The key to understanding the massive immigration bill passed by the Senate and pending in the House is to know how the legislative process actually works these days, as opposed to abstract classroom theories.
By far the most important thing to know about the bill is that there is virtually no connection between the talking points used to promote it and what is in the legislation. This may seem hard to believe, and difficult to do in practice, but is possible because so few people in Congress read the legislation on which they're voting.
This is especially true these days with some Republican members of the Senate. Exhibit A is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), one of the "gang of eight" who sponsored the proposal to begin with and has defended it in numerous TV appearances. McCain has made it clear that he doesn't know what's in the bill, even though his name is on it and he's been a vocal supporter of it.
The point emerged a few weeks back in a CNSNews.com interview with McCain concerning a section of the bill relating to the forging of passports. This says three such forgeries could get an individual in trouble, implying that two wouldn't be a problem. Asked about this strange proviso, McCain said "I cannot tell you that it is part of the bill"-though it all too plainly is (section 3707).
Of course, one way to know what's in the bill would be to read it, but McCain and other busy senators (with stalwart exceptions like Alabama's Jeff Sessions, a bill opponent) typically don't do this. The non-reading problem was made more acute this time around because of the bill's enormous size --more than 1,100 pages--with 200 of these dumped into it late on a Friday to be called up for votes on Monday.
If McCain and other GOP supporters of the bill still don't know what's in it, they could ask Obama White House adviser Cecilia Munoz, who presided over a boiler-room operation in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, guiding the legislation through the Senate, drafting amendments and talking points for debaters. We may be sure Ms. Munoz and her team know what's in the bill, since not only have they read it, they all too obviously wrote it.
They would know, for instance, that the measure is a Magna Carta for illegal aliens, containing numerous protections, waivers, appeals, stays of deportation and other provisos that would benefit illegals. It also contains hundreds of millions in federal grants to fund and empower "immigrant-serving" groups that would guide illegals through the system. Likewise included are the DREAM act (citizenship for illegals of whatever age who allegedly came here before they were 16), sanctuaries where illegals can't be arrested, and language turning any detainees over to "immigrant serving" organizations for safekeeping.
Equally to the point, the bill contains provisos that would swell the number of illegals on the "path to citizenship" from an estimated 11 million now in the country to 30, 40 million or more in the future. These clauses include "chain immigration" that would legalize the spouses and children of illegals and "blue card" work visas that could be converted to legal status in a hurry - adding still more new immigrant-citizens to the total.
These clauses are the real payload of the legislation, as the millions thus added to the rolls would radically alter the balance of our political/economic system. The Hispanic vote for the past three decades has gone 70 percent or so Democratic, and a Pew Research poll this year finds the illegals tilted as much as eight-to-one in the same direction. If these millions of voters-in-waiting can be enfranchised, the Democrats may never lose another election.
In all these aspects, the bill closely tracks the agenda of pro-immigrant lobbying groups, the most prominent of which (though one of many) is LaRaza, a long-time promoter of amnesty for illegals and opponent of existing immigration laws. The tie-in is perhaps not surprising since Cecilia Munoz, the Obama staffer dealing with such issues and guiding genius of the legislation, is a former official of LaRaza.
Given the above, one wonders how Republicans supporting the bill-most notably Florida Sen. Marco Rubio-can tout it as "tough, conservative" legislation. The answer to this puzzle lies in features of the bill that supposedly provide for tougher security at the border-a theme pounded home in countless radio/tv spots saying "border security comes first" in the legislation- backed by requirements to build new border fencing and the commissioning of 20,000 new border agents.
On inspection, however, each of these provisos comes with an escape hatch that would make it de facto meaningless. Thus, the commitment to "border security first" simply says that if and when the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies the "commencement" of a border security "strategy," this would trigger the process of converting illegals to legals. In short, amnesty-legalization first, border security later (if ever).
Likewise, as to specifics concerning the fence and deployment of 20,000 new agents. The section about fence-building blandly says, at the end, "nothing in this section shall require the secretary to install fencing" at any location along the border if she (or he) thinks it's not "appropriate" to do so. Viewing the track record of this administration on border security issues it's not hard to guess how that would be decided.
Finally, the much-touted 20,000 new agents that supposedly ensured passage of the Senate bill turn out to be elusive also. The bill says this number will be deployed "not later than September 30, 2021" - eight years in the future. How many more millions of illegals will be launched on the "path to citizenship" by then can readily be imagined.
The Senate bill, in short, is and has been a stealth operation from start to finish. The "immigrant-serving" parts are real, many, and amazing, but the supposedly tough, conservative parts are bogus-meant to hoodwink people who don't read the bills, and in the Senate obviously succeeding.