Congress obsesses over amnesty
Published 10:11 am Wednesday, November 29, 2017
by Joe Guzzardi
One year ago, 63 million Americans elected Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States. Energized by candidate Trump’s pledge to enforce America’s immigration laws and restore an immigration system that works for citizens, voters pulled off a historic defeat of mainstream candidate Hillary Clinton, an avowed open borders advocate.
Had the 63 million been asked 12 months ago where they would set the odds of a congressional illegal immigrant amnesty being the Trump White House’s first major bill to pass the House and Senate, the consensus would have been around 5-1 against. But the long odds would have maximized election night’s euphoria, minimized Congress’ amnesty obsession, misjudged the swamp’s depth, and miscalculated Capitol Hill’s indifference to the people’s will.
The mere hint that the Republican majority might cooperate with a Democratic-led charge for amnesty is a brazen insult to the electoral mandate, and shows contemptuous disregard for President Trump.
Yet, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a 99-pound weakling on immigration, admitted in an MSNBC interview that he and Republican leadership “are not necessarily opposed to” a deferred action for childhood arrivals, the 700,000 DACAs to whom in 2012 President Obama unilaterally granted work authorization, Social Security numbers and other affirmative benefits.
To measure how unpopular DACA/DREAM Act amnesties are, consider that since 2001 when retiring Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) first introduced the original legislation, Congress has defeated 24 various versions. Amnesties are popular in Congress. But when the representatives try to peddle amnesty in their home districts, they’re met with fierce backlash.
Apprehension about amnesty is well-founded. In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act promised that three million would be amnestied. But after immigration agencies completed the final count, about 12 million were legalized. This time around, congressional and immigration activists insist that since only 700,000 DACAs would be given legal permanent status and eventual citizenship, no one should argue. But the DACA amnesty is a stalking horse for a bigger prize, a DREAM Act that would adjust three million aliens’ immigration status.
Many more would eventually benefit from either DACA or DREAM amnesties. If passed, assuming the chain migration multiplier average of 4.2 persons petitioned per amnestied individual, 3.8 million and 17.4 million new immigrants would arrive through DACA or DREAM, respectively, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Either of the two amnesties would hurt young American workers. The average DACA/DREAM age is mid-20s. The DACAs and DREAMers would enter the workforce to compete directly with unemployed and under-employed American kids of the same age. American youth unemployment is near 10 percent and under-employment, near 20 percent. Only a harshly indifferent Congress could knowingly diminish American youths’ futures with such cynical, pro-illegal immigrant legislation.
President Trump, who reneged on his promise to end DACA on his administration’s first day, and thereby created the mess that today engulfs him, needs to act firmly and swiftly. The president must tell Congress in no uncertain terms that amnesty legislation that hits his desk will be promptly vetoed unless it includes mandatory E-Verify and an end to chain migration which President Trump has repeatedly railed against.
If President Trump waivers, imagine the terrible optics. His administration couldn’t repeal and replace Obamacare and is struggling with tax reform, but could pass amnesty! Incumbents vying for 2018 re-election, take note before casting a yea vote on amnesty. Back home, amnesty is a non-starter.
JOE GUZZARDI is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.