Former Senator Jim DeMint, recently installed as President of the Heritage Foundation, has called the bi-partisan “Gang of Eight” comprehensive immigration bill (scheduled for its first and only hearing in the Senate on Friday) what we’ve figured it was all along: “amnesty” with “lofty promises.”
The legislation (S. 744) creating a "pathway to citizenship" for illegal aliens was introduced early Wednesday morning. Senator Marco Rubio, one of the “Gang of Eight” behind the bill, announced that the one and only hearing on the bill would be pushed back from Wednesday to Friday to allow Senators more time to read the bill.
Apparently, Jim DeMint (like Texas Rep. Lamar Smith) has already read enough to know amnesty when he sees it – and we agree wholeheartedly with his analysis.
“Rather than rewarding the 11 million who broke our laws, Congress should first consider how to make the immigration system work for the more than 4 million people waiting patiently outside our borders to come to our country legally,” DeMint wrote in Thursday’s “Morning Bell” column on the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog.
As NewsMax reported, DeMint says the proposed law offered in the Senate is very similar to the amnesty bill passed in 1986 granting citizenship to 3 million illegal immigrants, which he argues backfired because “the border wasn’t secured, workplace laws were not enforced, and our legal immigration system was not fixed.”
One of the “sweeteners” to obtain the votes necessary to pass the 1986 bill was a Congressional “lofty promise” to fund and build a border fence and implement tougher penalties for hiring illegal aliens.
Today, 27 years after the passage of the “Immigration Reform and Control Act” (IRCA), the border fence isn’t built and the penalties against hiring illegal aliens remain largely unenforced.
President Reagan, who signed and supported the 1986 amnesty bill, wasn’t unaware of the cost of illegal immigration.
Reagan noted in his biography that economic refugees from Latin America “were already overwhelming welfare agencies and schools in some parts of our nation,” but he allowed himself to be convinced that Congress would actually follow through on the “lofty promise” to build a stronger border fence and that his successors as President would actually enforce the law he signed and supported.
As we noted in our column, “Learning From President Reagan’s Mistakes,” President Reagan had a larger agenda – that of fighting communism in Central and South America – behind his decision to support the IRCA.
Today’s Republican congressional leadership has no such larger policy agenda behind their decision to back the “Gang of Eight” bill. To them, “comprehensive immigration reform” is all about the raw politics of trying to use the future of America to bribe Hispanic voters into supporting one political party over the other, with America’s taxpayers and workers footing the bill.
Jim DeMint’s call for conservatives to oppose any immigration bill that rewards the 11 million illegal aliens who broke our laws getting into this country is a signal that help is on the way to principled conservatives like Representatives Lamar Smith, Steve Stockman, Louie Gohmert and others in the House who are prepared to fight the “Gang of Eight” plan.