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March 23, 2006
Hillary: Immigration Enforcement Would Criminalize Jesus

Senator Hillary Clinton finally weighed in on the immigration debate yesterday by scolding the Republicans for focusing on border enforcement rather than an amnesty program. She told an audience of immigrant leaders in New York that Republicans would have criminalized the Good Samaritan and probably Jesus as well:

Accusing Republicans of betraying family values, Senator Clinton said a House immigration bill would turn "probably even Jesus himself" into a criminal.

A relative latecomer to the charged immigration debate, Mrs. Clinton yesterday spoke passionately to a gathering of a broad spectrum of New York's immigrant leaders. Her comments come amid a local groundswell of activity in preparation for a Senate vote Monday that is expected to determine the nature of immigration reform. ...

Mrs. Clinton, who previously said the bill would move America toward a "police state," also invoked biblical language yesterday. "It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures," Mrs. Clinton said, "because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan."

Hillary has all the chutzpah of her husband and almost none of his deft political touch. This speech sounds exactly as if a marketing firm designed it. One can almost hear the debate around the table: "She needs to reference religion more." "Hillary has to connect with the base." "She needs to be more aggressive in attacking Republicans." At this point, one of the young geniuses would leap to his/her feet and say, "Eureka! Let's have her slam Republicans for turning Biblical figures into criminals with their immigration policy!"

Hillary also has a problem with her "understanding of Scriptures", which her speechwriting committee seems to highlight. The Good Samaritan did not cross international borders to assist the victim in the parable; he came from another community in Israel, albeit one held in low regard by other Israelites. Neither did Jesus, who traveled through what is now the West Bank region and Jerusalem but at the time was all part of Israel. Then, as now, nations enforced borders (especially in wartime) and threw out those who entered illegally -- if the offenders were lucky enough not to be killed. Furthermore, if Jesus wanted to come to the United States and preach, He would find this nation to be among the easiest to enter for that purpose, and I doubt that He would find it necessary to dodge the Border Patrol in New Mexico or Texas to do it.

And just for the rhetorical record, unless someone plans on finding the bones of the Good Samaritan and putting him on trial -- or banning the Bible -- it's impossible to "literally" criminalize him. That's sloppy thinking and speaking, and one would expect a lawyer of Hillary's caliber to know that.

In fact, since illegal immigration is already illegal, the new House bill doesn't "criminalize" anyone that isn't already a criminal. (What does Hillary think the term "illegal immigration" means, anyway?) It sets the violation as a felony instead of a misdemeanor, which seems more appropriate in an age where terrorists seek infiltration into the country. It also allows for easier deportation and doesn't grant amnesty on the basis of America being too lazy to enforce its own laws.

Perhaps a guest worker program would be a good idea; I am not opposed to it in principle. However, implementing such a plan as a way to reward people who have entered illegally sends the wrong message -- and as we found out twenty years ago, it only attracts more illegals. As the descendant of immigrants on all sides of my family (I'm 3rd-generation on my mother's side), I have enormous respect for those who risked everything to build a better life for themselves and their children by coming to America. The difference is that they did so while obeying the laws of the country they admired. Illegal immigrants start off their relationship with America by cheating and breaking our laws, and in doing so reflect poorly on those who followed the law to enter.

Now the Democrats, led by Hillary and Harry Reid (who has threatened to filibuster any immigration reform that doesn't include amnesty for illegals already in the country), want to eliminate border enforcement and controls on immigration by taking away all consequences of breaking our laws. That is a stunningly foolish position to take at any time, but while we fight international terrorists who aim to put terror cells in our communities for future attacks, it's suicidal. We need less of The Gospel According To The Clintons and more sanity in our border enforcement.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 23, 2006 6:12 AM

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