On first appraisal, the amnesty/immigration bill before the Senate looks pretty bad. On a more careful comb-through, clause by clause, it looks much worse - like a complete disaster. It also looks like a massive venture in deception.
Consider the oft-repeated claim that, under the bill, 11 million plus illegal immigrants now in the U.S. won't get legal status unless and until the border with Mexico is secure. This claim has been incessantly made by backers of the measure who call it "tough, conservative" legislation.
Thus, a former official in the second Bush administration flatly tells us, "The bill's path to citizenship doesn't open until the border is secured." The same claim is made in radio/tv ads in conservative media markets, featuring one-time tea party favorite, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the main Republican spokesman for the bill.
These commercials are funded by a Silicon Valley group calling itself "Americans for a Conservative Direction," though conservatism isn't evident otherwise in Silicon Valley political projects, which tilt heavily to Obama. One radio spot says of the bill's approach, "it all begins with border security," while a TV commercial featuring Rubio states, beneath his picture, "establish border security first." Similar claims have been made innumerable times in the run-up to Senate voting.
That these statements are completely false can be seen by anyone who bothers to read the legislation.
In fact, all the bill requires is that the Secretary of Homeland Security submit a "strategy" for securing the border, then certify that steps to implement this are "commencing." These paper pledges would trigger the processing of applications for "provisional immigrant" status that would in essence legalize illegals.
The bogus nature of this "conservative" ad campaign was on full display last week in two rather startling developments involving Rubio in person. On June 13, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) submitted an amendment to the bill saying the border must demonstrably be secure before the legalization of illegals can happen. This was summarily rejected by a vote of 57-to-43, refusing to put into the bill the very thing its backers say is in it.
Interestingly, only five Republican senators voted against the Grassley effort to toughen the legislation - and one of these five was none other than Rubio himself. Thus, the main spokesman telling us the bill is an exercise in "toughness" voted to make sure it wasn't.
And, just to make things crystal clear, Rubio on the previous Sunday gave an interview to Spanish-language television, saying the exact reverse of what is said by the "conservative" commercials in which he's featured. Contrary to the claim that "it all starts with border security," Rubio explicitly said, "First comes legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border."
(In fact, Rubio has made comments to this effect before, but these had not been loud and clear enough to break through the bogus rhetoric of "toughness.")
Quite apart from Rubio 's bilingual double talk, the bill itself says in so many words that a lack of border security is expected by its sponsors, since provision is made for that very outcome. The legislation says that if, five years out, the border is not secure, a special commission will be set up to look into the matter ( a commission that, on the language of the bill, would be toothless).
Also, even if border security could somehow be established, that wouldn't remedy the countless defects of the legislation. It is shot through with provisos that would swell the number of aliens on a "path to citizenship" to three or four times the 11 million illegals now in the country (if that is, in fact, the true number). Most obvious of these are "chain immigration" aspects that will bring in and legalize the spouses and children of illegals, but there are many others of like nature.
One such is a "blue card" (temporary, eight- year) work visa, which might not be a problem in itself, but links to other features. Once here, these workers could qualify for "provisional" immigrant status, just like the illegals, and thus get on the citizenship pathway also. Further, if a future illegal gets apprehended, he can escape removal by requesting "blue card" status for up to two and a half years after the rule is final. Thus, hesto-presto, would future illegals be made legal.
The bill is otherwise riddled with clauses that would help illegals avoid removal, get into the country to begin with, seek "provisional" status, apply for naturalization, ask stays of judgment, and game the system in general. One of the words appearing most often in the bill is "waiver," closely followed by "appeals" "stays," "reviews" and "exceptions": A thicket of legalisms that could and undoubtedly would be used to thwart enforcement.
It's, of course, unlikely that a Spanish-speaking immigrant who walks across the border from Mexico would know anything of these legal complexities, but the drafters have foreseen that problem also. The bill sets up a fund, amounting to $50 million (with more money to be added as needed), to represent illegals in every phase of the process - seeking provisional immigration status, filing appeals, blocking efforts at deportation, obtaining naturalization, and so on.
And who might be the people funded by this $50 million? They will be - surprise - non-profit "immigrant-serving" organizations "whose staff has demonstrated qualifications, experience and expertise in providing quality services to immigrants." In short, the money is a slush fund for La Raza, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund and similar outfits whose stock in trade is fighting against immigration laws, and gaming the immigration system (and who probably wrote the legislation to begin with).
So much for "tough, conservative" law-making - and so much for Marco Rubio as a conservative leader on this (or any other) issue.