Amnesty For Illegals Still Under Bush's Blanket

[VDARE.COM UPDATE: The Christmas spirit has apparently inspired the Administration and the WSJ Edit Page to give away the country.

The Journal struck first, with a Christmas Eve editorial attacking the "restrictionist right," (us) whom they call a "loud minority." (Polls show that a majority of the American people think of immigration as a "critical threat;" we're a minority only on Wall Street.) The Wall Street Journal says that "An immigration reform would help millions of families, tens of thousands of American businesses, as well as U.S. national security. [Immigration and Security |Tom Ridge rebuts the restrictionist right, Opinionjournal.com, December 24]

Note that the "millions of families" it would help are illegal foreigners, the Americans it would help are businessmen numbered in the tens of thousands. Nothing is said about  the millions of ordinary Americans it would harm,(taxpayers, workers, crime victims, etc.) although the only way mass immigration helps businesses is by lowering the cost of labor; which is the same as lowering the price of labor, i.e. wages.

Meanwhile, back at the Beltway, Bush aides were telling the Washington Post that Bush means to make immigration "reform," meaning amnesty, part of his re-election campaign!

"But presidential advisers said they believe that Hispanic voters, one of the targets for Bush's reelection campaign, will give him credit for pushing for the changes even if nothing is enacted before the election." [Immigration Reform on Bush Agenda, By Mike Allen, Washington Post, December 24, 2003]

It's likely that these ideas are being floated on Christmas Eve in the hope they'll be buried in the Christmas rush. But look for them to reemerge in the New Year. We'll be waiting.]

Something funny is going on inside the Bush administration on the issue of mass immigration and what to do about it.

A couple of weeks ago, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge muttered some cryptic, unrehearsed and rather ambiguous noises that sounded like an endorsement of amnesty for illegals. His spokesmen immediately denied that amnesty was what he meant.

A few days later, the Washington Times reported, "The White House yesterday said a new immigration review is underway that could lead to amnesty for millions of illegal aliens living and working in the United States."

Last week the same paper quoted President Bush himself, still chortling over the nabbing of Saddam Hussein, that "This administration is firmly against blanket amnesty."

So what exactly is going on? It's not clear that even those in the administration who are making it go know what it is, but my own bet, hunch, educated guess, or wild surmise is that for all the denials of amnesty, amnesty of some kind is what is going on and is what we will eventually get.

It is indisputable that before the 9/11 attacks, amnesty was being peddled by the president, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Attorney General John Ashcroft. The plan was to allow some 3 million illegal Mexican aliens in the country to apply for permanent residency. This was not called amnesty either, and certainly not "blanket amnesty," but rather by the brazenly mendacious name of a "temporary workers plan."

Since it offered permanent legal status to illegal aliens, there was nothing "temporary" about it whatsoever. It was amnesty under another name.

So when Mr. Bush pronounces with a straight face that he is "firmly against blanket amnesty," he is probably telling something like the truth. Mr. Bush and the rest of the administration know that "blanket amnesty" would be as suicidal politically as it would be for the nation. Therefore, what you do is resurrect the amnesty plan under another name—smuggle it in under the blanket, as it were. The whole art of democratic politics consists largely of selling unpopular ideas under another name.

What the president did suggest last week was a vague statement that "we need to have an immigration policy that helps match any willing employer with any willing employee." In other words, the main problem for Mr. Bush seems to be an economic one, rather than political or cultural.

Moreover, as with the old "temporary workers plan," if illegal aliens have or can get jobs with American employers, then they would be eligible for legal residency. It's not "blanket amnesty" because it does require some conditions for becoming legal, but it is still very clearly amnesty because it makes legal what is illegal.

It's also a bad idea that merely recapitulates all that is wrong with amnesty period, blanket or under the blanket.

Amnesty under any terms rewards illegal activity and encourages more of it.

Amnesty under any terms insults and creates disincentives for law-abiding conduct.

Amnesty under any terms makes such ideals as the rule of law and the enforcement of law a sick joke, a joke that in the midst of the ballyhoo about the "war on terrorism" is not at all funny.

Moreover, as happened during the discussion of the temporary workers plan, the limited amnesty the administration and some congressional allies are pushing won't stay limited. In 2001 the Democrats denounced Mr. Bush's plan as discriminatory against non-Mexican illegals and proposed their own amnesty for all illegal aliens—some 12 million people.

That remains the position of all the Democratic presidential candidates. It's also the logical step once the acceptability of any amnesty for any group has been granted, and there's no reason to think it wouldn't be adopted sooner or later.

If Mr. Bush, Mr. Ridge and other administration leaders really favor serious immigration reform, they need to forget about amnesty of any kind. They need to consider that massive illegal immigration is not only a threat to the integrity of the nation itself and its citizenry but also a physical threat to the nation's security, and they need to treat illegal immigration not as a sensitive political problem to be massaged with euphemisms or an economic problem for American businessmen or a diplomatic bargaining chip with Mexico but as a problem of national security and law enforcement.

Having created the massive Department of Homeland Security under Mr. Ridge and enacted stringent legislation in the Patriot Act and similar laws to protect our security, the administration should start thinking about the most effective way to stop or drastically reduce illegal immigration now and in the future and how to apprehend and return the millions of illegals who are already here.

That—not amnesty and not fake "reform"—is what we need.

COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control. Click here for Sam Francis' website. Click here to order his monograph, Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American Political Future and here for Glynn Custred's review.]