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The False Choice Of The Gang Of Eight Immigration Bill

Proponents of the Gang of Eight amnesty for illegal aliens legislation being promoted by Republican Senator Marco Rubio and steered behind the scenes by President Barack Obama would like Republicans, and especially conservatives, to believe that the choices on immigration reform are the Gang of Eight bill or nothing.

And that “nothing” means a slow demographic death spiral for the GOP.
Obama Reid Schumer Alexander
This is an outrageous lie that shows just how disingenuous the proponents of “reform” have become in their attempt to railroad a bill through the Senate.

Almost by definition, a “comprehensive” bill on any subject that gets Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and President Obama enthusiastically behind it is going to be contrary to conservative principles and bad for Republicans politically -- and the Gang of Eight bill is no exception.

First, let’s knockdown the idea that the Gang of Eight bill is the only solution to the public policy challenges brought about by two decades of failed border security policy – it clearly isn’t.

But the Gang of Eight bill is being managed by the rules of the oldest game in Washington: packing a bill with spending and special interest favors that would never stand the smell test of public opinion on their own, but might gain a vote or two for the “comprehensive” bill.

What the Obama stimulus package 2.0 and all of the other pork and special interest goodies tucked into the latest iteration of the Gang of Eight bill have to do with border security is anyone’s guess.

These provisions have nothing to do with immigration policy and everything to do with getting Republican votes for Obama’s larger agenda.

If there was a real commitment to implementing a long-term, sustainable, border security program, why not accept the amendment offered by Texas’ Republican Senator Ted Cruz during the Committee mark-up?

Answer: it didn’t have all the pork and other hidden provisions in it. Cruz's amendment just dealt with border security. Democrats weren’t going to go along with a straight fix to the problem – they wanted the spending and other provisions unrelated to border security, too.

The same rationale holds with expanding various special visa programs, such as the temporary work visas the tech industry wants.

We could “fix” that problem simply by upping the number of such visas available under the current program.

Instead, the Gang of Eight bill creates a new program which effectively wipes out any time limits or penalties for overstaying such visas, resulting in, for all practical purposes, the creation of an open border.

As for the much-ballyhooed “border security surge” promised in the Corker-Hoeven amendment (which for all intents and purposes created a new bill), Alabama’s Republican Senator Jeff Sessions exposed the falsehood behind that scam.

As Sessions noted in a recent analysis of the Corker – Hoeven amendment, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t even have to start hiring new border patrol agents until 2017, and the amendment only gives the Secretary until 2021 to increase the number of agents by 20,000.  According to the National Association of Former Border Patrol Agents, this hiring process could take up to 20 years.  Much like the 2006 law requiring a 700-mile border fence, it’s never going to be happen.

House Judiciary Chairman Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia’s Sixth District has made his skepticism of the “comprehensive” approach pretty clear. Without being as tough and direct as we have been, the gentleman from Roanoke has said his Judiciary Committee plans to “examine these [immigration] issues in a step-by-step process” that goes through "regular order." Meaning, he is looking to move a series of smaller bills dealing with discrete issues related to illegal immigration.

The bills so far on Goodlatte’s agenda include the CLEAR Act, which allows state and local law enforcement to aid in the enforcement of these laws; the HALT Act (H.R. 2497), which would prohibit the Obama Administration from granting amnesty to those who illegally entered the country and legislation solidifying the e-verify immigration employment status system.

For the record, as far as we can tell, none of these elements are included in the Gang of Eight bill, making the lie behind their claim that their approach is the only choice all the more blatant.

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