The Tar Pit

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bush Amnesty smoking gun: Found. Again.

The smoking illegal alien amnesty gun behind President Bush's recent tough-sounding rhetoric on border security has turned up, buried all the way at the bottom of yesterday's Department of Homeland Security press release, DHS Announces Long-Term Border and Immigration Strategy:

SBI will serve as the enforcement complement to the Temporary Worker Program that President Bush proposed last year. The Temporary Worker Program will have the effect of enabling migrants to pursue work in regulated, legal channels – and will increase safety and security by giving us a better idea of who is entering our country and for what purpose.

Meet the President's new amnesty, same as his old 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, and to those in foreign countries who seek to participate in the program and have been offered employment here. This new system should be clear and efficient, so employers are able to find workers quickly and simply.

That passage followed what President Bush imagined to be a guiding principle of his:

Third, 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.

As I pointed out here, "contrary to Bushian rhetoric, these illegals would definitely be rewarded with legalization by virtue of their having taken cuts ahead of law-abiding 'willing workers' and finding their 'willing employers' when it was illegal to do so."

Bush's rewards for legalized guest workers would also redound to the citizenship process, because they'd be legalized and in line before non-illegals were even admitted.

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. I oppose amnesty, placing undocumented workers on the automatic path to citizenship. Granting amnesty encourages the violation of our laws, and perpetuates illegal immigration. America is a welcoming country, but citizenship must not be the automatic reward for violating the laws of America. (Applause.)

The President is misrepresenting Amnesty as having to do with an "automatic path to citizenship." That's a false definition. The Reagan Amnesty didn't provide automatic paths to citizenship. Under that amnesty, illegals had to first apply for Lawful Temporary Resident (LTR) status, then wait eighteen months before applying for Lawful Permanent Resident status. Then, after five years, the amnestied illegals could apply for citizenship. Read:

Section 201 -- Legalization Of Status

a. Provides for the adjustment of status of illegal aliens to LTR if they:

  • Have entered the U.S. before January 1, 1982;

  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. unlawfully since that date;

  • Applied for adjustment of status during the 12-month period beginning on May 5, 1987; and

  • Meet admissibility criteria.

b. Provides for the subsequent adjustment of an alien in LTR status to that of an alien LAPR if they:

  • Apply for adjustment of status during the 1-year period beginning on the nineteenth month after LTR status was granted;

  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. since LTR status was granted;

  • Are admissible as an immigrant; and

  • Demonstrate basic citizenship skills.

c. Provides for applications to be filed with:

  • The Attorney General (local INS offices); or

  • Designated organizations (volunteer organizations).

d. Provides that during the 5-year period beginning on the date LTR status is granted, LTR's are ineligible for any Federal program of financial assistance.

e. Provides that the definition of Federal financial assistance does not include SSI. (LTR's are not precluded from filing for SSI.)

There was a path to citizenship, but it wasn't automatic. Also, as the above shows, the Reagan Amnesty clearly wasn't a blanket amnesty. Hairsplitting on the Bush Amnesty by the President, his aides, and his amnesty apologists has a strong tendency to fail when the dynamics of the Reagan Amnesty are properly understood.

Besides himself, who does the President think he's kidding?

Besides Hugh Hewitt, I mean.