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STEIN: Not just a diversion, immigration-reform is a cynical, corrupt sellout
Watching the ill-fated Obamacare rollout should remind us of the folly of enacting massive "reform" bills that nobody has read or fully understands.
Apparently, the lesson has been lost on the unholy alliance between extremists on the left and corporate activist CEOs bent on grinding the face of labor. They began gathering near Washington's Lafayette Square on Oct. 28 for a "fly-in" to lobby for passage of the Schumer-McCain Senate immigration-amnesty bill.
It's a safe bet that most of them don't really know or care what's in the legislation, other than that there's something tucked in there for them. What they don't grasp is the magnitude of the policy and political calamity represented by the bill in its entirety.
It's a symptom of our age that professional lobbyists are recruited to advance legislation on behalf of those with a narrow agenda at the expense of true public interests. Selfish motives, craven partisan vote-getting schemes, these and more lie behind the madcap push to advance an immigration bill demonstrably damaging to American workers, families and future generations.
The "fly-in" is sponsored by the National Immigration Forum, which receives extensive funding from George Soros. There is a curious irony in the fact that many of the organizations desperately pushing a so-called immigration-reform bill through Congress are the very same people and groups that got us in this mess in the first place.
Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and National Immigration Forum have opposed needed immigration improvements that, after 1986, would have prevented the next wave of illegal immigration. Others, like Big Agriculture and food processors, are also demanding a huge pass for decades of criminal illegal recruiting and hiring.
They want to push a House version of the Senate-passed Schumer-McCain amnesty bill, which is nothing more than a reward to unscrupulous politicians and employers. The bill President Obama calls "comprehensive immigration reform" is simply the product of strategic drafting by a range of interests that seek to profit from mass illegality and fraud. The legislation either reinforces that fraud or institutionalizes very unwise policies that are, under current law, the result of that fraud.
Passing a law like this must be considered against the backdrop of the virtual collapse of federal immigration enforcement generally. The Obama administration has made a mockery of our immigration policies by refusing to enforce laws Congress has enacted and implementing laws Congress has rejected. What he has been unable to achieve through executive fiat, he has sought to accomplish by bullying political opponents, federal employees, and state and local governments.
This cannot be allowed. Enacting a mass amnesty without at least confronting the president's abuse of discretion and other power grabs would be unconscionable. The alleged border-security provisions contained in the bill are an insult to the public. Other than waste a lot of taxpayers money, nothing will change. Even if more border agents would help, the bill's hundreds of new waivers, delegations and loopholes gives our immigration-control structure the appearance of wormwood.
Balanced policymaking would never have produced the Schumer-McCain amnesty bill. This craven deal aligns the far left with various business and academic sectors in a virtual feeding frenzy of special-interest arrangements already proven to drive Main Street Americans further into the shadows while bankrupting the most vulnerable and weak.
Since 1991, there has been a consensus that illegal immigration needs to be stopped and legal immigration levels dramatically reduced. In state after state, Americans have voted, encouraged and demanded that politicians make the needed changes that would have prevented the last three decades of illegal immigration — improvements like document security, E-Verify, state-local cooperation and enforced deterrents to visa overstays.
The Schumer-McCain amnesty bill should be seen for what it is: a naked partisan power grab and a corrupt use of immigration policy for ideological and partisan gain. It must be stopped now. The House should start over in 2015 with true reforms that would ensure the nation's laws are respected and that those who break the law are not rewarded.
Congress may be oblivious to the symbolism of a bunch of millionaires and billionaires descending on Washington in their Gulfstreams to demand that immigration policies be changed to their liking. To most Americans, it is yet another reminder of the deep dysfunction that has earned Congress its 8 percent approval rating.
Dan Stein is president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
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