Or: The false inevitability of "Comprehensive immigration reform."
I've been sayin' it, but do you believe me? I'll let Mark Krikorian make the case without resorting to posting pictures of the 'judgement bunny' or 'Mr. Poopy.'
When the Democrats won in November, there was a sense that an illegal-alien amnesty and huge increases in future immigration were inevitable. Even Rep. Tom Tancredo, the uber-hawk on immigration, was taken in: “We will fight it, we will lose,” he told the Washington Times. “It will go to the Senate, it will pass. The president will sign it. And it will happen quickly because that’s one thing they know they can pass.”Read the rest.
Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.
This week, even as President Bush was pledging to the Mexican people that he would pursue their interests in working for an immigration bill, the political edifice of such a bill was falling apart.
Ted Kennedy and John McCain announced this week that they were giving up on crafting a new immigration bill and would instead revive the one approved last year by the (Republican) Senate Judiciary Committee (which was different in certain ways from the Hagel-Martinez amnesty finally passed by the Senate). There’s going to be a lot more sound and fury in Congress over immigration, but, as Roll Call writes, “it still appears unlikely that comprehensive reforms will move out of the [Senate] chamber before electoral concerns kill the bill.”
It’s interesting to note that, despite all the talk of the Right-Left, odd-bedfellows coalition backing the amnesty push, it is partisan differences that are torpedoing the effort. Both the good and bad elements of each political party’s character are proving to be stumbling blocks.
On one side, there is the Republicans’ characteristic support for law and order, for enforcement, and for American sovereignty. To appeal to that sentiment in Republicans skeptical of amnesty, the Bush administration has permitted a limited increase in immigration enforcement, after many years of intentional neglect (by 2004, for instance, only three employers in the entire country had been fined for knowingly hiring illegal aliens). This has brought to the fore an unattractive aspect of the Democrats, who have been ferociously critical of all these enforcement efforts; most recently, Sen. Kennedy himself has been relentlessly lambasting the administration for having the temerity to raid a Massachusetts leather factory (that supplied the Army!) that was full of illegal aliens knowingly hired by management. Republicans are thus naturally skeptical that Democrats are sincere in their commitment to the sustained, muscular enforcement that they’ve promised in exchange for amnesty and increased immigration.
On the other side, one of the Democrats’ more attractive qualities — their professed concern for the ordinary working stiff — has crashed into one of the Republicans’ less-appealing qualities, namely, some industry groups’ insatiable hunger for cheap labor, regardless of consequences. Here, it’s interesting to note that this conflict is precisely because of the Democratic takeover in November. With Sen. Kennedy now chairing the immigration subcommittee, the AFL-CIO has departed from its recent practice and has actually lifted a finger to defend the interests of American workers. The labor federation is insisting that any future guestworkers receive the “prevailing wage,” which is a higher standard than Sen. McCain, the White House, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would accept; this means that employers would have to pay the foreign workers more than the employers would like, making it less attractive to import the workers in the first place. A requirement that guestworkers be paid the same as others would render the program “a nullity,” according to a Chamber spokesman, “because employers wouldn’t use it.” Including such a requirement in the bill would have risked McCain jumping ship.
Okay, I couldn't help myself!
H/T Dusty Inman
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