Amnesty Encore: The Bipartisan Fix Is in for an Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants as Part of a Larger Scheme to Build a North American "Security Perimeter."

By Grigg, William Norman | The New American, June 13, 2005 | Go to article overview

Amnesty Encore: The Bipartisan Fix Is in for an Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants as Part of a Larger Scheme to Build a North American "Security Perimeter."


Grigg, William Norman, The New American


The American public endures countless lectures regarding the perils of political "gridlock," which supposedly inhibits government's ability to make our lives better. However, sober political observers quickly realize that while gridlock can be frustrating, cooperation across the congressional aisle can be downright deadly. Though partisan acrimony is usually distasteful, the purring rhetoric of bipartisan agreement generally serves as an overture for an assault on the electorate.

Such is the case with the so-called Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, introduced on May 12 by its chief Senate sponsors, John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), and by its chief House sponsor, Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.). The McCain/Kennedy bill adapts key elements of President Bush's January 2004 "immigration reform" proposal, which offered (in Mr. Bush's words) "legal status, as temporary workers, to the millions of undocumented men and women now employed in the United States, and to those in foreign countries who seek to participate in the program and have been offered employment here."

Although the president and his allies fiercely object to the description of Mr. Bush's proposal as an "amnesty," the term is an inescapable fit. The same must be said of the McCain/Kennedy proposal as well, which would permit illegal aliens to enroll in a phased program to achieve citizenship. Those wishing to take advantage of the amnesty would--after paying a $2,000 fee and meeting other minimal qualifications--receive a six-year temporary work permit, after which they could apply for permanent residency. Five years later they would qualify for full-fledged citizenship.

Thus the measure would legalize millions of people who chose to violate our nation's immigration laws--at the expense of millions of others who have quietly complied with those laws. McCain/ Kennedy would also immediately expand the number of family-sponsored green cards to a formal annual limit of 480,000. However, Title VI of the measure effectively eradicates that limit by exempting "immediate relatives of U.S. citizens" from that tally.

That provision is almost certain to result in radically expanded use of the "anchor baby" gambit. Children of illegal immigrants born in the United States are, in the words of a recent Supreme Court decision, "presumed American citizens." Under Title VI of McCain/Kennedy, the parents would therefore automatically qualify for green cards in the name of "family unity."

It should also be understood that the proposed amnesty itself will draw huge numbers of unemployed aliens to our country. President Bush's January 7, 2004 speech outlining his amnesty proposal created a huge "amnesty rush" at the southern border. Border Patrol agents reported that many of the illegal immigrants apprehended made specific mention of the amnesty proposal.

Amnesty Begets Amnesty

While McCain/Kennedy is unmistakably the progeny of the Bush amnesty proposal, its lineage goes back nearly 20 years. Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies observes that the current "reform" proposal is, in essence, "the same as the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act: amnesty up front for millions of illegal aliens in exchange for paltry promises of future enforcement--promises that will quickly be abandoned."

"There was a sense then that the law was a grand bargain--closing the back door by prohibiting the employment of illegal immigrants ... but tying up the loose ends of prior policy missteps with an amnesty," recalls Krikorian. Based on the 1986 amnesty, we now understand that amnesty creates more "loose ends" than it ties up.

McCain/Kennedy would also create a new temporary visa category--H5-A--"to allow foreign workers to enter and fill available jobs that require few or no skills," according to the official summary. The initial annual limit on H5-A visas will be 400,000, but it will "be gradually adjusted up or down based on demand in subsequent years. …

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