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April 13, 2006
Getting A Head Start On Amnesty

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

Just as with the amnesty program that Simpson-Mazzoli gave us in 1986, the Senate's plan to track guest workers into American citizenship has had an effect on illegal immigration, but not the one the Senate intended. MS-NBC reports that border crossings have jumped in the past few days as people attempt to get into the country in time to take advantage of this latest flavor of amnesty:

At a shelter overflowing with migrants airing their blistered feet, Francisco Ramirez nursed muscles sore from trekking through the Arizona desert — a trip that failed when his wife did not have the strength to go on.

He said the couple would rest for a few days, then try again, a plan echoed by dozens reclining on rickety bunk beds and carpets tossed on the floor after risking violent bandits and the harsh desert in unsuccessful attempts to get into the United States.

The shelter’s manager, Francisco Loureiro, said he has not seen such a rush of migrants since 1986, when the United States allowed 2.6 million illegal residents to get American citizenship. ...

Maria Valencia, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said the rise in detentions did not necessarily mean more people were crossing. She attributed at least some of the additional arrests to an increase in the number of Border Patrol agents. ...

But Loureiro, who has managed the shelter for 24 years, said the debate in Congress has triggered a surge in migrants. In March, 2,000 migrants stayed at the shelter — 500 more than last year.

This illustrates perfectly why immigration reform cannot take place without first securing the border, a fatal flaw in the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. That plan also gave a track for citizenship to the three million illegals living in the US at the time, and Congress promised to pass stricter border control later. We naturalized the three million immigrants, and twenty years later we have 400% more illegals than we did in 1986, by a conservative estimate. Now we've only started debating a similar plan, and the wave of illegals has started up again.

Without credible border enforcement, any plan for dealing rationally with the millions of illegals already in the country is doomed, and this report shows why border enforcement must come first. If common sense didn't already dictate that in a time of war against an enemy who has openly threatened to infiltrate into our country in order to stage massive asymmetrical attacks, then this report shows the practical reason for it. We cannot rationally develop a strategy to humanely and effectively deal with the illegals we have while thousands more pour across an open border every day. And until we have a credible barrier on that border, they will continue to cross in ever-increasing numbers to take advantage of whatever amnesty we might offer.

The Senate needs to return with border security foremost on their mind. On this point the two chambers of Congress can agree quickly and get a fast start on implementation while debating the status of the millions already in the US. Congress and the President will find that we can live with a fairly wide range of possibilities on normalization as long as we're assured that the border has been secured and that we will not have to face an even greater problem twenty years from now.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 13, 2006 5:21 AM

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» Immigration Reform Without Enforcement First is NUTS from Jason E. High
Apparently, all this talk of granting illegal immigrants a guest worker program has had the exact effect that many said that it would. At a shelter overflowing with migrants airing their blistered feet, Francisco Ramirez nursed muscles sore from trekki... [Read More]

Tracked on April 13, 2006 6:52 AM


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