In "Bush Bungles Immigration Reform Speech," Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute demonstrates Lesson #1 of the pro-illegal alien method of journalism, or "thought," or tossed at the wall desperation, "Don't bury your stupid." Reynolds leads with:
President Bush has reopened a badly needed discussion about comprehensive immigration reform. Even with the few issues he talked about, however, facts are commonly brushed aside in favor of linguistic confusion.
Critics of the president's proposals would surely have been verbally disarmed if the president had emphasized the need to register illegal aliens, for purposes of security and tax collection, rather than labeling that registration process as a "temporary worker" program. Many of those critics seem to have trouble with the English language, confusing the word "temporary" with permanent. Yet in 2003 alone, "roughly 3 million people were admitted as temporary residents," according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). That included 593,000 temporary workers and an even larger number of temporary students. Yet nobody has yet claimed all those temporary guests were granted "amnesty."
Oy. The English language trouble belongs to Alan Reynolds. No one claims that that anyone admitted legally on temporary student visas or as temporary guest workers are amnestied, because amnesty has a specific definition: legalizing illegal aliens.
Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, Reynolds is deploying a spiffy new straw man fallacy? It's understandably a strong suit of amnesty apologists, being deficient in avenues of intellectually honest argumentation for legalizing illegals.
Moving on to Reynolds' arguments based on facts not in evidence :
How are critics of the Bush Amnesty disarmed by Reynolds' tax argument? He never gets around to saying. Aren't we collecting taxes from those now lawfully admitted as guest workers? If we expand our guest worker program to include millions more law-abiding guest workers (meaning: no illegals), would we somehow not collect taxes from them? If we were to simultaneously prosecute employers of illegals, as President Bush is finally getting around to promising (nearly five years into his Presidency), wouldn't a fine as large as $50,000 per offense generate a revenue stream proportionate to the number of intransigent employers who might be still be working with illegals to skirt our tax laws?
Let's have a moment of clarity about Reynolds' security argument: millions of the illegals the President wants to legalize entered the United States on his watch, during wartime. If our security is compromised by them, why didn't the President do a better job of keeping them out, and why does he want them to stay?
No one knows, Reynolds never discusses security after the "critics of the president's proposals would surely have been verbally disarmed" assertion in the third sentence of his piece. His evidence seems to begin and end with the word "surely."
The fundamental security problem with illegal aliens is not they are unregistered, it's that they are here at all. If a particular illegal alien happens not only to be an immigration and employment cheat, but also a national security risk, how is our national security enhanced by legalizing his presence here? A risk is a risk regardless of residence status. So how is our national security enhanced by rewarding cheaters?
It's too bad that Reynolds confused legalizing illegals with actual "immigration reform." The dienwe is unnecessary to the latter. Every suggestion President Bush made this week, from enhanced enforcement to a temporary worker program to increased green cards can be a chieved without legalizing a single illegal alien. In fact, if implemented properly, each of those actions could be used as inducements to get illegals to self deport to their home countries and line up for legal admission.
Buried halfway down in "Bush Bungles," Reynolds writes:
There are only four possible rationing methods -- the queue, the lottery, allocation by political or bureaucratic preference, or the price system (a fifth option, of course, is to immigrate illegally). Current policy mainly relies on a mixture of political preference categories and the queue, although the lottery is used, too."
Hey, a pay-to-play component of our immigration policy is certainly worthy of consideration, but it can be obviously be done without giving any amnesty any illegal aliens.
What gives with these people? Why are they so hell-bent on doing something so immoral and unjust as legalizing illegals as temporary guest workers at the expense of law-abiding guest worker candidates?
President Bush and "thinkers" like Alan Reynolds aren't reopening "a badly needed discussion about comprehensive immigration reform;" the discussion has been ongoing. They've just been poor listeners.
Ian over at the invaluable Political Teen has a clip from last night's Hannity and Colmes. Ian writes.
Sean Hannity and Texas Representative Gene Green (D) duke it out on the topic of illegal immigrants in the US. Hannity schools Green on the definition of "amnesty" because the latter says it isn't allowing illegals to stay here after they pay a fine.
Well, sort of. Listening to Hannity and Green was like listening to the guy who flunked second grade tutor the guy who flunked first.
Welcome to the real school. Congressman Green was taking the position that Ted Kennedy's amnesty plan for illegals wasn't an amnesty because it required a fine. Hannity called him out on that, but tried to draw this distinction (transcribed from the video):
"Let me first point out here that the President's plan does not allow permanent residency in any way. It's not an amnesty bill."
Hannity is wrong. The Bush Amnesty, if passed, would allow permanent residency for millions of illegals. In his amnesty speech of January 7, 2004, the President said: " 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."
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.)
Sean Hannity knows half of what he's talking about. The Bush Amnesty is an amnesty by any definition, including Hannity's.
But wait! There's more from Hannity:
Ted Kennedy says in his column that he had out that today--we offer a plan for people to come forward and earn legal status. Uh, Congressman Green, that's amnesty....
If you didn't respect our laws, and you didn't respect American sovereignty, and you came into this country illegally, and Ted Kennedy has a bill that allows you to stay forever, that is by any definition, amnesty....
...you can stay. So you are reward, in other words, illegal activity. If you came here illegally, you get to stay under the Kennedy plan. We're rewarding illegal activity.
Jeepers Sean, did you listen to the President's speech yesterday? Bush said:
The Senate is continuing to work on border legislation, as well. This legislation improves border security and toughens interior enforcement and creates a temporary worker program. Senators McCain and Kyl have taken the lead. It's two good men taking the lead, by the way. I'm confident something is going to get done that people of Arizona will like, with these two Senators in the lead. (Applause.)
While there were some welcome, if belated, highlights in Bush's most recent effort to get some credibility on the subject of illegal aliens, it was once again his inability to grapple honestly with the facts about his new and improved Bush Amnesty that stood out this afternoon.
After outlining some common sense proposals that he should have raised four or five years ago, the President moved to the subject of illegal aliens:
We're confronting the problem of document fraud, as well.
Does this mean the President intends to confront the matricula consular problem, which only became widespread after President Bush took office, and after the attacks o September 11? Instead of cutting off Mexico's illegal alien ID cards off at the start, the Bush Administration came up with guidelines allowing illegals to use the matriculas to open bank accounts. The only reason an illegal needs a bank account is to facilitate his lawbreaking. That's true whether he's working illegally, trafficking in drugs, or just an out and out gangster.
Are we to understand the President has reconsidered his previously lax attitude toward the matriculas and all of the benefits they afford illegals?
When illegal workers try to pass off sophisticated forgeries as employment documents, even the most diligent businesses find it difficult to tell what's real and what's fake. Business owners shouldn't have to act like detectives to verify the legal status of their workers. So my administration has expanded a program called Basic Pilot. This program gives businesses access to an automated system that rapidly screens the employment eligibility of new hire against federal records. Basic Pilot was available in only six states fives years ago; now this program is available nationwide. We'll continue to work to stop document fraud, to make it easier for America's businesses to comply with our immigration laws. (Applause.)
Nice applause line, and to be fair, the expansion of the Basic Pilot Extension Act of 2003 has been one of the few modest accomplishments of the Bush Administration against illegals.
I wonder why President Bush neglected to mention that his big accomplishment in preventing employers from hiring illegals is only voluntary?
For the Workplace Verification program to have any teeth, we need to get Congressman David Dreier's "Bonner Plan" (HR 98) passed.
As we enforce our immigration laws, comprehensive immigration reform also requires us to improve those laws by creating a new temporary worker program. This program would create a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill jobs that Americans will not do. Workers would be able to register for legal status for a fixed period of time, and then be required to go home. This program would help meet the demands of a growing economy, and it would allow honest workers to provide for their families while respecting the law.
The illegals who would qualify for the Bush amnesty are the illegals who've taken illegal employment. How does breaking our immigration and employment laws, while very often also committing document fraud, create the impression that these are "honest workers?"
How are illegals remotely as honest as the potential guest workers who haven't broken our laws?
This plan would also help us relieve pressure on the border. By creating a legal channel for those who enter America to do an honest day's labor, we would reduce the number of workers trying to sneak across the border. This would free up law enforcement officials to focus on criminals, drug dealers, terrorists and others that mean to harm us. Our plan would create a tamper-proof identification card for the temporary legal worker, which, of course, would improve work site enforcement.
Listen, there's a lot of opinions on this proposal -- I understand that. But people in this debate must recognize that we will not be able to effectively enforce our immigration laws until we create a temporary worker program. The program that I proposed would not create an automatic path to citizenship, it wouldn't provide for amnesty -- I oppose amnesty. Rewarding those who have broken the law would encourage others to break the law and keep pressure on our border. (Applause.)
This from a President who's diligently resisted a vigorous enforcement of our immigration laws since he took office? Every good proposal of his today is a proposal that was obviously needed on January 20, 2001.
Bush has proven that we can't adequately enforce our immigration laws when he spends more more of his energies trying to legalize illegals than he does getting them our of the country.
Legalization is most definitely a reward for illegals.
With regard to the President's phony promise that because his plan doesn't provide "an automatic path to citizenship," keep in mind that the Reagan Amnesty didn't either. Then take a look at the President's next sentence:
A temporary worker program, by contrast, would decrease pressure on the border. I support the number of -- increasing the number of annual green cards that can lead to citizenship.
OK, the President wants to legalize millions of illegals, and also increase the number of green cards. If you don't think those illegals are going to get a chance at the more plentiful green cards, then you haven't been been listening.
On January 7, 2004, the last time the President tried a big push to legalize illegals, Bush said:
" 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."
"Temporarily" legalized illegals would be able to apply for green cards, and eventually, citizenship. That's exactly how the Reagan Amnesty worked. There was no automatic path to citizenship then, either, but the President continues to make this phony distinction.
But for the sake of justice and for the sake of border security, I'm not going to sign an immigration bill that includes amnesty. (Applause.)
He wants to legalize millions of illegals, many of who came here on his watch, after September 11, 2001. He was proposing amnesty before we were attacked, and he's proposing amnesty now. Of course he'd sign.
...Bush should be taken with a big grain of salt today, given that his intention clearly is to seem just tough enough on the border to make conservatives swallow a guest worker program and some sort of amnesty.
Lowery points to this cynical observation in Time:
"Bush decided to give these guys"--the immigration hard-liners--"their rhetorical pound of flesh," says a Republican official close to the White House. "In return, he wants a comprehensive bill, which is what he has always wanted. He's just going to lead with a lot of noise about border security."
I found the president's speech to be nervy at best. There was no admission of culpability for what has already occurred on the border since his first term began, nor any light shed on what an under-manned U.S. Border Patrol has been facing. After all, American citizens are not ignorant. We know, for example, that budgeted funding for border security has increased dramatically under Bush '43 -- most spending has; but, we also know that additional Border Patrol agents earmarked in that funding were never hired and trained under Bush '43. The president didn't come clean on that.
Any "temporary worker program" that allows those who entered this country illegally is amnesty. First you'll say they can stick around "for a little while," then after they have kids on U.S. soil you'll say we can't send them back because their kids are U.S. citizens.
I support a guest worker program, but first you stop the illegal immigration, crackdown on illegals already here and then get the worker program going. Trying to have it both ways with water downed proposals is not going to cut it.
The White House issued a "Fact Sheet" today in conjunction with the President's speech this afternoon in Tucson, Arizona, outlining his new and improved approach to dealing with the problem of illegal aliens. According to the White House website, "to secure the border, the President is pursuing a three-part plan."
The the first two and a half steps of the plan are common sense proposals that have been needed since the day the President took office almost five years ago, and doubly so since we were attacked on September 11, 2001, more than four years ago. The President is late coming to the party, but better late than never.
However, buried at the bottom of the fact sheet is the same old guest worker amnesty for illegal aliens that the President has been pursuing since he was first sworn in.
As Part Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, The President Has Proposed The Creation Of A New Temporary Worker Program. To match foreign workers with American employers for jobs that no American is willing to take, temporary workers will be able to register for legal status for a fixed time period and then be required to return home. This plan meets the needs of a growing economy, allows honest workers to provide for their families while respecting the law, and relieves pressure on the border. By reducing the flow of illegal immigrants, law enforcement can focus on those who mean this country harm. To improve worksite enforcement, the plan creates tamper-proof I.D. cards for every legal temporary worker.
Then the Bush White House dumps a load with this amazing paragraph full of falsehoods and permutations and penumbras of audacious doublespeak:
A Temporary Worker Program Would Not Provide Amnesty. The program does not create an automatic path to citizenship or provide amnesty. The President opposes amnesty because rewarding those who break the law would encourage more illegal entrants and increase pressure on the border. A Temporary Worker Program, by contrast, would promote legal immigration and decrease pressure on the border. The President supports increasing the annual number of green cards, but for the sake of justice and security, the President will not sign an immigration bill that includes amnesty.
Let's sift through the fertilizer, sentence by sentence, to see just how brown that pony really is:
A Temporary Worker Program Would Not Provide Amnesty.
It's Amnesty if it legalizes illegals, recent Bush Administration efforts to redefine the Reagan Amnesty notwithstanding. Make no mistake, this Bush "temporary worker program" is every bit as much and amnesty as the Bush Amnesty was. It's the same old plan to legalize illegals.
The program does not create an automatic path to citizenship or provide amnesty.
The President opposes amnesty because rewarding those who break the law would encourage more illegal entrants and increase pressure on the border.
Any program, including the President's, which legalizes illegals for any reason is a reward for those illegals and encourages more to become illegals. The President wants to eat his cake three ways: "I oppose amnesty because I oppose rewarding illegals because rewarding illegals encourages more to become illegals."
The obvious problem with the President's formulation is that legalizing illegals is amnesty, does reward illegals, and encourages more to become illegals.
A Temporary Worker Program, by contrast, would promote legal immigration and decrease pressure on the border.
As conceived, the President's temporary worker program that rewards illegals with legalization would increases pressure on the borders. The message to anyone not accepted into the program would be to cross the border anyway because neither the Republicans nor the Democrats really mean their "I oppose amnesty" rhetoric. The President wants to pretend to oppose amnesty while simultaneously proposing it.
For years President Bush and members of his Administration have been trying to redefine the word "amnesty" as it's been understood to apply to illegal aliens. The problem they've had is that there are enormous similarities between the Bush Amnesty and the Reagan Amnesty. The basic difference is that the Bush would legalize many millions more illegals than Reagan, though not as large a percentage of the total illegal alien population at the time of the amnesty. In order to foster misunderstanding of the President's amnesty plans for illegals, the facts about the Reagain Amnesty needed to be kept in the shadows.
Or, the Bush Administration could cross their fingers behind their backs and try to redefine the Reagan Amnesty away as well.
The legalization program was not an "amnesty" but a "targeted program that balanced the offer of legalization with stringent requirements." (Baker at 26-27) Legalization applicants had to: prove to INS adjudicators that they had resided in the U.S. since January 1, 1982; pay a $185 fee for principal applicants, $50 for each child, with a $420 family cap; accept ineligibility for most public benefits for five years after application; and complete an 18-month period of temporary residency. After that, and only after successfully completing an English language and civics requirement within a year-long one-time window, and the payment of an $80 fee per applicant (with a $240 family cap), they were eligible to apply for permanent residency. In exchange, the applicant would be authorized to work, travel, and after becoming a permanent resident, petition for the immigration of certain family members.
Words, apparently, mean nothing. President Bush is to "amnesty" as President Clinton was to "sex."
WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH SIGNED THE Homeland Security Appropriations Act six weeks ago, he did it in the East Room of the White House in a glossy ceremony befitting an occasion of Republican unity. Which is what it was, right up to the moment when Bush started talking about illegal immigrants. "They want to provide for their families," he said sympathetically. "Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande River. People are coming to put food on the table." He went on to plug his proposal for a "guest worker" program to allow illegals, in the United States or abroad, to work here and even stay permanently. A number of Republicans at the event were furious. They want to secure America's southern border tightly. But Bush's ideas about turning unlawful immigrants into American citizens are anathema to them.
So the Republican rift on immigration endures. Ten days before the ceremony, 82 House Republicans had written the president, urging him to push for immigration legislation to beef up border security--but nothing more. Bush's comments at the signing ceremony amounted to a flat rejection of their appeal. Indeed, the president begins a public campaign this week to take on the entire immigration issue--the border, the need for foreign workers, the 11 million illegal immigrants already living here--all at once.
It's an ambitious undertaking, especially for a president suffering from a dip in popularity and influence. And there are many obstacles to success in the House and the Senate. Still, achieving comprehensive immigration reform is possible.
Bush will need a few breaks and a few new allies. But the good news is that he has a strategy.
Imagine what finally dealing boldly with America's immigration problem could do.
"Finally dealing boldly with America's immigration problem?" Check the man's blood for intoxicants.
Who does Barnes think he's kidding? Maybe Michael Barone or Dick Morris, but not anyone who's been paying attention to President Bush's ongoing efforts to legalize millions of illegal aliens. There is nothing in the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2005 that didn't obviously need to be implemented in mid-September of 2001. President Bush has a reputation as a slacker on border security because he gets hives anytime he thinks about the least hangnail of inconvenience for illegal aliens. Barnes is as loopy in this column as Michael Barone was in his misleading piece "Getting immigration right."
Is it the President's position that those who don't break our immigration laws don't have strong family values? I dare him to say so, and you and I both know that he wouldn't. Of course he'd concede that there are tens of millions of potential guest workers with great family values who've never broken our laws.
So why does President Bush prattle on on and about family values whenever he's discussing illegals? Because he's compassionate? He'd probably like to think so, but it ain't so. The Bush Amnesty would grant vast preferences to illegals who've also worked illegally, over potential guest workers who haven't broken our laws. The only objective criterion for this injustice would be that the illegal has broken several laws and other potential guest workers haven't.
The Bush Amnesty would match willing workers with willing employers. Illegals, however would already have their willing employers because they've cheated to get them. Law abiding guest worker applicants with good family values would never have a chance at those jobs, nor for the guest worker status those particular jobs would confer, because the illegals have stolen their way to the front of the line.
Let's take two men, one illegal working here illegally at a meat packing plant, and one foreign national who would like to be a meat packer but hasn't broken our laws. Let's assume they both work hard and have great family values. Under a Bush Amnesty, who would get to be a guest worker matched with the willing employer at the meat packing plant? The illegal would be rewarded, not because of his family values, not because he's a hard worker, but only because he's a cheater and has already taken the job illegally. If family values or a good work ethic were really the qualities rewarded by a Bush Amnesty, then the illegal and the law abiding applicant would be at a draw on those qualities, since both have them. Most people would then give preference to the man who hasn't broken our laws, but not President Bush or any of the the other self-deluded politicians and pundits who can't imagine a future that doesn't legalize at least two or three times as many illegals as the Reagan Amnesty did.
How many illegals would have their status changed to guest worker under a Bush Amnesty? Five million? Ten million? Then that's five or ten million potential guest workers who've respected our laws who would be told by President Bush, "tough luck, chump, maybe next year." Meantime, the illegals who were amnestied by Bush and his allies would get the government seal of approval on their trespassing.
It's actually possible to have guest workers without giving preference to illegals. In fact, by requiring that guest workers apply for the program from their own countries, we give illegals a positive incentive to leave on their own, instead of giving the law-abiding applicants the message that they've been fools to obey our laws.
Fred Barnes tells us that that soon President Bush will trot out his tired, dishonest bag of pro-illegal alien rhetoric once again, and both apparently hope that you and I don't understand the facts. Maybe they think we're the ones on peyote.