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Hey GOP! Do Nothing On Immigration…This Year!
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May 03, 2007, 05:00 AM
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There`s a Bill on the Hill…or something of the sort…and it ostensibly pertains to immigration reform.

Wonder if that`s true!

They`re calling it the Middle Way: An immigration reform plan that is broad-sweeping and includes a "path to citizenship" in addition to some type of Guest Worker Program.

(When I say "they" are, I am pretty much referring to the same nonspecific "they" used in everyday conversation and yet never clearly identified. You know, "they" who supposedly saw your boyfriend at the movies with another girl or "they" who always seem to know the sordid events that happened after the office Christmas party. That they!)

The Middle Way is what they are calling it. It`s generally favored by Democrats, President Bush and so-called "moderate" Republicans.  Then again, a "moderate" Republican is more often than not just a Democrat with good fashion sense. I don`t understand the need for an alternative category.

Issues such as border enforcement, penalties and/or consequences don`t seem to be part of the Middle Way. Those who would seek such dreadful features in a reform bill are undoubtedly monsters.

Some are calling the month of May Immigration Reform Month.

Mr. Obtuse himself, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, has even reserved the last two weeks of May (beginning May 14th…VDARE.com BLOG will publish live coverage) for floor debate on the issue.

Hmm…perhaps Mr. Obtuse is really Mr. Clever because Senator Reid is rumored to be planning a bit of a coup. Allegedly, he is hoping to avoid all those technicalities called public hearings.

Generally speaking, most bills of this caliber would normally have to suffer —at the very least—a hearing before the Judiciary Committee.

After weeks of testimony, media scrutiny and amendments (many hostile) controversial documents such as these often emerge bloodied, battered and unlikely to survive a full floor vote.

Last week, Republicans demanded to see the language of the bill before it goes to the floor for debate and vote. The letter read:

"We understand that you are committed to working to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation, and that you plan to bring a bill to the Senate floor in the next few week.

"Due to the seriousness and complexity of the issue, we ask that you make any comprehensive immigration reform legislation publicly available online at least one week prior to moving it on the Senate floor." [Let`s See That Immigration Reform Bill, Senate Republicans Say by Susan Jones, CNSNews.com, April 30, 2007] 

The group drafting the bill is supposedly bipartisan, so I don`t understand why these Republicans don`t have access to a copy. But stranger things have happened, I suppose.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) seems to be leading the charge although Senators Brownback and Hutchinson also signed the letter.

If this bill is drafted during some closed-door Democrat negotiation, and Reid drags it straight to the floor by invoking a Special Rule, we`re in trouble, folks.

HOWEVER, this is my question:

Is it a good idea for Republicans to tackle the issue at all this year? 

Next year is the big election year. Democrats seem to control the world these days. And they`re not doing so hot so far.

They are rapidly proving themselves to be an extraordinary mistake and a party with a very simple agenda:  it`s called the We-Don`t-Have-An-Agenda-We-Just-Disagree-With-Everything-The-Republicans-Say Agenda.

Going into the 2008 elections with this reputation is going to make things difficult for Pelosi & Co.

(Not to mention Clinton, Obama and the Gang.)

What if the Democrats are banking on a new immigration reform measure to compensate for their more liberal policies and to broaden their appeal? 

They know that a majority of Americans want something done about immigration right now. The Democrats (and the Bush White House) think most Americans will accept a Guest Worker/Amnesty Plan just because it looks like we`re doing something about the problem.

So what if the Democrats are depending on immigration reform to—in a very real sense—save the day? Hmm…wouldn`t it then be wise for Republicans to not give them the opportunity?

Sadly, yes, it would be wise if they took that approach. Which means they, of course…won`t.

Let me mention a couple of things before I explain.

I have been reading a lot of scary things in the MSM that might explain why the outlook looks so gloomy for the The Cause.

On US News & World Report`s website, I saw Tamar Jacoby listed as a "Republican Immigration Expert With The Manhattan Institute." This is like calling Harry Reid a "Democrat Tax Expert" just because he raises them so often.

There are new catch phrases being circulated such as "without amnesty without animosity", "melting-pot model" and "merit visas".

You see, before the tragic events of 2006 when Democrats took over, Republican politicians such as my beloved Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia supported strict immigration reform.

The legislative objective was always to guard and/or close the borders, and to penalize (and likely deport) the millions of illegal immigrants already here.

There was no chance—absolutely no, no, no chance—for amnesty. Guest Worker proposals fell under that category.

Looking at the situation today, the exact opposite seems to be occurring.

Just recently, Senator Sessions was asked if he would support legalization in exchange for changes to the existing Visa programs. His response:

"My view is that there has to be some compassionate resolution of those people here a long time with children in school," Sessions said. [Senators Try To Jumpstart Immigration Overhaul Talks by Dena Bunis, The Orange County Register, May 2, 2007]

I appreciate his compassion—but this is a dangerous, dangerous notion.  We have to remember that many illegal immigrants are banking on our compassion for their children to provide them amnesty.

If a bank robber goes to jail briefly but still gets to keep the money, we are going to have a lot of bank robbers.

I asked Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA what she thought about the GOP caving-in and especially, Senator Sessions.

"Yes, but look for him to be firmly against amnesty and come around to see that whatever bill comes out is awful.  He won`t vote for it", she said.

She also said that in her opinion most of the Senate has caved but the House is holding out…there`s some relief I suppose. But…

"The danger is very real." Rosemary said.

The compromise to which Sessions was referring involved so-called Merit Visas.

Merit Visas would be issued to those with "in-demand" skills such as… well, I don`t actually know.  I am guessing pretty much anything other than construction and field work as even the Democrats would have to acknowledge them as pretty much saturated.

(Hmm…I wonder if that will kill the whole "jobs Americans won`t do" argument?)

There are other proposed changes to our already lavish immigrant visa programs as well—alleged compromises designed to entice wary Republicans to embrace liberal legislation. 

In fact, Speaker Pelosi (ouch…I hate writing that…it burns) has already indicated to President Bush that she will not take up the issue on the Floor unless 70 Republican members are behind the bill.

For example, we know that roughly three-quarters of legal immigration stems from family reunification.  Word has it the Bush administration is willing to shut off Visas for extended family members such as adult children, siblings and parents.

I suppose that will make a small difference. But minor children and spouses would still be eligible, of course.

Existing illegal immigrants would get to stay in the United States. And that`s the bottom line!

Last I heard, they would have to pay a fine and pass a background check. The proposed fines vary from $3500 to $10,000 per person.

But again, they get to stay—which is amnesty regardless of the price. All it just means American citizenship has become a commodity rather than a privilege.

So again, my question is this: Should Republicans just back off and do nothing?

Republican Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) told the Orange County Register`s Bunis:

"I`m very concerned.  I do believe that there is a sense that we have to get a bill done."

Why is that? Why do they have to get a bill done right now?

Election year politics will make it unlikely that anyone would bring the issue to the floor for debate—candidates will be avoiding anything controversial, right?

As such, 2007 is the only year that immigration reform has a chance.

If Republicans wait until after the 2008 election, they have much better chance of passing a good bill—an honest bill.  They have a much better chance of closing the border and denying amnesty to illegal immigrants, once and for all.

Again, just to toot my horn, the brilliant Rosemary Jenks agrees with me! In her words "Yes, yes, yes!"

But alas, I believe the GOP is too cowardly to wait it out.  If a staunch conservative such as Sessions is inclined to compromise in favor of what amounts to amnesty, that`s a bad sign.

Hopefully the patriots who are still holding out (Rep. Tom Tancredo) will stay strong.

Any bill that passes out of this Congress will not bode well for Americans—of that we can be sure!

In closing, I have to comment on this one:

"Amnesty without animosity"?

Good grief! This is obviously the latest buzz phrase created by the Bush II crowd. But, really, can we get any more ridiculous?

What`s the betting it ends up on Senator Clinton`s MySpace Page?

Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.