Ramming Amnesty Through the Senate

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


gangOn Monday, the United States Senate passed a procedural vote on the so-called “border surge” deal brokered by Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) that paves the way for passage of the entire comprehensive immigration reform bill later this week. The vote was 67-27. Despite the objections of 14 GOP Senators who expressed their frustration in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, noting that additional amendments weren’t getting heard, the so-called Corker-Haven amendment is likely the last major change that will be added to the bill. That is due to the reality that any additional amendments would require a unanimous agreement to bring them to a vote. “We could have had three genuine weeks on this bill, processing amendments and having votes,” said Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Yet, we’re forced to vote on packages that were concocted behind closed doors.”

It is worse than that. This amendment, which is essentially the entire bill, is yet another neon-bright example of the utter contempt our elected officials have for the American electorate. One would think the overwhelming disgust registered by the public regarding Obamacare — passed into law despite the fact that not a single lawmaker read it in its entirety before casting a vote — would have prevented such an insult from occurring again. That, however, was not the case. Last Friday afternoon at around 2:30 p.m. EDT, 14 senators introduced the 1,190-page amendment. Since the vote took place at around 7:00 p.m. Monday, senators were given just over 76 hours to read the entire bill. Moreover, since the amendment makes references to other statutes, as well as the changes to those statues, the supplemental reading made an already herculean task virtually impossible to accomplish.

That impossibility may have been precisely what Democrats and their squishy Republican allies were counting on. As Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) pointed out on Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” such a setup makes it extremely difficult to determine exactly what the bill says. Sessions cited law professor William A. Jacobson, who undertook the painstaking effort to analyze just two sections of the bill, 3214 and 3215, which reference another statute, 8 U.S.C. 1182. Jacobson confirmed that these particular sections give the Secretary of Homeland Security “almost complete discretion to waive all other provisions of the law as to removal, deportation and inadmissibility…of illegal aliens not just for family ‘hardship’ (which itself is huge) but for any reason the Secretary deems in the ‘public interest.’”

In other words, despite all the promises, a vast swath of this bill comes down to nothing more than giving the unelected DHS Secretary, currently Janet Napolitano, the kind of discretionary power that one would expect to be granted to the officials of a banana republic. If such discretionary power sounds familiar, that’s because in ObamaCare, vast swaths of that bill’s sections are completely beholden to the discretionary decisions of the unelected Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, currently Kathleen Sebelius. Her most recent discretionary effort was to deny a dying 10-year-old girl a desperately needed lung transplant, until a judge ruled otherwise.

It doesn’t get any more “discretionary” than that.

The border security part of the bill contains an equally “flexible” loophole. Border security was ostensibly the key element of Corker-Hoeven. The following two paragraphs reveals how dishonest the ruling class is willing to be to get immigration reform passed:

Paragraph (1): “Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a strategy, to be known as the ‘Southern Border Fencing Strategy,’ to identify where 700 miles of fencing (including double-layer fencing), infrastructure, and technology, including at ports of entry, should be deployed along the Southern border.”

Paragraph (2): “Notwithstanding paragraph (1), nothing in this subsection shall require the Secretary to install fencing, or infrastructure that directly results from the installation of such fencing, in a particular location along the Southern border, if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain effective control over the Southern border at such location.”

If it appears that paragraph two gives the DHS Secretary the power to largely negate everything regarding so-called border security required in paragraph one, that’s because it does. And since current DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano already believes the border is secure, it is almost certain paragraph one will be totally ignored. Furthermore, Napolitano can also waive specific technology listed in the bill, such as the 685 ground sensors, 50 towers and 73 fixed cameras to be deployed to Arizona’s two sectors, “if the secretary determines that an alternate or new technology is at least as effective as the technologies described in paragraph (3) and provides a commensurate level of security.” That would be a commensurate level of security adjudged by Napolitano. Adding insult to injury, the DHS Secretary can make the changes a full 60 days before she has to notify Congress that she has done so.

And once again, just like ObamaCare, “special” provisions have been added to the bill to ensure its passage as well. For radical leftist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), unhappy with the reality that legalizing millions of low-skill workers would devastate their Americans counterparts, a section entitled “Jobs for Youth” was added to the bill. It would authorize the expenditure of $1.5 billion over the next two years to help Americans between the ages of 16-24 get jobs.

The provision is interesting for two reasons. First, much of it is based on President Obama’s American Jobs Act that never got through Congress. Second, it belies claims by the bill’s supporters that comprehensive immigration reform will be a net plus for the economy.

Regardless, President Obama offered up the same rationale in a meeting with CEOs and business leaders shortly before the vote. He cited numbers published by the CBO saying the bill would reduce the deficit by $875 billion over two decades. The report completely contradicts the Heritage Foundation Report that estimates amnesty would add $6.3 trillion to the national debt over a longer time frame. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) explained the CBO numbers are based on the same kind of accounting gimmicks used to hide the true cost of ObamaCare. When the ObamaCare accounting gimmicks were stripped from the CBO’s report, its initial cost assessment of the healthcare bill more than doubled–and may increase even further. Expect the same kind of “revisions” here if this bill makes it into law.

Yet the Sanders Provision pales in comparison to the one offered by Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Dean Holler (R-NV) that is nothing more than a crony capitalist kickback to the casino industry. A law known as the Travel Promotion Act, created a “Brand USA” government-run public relations campaign, promoting Vegas casinos and other US travel destinations. In a 2012 report, Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) contended the program “reveals a history of waste, abuse, patronage, and lax oversight.” Current law funds it through 2015. The new amendment extends that funding indefinitely.

Apparently the fact that such an amendment has absolutely nothing to do with immigration is of little consequence to pro-Amnesty duplicitous lawmakers.

It should come as no surprise either that the rule of law itself is also being tossed under the bus. Last week on the floor of the Senate, Gang of Eight member John McCain (R-AZ) said that “[a]nyone who has committed crimes in this country is going to be deported.” Not exactly. A chart complied by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and published here by the Washington Examiner, reveals there are serious crimes that do not disqualify illegal aliens for Registered Provisional Status. Moreover, illegal aliens remain eligible even if they have committed as many as three misdemeanor offenses, including, but not limited to, assault, battery, identity or document fraud, and tax evasion. These are crimes that could earn U.S. citizens and legal aliens large fines, prison time, or a ten-year ban on re-entering the country for the latter group.

FAIR’s media director, Ira Mehlman, illuminates the infuriating nature of such a provision. “What it indicates is this is more than just an amnesty, it’s an amnesty for all kinds of violations,” he explains. “We say nobody is above the law, but apparently illegal immigrants are.”

After the bill gets its virtually certain approval in the Senate, it moves to the House, where it is likely to undergo major revisions. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he would not allow any bill on the House floor that didn’t have majority support from both parties. The prospect of the bill either getting those revisions, or remaining bottled up in the House, drew predictable outbursts from the media, Democrats, and some clueless Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), all of whom say that the failure to grant legal status to at least 11 million illegal aliens assured a demographic “death spiral” for the GOP.

Gang of Eight member Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took it one step further Sunday, telling Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union that “this has the potential of becoming the next civil-rights movement,” further insisting he could envision “a million people on the mall in Washington–on the platform would not be the usual suspects but the leaders of business, the leaders of the Evangelical movement, the leaders of high tech as well as most Americans pressuring the House to act. I think they’re going to have to act whether they have a majority of Republicans or not,” he concluded.

National Review columnist John Fund puts the lie to Schumer’s threat. “It’s telling that the scare tactics deployed by the proponents of comprehensive immigration reform all revolve around politics: massive rallies on the Washington Mall and an angry Hispanic electorate,” he writes. “In reality, it might be the folks using the scare tactics who are the ones running scared. Maybe they’re afraid that the longer their bill is debated and the more sunshine it’s exposed to, the less likely the American people are to support it.”

There is much more to it than that. The GOP has never received a majority of the Hispanic vote. Even after Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 Immigration Reform Act, George H.W. Bush got only 30 percent of the Hispanic vote in the 1988 presidential election — seven points less than Reagan himself received before the bill’s passage. Perhaps Republicans might want to consider the fact that the real threat of a “death spiral” comes from alienating one’s core constituency. A constituency that has made it clear any bill in which border security isn’t the top priority is a deal-breaker. That would be genuine border security, not the so-called triggers and/or the aforementioned flexibility that render it completely impotent.

Republicans might want to consider something else as well. Virtually all of the progressive agenda is based on the politics of incrementalism. That means this bill represents a point of departure, not the “last time” endgame its supporters in both parties claim it to be. As soon as the ink is dry on any comprehensive reform package, Democrats will be right back to work, attempting to “modify” the more “onerous” and “inhumane” aspects of the bill. It doesn’t take a scintilla of imagination to envision Chuck Schumer and his cohorts bemoaning the “cruelty” of making people wait more than a decade to obtain citizenship, or the “narrowness” of the family reunification component, to cite two examples where media-abetted pressure will become relentless.

And then there is the cynicism. Whether Republicans want to believe it or not, Democrats really don’t care if this bill gets defeated. A defeat of this legislation gives them a self-perceived edge in the 2014 election, where they think the bill’s failure will allow them to wrest majority control from “racist” House Republicans. That scenario is based on the belief that the majority of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform, which some polling data indicates. But when Americans begin to realize that border security is a sham, that support is likely to drop precipitously–which is exactly why, just like ObamaCare, the push was on to pass a bill no one read.

Are Americans prepared for yet another bill that must first be passed before they can “find out what’s in it”? ObamaCare has generated enormous discontent, even before the true scope of it is realized beginning next year. If passed into law, it is likely comprehensive immigration reform will be equally unsettling, especially to those Americans who will begin to experience the full scope of competing with millions of job seekers who will have been rewarded for breaking the law.

Congress had 27 years to prove it could enforce the 1986 immigration bill. It failed miserably, despite both parties having full control of the government at various times throughout that period. Anyone who believes “this time” will be different is utterly naive.

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  • http://www.commieblaster.com/ Paul Ben

    As long as you have RINOs in Congress, the Democrap can get away with anything.

    • bluffcreek1967

      I agree. Sadly, though, a lot of conservatives stood by and allowed this sort of thing to happen. They were afraid of ‘rocking the boat’ and of being thought ‘intolerant’ or ‘racist’ to have opposed those dear, ‘hard-working’ Mexican invaders. So, this is what we get.

      “Amnesty and the GOP’s Death Wish,” http://www.ambrosekane.com

  • kT TK

    Immigration destabilizes both the host country and the exit country.
    Immigration from viiolent troubled countries just enables the violence to
    escalate. One of the characteristics of failed states is destabilizing
    immigration. STOP ALL IMMIGRAtON and terrorism will be decapitated. Violence in our inner cities will lessen if there are jobs for inner city youth. Unemployed immigrants will turn inner city violence into out of control madness

  • davarino

    YOu repubs make me sick. Go ahead and enjoy it while you can. Thanks for acting like conservatives, but there are a lot of us who just dont buy it.

  • geneww1938

    This is a travesty of justice and our constitution. These anti-American self serving evil people should be replaced if the electorate votes still mean anything with the new electronic voting machines…
    If this is not a clear example of the battle between evil and righteousness, then what is.

  • DOYOULOVEAMERICA

    Real Americans have to take the law into their own hands, similar to right wing death squads….

    • objectivefactsmatter

      Maybe some day. We’re not there yet. And not that similar.

  • rbla

    ‘Conservative’ plutocrats like the Kochs, Murdoch, Adelberg and so on, along with their paid lackeys in the Republican Party, Rubio, Graham, McCain etc. are conspiring to bring down the American Republic and undermine the American middle and working classes by importing millions of third worlders. A glaring case of class warfare – Marx was not totally wrong.

    • NAHALKIDES

      You left out the Democrats, who to a man are willing to sacrifice the American worker in order to gain more power for themselves through the votes of these pseudo-citizens the bill would create.

      • rbla

        That’s because I don’t expect any better from the despicable Democrats – what can one expect from a pig but an oink? But the Republicans were supposed to be better (LOL).

    • 1Indioviejo1

      NONSENCE. The Demonrats will benefit more than anyone else. Rubio and McCain and other RINO’s are traitors to the nation and to conservative principles.

    • Erudite Mavin

      The Kochs are not Conservatives but Libertarian BIrchers. Don’t blame them on conservatives.
      Rupert Murdoch for many years a Labour Party supporter.
      He is on the board of the Libertarian Cato Inst.
      A backer of Hillary Clinton and fund raisers for her.
      Try again.

      • rbla

        Fine, these are all libertarian loons. But what about tea party favorites like Rubio and Ayotte? Are they also to be defined out of the ‘conservative’ movement? And what about Flake; and how about Perry of Texas who was soft on illegals during the campaign? Are all of these to be considered non-conservatives? However, note that I use ‘conservative’ in parentheses so I don’t really disagree with you, but this is what they are generally considered.

        • Erudite Mavin

          For starters Perry was a Democrat and at one time worked in the Gore campaign.
          Conservative, Not.

  • aposematic

    Americans must come to at least some basic understanding that awakens them to the fact that America no longer has a Government that represents the people. The Senate is now pushing through yet another Bill (Not the only previous Bill but the most unpopular, ObumaNoCare.) that gives unelected Bureaucrats Dictatorial Powers over every American Citizen.

  • musterion

    As was said in another forum, Look what happens when the stupid party agrees with the evil party.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      It’s the selfish party cooperating with the evil selfish party.

  • PouponMarks

    Sadly, the American Chamber of Commerce has endorsed “open borders” for years, for the reason of cheap labor supply for business. The Democrats’ reason is the creation of a permanent voting bloc of reliable, dependent, victim group.
    They are all traitors to the American people, the perpetuation of our Constitutional Republic. Patriotism is putting your country above your narrow self interest. There is none here or with the RINOs.

    • SuperRoadrunner

      There is one simple solution to the problem that could be termed as
      insensitive, and not PC: Forget about the Democrat agenda of creating
      new voters. and the Republican agenda of cheap labor. We need only one
      new federal law on the books — and no deportations needed: Any CEO, or
      an owner of a business, employing an illegal or providing them with
      housing would get mandatory 5 years in the Big House with no parole, and
      a fine equal to the preceding 12 months of recorded income from any
      sources. See, this law would take up less than one page!

      After a few of the big fat cats would be sent up the river, you
      would see the biggest stampede galloping south towards the Rio Grande!
      All voluntary! (Border Patrol could be used to direct traffic.) And the
      unemployment in the country would drop like a rock. The American
      taxpayer would be the winner…

      • objectivefactsmatter

        Stop welfare for illegals, and distribute aid at the border, on their way out. If they want to petition for legal immigration then, it’s the perfect place to do so.

        Stop pretending that it’s impossible to enforce our laws.

        Throw out every last politician who does not publicly denounce this plan. We want only US patriots to serve. The rest belong in jail or the loony bin.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      This is not “open borders,” it’s pretend borders. It’s a bunch of globalists trying to pretend they still care about our national sovereignty. To prevent waking up too many people who will understand the implications of what they will achieve if they get their way.

      • PouponMarks

        You have it exactly right. This is the very tenet of Marxism/Communism, that for it to work, it must be absolutely universal, and the “vanguard elite” must control all, i.e., desire, thoughts, and actions.

  • 1Indioviejo1

    When Obama said he was going to “fundamentally transform” our country he meant it in every way, even after he is gone we will be transformed just as FDR did with SS and welfare, and later LBJ did with his war on poverty. This time we are done for ever.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “Fundamental transformation” in the context he uses it means destroying our power, wealth and our eventually even our sovereignty.

      This is not hyperbolic. He was raised by communists that hated capitalism and “white” successful people. The whole theory he was raised on is that successful white people are by and large successful because they’re thieves until they prove their bona fides by wholly supporting communism – or stealth communism for the time being, called “social democracy.”

      Nobody can actually dispute this. Nobody. Read his own words.

  • $22691968

    Of course they’ve got to ram amnesty through – right up the collective anus of the American people! None of this can be done slowly, cautiously, and with judicious thought and planning – although in my opinion, no amnesty should occur at all. I want strict and straight deportation for all invaders and well as no more immigration for many, many decades! And then only white, european immigrants. Yeah, I know, I’m really ‘mean’ and ‘racist’ because I dare to protect what is in the best interests of my race and culture.

    Has it not become clear by now that this ‘Gang of Eight’ have betrayed the American people and our American republic? Has not the dubious and underhanded way in which this entire ‘immigration reform bill’ has been handled prove that it’s contrary to the best interests of the American people? Where is the outage?!

    “Why Hasn’t There Been A Revolution?” http://www.ambrosekane.com

  • Anamah

    Each and everyone who voted for it, is betraying Americans.
    What is your profit dishonest Senators?
    You sold your soul to the devil…I hope you’ll regret.
    This folly must end, here we’re still alive!

  • William James Ward

    yWhat’s the point of having any law, laws are not upheld, the purpose
    is to spend tax dollars bled out of American citizens to destroy
    thier own Nation and heritage. If the House passes this monstrosity
    it will be confired that tha American Government has done what no
    enemy could do, destroy America as a Nation of citizens with rights.
    Surely treason is now synonomous with Senator and they can be
    considered lower than a rapist and murderer……………..William