Senator and RNC chair Mel Martinez apparently had a temper tantrum yesterday in his home state of Florida after the collapse of the immigration reform bill. He angrily challenged the bill’s opponents to come up with their own plan, saying the “voices of negativity” had to start offering solutions (via TMV):
The Chairman of the Republican Party on Friday lambasted Democrats and Republicans who helped kill an immigration bill in the Senate and challenged them to come up with a solution beyond “just build a fence along the border.”
“The voices of negativity now have a responsibility to come up with an answer,” RNC Chairman and U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, R-Fla. said.
“How will you fix the situation to make peoples’ lives better? How will you continue to grow the economy? How will we bring people out of the shadows for our national security and for the sake of being a country that is just?” he demanded.
The answers seemed very clear to everyone outside of the Senate chambers for the past four weeks. Instead of offering a repeat of 1986, fix the underlying problems that allow for lousy border and visa security, as Congress has repeatedly promised, before saying “Trust us!” How difficult is that to comprehend?
For decades, we have encouraged people to illegally cross into the US, both through a lack of effort in securing the border and then even less effort to enforce the laws even when police discover them living in the country. Many of them have spent most of their lives understanding that Congress and each succeeding administration shrugged off the hypocrisy. We created this situation, and I would probably find myself in agreement with Martinez that we can’t just lay all the blame on those who took advantage of our own hypocrisies. We should find a way to normalize the status of those who have put down roots, lived lawfully, and want to assimilate into the US in a manner which treats them humanely but gives them no advantage over legal immigrants.
But we can’t do that until we have fixed the problems on the border and in the visa program. If Martinez finds himself offended that Americans look at the last several decades of deceit and hypocrisy of Congress and the executive branch and come to the rational conclusion that we don’t want to get fooled again, then he should grow a thicker skin and learn to listen a little more carefully. We have tried one amnesty with a message from Congress that “the check’s in the mail” for real border security and visa management. Pardon us if we can’t quite bring ourselves to play the Three-Card Monty again.
Secure the borders. Fix the broken visa system. Do that before creating an underresourced bureaucratic nightmare, and creating entire new classes of visas while the existing system remains an embarassing and dangerous failure. In other words, take responsibility for the decades of failure from the political class and build some credibility with the American voter.
That’s the solution, Senator Martinez. We’ve been saying this for years. Perhaps the problem is that you refuse to listen.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin notes that some Floridians have begun a movement to recall Martinez. In my opinion, that’s a short-sighted mistake. This is a man who gets a 100% from the National Right to Life Committee, a 70 from the National Taxpayers Union, a 100 from National Federation of Independent Businesses, and a 100 from the Gun Owners of America. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.