Yesterday's twice-delayed White House pep rally for amnesty offered no surprises, other than the exclusion of Steve King, who's just, you know, the ranking Republican on the House immigration subcommittee. In fact, despite the meeting's billing as broadly inclusive, only three of the 30 members of Congress there were opposed to amnesty: Sen. Jeff Sessions and Reps. Lamar Smith and Heath Shuler.
But a couple things were notable:
* McCain's still for amnesty, obviously, but he's digging in his heels insisting that it be coupled with massive increases in future immigration (packaged as a "temporary" worker program). This is because the two main labor federations, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win (led by the SEIU) have agreed to oppose the inclusion of any guestworker programs in an amnesty bill. What they're backing instead is a standing commission to determine future levels of immigration. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the other cheap-labor lobbyists are rightly concerned that this is a bait-and-switch just like they pulled on us with regard to enforcement in 1986; in other words, the lefties would get their amnesty up front, and business would get promises of future cheap labor — promises that they fear would be abandoned. The unions haven't really switched back to the restrictionist side, but the logic of reduced immigration is inescapable, even for the culturally leftist post-Americans in charge of organized labor today.
* Some of the comments after the meeting by amnesty supporters were hyperbolic in their sense of urgency. For instance, from Reuters:
If Congress cannot meet that deadline, "we may not get to do it for a generation," Schumer said.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, also said he saw only "one more chance" to pass a bill because of the political heat that immigration reform stirs up.
"If we can't get it done this time around, no politician is going to take this up in a generation. That would be a shame for this country," Graham said.
Assuming this isn't just political spin, I'm not sure what they're so worried about. Either they're afraid that enforcement really can reduce the overall illegal population, in which case the problem would seem to be that they don't want any illegals to go home (which I suspect is the case). Or, if there's no stepped-up enforcement (or if enforcement doesn't work, despite evidence to the contrary), then the failure of another big amnesty push would simply result in continued growth of the illegal population, giving amnesty boosters plenty of opportunities to revisit the issue, long before a "generation" passes.
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