On Monday, 67 U.S. senators showed contempt for the American people, for the rule of law and for national security. They voted to proceed to the adoption of a nearly 1,200-page “amendment” that would further deform our broken immigration system. The question is: Will they get away with it?
The answer must be a resounding “no.”
The alternative would be to assure that we are treated even more contemptuously in the future. After all, if you reward bad behavior, you tend to get much more of it. That is true whether you are talking about giving amnesty to illegal aliens or failing to hold legislators accountable for their malfeasance.
Consider the various ways in which we are being subjected to serial senatorial contempt by the authors of the amendment — the so-called Gang of Eight, led by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and several fellow travelers who included Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Republican sponsors Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota:
Contempt for national security: To be sure, what amounts to a Schumer-Corker-Hoeven amendment is ostensibly meant to fix our border insecurity. A clue about its true purpose and character is that it has been put forward with the blessing of the Gang of Eight (rightly dubbed “the Gangsters”) in the wake of their assiduous, and to date successful, efforts to prevent real fixes when they were offered in previous amendments.
In fact, as one of the most effective opponents of this legislation, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a rising Republican rock star, noted at Red State on Monday that the “national security” amendment that the Gangsters profess to favor actually would weaken border and interior-security laws in a number of ways. It also would, as a practical matter, end for several years arrests and deportations necessary to enforce statutes relevant to illegal immigration.
At a minimum, the amendment persists in the fatal flaw inherent in the Gangsters’ initiative from the get-go: It provides amnesty first, in the form of legal status as registered provisional immigrants, and national security second. There is no reason to think that promises broken again and again on the latter score will be honored this time.
Contempt for the Senate itself: The order of the day is to jam through this legislation with limited opportunity to read the Gangsters’ bill, let alone seriously debate its contents. The Schumer-Corker-Hoeven version is nearly 1,200 pages long. It amends the underlying Gang of Eight bill in myriad ways besides purportedly bracing up its now-acknowledged shortcomings on securing the border.
Two things seem to be operating behind these changes: creating a false impression that shortfalls in the underlying bill’s border and interior-security provisions are being addressed meaningfully and buying swing senators’ votes by including a number of their favorite hobbyhorses.
Contempt for the rule of law: This legislation will reward with amnesty people who have, as their first act in the United States, broken the law to get here. The Gangsters’ amendment responds to such illegal conduct by giving individuals who may include terrorists, drug dealers and human traffickers the right to become U.S. citizens. It also relieves them of any responsibility for having done what many did once they got here; namely, broken a host of other laws.
The result will make citizens out of people we definitely do not want in the U.S. and destroy the cardinal principle of equal justice under the law and, with it, existing citizens’ confidence in their government.
Contempt for Republicans: A number of Republican senators are evidently prepared to vote for this monstrosity on the grounds that if they don’t, alienated Hispanic voters will condemn them permanently to the minority. That fate will be a certainty if they do vote for it.
There is no persuasive evidence that Hispanic immigrants from cultures where government dependency is the norm will align with a party that professes to revere individual responsibility and seeks to shrink the welfare state. Republicans simply can’t outpander Democrats in appealing to such a constituency. What is evident, though, is that large numbers of conservatives and Republicans won’t vote for those who inflict this travesty upon our country.
Contempt for the American people: The sponsors of the latest amendment clearly think that the public, their constituents included, are no wiser to the ways of Washington than when “Obamacare” was foisted upon us. They contemptuously think we are too stupid to notice that once again we are being force-fed an obscenely voluminous bill, conjured up behind closed doors, with limited opportunities to read its contents before critical votes are taken and the promise that we will know what’s in it once it’s passed.
In his first Senate race in 1994, Rep. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, was running against a Democratic colleague, Rep. Dave McCurdy. Mr. McCurdy made the strategic error of showing contempt for his constituents at some hoity-toity public event “back east,” declaring that for folks in Oklahoma, quality entertainment is “sitting in a backyard with a six-pack of beer and a bug-zapper.” In the hands of the brilliant political strategist Fred Davis, a devastating ad’s tagline said: “If that’s what Dave McCurdy thinks of Oklahoma, let’s show Dave what we think of him.” In short order, the Democrat’s contemptuousness became the end of his political career.
Every senator who votes for the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven amendment and, thereby, helps to enact what can be described correctly only as immigration deform, is on notice: Later if not sooner, the American people will show them what we think of their serial contempt for all of us.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. was an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan. He is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the syndicated program Secure Freedom Radio.