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May 21, 2007

Immigration News

Dean Barnett fields questions:

9) So whatís the political fall-out from all of this?

Oddly enough, the Democrats will skate free for doing something thatís so contrary to the wishes of their base. Thatís the benefit of being a party that really only cares about hating its opposition. As Markos Moulitsas has repeatedly pointed out, even the Democratsí most enthusiastic supporters arenít particularly rigid in their ideology, primarily because they donít have an ideology.

As for the Republicans, even if this bill dies, the scars from this battle will linger. The Republican base at this moment has absolutely no faith in its leaders. The fact that our favorite Senator, John Kyl, mid-wifed this bill is sobering. And I donít even want to talk about what will happen to the Republican Party if this bill becomes law.

10) Come on Ė talk about it.

Okay. It will mean nothing less than the end of the party as weíve come to know it.

11) How about the effect of this on the presidential race?

Well, John McCain is done. Itís over for him. This is one thumb in the eye that the base will not forget. And the fact that he swooped back into DC to try to shove this bill down Congressí throat after the Republican base had already manned the barricades wonít win him any new friends.

The Bush White House continues displaying its mad political skillz by putting out the word that anyone who's against this is a hard-hearted bigot who favors the death penalty for poor brown people just trying to feed their babies.

There's nothing we conservatives enjoy more than being called genocidal racists by a president we voted for.

An article tallies up the Senators who've gone on record and finds that many are on the fence. And -- bonus! -- the bill's big plus, that of drawing "undocumented workers out of the shadows," might not even pay off, as illegal workers may find the fine and other requirements too onerous and may remain, get this, still in the shadows.

On that last point, let me say that the White House is defining this "out of the shadows" business as if that's the critical problem that needs addressing. When all you have is a hammer, define your problem as a nail, even it if isn't. Amnesty won't solve the real problems of uncontrolled illegal immigration -- such as, you know, uncontrolled illegal immigration; indeed, it will exacerbate the real problem by encouraging monkeys-running-amok-in-your-ass gonzo uncontrolled illegal immigration.

So Bush claims the big, big problem we've had all these years is not that we've had tens of millions of illegal immigrants in our country straining public services, ignoring important laws about taxes and auto insurance, and driving down wages for and taking jobs from actual American. No, that's not the problem -- the problem is really that illegal immigrants have been doing all these things in the shadows. Now they'll be straining public services, ignoring important laws, and driving down wages for and taking jobs away from long-time Americans in the sunshine.

And isn't sunshine a good thing? Who doesn't like a nice, healthy bronze tan?

Meanwhile, what Americans have generally considered to be the actual problem gets entirely ignored.

David Frum agrees that Bush's clumsy legacy-building will build a hell of a legacy indeed: the likely permanency of the Republican minority, whether or not this abomination passes or not:

1) The typical (median) American worker has seen his income stagnate under George W. Bush. Immigration is not the only reason for this wage stagnation, but it is certainly one of the reasons. With this immigration bill, the GOP is telling hard-pressed workers: Go look to somebody else to help you.

2) As complicated as this immigration deal is, it rests on a simple compromise: The Democrats get the amnesty they want - in exchange for the Republicans getting the guest-worker program they want. By identifying the guestworker program as the GOP's highest immigration priority, the deal also identifies the GOP as a party that in the crunch puts employers' interests first.

3) Even before the deal, Democrats entered the 2008 cycle unified and energized; Republicans, divided and demoralized. The president and the senators have now managed to divide and demoralize their party even further.

4) The deal scrambles the 2008 race, in ways deeply unhelpful to the party. The deal has wounded all three of the GOP front-runners: McCain because he is deeply implicated in it; Giuliani because he has tacitly endorsed it; Romney because it has added one more flip-flop to his already too lengthy list of reversals. The deal helps the two undeclared Republicans, Gingrich and Thompson - both of whom, alas, are much less electable on a national ticket than the three declared front-runners.


6) As we have seen in both the Harriet Miers fight and the Dubai ports deal, this White House's first instinct when faced with dissent in the ranks is to insult and abuse its strongest supporters. "Sexist"; "elitist"; "registered bigots" were some of the terms cast during the previous fights. Brace yourselves for much, much worse. This is no way to win friends and influence people. And triggering an internecine party conflict on the eve of a difficult and dangerous election is no way to re-elect a damaged incumbent party.

BTW, Frum's prediction was just proven true.


8) The deal will worsen Republican prospects among Hispanic voters. Over the years, the Republicans have done not too badly with Hispanics, typically winning about 35%-40% of the Hispanic vote as compared to under 10% of the black vote.

Republicans have done so well because until now, the highly diverse Hispanic population has not voted as an ethnic bloc. Now we ourselves are forcing that to change. It's as if this Republican president and these Republican senators have said, "Hmm. Can we invent an issue that will teach Cuban-American doctors, Honduran day laborers, and Mexican-American army officers to think of themselves as a unified ethnic group? Can we then provoke a fight that all of them (whatever their diverging practical interests) will treat as a symbol of acceptance in American society? And can we then stage-manage this fight to ensure that two-thirds of our party will have no choice but to fall on the wrong side of it?"

Nice work, guys.

And he makes this point:

Immigration hawk bloggers and broadcasters have been pounding at the Senate immigration deal from the minute it was announced. It was Mickey Kaus who first noticed that illegals will no longer be expected to pay back taxes. The immigration amnesty is now also a tax amnesty.

Hugh Hewitt deciphered the bill's arcane and often deeply misleading structure to discover that it grants immediate legal status to almost all illegals. All the tough talk about enforcement is a cover: It's amnesty first, enforcement later or never.


Given time, we will learn much much more. But time is the thing that the bill's proponents are determined to deny. Here is the most important domestic legislation since - what? welfare reform? the Kemp-Roth tax cut? Medicare? - and the country has been given a weekend to think it over. The Senate wants to impose cloture this coming week.

Actually, we don't have that, as the bill isn't finished yet, and will most likely be voted on before it's released publically, or even read by most Senators.

Kaus continues blogging like a Warrior-Poet, as William Wallace would say:

President Bush in an address from the Oval Office a year ago:

I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, to pay their taxes, to learn English, and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship ...

Forget that part about the taxes. The Bush administration actually asked that the provision requiring payment of back taxes be dropped from the bill, and it was taken out. Kennedy had it in! ...

P.S.: White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said:

Determining the past tax liability would have been very difficult and costly and extremely time consuming.

Try that "difficult and time consuming" excuse out on the IRS if you're a U.S. citizen and see how far it gets you. ...

Someone else -- Instapundit, maybe -- suggested that all current US citizens should immediately file for Z Visas in order to get out of any previous tax difficulties. Or even future ones. Who knows what amazing goodies the ultimate bill will contain.

Keep scanning down, lots of good stuff at Kaus. Like, gee willickers, isn't it funny that Bush's favoribility crumbles everytime he pushes this?

Lastly, about that F-You dust-up between Cornyn and McCain. (read down to "What about the substance?") Powerline says that it was all due to Cornyn's insistence on genuine internal enforcement, and and end to the catch-and-release policy. That stuff was in previous versions of various bills, and had always been in the mix of the "compromise," but Ted Kennedy wanted it removed and so he got it removed. At which point McCain started cursing about Senators daring to interfere in the legislative process.

McCain's cursing worked -- no longer is there any such provision in the "compromise" at actually catching and deporting the future illegal immigrants in a speedy manner, rather than issuing them "notices to appear" in immigration courts which are almost never actually obeyed. (Indeed, the notices are called "notices to disappear" or "notices to abscond" by folks in the immigration-law community.)

That's all the news I can think of right now.

The pressure must be kept on. Even Senators who are against the bill -- like Jeff Sessions -- are not promising to filibuster it, and a filibuster may be needed. If only to slow the process so that the American public has at least a few months to figure out what the hell this still-being-written bill actually says. Good guys like Sessions have to be pressured to commit to a filibuster, at least for a decent amount of time. We don't want to punch up our allies too much, but simply voting "Nay" on the bill while voting "Yay" for cloture will likely result in this abomination being passed.

The Senate is really the only place this can possibly be stopped. Iron Nancy can do what she wants in the House, and El Presidente Chimphalliburton is going to sign anything that gives him his amnesty legacy.

They're trying to sneak this past us all -- in the shadows, as it turns out -- because they know what a thorough examination of the bill will reveal.

After all, there's so much momentum behind this bill. There are literally hundreds of Americans who support the Bush-McCain-Kennedy compromise.

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posted by Ace at 01:19 PM

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