By Dan Stein
June 5, 2013 | Politix
Yes again, Charlie Brown.
Next week, the U.S. Senate is expected to begin deliberation on S.744, the Gang of Eight's secretly-negotiated bill that promises to deliver "comprehensive immigration reform." By "comprehensive," the sponsors mean giving amnesty to an estimated 12 million illegal aliens, allowing them to live and work in the United States legally and gain eventual citizenship.
They also mean turning the United States government into the world's largest personnel agency, dispatching "needed" skilled and unskilled workers to business interests that no longer feel the need or the inclination to recruit, train and fairly compensate American workers.
And, of course, "comprehensive" also means solemn pledges to the American people that this time we really will enforce our immigration laws: Our borders will be secured, the magnet of jobs for illegal aliens will be cut off, American workers will not be displaced from jobs, American taxpayers will not be burdened with the costs of social services and benefits to amnesty recipients, and Lucy really will hold the football this time.
If it feels like you've heard all this before, it's because you have. This is exactly the "comprehensive immigration reform" package the American public was sold in 1986. And, if anyone cares to hear it again, C-SPAN has preserved video footage of the key players in the 1986 debate — "including some who are still in Congress and behind the Gang of Eight bill — "making precisely the same arguments we are hearing in 2013.
To be sure, some of the promises made in 1986 were kept. Some 3 million illegal aliens got amnesty, many of them fraudulently. Business interests have been able to take advantage of millions of foreign workers — both illegal aliens and guest workers.
Then there were the promises made to the American public — the ones about immigration enforcement. Of course none of those promises were kept.
As members of the Senate walk out onto the floor of the chamber in the coming weeks spouting the exact same promises, a little historical refresher is in order:
Our borders will be secured.
Promise broken. And it won't happen under S.744 either. The bill requires that the secretary of Homeland Security, within 180 days of enactment, submit to Congress a plan to secure our borders. Implementation of the plan would not be required until five years after enactment.
Moreover, the only consequence for failing to meet that deadline is the appointment of a commission to study the issue and make recommendations. None of this would affect the ability to of illegal aliens to gain Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPI) status within six months, green cards after ten years, and citizenship after 13 years.
The magnet of jobs will be cut off.
Promise broken. Even under the best case scenario, that powerful magnet would not be ended by S.744 for quite some time. It could be a decade or more (assuming there are no postponements) before all U.S. employers are required to check workers' employment eligibility through the E-Verify system. In the meantime, state laws that protect American workers by requiring employers to use E-Verify would be preempted.
American workers will be protected.
Promise broken. S.744 won't do any better. In fact, provisions of the bill will actually make it easier for employers to bypass high skilled American workers and hire guest workers. With Obamacare coming on line in 2014, the bill would also create an incentive for employers to hire RPIs over American workers. Thus the bill presents a Hobson's Choice of having Americans lose job opportunities to erstwhile illegal aliens, or forcing taxpayers to cough up billions of dollars to cover RPIs under Obamacare.
We will never again grant amnesty to illegal aliens.
Needless to say, promise broken. Here we are 27 years with a bill before Congress that would legalize at least four times the number of people who got amnesty under the 1986 bill.
If history alone is not enough to convince you that 2013 will simply be a repeat of 1986, only on a much larger scale, and that the enforcement promises will never be carried out, then consider the words of at least two of the Gang of Eight.
During the Judiciary Committee mark-up of S.744, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) objected strenuously to an amendment that would have delayed legalization of illegal aliens until our borders had been secured for at least six months. Schumer argued that the "amendment would set a standard that basically would delay, probably forever, any legalization, bringing people out of the shadows."
Just this week, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) acknowledged that the bill provides alarming discretionary power to the Obama administration to ignore enforcement of immigration laws. Rubio observed "how little confidence people have that the Federal Government will enforce the law," and that Americans, with good reason, "don't trust the Department of Homeland Security to do the job, or to come up with a plan to the job."
Or, as Lucy herself might have said, "Good grief, Charlie Brown."