The Senate Immigration Bill: Another Legislative Disaster

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


eightThe “comprehensive immigration reform” bill cooked up by the Senate has a decided Obamacare stink to it. Like that disaster, the immigration bill is rushing to solve a whole host of complex problems with a massive, muddled bill few Senators will have the time or inclination to read in its entirety, with the same plethora of unforeseen expensive consequences, all perfumed with the same dubious CBO estimates of money saved and revenue increased. No more encouraging is the similar political bum’s rush being given to anybody––i.e. House Republicans––who dares to suggest some due diligence and prudence might be in order.

This unseemly haste should raise our suspicions. So too should be the deceiving rhetoric and incoherence lacing the arguments from supporters. Most egregious is the outrageous failure to discriminate between legal and illegal immigration. These are separate issues, but the Gang of Eight amnestistas collapse them together for tactical reasons. They can evoke all the sentimental, Emma Lazarus “nation of immigrants” rhetoric to sell their legislation, hiding the social dysfunctions and massive expenses caused by illegal immigration behind feel-good stories of plucky legal immigrants creating new industries and enriching American identity. Anyone who brings up those costs of illegal immigration will then be demonized as “anti-immigrant,” “xenophobes,” “nativists,” or “racists,” all question-begging epithets designed to avoid the current legislation’s failure to address any of those costs.

Then there is the bathetic rhetoric about illegal aliens that also deflects our attention from those costs. John McCain waxed hysterical in the Senate not long ago as he decried the fact that illegals had to “live in the shadows.” What can he possibly mean by that? That they can’t work, attend school, run businesses, obtain EBT cards, shop at malls, visit hospital emergency rooms, be protected by the police, or buy cars and flat-screen televisions? They do all these things and more, so how dark can those “shadows” be? Indeed, in states like California––home to the largest number of illegal aliens, 2.5 million––state law has invited them to live as openly as anybody else. A few years ago, the student body president of Fresno State was an illegal alien who flaunted his status at various “Dream Act” rallies. Not even wrecking a car while driving under the influence cast him into the “shadows.”

McCain went on to decry how illegal aliens are “exploited.” Let’s see, they risk their lives crossing scorching deserts, at the tender mercies of the criminals transporting them, so they can be “exploited”? That’s some exploitation that allows you freedom, access to government services, free emergency-room health care, and enough economic opportunity to allow illegal Mexican immigrants to send about $10 billion back to Mexico every year. They left Mexico in the first place to avoid the real exploitation caused by a corrupt government, endemic violence, and a culture of stratified social hierarchies that make economic and social advancement difficult.

Worst of all is the demand that there be a “path to citizenship.” Why? Why can’t illegal aliens be given a legal status that removes the threat of deportation but does not grant them the privileges of U.S. citizenship they did not earn the way legal immigrants do? My wife’s grandfather, a Volga German who emigrated from Russia, never became a citizen. He did all right. I know why the Democrats are demanding citizenship. They will reap millions of voters and millions of new clients for their welfare-dependency industry. But what do Republicans think they’ll get?

I remember––they think that these “hard-working, family values, religious” illegal aliens are “natural” Republicans and will vote conservative once the GOP shows how much they love them. This is delusional. These new voters will vote Democratic, because the Democrats cater to their interests. And simply repeating the “hard-working, family values, religious” mantra isn’t going to make it true. Not because there aren’t illegal aliens who have those qualities. I’ve personally known more that do have them than all the Gang of Eight put together. The point is, the amnestistas and their legislation do not codify a workable mechanism for sorting out which do and which do not. Citizenship will be granted indiscriminately, with only the most egregious felons sifted out. And even then, only felons stupid enough to apply for amnesty will get caught. The rest will just keep on living as they already are. All the rest, including those who have 2 DUI’s or have illegally received welfare benefits, will get to become citizens, and then start bringing their extended families along for the ride.

That’s because the enforcement provisions of this bill are moonshine. If the feds were interested in sorting the illegal wheat from the chaff, they would have been doing it already, and every illegal alien in an American penitentiary would have long ago been shipped back to their home countries. E-verify would already be universal, and businesses that hire undocumented workers would be prosecuted. If they really wanted to secure the border, they would have done it already. The fact is, this legislation is about specific present benefits bought with vague future promises to make illegal aliens “go to the back of the line” in order to become citizens. Living in the U.S. is not the “back of the line.” Going back to Mexico is. Ask those aspiring to become Americans who have been waiting decades for legal entry where they think the “back of the line” is.

This bill if passed will guarantee that 30 years from now we’ll still have an illegal alien problem. When the last amnesty passed in 1986, there were 3 million illegal aliens. Now we have 11 million. Just what in the current bill protects against that moral hazard? Once again a bunch of elites insulated from the consequences of their legislative malfeasance are passing the costs of their political and economic self-interests onto others.

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  • JuneUSA

    This is just another mess of garbage by our government that we have to pay for with money and our country. This does nothing for us. Why they think we have to give illegals benefits that we don’t get is more than I can comprehend. It is stupid and should be thrown out. This business of rushing through a deceitful bill filled with goodies for special people is such a slap in the face to us, the real citizens of America. Reid says we don’t need to read it, trust him. I don’t think so. He is a traitor and anyone who votes for this is a traitor to our country. If they hate our country so bad, why don’t they just leave. They already have scammed us of enough money they will live very well for the rest of their lives. To hell with us. We don’t count and only needed to pay. They are shredding our country to bits and do not rule by our laws.

  • davarino

    Hmm, I wonder how much Soros has paid all these knuckle heads to sell out their country? Hey Rubio, enjoy it while you can cause judgement day is coming : )

    • sendtheclunkerbacktochicago

      It isn’t Rubio it is the Conservative Media that has sold out the true patriots in America, that would include Frontpage. There has been an on going 20 month criminal investigation of Barry Soetoro (aka Barack H. Obama, Harrison J. Bounel, Barry Obama, etc) the the Conservative media has joined forces to black out the investigation and anyone who has something to do with it. That investigation has packaged evidence that is courtroom ready for crying out loud. We are talking about evidence that proves that Soetoro is using fraudulent documents and they choose to clam up. Makes me sick to my stomach.

      Just recently, a Whistle Blower from Albany NY has come forth with proof that Barry Soetoro enrolled as a foreign student (Indonesian and dual citizen) and not a SINGLE story from the “main stream” conservative media. This fraudulent activity is so much worse than anything any President in our history has ever done. Barry has USURPED the office of the POTUS right under the noses of what are suppose to be our brightest and most competent journalists and news folks in American, folks like David Horowitz, Charles Krauthammer, all of the clowns at Fox and talk radio. Pathetic and corrupt to the bone marrow.

  • sundance69

    If this piece of legislation gets passed then we surely know what direction this once great country is headed. This bill is as bad or worse than the ACA that was shoved down our throats in the middle of the night without reading and these elected bastards are letting it happen all over again. Once this bill is passed there is no turning back and for the most part everything in this bill has been passed into legislation before and the laws are already on the books and have been completely ignored by our government and futhermore this bill gives complete autonomy to the Dept. of Homeland Security to pick and choose what parts of the bill they want to enforce. Heard that one before?

    • bluffcreek1967

      I agree with you, but our country has been headed in this direction for quite some time. Like the frog in the kettle, we’re alarmed now because the heat has been turned up. But we should have been alarmed and angered years ago. Sadly, Americans were asleep and those who weren’t, approved of it because they had been duped by poisonous multicultural rhetoric.

      We are literally seeing before our very eyes the social and cultural destruction of our nation. Imagine what our founders would have thought of this generation which willingly handed over the U.S. to hordes of illiterate, peasant Mexican invaders?

      We deserve what is coming our way. Yes, I will still resist it in any way I can. But deep within me, I know we are getting exactly what a foolish nation as ours deserves.

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

  • Blake hitler

    America is fucked, muslims and Mexican taking over. dark times ahead.

  • The Dead Critic

    QUESTION to ALL the LEGAL immigrants in America. Would you support the new immigration bill if you knew that in the future one of these now illegal immigrants later took a job away from you? COMMON SENSE PEOPLE! The “Dumbing Down of America” continues…..

    • bluffcreek1967

      I agree with you, but most people are much too stupid to logically follow through with such a question. You’re asking them to use ‘common sense,’ but that’s a very rare quality these days. And as you’ve noted, Americans have been ‘dumbed down.’

      Lastly, too many white Americans are unwilling to consider this entire amnesty thing in terms of preserving their race and culture. They’re afraid or ashamed to think in racial terms. But the Mexican invaders aren’t. They’re quite proud of their ethnicity and culture.

      What we are witnessing on a national level is the displacement of whites and the dominant white culture. Don’t believe it? You will soon learn.

      “Opposing Illegal Immigration: Preserving Our Race and Culture,” http://www.ambrosekane.com

  • Yossi Bar-Negev

    “This bill if passed will guarantee that 30 years from now we’ll still have an illegal alien problem.” Will America still be around in its present form 30 years from now? Good luck, Charlie Brown!

    • bluffcreek1967

      Nope, at least not in its current form and racial/cultural makeup. Whites need to seriously start thinking in terms of separate communities and secession from the Union. We must think differently now. The old America has died, corrupted by the Leftists, multiculturalists and the third-world invaders. The vast majority of white Americans have been asleep and fixated on TV and movies. But now the fun is over, and some of us have awakened to realize that our nation has been given away to a foreign people and foreign culture.

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

  • Anamah

    And we will remember each one passing vote, his name will be forever connected to corrupted politicians.
    That is a giant scam and all of you know it.

  • cathy

    Could it be that many of the12 million illegal immigrants are followers of Islam who entered the country via the Mexican border?

    LTC Allen West on Illegal Immigration
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nmn0mFV7xFs

  • Lost_Lenore

    The “stereotype” of the hard-working family values Latinos is simply a sad case of projection and completely innacurate. Sadly.