has been their unbelievable intellectual dishonesty.

      The worst offender is Pat Buchanan. I have considered him beyond the pale for years–about as thinly veiled an anti-Semite as it’s possible to be–but he absolutely outdid himself on the Laura Ingraham radio talk show recently.

      You correctly point out why the legalization program in the bill is not an “amnesty.” It’s proponents describe it as “earned legalization,” providing a (long) “path to citizenship.” But Buchanan mischaracterized it on Ingraham’s show as “automatic citizenship!”

      “Automatic citizenship” is a distortion of language so great it can only be considered an outright, inflammatory lie.

      Rather than call him on the distortion, Laura Ingraham, who clearly knows better, immediately adopted the phrase herself. And all the while these two were congratulating each other in getting “the truth” out about the bill.

      Absolutely sickening.

    8. Leslie says:

      Phew! Well done ST. Things have fallen apart. The center hasn’t held. I guess Border Patrol Whack a Mole will continue onward. (And a hat tip to The Great White Rat,too, for his thoughtful remarks.)

      ^:)^

    9. omapian says:

      Straw man: “deport 12 million illegal aliens” — if we could just deport those who are caught committing crimes in this country it would be a good start.

    10. Thanks for the thoughtful comments in this thread so far.

      GWR, I don’t know if I qualify as a true blue proponent of this bill ‘as is’ because I wanted to see some changes in it myself. As far as your question goes about MD, I’m hoping he’ll weigh in on this thread with suggestions on that front because clearly it’s outrageous for honest people to have to go through that lengthy, error-filled process and it’s why I mentioned in my post that we shouldn’t make it so bleeping hard for people who have followed the law on this to become official, legal citizens of this country.

      You make a good point about this not being fair to MD his wife and so many more like him who have done what they are supposed to do. But I’m just trying to come up with something practical to deal with the problem because I don’t see mass deportation as the solution.

      Omapian, how can my comment about ‘deporting 12 million illegals’ be a strawman? The popular sentiment seems to be that they’ve broken the law, and that the law needs to be enforced so those who’ve broken it should be sent back to Mexico. Is there also a segment of people who’d just rather those who commit crimes be deported back while the others stay? If so, wouldn’t that be a form of ‘amnesty’ for the ones staying?

    11. Great White Rat says:

      I don’t see mass deportation as the solution.

      I’m with you 100% on that, ST. That would be a constitutional, political, and logistical nightmare.

      Leaving aside omapian’s irrelevant strawman comment, I think his idea has some merit. If you commit a crime (other than the one of entering the country illegally), you’re gone. We have too many cases of illegals committing serious offenses, especially in the ‘sanctuary cites’, getting caught, and going right back into the streets. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. You have to start somewhere – let’s start by weeding out the undesirable illegals, and then consider what to do about the others.

      I’d start with these three points:

      1. Border enforcement will be tightened. No smoke and mirrors, no unfunded mandates, but real actions. This will have the added benefit of getting public support behind the plan.

      2. If you’re here illegally and you commit a felony, you will be deported. No questions asked.

      3. There will be no more ‘sanctuaries’. Authorize the DOJ to come down hard on any state or municipality that attempts to nullify federal law in this area.

      Does that make sense as a mutually agreeable basis? I grant you that that’s the easy part, and the other details, like the ones you’ve mentioned, will need a lot more study.

    12. sunsettommy says:

      I am natural born white American citizen.

      My wife is a K-1 Fiancee Visa immigrant Filipino.

      I have gone through the K-1 visa process to bring her to America from the Philippines.It is a long process with a lot of forms to fill out and to send them to a couple of places.Cost a lot of money too.

      Then I went to Manila with to be with her(then fiancee)in going to the American Embassy for the Visa interview with a Consolate.She passed and got the Visa for allowing her to go to America for 90 days.If she fails to marry me she would have to go home.

      Well we got married within two weeks of arrival.Well before the Visa deadline.

      Since then we filled out a form to keep her here.Yup another round to keep her here.She passed again after going to Spokane Washington for the personal interview and biometrics process.

      She reached CONDITIONAL status as immigrant.Meaning she can stay for 2 years.

      Now this week we will complete another form with more documentation to remove Conditional status to allow her to stay permanently.

      Then after this is approved.We finally after 4 years knows she can stay here.Meanwhile we are married and have 2 children.

      Maybe that is why some people just sneak across undocumented and not spend over a $1000 minimum and a bushel load of paperwork to fill out and send.

      Seems easier to cheat and get away with it.Than to go through a mountain of forms and documents.

      If we failed to remove her CONDITIONAL status in the next few months (her deadline is late september) she will be DEPORTED!

      I try anyway because I want her with me forever.

    13. Just Plain Bill says:

      You said “Abortion, as I’ve said before, is my “no compromise” issue, so if the party ever did turn it’s back on its pro-life platform, I’d be saying goodbye.”

      That is how many of us feel about the ill-conceived legislation under discussion.

      I wonder from the comments made so far how many people have actually downloaded the bill and read it. I did.

      There are so many pieces of it that undo the progress, small, but there, that it truly would be better to have “no bill” than this one.

      No, we do not need to deport all 12-20MM illegals. A bill properly constructed will cause some to self deport and others to actually apply for resident alien or citizen status.

      In any event, those who have waited for years, in their home country, while going through the legal process, ought not have to take a back seat in this process.

    14. sunsettommy says:

      Omapian writes:

      Straw man: “deport 12 million illegal aliens” — if we could just deport those who are caught committing crimes in this country it would be a good start.

      ST writes:

      Omapian, how can my comment about ‘deporting 12 million illegals’ be a strawman? The popular sentiment seems to be that they’ve broken the law, and that the law needs to be enforced so those who’ve broken it should be sent back to Mexico. Is there also a segment of people who’d just rather those who commit crimes be deported back while the others stay? If so, wouldn’t that be a form of ‘amnesty’ for the ones staying?

      I have to comment here because of my experience in going through the immigration process.

      I agree that they broke the law.However….. it is too late to try deporting ALL of them.

      I understand the sentiment of trying to DEPORT all of them.But it will never work because it is too hard and too expensive.Just too many people to track down now.The Immigration enforcement are simply too few and lacking in the $$$ to track them all.They are drowning in the LEGAL immigration paperwork as it is.

      That is of course the fault of the American Government for not addressing the immigration problem years ago.If they did their duty years ago the problem never would have been 12 million illegals.It would have been much,much smaller and therefore then possible to track them ALL down and deport them.

      I have been at the regional immigration office in Spokane.The place are packed with people of many nationalities.It takes a couple of hours to get through the line.I was in the Agents office where she had STACKS of paperwork in places to keep track of those who chose to go the legal immigration process way.We gave her by mail before we got there (for the appointment) a couple of months earlier.A stack of documents totaled about 3/4 of an inch!

      The real immigration problem is the fault of the American Government.They should have been on top of it all along.That is who we should be screaming at.Not the illegals who for the most part just want a better life than the one they had in their native land.

      I can understand their motivation to escape poverty and cruel governments of foreign lands.They will do whatever it takes to get here legal or not.I have been in several provinces in the Philippines.It is mostly squalid poverty.Even in Manila there poverty is evident all over.

      I have to agree with Omapian here that it is better to go after the CRIMINALS first.There are simply too many of them to track down anymore.

      Cheers

    15. Mwalimu Daudi says:

      I have thought long and hard about what I am going to write. The result is a post whose excessive length might cause it to become stuck or lost in the comment filter.

      First, what I am writing is not an accusation directed at anyone except our elected officials, the media, and the responsible bureaucracies. Under no circumstances should ST or any of her faithful readers think the following is about them.

      Second, I wish that others who have been through the current immigration would chime in. I find it impossible to believe that my wife and I are the only ones who are reading this blog who have personally dealt with USCIS. Whether you opinion and experience agrees with mine or not, I beg to hear from you.

      To come to the point: I see absolutely nothing good about the amnesty bill currently in Congress. It represents the second attempt at amnesty in the past twenty years. The first bill (in 1986) caused the illegal population to swell from an estimated 2 million to (take your pick) 12 to 20 million. Illegals perceived (correctly) that the US was not serious about enforcing its laws. Immigration “reform” reminds me of campaign finance “reform”, Social Security “reform”, gun “control”, and a host of other laws that politicians have insisted are good for us. None of the aforementioned “reforms” did what they promised – in most cases, things got worse. Only welfare “reform” came close to working, and that was because measures that the MSM and their Democrat pets deemed “harsh” and “draconian” were put into place.

      My “solution” – if you can call it that – is this: (1) No amnesty – period. (2) Deport as many illegals as can be found – whether they have committed other crimes or not (I should point out that by being here illegally they are already criminals). (3) Build a border fence.

      Will this work? Very unlikely. Even with vigorous and competent enforcement, only a handful of illegals will ever be caught and deported. And it’s not hard to imagine what environmentalists (with an assist from our imperial judiciary) will do to a border fence. But this “solution” at least will indicate a certain modicum of seriousness about enforcing our laws. If amnesty is granted, it is yet another unmistakable signal to the rest of the world (especially Latin America) that our laws are negotiable – if felons continue to flood across the border and put enough pressure on us. What worked for the 1986 bill will work again.

      As for the argument that it is better to accept a bad bill now rather than a worse bill later, I would respond that history tell us otherwise. First of all, even if some enforcement provisions end up as law, the last few decades have shown us that they mean nothing. What is to prevent a future Democrat administration and Congress (the most likely outcome of the 2008 elections) from revisiting the issue? They could declare that the “draconian” measures in this bill ($5000 fine, merit-based rather than family based immigration, a guest worker program) have “failed”, and that more “reform” is necessary. Or they could simply ignore the law. There are a number of “sanctuary” cities in the US where public officials openly defy the law. How many of them have been prosecuted?

      I have already written ad nauseum about the problems my wife and I had when we stumbled our way through the immigration system. So allow me to make two points:

      1. The current system is not merely broke – it is completely dysfunctional. USCIS cannot handle the current small load of legal immigrants in the system. Even if only 10% of 12 million illegals applied (I would be surprised if it is that high – I predict most will wait for complete and total amnesty from a future Democrat administration), what do you think that will do to the system? Do not be surprised if USCIS (under pressure from Democrats and the MSM) merely starts rubber-stamping applications. There is precedent for this in our own experience. It took pressure from our two different Congressmen – political pull, in other words – to get both my wife’s visa and her green card. If the current bill becomes law, GOP fingerprints will be all over it. The public will (rightly) conclude that there is no real difference between the major political parties.

      2. The history of trying to reform and expand government bureaucracies at the same time is not encouraging. There are already a number of mind-bending ideas in the current bill (we will enforce immigration laws but grant an exception to 12 – 20 million illegals, temporary “guest workers” are not second-class citizens), but it would seem that we have learned nothing from the New Deal and the Great Society when it comes to the nature of bureaucracies. In both cases, we ended up with ever-expanding government agencies with irresponsible policies, growing appetites for tax dollars, and little or no progress with the problems these agencies were allegedly created to solve. Why should this case be different?

      I deliberately have left the following issue until last, and that is because of its intensely personal nature. I find the notion of amnesty for those who broke immigration laws unjust.

      As many of you can tell, I am ferociously protective of my wife. We had to go through a lot to get here, but it was made palatable by the fact that what we went through was perfectly legal, and that we followed the law (however cumbersome) in getting here. At any point in the immigration process (particularly before we made it to the US), her request could be denied by embassy or immigration officials if they believed that we were trying to evade US immigration laws. The immigration lawyers we consulted made this point very clear. Had her request for immigration been denied, our hope of redress in court was slim. The recommendation of embassy and immigration officials is pretty close to absolute law in this case.

      Now, illegals – some of whom have for decades been consuming welfare and other public services, or who have committed crimes – get amnesty. To say that my anger is white-hot about this would be like saying Hiroshima was a big bang. We would love for my wife’s mother and/or her sister to visit us in the US, but because of stingy quotas on family members that is very unlikely to happen. To see lawbreakers given a chance to cut ahead of my family members who have broken no laws…..I don’t want to say anymore.

    16. Baklava says:

      I know you all have been waiting for my opinion. ;)

      We allow more legal immigrants than all other nations combined and we need to continue being generous and state that fact many times – over and over. THIS is our failing – that even though we spend more on climate change than any other nation and allow more legal immigrants – somewhow we are perceived as the big bad ugly United States. Truth will set us free.

      Then we need to frame the illegal immigrant issue in one way and one way only. It is a matter of national security that we know who is in our country and who is entering our country. We need to prosecute AND deport anyone who is a felon because our jails are overcrowded.

      We need to figure out who is here so it needs to be against the law for employers to hire illegal immigrants and that law needs to be enforced.

      Deporting 12 million will people cannot be done. But if they can’t be employed until they legally come (in the interest of national security remember) many will leave on their own and try to come legally into the most generous nation. And those who stay better not be committing felonies (i.e. grandma/wife of a person who came legally and is being supported by that employee)

    17. Mwalimu Daudi says:

      Thank you sunsettommy. While its not really my place to say so (forgive me, ST) I hope more people who have dealt with the immigration system will weigh in. I am not sugesting that immigrants and their spouses have absolute moral authority in this issue, but if you wanted to improve (for example) a certain hospital, you would certainly talk to doctors, nurses and patients.

      I can sympathize with the problems deaing with the conditional status. My wife just had hers removed.

    18. Terrye says:

      Sister, I agree with everything you said. And I think Thompson is an opportunist. He also worked with Diane Feinstein on an amendment to the McCain Feingold bill. That does not make him a bad person or anything, but the Fred Thompson who was in the Senate and the Fred Thompson we see today are not the same guy.

    19. omapian says:

      Deporting 12 million people is a straw man because it would be an expensive, difficult and virtually impossible task. The MSM would have a field day with sob stories about selected illegals who worked hard and contributed to their communities. The public would turn against the enforcement officers while officials wasted time preparing legal cases to deport.
      By falling for this straw man, the public is deceived into believing no illegals can be deported. This is far from the truth. If those who are illegally in this country commit a crime and are apprehended for that crime, local jurisdictions have a choice— they can use the criminal justice system to try, convict, and sentence to prison, or they could use the same amount (or less) resources to process for deportation. The MSM will have a harder time promoting amnesty for felons and officials could be applauded for not imposing constitutional safeguards upon people who deny the rule of law and reject the consent of the governed.

    20. Deporting 12 million people is a straw man because it would be an expensive, difficult and virtually impossible task.

      Your claim that this is a strawman really doesn’t make sense, unless “strawman” is not the word you mean to use, because a ‘strawman’ is an essentially a false argument set up to argue against by someone else. It is not a false argument to suggest that many in the anti-immigration bill crowd want the 12 million illegals deported because they’ve broken the law. Only rounding up and sending back the criminals would be de facto amnesty for all the rest of them, so if what you say is true, then I guess the anti-immigration bill crowd favors “amnesty” too?

    21. omapian says:

      So be it! I used the term Straw Man as if a scarecrow trying to frighten people away from their real target when it would have better to use a term that suggested a diversion. I agree illegals broke the law and, by law, subject to legal sanctions. So is every person who runs a red light. But if government can’t sanction everyone who runs a red light that doesn’t mean government should stop trying to apprehend and punish those they can.
      I believe illegal entry into this country is the real problem and the borders have to be secure first. It makes little sense to debate the merits of deporting 12 million while additional millions continue to enter. Once borders are secure, there will be time to address those illegally here. This is not a silent amnesty, but rather a means to address the reality that illegals exist. We have murders, rapists, robbers, and other violators living among us, and as we capture them we can punish them under existing laws. We need federal laws that require local police to cooperate with immigration officials to identify and process illegal immigrants.

    22. (*) Wow, wow, wow!!!!! I skimmed this yesterday but took the time to read this today. I can’t tell you how good this post is and how much I agree with it. You couldn’t have said it ANY better!!!

      “To accuse the President of ‘betrayal’ on this issue when his position should have been well-known from the getgo is baffling to me.”

      The above quote was right on and I’m baffled as well. I also, can’t stand Tom Tancredo.

      This is so good I may have to post excerpts from it. Well said and thanks for the link.

    23. Drewsmom says:

      MD, what you and your wife have had to go thru is just sickning, pure and simple and not FAIR to say the least and her family should be allowed cuz yall did it LEGALLY!!!!!!!!!
      Terrye, I need to know more about Fred Thompson, please refer me to things I can read about his votes, ect. when he was in the Senate cuz I rally wanna back someone in the Republican party but so far ——Thanks, and MD, keep the faith, it will get better for you, I promise. We rational people will not let this thing slide, we will keep protesting this issue till our mouths fall off and our blogging fingers grow weak with the Arthur that is already trying to set up in my fingers from the years I have been doing this. **==

    24. sunsettommy says:

      LINK

      The Amnesty Fraud

      By Thomas Sowell

      LINK | Nothing is more common than political “solutions” to immediate problems which create much bigger problems down the road. The current immigration bill in the Senate is a classic example.

    25. stilichio says:

      1. No fine whatsoever is required to get a PZV. The PZV gives you legal status in the US – the most desirable perk that the bill hands out.

      The fines to recieve a ZV or citizenship are merely a red herring for those who fail to read the bill properly. The moment the President signs the bill, all illegals become legal.

      2. Even fully working illegals will always be a net drain on the US, as they mostly belong to the group of low-skill and uneducated – groups that will always receive more from the public than they put in.

      3. Big business. Republicans indeed received a wake-up call as to the fact that big-business lobbyism sometimes does not have the best interests of the US at heart. I see this more as a valuable side effect, rather than some horrible breach of etiquette.

      4. The example of Reagan illustrates perfectly why the Bill should not be trusted. Here is what Reagan wrote in his personal diary:

      “Thursday, October 16
      Al Simpson came by to see if he had my support. After 5 yrs. of trying (during which I’ve been on his side) the House finally passed his immigration bill. They have one or two amendments we could do without but even if the Sen. In conf. cannot get them out, I’ll sign. It’s high time we regained control of our borders and this bill will do this.”

      It didn’t really turn out that way, no? And now many of the same people who fooled Reagan on immigration are trying to fool us again. Letting them succeed would be a tragedy.

    26. Mwalimu Daudi says:

      Thank you for your kind words Drewsmom.

      Mark Steyn, a legal immigrant, has some pertinent thoughts on the immigration bill currently in Congress.

      Key quote:

      The bill is fundamentally a fraud. Its “comprehensive solution” to illegal immigration is simply to flip all the illegals overnight into the legal category. Voila! Problem solved! There can be no more illegal immigrants because the Senate has simply abolished the category. Ingenious! For their next bipartisan trick, Congress will reduce the murder rate by recategorizing murderers as jaywalkers.

      Reminds me of the Cabinet secretary in the Carter administration who got rid of waste, fraud and abuse in her department. Henceforth, she declared, it would instead be referred to as “mismanagement”. Voila! Problem solved!

      I watched Fox News the other night when both Alan Colmes and Juan Williams hectored Mark Steyn over this issue. Remember when white liberal politicians like Ted Kennedy lectured Clarance Thomas, Colin Powell and Condi Rice on how to be black? Why is it so strange to Colmes and Williams that not all legal immigrants are on board with this bill?

      I have no doubt about the good faith of ST and other solid citizens who either support this bill or support efforts to reach a compromise. However, I also have no doubt about the bad faith of politicians and journalists who are pushing this bill. They want this bill for strictly political reasons (more Democrat-leaning Hispanic voters, more cheap labor for big business, a desire not to appear “racist”, a desire to appear to be “doing something”, etc.), and are willing to cut corners to get it.

      I am not going to pull a John Murtha/Mother Sheehan and suggest that legal immigrants have some kind of absolute moral authority on this issue. I am not perfect, and ultimately I could very well be wrong about this bill. However, I do not want to be silent and have my silence mistaken for consent.

    27. Great White Rat says:

      MD, so much has been made about the “plight” of the illegal immigrants that the MSM and the politicians tend to ignore the effect of bills like this on the legal immigrants. For that reason, it’s important that voices like yours and sunsettommy’s be heard. It’s also the reason I brought that question up in my initial post in this thread.

      I’m glad you’re speaking out, and frankly, I’d have been disappointed had you not done so. Thanks!

    28. Judith says:

      Must say your passionate verbiage sounds pretty much the same as all the other emotions/words being tossed about. I believe the people of the USA know the immigration system is crippled if not completely broken. Therefore, it makes no sense to most of us to throw more weight on an already tottering system. Enforce the laws, show good intentions of carrying out what you already PUT INTO LAW, then discuss the illegals already here and more LEGAL immigration. This rush is obviously about the 2008 election and the people of the USA are not fools.

    29. hnav says:

      thank you for this effort…

      the entire episode is embarrassing, and many have lost credibility in the process.

      deeply regretful…

    30. Brad Marston says:

      I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your post, so much so that I quoted it with a link back to your site and the full post of course. I am kind of new to all the link and trackback thing so I thought I would leave a comment. I will visit again soon. Thank you.