Morning Bell: You Have To Pass This Amnesty To Find Out What Is In It
Posted December 8th, 2010 at 9:39am in Protect America, Rule of Law with 26 comments
The nation’s unemployment rate stands at 9.8 percent, a post–World War II record 19th month that unemployment has been over 9 percent. President Barack Obama is 7.3 million jobs short of what he promised his failed stimulus would deliver. The American people are staring down the barrel of the largest tax hike in American history. So what do Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) have Congress voting on today? Amnesty. Specifically, the House and Senate will be voting on the fourth and fifth versions of the DREAM Act, which would legalize anywhere between 300,000 and 2.1 million illegal immigrants.
Supporters of the DREAM Act claim the bill would provide citizenship only to children who go to college or join the military. But all any version of the legislation requires is that an applicant attend any college for just two years. And if President Obama wants to reward non-citizen service members with citizenship, he already has the power to do so. The Secretary of Defense already has the authority under 10 U.S.C. § 504 (b) to enlist illegal immigrants in the military if “such enlistment is vital to the national interest,” and 8 U.S.C. § 1440 allows such immigrants to become naturalized U.S. citizens, with their applications handled at accelerated rates. The military component of the DREAM Act is a complete red herring.
Neither of these bills has gone through their respective committees, and only one has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office. As a result, they are chock full of loopholes designed by open border advocates to make an even wider amnesty possible.
One bill would even grant Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano the power to waive the college and military requirements if the illegal immigrant can demonstrate “compelling circumstances” and the immigrant’s removal would cause a hardship to the them, their spouse, their parents, or their children. When exactly would removal from this country not cause a hardship? What other loopholes are in these bills? As Speaker Pelosi might say: “You have to pass this amnesty so that you can find out what is in it.”
The DREAM Acts are also an invitation for fraud. All of the bills would make it illegal for any information in an amnesty application to be used to initiate removal proceedings against an applicant. Law enforcement agencies would be forced to prove that any information they used to find, detain, and try to remove an illegal immigrant was already in their files before an application was received or was not derived from the application. If an illegal immigrant lies about his age to qualify for the program, and the lie is never detected, he gets amnesty. And if the lie is found out, no worries—law enforcement is forbidden from using that lie against him.
The real goal of the DREAM Act is to make it even harder for our nation’s law enforcement agencies to enforce any immigration laws. And Congress is not the only forum where amnesty advocates are working to undermine the rule of law today. Right across the street from the Capitol, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments over an Arizona immigration enforcement law. This is not a hearing on the controversial SB 1070 law that passed earlier this year. This case, supported by the usual amnesty suspects (La Raza, the SEIU, the Chamber of Commerce, etc.), challenges Arizona’s 2007 E-Verify law, which penalizes employers who do not verify the legal status of their employees. This challenge by amnesty advocates to even common-sense immigration enforcement measures should send a clear measure to anyone wavering on the DREAM Act: Any enforcement mechanisms that DREAM Act supporters agree to today will be immediately challenged in court tomorrow. Enforcement is fickle; amnesty is forever.
Our country does need immigration reform. We need smarter border security, stronger interior enforcement, and a more efficient naturalization system. But amnesty plans like the DREAM Act undermine real reform. The DREAM Act encourages people to ignore our borders, undermines our law enforcement across the country, and makes fools of law-abiding immigrants who play by the rules.
Is Illegal Immigration Moral?
By Victor Davis Hanson
We know illegal immigration is no longer really unlawful, but is it moral?
Usually Americans debate the fiscal costs of illegal immigration. Supporters of open borders rightly remind us that illegal immigrants pay sales taxes. Often their payroll-tax contributions are not later tapped by Social Security payouts.
Opponents counter that illegal immigrants are more likely to end up on state assistance, are less likely to report cash income, and cost the state more through the duplicate issuing of services and documents in both English and Spanish. Such to-and-fro talking points are endless.
So is the debate over beneficiaries of illegal immigration. Are profit-minded employers villains who want cheap labor in lieu of hiring more expensive Americans? Or is the culprit a cynical Mexican government that counts on billions of dollars in remittances from its expatriate poor that it otherwise ignored?
Or is the engine that drives illegal immigration the American middle class? Why should millions of suburbanites assume that, like 18th-century French aristocrats, they should have imported labor to clean their homes, manicure their lawns and watch over their kids?
Or is the catalyst the self-interested professional Latino lobby in politics and academia that sees a steady stream of impoverished Latin American nationals as a permanent victimized constituency, empowering and showcasing elite self-appointed spokesmen such as themselves?
Or is the real advocate the Democratic Party that wishes to remake the electoral map of the American Southwest by ensuring larger future pools of natural supporters? Again, the debate over who benefits and why is never-ending.
But what is often left out of the equation is the moral dimension of illegal immigration. We see the issue too often reduced to caricature, involving a noble, impoverished victim without much free will and subject to cosmic forces of sinister oppression. But everyone makes free choices that affect others. So ponder the ethics of a guest arriving in a host country knowingly against its sovereign protocols and laws.
First, there is the larger effect on the sanctity of a legal system. If a guest ignores the law -- and thereby often must keep breaking more laws -- should citizens also have the right to similarly pick and choose which statutes they find worthy of honoring and which are too bothersome? Once it is deemed moral for the impoverished to cross a border without a passport, could not the same arguments of social justice be used for the poor of any status not to report earned income or even file a 1040 form?
Second, what is the effect of mass illegal immigration on impoverished U.S. citizens? Does anyone care? When 10 million to 15 million aliens are here illegally, where is the leverage for the American working poor to bargain with employers? If it is deemed ethical to grant in-state tuition discounts to illegal-immigrant students, is it equally ethical to charge three times as much for out-of-state, financially needy American students -- whose federal government usually offers billions to subsidize state colleges and universities? If foreign nationals are afforded more entitlements, are there fewer for U.S. citizens?
Third, consider the moral ramifications on legal immigration -- the traditional great strength of the American nation. What are we to tell the legal immigrant from Oaxaca who got a green card at some cost and trouble, or who, once legally in the United States, went through the lengthy and expensive process of acquiring citizenship? Was he a dupe to dutifully follow our laws?
And given the current precedent, if a million soon-to-be-impoverished Greeks, 2 million fleeing North Koreans, or 5 million starving Somalis were to enter the United States illegally and en masse, could anyone object to their unlawful entry and residence? If so, on what legal, practical or moral grounds?
Fourth, examine the morality of remittances. It is deemed noble to send billions of dollars back to families and friends struggling in Latin America. But how is such a considerable loss of income made up? Are American taxpayers supposed to step in to subsidize increased social services so that illegal immigrants can afford to send billions of dollars back across the border? What is the morality of that equation in times of recession? Shouldn't illegal immigrants at least try to buy health insurance before sending cash back to Mexico?
The debate over illegal immigration is too often confined to costs and benefits. But ultimately it is a complicated moral issue -- and one often ignored by all too many moralists.
Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.