Dead on Arrival

By Mark Krikorian on December 15, 2009

Not all change is reform. Sometimes the status quo is better than proposed changes, and the new Democratic amnesty bill is a case in point.

I haven't seen the full text of the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009" (CIR ASAP) yet, but the immigration lawyers' think tank has a pretty detailed summary (in pdf here), which would suggest that they wrote the bill, and it shows. The "border security" section is larded with the appearance of action without any real action: "formalize a national strategy," "Creates a Southern Border Security Task Force," "take an inventory," "additional training," "requiring a study." In fact, the section takes a big step backward by suspending Operation Streamline, which prosecutes all illegal crossers along certain stretches of the border.

The bill limits authorities' ability to detain illegal aliens (the subject of a House hearing last week at which I testified), and seeks to curb enforcement activities. I liked this especially: "Ensures social service agencies, translators, and legal services are available during enforcement activities, and establishes access to legal orientation programs for all detained immigrants." That's all we need — "legal orientation programs" for illegal aliens.

The measure would also scrap the current successful E-Verify system and establish a totally new electronic verification system, ensuring that it will be years and years before there's a functioning system, which is the point. It would hugely increase legal immigration by exempting from the ostensible "cap" on numbers more and more categories, including the spouses and children of green-card holders (only those of citizens are now unlimited). The result would be an increase in legal immigration of hundreds of thousands each year. The amnesty is, of course, laughably loose, including among its few requirements that immigrants "attest to having made contributions to the U.S. through employment, education, military service, or other volunteer/community service." Well, who would attest otherwise?

In addition to being comically over-the-top, the measure isn't likely to gain even the support of the right wing of the open-borders coalition because it hews to Big Labor's line and doesn't include a big "temporary" labor program. Now, that's about the only thing good about it for me, but Jeff Flake condemned the bill immediately for this reason, which is a sign of how little support there's likely to be for it.

This bill is more evidence, if we needed any, that the White House and the congressional Democrats aren't serious about actually passing an amnesty and are instead just stringing along the Hispanic groups and the lefties.

If you enjoyed this blog, please visit our HR 4321 overview page.