Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Right now, the Senate is desperately trying to convince the American people that their immigration bill is something else — anything else — than what it is: a massive amnesty for all 15 million to 20 million illegal aliens without any meaningful enforcement provisions. This same open-borders crowd that has betrayed the American middle class for years is hoping to fool us again.

This “shamnesty” bill spells out the level of contempt the Senate has for middle-class Americans. This “comprehensive” bill includes:

• In-state tuition for illegal aliens. Your kid has to pay full freight if they cross state lines, but the illegal alien who broke into the country doesn’t.

• All temporary guest workers have to be paid the prevailing wage. American citizens do not have to be paid prevailing wage.

• All agricultural guest workers under this bill cannot be fired by their employers except for what the bill calls “just cause.” However, American agricultural workers can be fired for any reason.

• Illegal aliens are made eligible for Social Security. Not only will they receive retirement benefits, but their children will receive survivor benefits should the parents pass away. This is at a time when we are trying to keep Social Security solvent for the next generation.

• Expands the visa lottery program, which is itself a questionable way to make visa distribution decisions.

• Employers of illegal aliens get amnesty, too. Employers would be exempt from civil and criminal tax and criminal liability under immigration law. God forbid we hold employers accountable for helping illegal aliens break the law and being the magnet that has drawn them here for years.

• Taxpayer dollars to radical immigrant-rights groups so they can help illegal aliens adjust their status. Millions of your tax dollars will go to the same groups that organized those rallies where people who came here illegally waved foreign flags and thumbed their noses at our laws.

The Senate assures us we get “tough” border protections out of this bill, right? Wrong. The Basic Pilot Verification Program, which would force employers to check to see that a person has the right to work in America was gutted, the fencing provisions were gutted and the bill expands chain migration. Sen. Jeff Sessions did offer and pass an amendment to provide 370 miles of border fencing — half of what the House had offered. Sens. Sessions, David Vitter, Jon Kyl and John Cornyn have been heroic in attempting to salvage this bill — but gluing teeth and fur onto a duck doesn’t turn it into a bear.

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. We have had several amnesties since the big amnesty in 1986. The results have been an exponential increase in illegal immigration, burdening the taxpayer, crowding the schools, closing emergency rooms and providing a third of the prisoners in the federal prison system. The Senate bill, which would change the status of 15 million to 20 million from illegal to legal, is just “deja vu all over again.”

I know why Teddy Kennedy and his ilk want a bill that would bring in an estimated 60 million to 100 million people over the next 20 years: It is a ready source of new Democratic voters. Unskilled immigrants depend more on government services than they pay in, making them a natural Democrat constituency. On the other side of the equation, Republicans are beholden to the big-business, country club lobby. Their need for cheap labor trumps the need for strong enforcement and border control.

Middle-class Americans will be bowed and broken under this burden being piled on their shoulders. Americans need to hold their elected representatives accountable on this vote. If your representative in the House or Senate is not on your side, kick them out of office.

Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, is chairman of the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Committee on International Relations.

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