It’s called “misdirection,” a trick well-known to the amateur magician. While the audience’s attention is diverted by the comely assistant’s “wardrobe malfunction,” the illusionist makes a substitution and segues into his “presto” moment.
Our chief political illusionist, Barack Obama, is now attempting to divert our attention from the colossal failure of Obamacare by pivoting to the issue of immigration. It’s a move so pathetically transparent that even the Associated Press sees it for what it is: the flailing of a man caught by his own deceits. No, your health care costs will not decline by thousands a year. No, you may not be able to keep your health plan, even if you like it. No, you may not be able to hang on to your doctor. And the president realizes he’s got to get the spotlight off the train wreck that continues to unfold on the $650 million platform that would be an embarrassment to an undergraduate in computer programming. So what better diversion than “immigration reform?”
It has all the necessary elements: sad-eyed kids, illegal residents in this country through their parents’ disdain for the law. Poor economic refugees, who only want a job, and don’t mind taking yours. Earnest politicians, who covet the votes to be had from illegal residents, if only their status could be changed, and are thereby inclined to disregard both law and national interest to advance their personal agendas. Race hustlers, who seek money and fame by screaming “racist!” at anyone who objects to rewarding people for flouting our immigration statutes. And the legions of well-meaning people who will embrace an argument that includes “justice” as part of the mix, while willfully ignoring historical precedent. It’s perfect.
Perfectly mendacious. The current “Immigration Reform” legislation which the Senate has passed will, despite assertions that it will end illegal immigration, do nothing but encourage more of it. We know this for a certainty, because it’s happened before.
The 1986 Immigration Reform Act, also known as Simpson-Mazzoli, contained provisions intended to insure that employers would not employ illegal immigrant workers — including a requirement that they attest to the immigration status of their workers. Border security was to be strengthened, after which the three million people illegally in the United States would have their status “regularized.” But it wouldn’t be easy: they would have to pay a fine, learn English, admit guilt, pay back taxes ... No way was this “amnesty,” we were told. And we were assured that if Simpson-Mazzoli were approved, it would end our illegal immigration problem for good.
It didn’t happen. Employers and workers alike ignored and circumvented the documentation requirements for employment. Border security projects, such as physical barriers, were begun, but were underfunded; in 2009, most remaining “barrier” projects were defunded, leaving two-thirds of our 2,000-mile border without fences or barriers to either people or vehicles. But approximately 3 million people in the U.S. illegally were granted amnesty. Drawn by that example, four times that number entered illegally from that day to this.
So once more we are being offered a fool’s bargain: border security, documentation requirements for those seeking employment and necessary changes to temporary-worker visa programs, in exchange for “a path to citizenship.” This is not amnesty, we are told, since there are fines and back taxes to pay; participants must “enroll in courses” in English and civics; and must have a “relatively clean” criminal record, defined as no federal felonies and no more than three misdemeanors. This time, about 11 million are eligible.
There’s no reason whatsoever to believe that this “reform” will work any better than Simpson-Mazzoli. It serves the same purpose: to make citizens of millions who have entered or remained in this country illegally, in the belief that they will reliably vote Democrat thereafter. It is also designed to gull those focused on border security into thinking that their concerns have been addressed, when in fact the political class has no intention of honoring that commitment. And in 25 more years, we will find ourselves in the same situation again, exactly as intended.
There are things to like in both the Senate bill and various proposals from the House: a complete revamp of the temporary worker visa program to better accommodate the needs of American business; different criteria for admission to the U.S.; an exit-visa program; even a proposal to offer legal permanent residence to those here illegally. But if we want to put an end to illegal immigration, amnesty cannot be part of any solution.
Whatever the misdirectionist-in-chief says.
Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County.