- The Washington Times - Friday, July 14, 2006

So bad is the Senate’s version of immigration reform that it has given birth to a whole cottage industry of analysts and journalists dedicated to exposing the bill’s more objectionable proposals. Their good work has shattered the premise of open-borders advocates that all they are attempting to do is to achieve a “comprehensive” immigration reform bill.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page, for instance, cited a poll that found that 75 percent of Republican voters support immigration reform “that combines increased border and workplace enforcement with a guest-worker system for newcomers and a multiyear path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here.” Of course, that’s not all the Senate bill does. What the Journal conveniently excludes from its analysis are proposals that have nothing to do with “comprehensive” reform as advocated by its supporters.

For example, as reporter Charles Hurt wrote Tuesday in this newspaper, the bill would prohibit state and local police from detaining illegal aliens for being in the country illegally. How does that devilish detail square with the oft-repeated bromides of the “comprehensive” reformers?

Next, Mr. Hurt reported how the Senate bill “would guarantee wages to some foreign workers that could be higher than those paid to American workers at the same work site,” according to the Senate Republican Policy Committee, which is highly critical of the bill. Add that to the Social Security benefits the bill grants to illegal workers and we have a foreign workforce with greater protections and more rights than the native one. Again, why haven’t any of the “comprehensive” reformers mentioned this?

In fact, it wasn’t until Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation concluded that the bill would bring in as many as 100 million new immigrants over the next 20 years that anyone on the “comprehensive” side even bothered to worry about numbers. A new report from Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies finds that the amnesty provisions alone in the bill would allow 14.4 million currently illegal aliens to gain legal status. By comparison, the total number of aliens thought to be residing in the United States is between 11 million and 12 million.

At best, the “comprehensive” reformers have simply ignored these details; at worst, they have actively sought to hide them. Yet for bringing these problems to the public’s attention, critics of the bill are accused of “xenophobia” and “racism” — two words Sen. Arlen Specter recently used. To which we substitute two of our own: honesty and sanity.

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