I can't let this month expire without noting that it's the 20th anniversary of Barbara Jordan's bipartisan Commission on Immigration Reform recommending a reduction in legal immigration to about 500,000 per year (it's twice that level today). After their release, President Clinton said the recommendations were "consistent with my own views," while White House press secretary Mike McCurry said: "the President indicated to Barbara Jordan today that he will support such reductions."
By March he'd flipped, opposing especially the cuts in family chain migration.
Jordan's death in January enabled Clinton to renege on his commitment, but it wasn't the cause. Instead, as the Boston Globe reported, Clinton's switch immediately followed "the most successful Asian-American political fund-raiser in history," hosted by none other than John Huang. Huang, you may recall, was a central figure in the campaign-finance scandal related to Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign; he was convicted on felony conspiracy charges for funneling foreign cash into the Clinton campaign's coffers. (A story on the scandal was the occasion of Roman Genn's inspired "Manchurian Candidates" cover for NR.)
Huang — the bagman for James Riady, an Indonesian citizen of Chinese origin with longstanding ties to ChiCom intelligence – sent Clinton a strongly worded memo days before the fund-raising event saying that preserving family chain migration was the "top priority" of the donors who would be gathering at the Hay Adams Hotel.
A few weeks later, the White House told Rep. Lamar Smith and Sen. Al Simpson, sponsors of the bills based on the Jordan Commission recommendations, that the president had changed his mind. "I never in my 18 years in Congress saw an issue that shifted so fast and so hard," Simpson said when informed by the Globe of the Huang memo and fundraiser. Smith said it was clear Clinton changed course "because he was more interested in political contributions. It now fits the pattern."
And the pattern continues.