There are two reasons why the powers that be in Washington, D.C., were eager to pass the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill, known officially as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), prior to the August break.
The Senate leadership knew that senators would face an onslaught of disgruntled constituents that would weaken their resolve. They also realized if S. 744 were allowed to languish it would be in jeopardy of dying due to apathy or increased public awareness.
S. 744 is doomed to fail because it merely repeats the same mistakes of the 1986 Immigration Law and the eight other amnesty bills passed by Congress since 1986. S. 744 lacks any real triggers (unbreakable commitments) and puts too much faith in partisan politicians:
We’ve been told this bill does not contain amnesty. The word amnesty is not used by senators supporting S. 744, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Numerous immigration policy experts agree that when you read the entire bill, the end result is amnesty with no real triggers. Jessica Vaughn, director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies has read the S. 744 and states that “It is highly unlikely that any of the bill’s promises of enforcement will be honored,” adding, “When you actually read the language of the bill, what you find out is that none of these security enhancements happens before the amnesty. The amnesty is still instant upon passage of the bill.”
One of the great lies in the S. 744 is the provision that “mandates” the achievement of at least 90 percent border security. But as the National Review pointed out, this provision is actually discretionary (translation: optional). It is left up to the Department of Homeland Security to decide if it has met the 90 percent security goal. And if the DHS determines it did not meet this optional goal, what then? Well, the DHS has to form a commission to study the problem.
Upon analysis of the much touted Corker-Hoeven amendment we know DHS doesn’t even have to start hiring new border patrol agents until 2017. Corker-Hoeven only gives DHS until 2021 to increase the number of agents by 20,000. Why is that an important detail? Because according to the National Association of Former Border Patrol Agents, this hiring process could take up to 20 years. Much like the 2006 law requiring a 700-mile border fence, it’s never going to happen.
We keep hearing that the border would be reinforced with real security fencing, but once again there are no real triggers to ensure the fencing requirement is met (just like 1986). The Corker-Hoeven amendment states that building a fence is left to the discretion of DHS. It is important to remember that fence security provision passed years ago with money attached to the task has been ignored by the Obama administration.
Paying fines and back taxes
Another misrepresentation is that criminal aliens seeking amnesty would be required to pay fines and back taxes. S. 744 clearly states this is left to the discretion of the DHS, and there are no real guidelines or triggers as to when and why waivers would be issued.
We were originally told this immigration bill would keep criminals out. That is patently false. S. 744 provides for the admission of criminal aliens into our country with up to three misdemeanor convictions. But once again, this provision can again be waived by DHS. Let’s not forget that many misdemeanors are plea bargained down from felonies, and that crimes such as habitual drunken driving, gang-related offenses, stalking, domestic assault, identity theft and child abuse will not stop a criminal alien from being granted legal status.
The fiscal impact
Supporters peddled the delusion that passage of S. 744 would be a financial gain for the United States. Supporters produced a CBO report to back their claim. The problem is that, as with all CBO reports, they only address the data on the paper in front of them. In an analysis of the CBO report, FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) pointed out numerous flaws regarding the CBO report, including (from the report):
S. 744 would result in a deficit reduction by $197 billion by 2023, but this would only be achieved if the Social Security and Medicare “trust funds” were raided, which would bankrupt these programs in the future, something the CBO failed to acknowledge.
The CBO score affirmed the negative economic effects of mass immigration will continue: higher unemployment and lower wages for American workers, higher profits for corporations and growing income inequality.
In the end we will never solve our immigration issues if we continue down the same path we have been walking, as S.744 does. The right laws are important, but enforcement of those laws is paramount.