The Pence Plan—we
need to talk about the
Pence Plan because it`s a ploy to divide House
resistance to today`s Senate immigration sell-out.
Watching the Senate
debate immigration reform these past couple of months, I
have learned a valuable lesson in protocol:
If one is to
express an opposition to illegal immigration, one must
first share one`s own family immigrant story—especially
if there is an element of hardship.
approved way to circumvent the anti-immigrant/racist
rap is to establish your
immigrant credentials early in the debate…or every
time you speak, as was the case with Senator Reid of
So be it!
My mother was born
in New Westminster,
England many moons ago and I would state which year
but there would be severe consequences for revealing her
age…such as death or even worse, an increase in the
already numerous daily phone calls.
My mother, a
Canadian citizen, married a U.S. citizen, my
father. She did not apply for U.S. citizenship—she was
perfectly happy being a Canadian.
But a few years
ago, my mother suddenly decided to apply for U.S.
citizenship, which surprised me a bit—I asked her why.
She looked at me
with surprise and said “So I can vote against
Bill Clinton, of course.”
There you have it:
my certified immigrant sob story—proving that I am
Today, the Senate
passed a ghastly immigration bill. Incredibly, this bill
was carried (62-36) with the support of only a minority
of Republican Senators (23 vs. 32). In other words,
the Bush White House is pushing a Democratic bill.
Republican campaign consultant, I wonder: do the
Democrats know something Bush doesn`t?
Now we have to hope
House will save us from impending doom.
As you know, the
passed the Sensenbrenner bill, HR4437, last
December—an immigration reform measure that focuses on
There is no
“guest worker” provision, amnesty plan or path to
citizenship for illegal immigrants in the Sensenbrenner
bill. In fact, illegal presence in the U.S. would be a
felony offense under the House plan.
The President has
made it clear that he will not sign an immigration bill
which does not offer a “comprehensive” a.k.a.
As far as the White
House is concerned, the legislation must contain a guest
worker program and a clear path to citizenship for
In a word, amnesty.
Pence (R-Indiana) has now revealed his own plan which he
describes as “no-amnesty”, a “compromise”
and “a REAL rational middle ground.”
But is it?
Mr. Pence first
provided his idea to
Time Magazine and then revealed a certain
amount of detail in an address to the Heritage
Congressman Pence`s Blog, the information about his
plan seems limited to an assortment of press clippings.
The problem is, we
haven`t seen the actual bill language but we can
determine the overall gist of the measure by his press
From his remarks
before the Heritage Foundation:
“…my bill begins by
including the House bill, with a couple of minor
changes. The House got it right, and aside from
removing the felony provision for illegal presence and
clarifying that no one is trying to put Good Samaritans
behind bars, I am keeping this language as-is.” [Renewing
the American Dream: The Real Rational Middle Ground on
Immigration Reform, May 23, 2006]
This is one of the
more flagrant flaws of the Pence plan:
is removing the
felony provision from the House bill—but is not
replacing it with any type of consequence.
is removing the provision that punishes those who aid
and abet illegal immigration.
Many would argue
that these are essential elements of any immigration
Pence could have
clarified the term “Good Samaritan” and simply
exempted those people from punishment; clergy, for
But activist groups
water, food, transportation and maps to illegal
border crossers are breaking the law and need to be
The proposed Pence
process contains four steps:
- Secure the
amnesty to people whose first act in the United
States was a violation of the law.
- A guest
worker program, without amnesty, that will
efficiently provide American employers with
willing guest workers who come to America
employer sanctions that ensure a full
partnership between American business and the
American government in the enforcement of our laws
on immigration and guest workers.
How is the guest
worker program in the Pence Plan different than the
others? How is it not an amnesty deal?
According to Pence,
it is all about how you
“Amnesty is allowing
people whose first act in America was an illegal act to
get right with the law without leaving the country.”
Then he added:
million illegal aliens to stay in our country instead of
leaving and coming back legally is amnesty, no matter if
fines or back taxes are paid, or how it is otherwise
dressed-up or spun by its proponents. The only way to
deal with these twelve million people is to insist that
they leave the country and come back legally if they
have a job awaiting them.”
Yeah, I like Mike
Pence and by and large he does a great job but he is way
off on this one.
If he was aiming
for right field in Candlestick (I will not call it AT&T
Park and I don`t even like the Giants) the ball landed
somewhere behind home plate at Wrigley Field.
To use his words
“no matter…how it is otherwise dress-up”, this is
How does he propose
we accomplish this?
“…the solution is to
setup a system that will encourage illegal aliens to
self-deport and come back legally as guest workers.”
The problem is they
won`t and it is foolish to think they will.
Congressman is confident they will.
“Now, some of you are
thinking to yourselves that twelve million people aren`t
going to pack up and leave just to get a visa to come
back legally. But, I believe most will.”
“The process that I
just described to you will only take a matter of one
week, or less. That is the beauty of the program.
Speed is so important.”
I still don`t see
the motive—why would they do it?
“…an illegal alien
currently employed in America will be willing to take a
quick trip across the border to come back outside of the
shadows and in a job where he does not fear
a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
We are talking
about people who have lived here illegally for years.
They do not
fear deportation—if for no other reason, they know
they can sneak right back in because they do, all the
Once again I ask:
how is this bill not an amnesty?
According to the
“There also will be a
limit on the amount of time a guest worker can spend in
America. Guest workers will be allowed to renew their W
Visas, but only for a period of up to six years. At
that point, the guest should decide whether to return
home or enter the separate process of seeking
So there is a path
to citizenship after working for six years…just like the
Mc Cain/Kennedy bill.
Here is one glaring
difference between the two bills which might shock a few
people: more illegal aliens will be ineligible to
stay in the U.S. under the Mc Cain/Kennedy Plan than the
McKennedy Plan, those illegal immigrants who have
resided in the U.S. less than five years have to leave
and re-apply with no guarantee of re-entry.
who have resided here less than two years have to leave,
The Pence Plan
allows all illegal aliens in the U.S. regardless
of their time in residence to stay here—they must leave
and re-enter legally but they are guaranteed a turn
around time of one week.
According to the
Pew Hispanic research Center, that amounts to roughly
4.8 million people or 2.8 million (>5 years) and 2
million (>2 years).
How can it be a
compromise when the Pence Plan would increase the number
of newly legalized illegal immigrants by almost five
It is important
to note that this is not a question of what the illegal
aliens are likely to do (e.g. whether they actually
follow the rules of either plan). It`s a question of
which plan offers a larger scope for amnesty.
Rep. Pence also
claims the bill does not provide preferential
treatment for illegal aliens.
would-be immigrants from foreign nations apply for
the “W” visa with a guaranteed entry in one week?
The answer is no.
And, therefore, we have clear preferential treatment for
There are rumors
that Congressman Pence will include language to end the
citizenship nightmare but I have not seen any
comments by him addressing that issue.
concept of having private business monitor the program
instead of another government bureaucracy sounds
interesting—until you read
Ed Rubenstein`s analysis of impracticality.
(There`s a lot of
math involved…not my forte.)
So let`s sum it up:
12-20 million illegal aliens they can stay in the United
States if they first take a 7-day vacation back to their
home country is amnesty.
to a section of our economy and saying “these
will fail without cheap, imported labor” is not
only a lie, it`s a bullying tactic and Americans do not
the criminal provisions of the Sensenbrenner bill, we
will only see a further increase in illegal
immigration…consequence is always the best deterrent!
The Pence Plan is
not a comprehensive reform plan, it`s a plan designed to
pacify the President and appease employers who have
allowed themselves to become dependent on cheap labor.
They are a lot like
heroin addicts aren`t they? They really believe they
have to have it and can even manage to convince a
few people that they need it to survive.
Well, you can give
a heroin addict methadone, but you have not
cured him of his addiction—you have only replaced
one drug with another.
The sad part is, he
can make it without either. And all these employers can
make it without cheap, imported labor…but not if we let
them take the easy path.
The Pence Plan is
also a feeble, futile attempt to please the conservative
constituency. Some politicians believe they must go to
the voters with new immigration laws in hand or face
explains his own motive for writing this bill.
“Immigration Reform is
about renewing the American Dream. We renew the American
Dream by reaffirming our commitment to legal
immigration. We renew the American Dream by giving
those who have made their way into our country
illegally, an opportunity to come out of the shadows.”
Bunk. Mass illegal
immigration has depressed American wages, displaced
American workers, weakened the quality of
education for American children and crippled our
medical care system.
The Pence Plan and
the new Senate bill only further these crimes.
providing illegal aliens with an opportunity to achieve
American Dream. They are sacrificing what little is
left of ours.
Bryanna Bevens [email
her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff
for a member of the California State Assembly.