Senator Ted Cruz, the boat-rocking limited government constitutional conservative Senator from Texas, provided another one of his patented cross examinations of a smoke-blowing government official at a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Cruz, the son of legal immigrants from Cuba, asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about border security measures – the so-called “triggers” – contained in the “Gang of Eight's” immigration bill.
Specifically, Senator Cruz asked, “If there are no objective metrics, if it is simply the subjective assessment of a host of factors, how can we have any confidence that the border will be secured and that any trigger will be meaningful?”
Although she bobbed and weaved like Mohammed Ali, the secretary failed to provide specific, measurable ways DHS would verify border security if the immigration bill was made law and millions of illegal immigrants were given legal status.
You can watch an excerpt of the exchange here.
Secretary Napolitano’s non-response answers Cruz’s questions about how the “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill would work, and prompted Cruz to release the following statement after the hearing:
“We must have a clear definition of what metrics must be reached in order for the border to be secure. I am not satisfied with answers offered at today’s hearing, as it remains unclear how the provisions in this bill will help achieve a secure border.
“As it stands, the border security component – which numbers only 58 pages of the 844-page bill – largely cedes authority to the Department of Homeland Security to determine when and how the border would be secured. However, today's hearing revealed that the last clear metric for border security - 'operational control' - reflected that in 2010, DHS had secured 873 miles of the more than 2,000 mile border.
"When that metric did not demonstrate success, DHS decided to simply abandon the metric. In order for a metric to be real, it must be meaningful. Currently, there are no objective metrics in place to ensure any triggers in this bill will be meaningful, all while the pathway to citizenship component remains contingent on this undefined border security.”
And that is really the crux of the matter.
Even if you accept the notion that it is a good idea, or necessary to “legalize” millions of illegal immigrants – and we don’t – then the border security measures being used to sell the idea to skeptical citizens and lawmakers must be meaningful and real.
As Senator Cruz pointed out, “Currently, there are no objective metrics in place to ensure any triggers in this bill will be meaningful, all while the pathway to citizenship component remains contingent on this undefined border security.”
Congress has been down this road before.
As Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint observed, the “Gang of Eight” bill is very similar to the amnesty bill passed in 1986 which granted citizenship to 3 million illegal immigrants, less than one third of the number that might qualify for “legalization” under the current language of the Rubio plan.
One of the “sweeteners” to obtain the votes necessary to pass the 1986 bill was a Congressional promise to fund and build a border fence.
Today, 27 years after the passage of the 1986 bill, the border fence isn’t built and the penalties against hiring illegal aliens remain largely unenforced.
To the “Gang of Eight,” 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 covering the tab.
We agree with Jim DeMint’s principled call for conservatives to oppose any immigration bill that rewards the 11 million illegal aliens who broke our laws getting into this country.
Ted Cruz’s principled and common sense questions pointing out the flaws in the “Gang of Eight” bill is another signal that help is on the way to Representatives Lamar Smith, Steve Stockman, Louie Gohmert and others who are prepared to fight the “Gang of Eight” plan in the House.