The Tar Pit

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Gigot Prophecies:
Divining the Bush Amnesty down

In the early, heady, first term, pre-9/11 days of the President George W. Bush, the President and Mexico's President Vicente Fox were boon companions, partners with a "new vision" of the American-Mexican border, where illegal aliens were not to be looked on as lawbreakers but as victims of inhumane American immigration laws.

In those simpler, kinder, gentler, more naive times, Wall Street Journal editorialist Paul Gigot was inspired to pen Alien Notion: The case for the right 'amnesty,' in which he offered the following premise:

Take a statistical snapshot of politics today and most Hispanics are Democrats. But look down the road and the only way Republicans can be a majority party is if they do better among Hispanics. A Bush amnesty is precisely the kind of large political event that could shake up those allegiances.

As he took his "look down the road," Paul Gigot detailed a remarkable set of prophecies for a future "Bush amnesty," to use Gigot's own words. Let's take a look at his accuracy in comparison to the actual Bush Amnesty proposed by the President in January of 2004.

Gigot Prophecy #1:

Mr. Bush will also be able to frame whatever immigration deal he eventually cuts with Mr. Fox. Thus he will probably shy away from a politically freighted total "amnesty," in favor of a guest-worker program.

Bush Amnesty:

I propose a new temporary worker program that will match willing foreign workers with willing American employers, when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs. This program will offer legal status, as temporary workers, to the millions of undocumented men and women now employed in the United States,

Paul Gigot prophesied that the President Bush would shy away from "total amnesty."

Since that time (and even before), we see that the President has often employed the synonym "blanket amnesty" (read "blanket," "blanket," "blanket," "blanket," and "blanket.") and positioned himself as being against it, a precise fulfillment of Gigot's soothsaying.

It's not clear whether the President also opposes quilted or patchwork Amnesties.

Gigot was also proved correct in his second clause in the Amnesty Prophecy above, that the President would propose an amnesty for illegal aliens (see Gigot's premise, about "a Bush amnesty" that would shake up Hispanic political allegiances, which was derived from Karl Rove) in the form of a guest worker plan. This prophecy is also fulfilled.

Gigot's First Amnesty Prophecy is completely fulfilled by the Bush Amnesty.

Gigot Prophecy #2:

Whatever it's called, it's bound to include a process by which illegals who've lived here at least five years can get green cards and eventually become citizens.

Bush Amnesty:

All who participate in the temporary worker program must have a job, or, if not living in the United States, a job offer.


Some temporary workers will make the decision to pursue American citizenship. Those who make this choice will be allowed to apply in the normal way. They will not be given unfair advantage over people who have followed legal procedures from the start.

In the first clause of Gigot's Second Amnesty Prophecy -- "whatever it's called" -- the Wall Street Seer discerns some future uncertainty as to how President Bush would refer to his Amnesty. We see the fulfillment in the President's efforts to construct new definitions of Amnesty that have no precedent in order to distinguish his "temporary worker program" which would legalize millions of illegal aliens as being something other than an Amnesty.

The main thrust of Gigot's Second Prophecy is that the President's "guest worker" Amnesty would include a provision that legalized illegal aliens "who've lived here at least five years" would be eligible for the green cards given to permanent residents, and eventually, American citizenship. If Gigot meant those five years to include the time the illegal aliens were still in illegal status, then it's unclear, though unlikely, that the Bush Amnesty would include such a provision. It seems more likely, though, that Gigot was referring to the normal five-year permanent residency requirement before applications for citizenship would be accepted. President Bush declares that his legalized illegal aliens would be "allowed to apply in the normal way" for American citizenship, which means the normal five-year permanent residency requirement, which would fulfill our best understanding of Gigot's revelation here.

So, Gigot's Second Amnesty Prophecy is completely fulfilled by the Bush Amnesty.

Gigot Prophecy #3:

The best -- the only -- conservative argument against this is that it rewards people who've broken the law. So perhaps the amnesty could include a modest fine, as well as some requirement to pass an English course or otherwise show the desire to assimilate.

Bush Amnesty:

...we should not give unfair rewards to illegal immigrants in the citizenship process or disadvantage those who came here lawfully, or hope to do so.


Undocumented workers now here will be required to pay a one-time fee to register for the temporary worker program. Those who seek to join the program from abroad, and have complied with our immigration laws, will not have to pay any fee.


In the process of immigration reform, we must also set high expectations for what new citizens should know. An understanding of what it means to be an American is not a formality in the naturalization process, it is essential to full participation in our democracy.

In Gigot's Third Amnesty Prophecy, the Journal's Paranormal Pundit anticipates the quaint conservative legacy reflex to uphold the Rule of Law, a vestigial, throwback concept held by Republicans of the late 1990s. Sensing conservatives' latent neocortical response that creating a system that legalizes millions of illegal aliens "rewards people who've broken the law," Gigot divines that Bush's "amnesty could include a modest fine." In unveiling his plan, the President affirmed a fine so modest that he aptly called it a "one time fee" for illegal aliens who've also violated employment laws to obtain legal status (Reagan's Amnesty charged a fee too). In the final clause of Gigot's Amnesty Prophecy, he predicts "some requirement to pass an English course or otherwise show the desire to assimilate," a prediction confirmed by the President when he says "An understanding of what it means to be an American is not a formality in the naturalization process."

Gigot's Third Amnesty Prophecy is completely fulfilled by the Bush Amnesty.

Gigot Prophecy #4:

As for the danger that amnesty will be an incentive for more illegal immigration, any reform is likely to include a regular work-permit system for future migrants as well.

Bush Amnesty:

This program will offer legal status, as temporary workers, to the millions of undocumented men and women now employed in the United States, and to those in foreign countries who seek to participate in the program and have been offered employment here.

Not content to lean exclusively on his remarkable gift of second sight, here Gigot modestly burnishes his bona fides as a modest student of Illegal Alien Amnesty History. Since the population of illegal aliens in America increased after the Reagan Amnesty and each phase of the Clinton Amnesties, Gigot has managed to deduce that rewarding illegal behavior just might be an incentive for more illegal behavior. Thus all doubt is removed that in his apprenticeship Gigot worked on that Nostradamus extra credit project at the complete expense of the chapter on Pavlov.

We see in the President's January comment that Gigot's forecasting is again correct, that an adjunct of the President's "guest worker" Amnesty would be the inclusion of foreign nationals who didn't cross our borders and take employment illegally.

It's not clear, however, how rewarding legal and illegal entry into the United States doesn't encourage both paths.

Gigot Prophecy #5:

The last amnesty, in 1986, flopped because it was traded for employer sanctions, which were unenforceable.

Bush Amnesty:

Employers must not hire undocumented aliens or temporary workers whose legal status has expired. They must report to the government the temporary workers they hire, and who leave their employ, so that we can keep track of people in the program, and better enforce immigration laws. There must be strong workplace enforcement with tough penalties for anyone, for any employer violating these laws.

Here we see that the President has fulfilled Gigot Prophecy #5, by accepting the dubious premise that the reason the Reagan Amnesty flopped was because of poor enforcement against employers of illegals. Poor enforcement certainly amplified the failure of the earlier Amnesty, but Amnesty fails because its premise is flawed; behavior cannot be discouraged by rewarding it.

To be fair, workplace verification is crucial for any plan to prevent illegals from taking illegal employment, and the President has a positive baby-step in this area. Meanwhile House Rules Chairman David Dreier, a key Bush ally, is sponsoring even stricter enforcement against illegal employers.

Gigot Prophecy #6:

The idea this time is to swap amnesty for temporary work visas that would help to minimize the black market in low-skilled Mexican labor.

Bush Amnesty:

This program will offer legal status, as temporary workers, to the millions of undocumented men and women now employed in the United States,


I oppose amnesty, placing undocumented workers on the automatic path to citizenship...

That's a slam dunk fulfillment of Gigot Prophecy #6. Is he good, or what?

The President wants to legalize some unknown millions of illegals, while posing as though he opposes Amnesty because his plan doesn't provide an "automatic path to citizenship." Of course, neither did the Reagan Amnesty.

Gigot Prophecy #7:

Even Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, who opposes amnesty, has his own guest-worker proposal. But it lacks the political support to pass because he'd require illegals to return to Mexico first.

Mr. Gramm, who has long favored immigration, might as well relax and enjoy the Bush-Fox "amnesty"-reform. Sometimes what's popular is even good.

Oooo... That's a double airball for Paul Gigot. No less a poliical heavyweight than House Majority Leader Tom DeLay supports a guest worker program that would require illegals to return home. Nor is the President's guest worker Amnesty popular, never mind "good. "

It was a good run, but Gigot's flawed Seventh Prophecy grinds his streak to a halt.

What's clear, though, is that in August of 2001, pro-illegal alien pundit Paul Gigot advocated a guest worker "Amnesty" for illegal aliens that is virtually identical to the plan that President Bush proposed in January 2004, which the President still refuses to concede is an Amnesty.