The Fix: McCain Fights Back

Chris Cillizza at The Fix notes the tough time that John McCain has had in his presidential campaign after the introduction of the comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate. McCain has begun to fight the characterization of the bill as an “amnesty”, but as Cillizza notes, that’s an uphill battle:

Over the last week, McCain has made a flurry of apperances on conservative talk radio television to sell the plan. He’s been on “The Mike Gallagher Show”. Sean Hannity’s radio show, “The Michael Medved Show”, “Captain’s Quarters Blog Radio” as well as local radio programs in South Carolina, Iowa and Arizona. He also appears last night on “The O’Reilly Factor”. …
The argument? Doing nothing amounts to the very amnesty that conservatives are railing against. “Right now it’s de facto amnesty because we have 12 million people here illegally,” McCain said on “The O’Reilly Factor.” He added that the bill backed by him and Bush does “everything short of deportation,” pointing out that it includes fines, waiting periods and learning English in order to be a citizen. …
The problem for McCain is that it is a far simpler case to oppose the legislation than support it. Decrying amnesty is an easy-to-understand political position that can be conveyed in a matter of seconds to a potential voter. Explaining why this bill is not amnesty takes far longer. Campaigns often hinge not on which candidate has the more nuanced position on a controversial issue but rather who has the more easily explained stance.

Actually, although Cillizza says that Romney has “most notably” attacked the plan as amnesty, Romney avoided that particular word in his appearances yesterday and in our interview. He noted that many people have different opinions of what constitutes amnesty, and he wanted to avoid a war over definitions. His objection stems from what he sees as a fundamental unfairness of allowing illegal entrants to remain permanently in the US.
That actually bolsters Cillizza’s argument elsewhere, though. “Amnesty” is an easy hook for opposition, and it forces McCain and other backers of the bill to argue over a dictionary definition. That takes time and nuance, neither of which are terribly effective in emotional arguments.
What does this mean? It argues that McCain will have a tough time defending the bill and his involvement in it — which could easily be gleaned in the comments on this blog and others in the conservative blogosphere (and I suspect on this very post). My skepticism doesn’t come from amnesty, which this bill clearly is not; it comes from what appears to me to be a lack of substantive border security guarantees, including the fence, before the controversial normalization provisions even come into play. And with the President saying that the bill would eliminate the need for a fence, I’m even less enthusiastic about it now:

Addressing one of the most sensitive issues in the measure, Bush expressed hope that the changes would reduce the need for a fence along the border with Mexico. …
“The fence sends a clear signal that we’re serious about enforcing the border,” Bush said. “A lot of these ranchers down there are saying, `Wait a minute. Bad idea.’ I presume we’re not going to build a fence on places where people don’t want it.”

So what keeps even more illegals from crossing the border in the future? Angry cattle?

43 thoughts on “The Fix: McCain Fights Back”

  1. Democrats have made no secret that they want the west in 08. In particular, Denver was chosen as the site of their 2008 convention with this in mind. There are problems however. Included among these has been noted Democrats historic relationship to organized labor and the fact that the actual site of the convention, Denver’s Pepsi Center, like almost all of Colorado, is non-union.
    Likewise, immigration is a hot button issue out west. Most in the libertarian west have learned over 40 years not to trust the federal government to enforce the immigration laws they pass. These voters will back the party that kills this immigration bill.
    Democrats plan to hang this bill on President Bush and will reap the rewards as part of their western strategy. It is time for serious sober thinking in Republican circles.
    Judges and borders are two forces which have heretofore united social conservatives and the libertarian voters of the west. If Republicans have any hope of winning in 08, they must stand up and tell the President to stand down.

  2. El Presidente says: “I presume we’re not going to build a fence on places where people don’t want it.” What people Jorge? Your friends the Mexicans? Some unknown and amorphous ‘ranchers.’? Okay, no problem. Let’s just the fence on places where people DO want fences…..e.g., the vast majority of the AMERICAN people. The ranchers will adapt, Jorge. And you don’t represent the Mexicans, Jorge; is that SO hard to remember?
    McCain is an a–hole. Vote for him and you deserve what you get.
    I will ask and ask and ask again:
    1. Mexico strongly enforces ITS southern border and has tight controls. Why is there hostility and opposition to the United States of America being granted the same privilege other nations assume for themselves?
    Could any of us sneak into any European country, work ‘off the books’ for a few years, and then…DEMAND legalization, a ‘path’ to citizenship, etc.? Of course not.
    Every other sovereign nation can take nationalistic and “nativist” approach without being called bigots and racists……why not us?
    I’m afraid this one is a lost cause. The long goodbye as we slowly die, is unfolding before our eyes. I know, I know….even making such a comment would brand me as a “racist” if made on any site catering to 50% of our population (the dems).
    Oh, and by the way, our local county (in southwest Florida) just introduced funding to start teaching spanish to all GRADE school children. I guess it is to get them acclimated to the world in which they will live when they become adults – when the store clerks will not only not speak a word of English, some of them will be hostile to you for being an English speaking Anglo. (Like has happened in Miami).

  3. Good Luck to anyone telling Bush anything and expecting him to follow the advice… remember the other areas where he dug and in and totally refused to budge? Harriet Meiers confilict with the Conservatives comes to mind.
    With the chewing out he just gave us conservatives he is due a reality check. Only thing is, I don’t know what that would be??

  4. “The fence sends a clear signal that we’re serious about enforcing the border,” Bush said. “A lot of these ranchers down there are saying, ‘Wait a minute. Bad idea.’ I presume we’re not going to build a fence on places where people don’t want it.”

    Yet another idiotic defense of Bush/Kennedy/McCain amnesty, and yes, it’s an amnesty. Government can condemn land and acquire just about any territory it wants under the guise of eminent domain for the most trivial and sometimes indefensible justification, and yet for a real national security threat and a vital tool to defending the nation, something for which the federal government has a real, legal obligation to fulfill, the top Executive of the land decides, “hey, maybe this isn’t a good idea. Cattle needs its roaming space exactly here. On the border.” Is this man a president, a snakeoil salesman, or a buffoon? I’m thinking all three at this point, and I’m getting pretty tired of him in his official capacity.
    The Senate and President worked exceedingly hard at trying to define out “amnesty” for their policy for just the reason you relate, Ed. It’s a buzz word that works against this bad policy, so a rhetorical game, something politicians have been known to exercise, have created a condition where they get to define what is or is not amnesty to misdirect the public. They failed in concealing both their intent and the practical effect of that intent.
    Yet amnesty is but one of many reasons to despise this bill. If the president would like to take a better shot at some of the other failings, even if they aren’t as focus group tested, we’d be all ears. We have plenty of powder in our keg to meet his popgun. Maybe he and his spokespeople would like to call us “bigots”, and “racists” and charge us with not caring about what’s best for America (the United States of?). That’s a pretty rational argument that surely will not induce hysteria, a condition about which Bush and proponents seem so concerned. Or perhaps they could address the tangible merits of the bill, recognize why their plan fails, and rely less on “hope”.

  5. If it walks like a duck, … etc.
    It’s stuff like TPS abuse that makes us unwilling to accept anything but Enforcement First. We’ve been promised enforcement multiple times, and that promise has never been kept. So we regard all such promises being made now as empty lies.

  6. I’m not clear on how this bill “clearly is not” amnesty. As far as I understand amnesty, when the government says you don’t have to suffer the legal consequences of your criminal act, that’s amnesty. For example, Carter gave amnesty to the Vietnam-era deserters. This bill gives amnesty to anyone who becomes eligible for a Z-visa.
    Why shouldn’t we have immigration enforcement similar to what Mexico has for its southern border? The sanction for illegal entry is deportation. Does that make me some sort of extremist?

  7. once again you nailed it capt:
    ” My skepticism doesn’t come from amnesty, which this bill clearly is not; it comes from what appears to me to be a lack of substantive border security guarantees, including the fence, before the controversial normalization provisions even come into play. And with the President saying that the bill would eliminate the need for a fence, I’m even less enthusiastic about it now”
    mccain and the others keep trying to frame this debate in strawman terms that don’t exist. they keep harping on these “vast right wingers” against amnesty. excuse me mr president that is not what this is about. that is a canard you and others keep floating that alerts us to the fact that you are being completely disingenuous about immigration reform and securing the border.
    as every poll as shown, the number one priority of over 70% of americans is border security not the faux crap this bill trots out as such. you are clearly turning into that infamous “village idiot” that so many have talked about with your latest comment that with this bill we may not even need a fence.
    you can’t make up stupidity like this. i have to hope it was a misquote otherwise i keep seeing the mad magazine cover
    “what me worry”!

  8. For example, there are some topographical features that make guarding a narrow valley two miles from the border (and watching the actual border from the air) much more efficient than erecting an actual borderline fence, and then guarding that fence everyday from cutting torches. A physical fence is not always the best or most efficient answer–just the most expensive answer.

  9. rbmn,
    that is just not the case. this fence is the most cost effective solution in any existing traffic areas. about 500 miles of our border is considered geographically not passable. that said the amount of fence that solves this problem is around 1500 miles. that’s it. the fence below allows for two people to patrol several miles at any time to prevent intrusions. once the illegals are faced with hardened steel, cameras, razor wire, jail time before deportation etc they will cease trying to walk across the border.
    forget talking to politicians about the merits of fencing. talk to combat engineers and border patrolmen who actually police the fence that currently exist.
    as for actual dollars and sense lets say the fence cost is $30 billion. big deal. the overall cost of having had no fence is now estimated to be north of a trillion dollars. that a thousand billion. thirty is nothing to stop the walk in traffic from latin america. we are not even factoring in the countries that are devastated by the loss of their fittest. we already have close to 20% of all of mexico’s 20-40 year olds. how well do you think this country would do if we lost 20% of the same age group. but why think about mexico–its all about us, isn’t it!?
    build the fence. if bush put the army corp of engineers and border states national guard and road departments engineers on the job it could be finished in less than two years with time to spare. again talk to combat engineers. they will tell you how fast this fence could go up if every body is told to get out of the way.
    but don’t worry this is all a moot point. the chances of it ever being built are almost zero. why? because it works.

  10. “McCain is an a–hole. Vote for him and you deserve what you get.”
    I was told the same thing when I voted for Bush, twice. They were right.

  11. My own opinion… if it isn’t technically amnesty, it sure does, as an earlier commentor phrased it, walk and quack like a duck.
    That said… to the question Cap’n asked… “So what keeps even more illegals from crossing the border in the future? Angry cattle?”
    The way I see it, I think we may have finally found 2 mechanisms that keeps at least some of the illegals coming north and staying.
    1) There will be so many coming north, that some will be bouncing off the backsides of the ones in front of them who aren’t running as fast as they are. Even the smugglers can only get so many across per truck.
    2) When enough of them get here, they’re going to see that maybe there isn’t enough low end jobs for them to take… and some will spill on up into Canada and send money back to their families stateside?
    Maybe we’re going about this illegal immigrant thing all wrong. Maybe instead of folks like the Minute Men reporting them to the Border Patrol… maybe they should just stand along the border holding up signs that say “WELCOME!!! But they have better jobs and better health care in Canada!”
    Not that I believe they have better jobs and health care in Canada… but certian factions of certian politcal parties seem to say so. Why not agree with them long enough to hold up the signs.
    Or maybe just go ahead and declare Mexico the 51st state, and call it a day.

  12. “So what keeps even more illegals from crossing the border in the future? Angry cattle?”
    Well, having a president as stupid and useless as Bush might prove to be a temporary deterrent, but come Jan ’09 we might have to come up with a Plan B.

  13. McCain and Bush are in the same boat. They’ve lost their audience. For different reasons. But both men are sure, just as the elites are sure, that they have the POWER to do what they want. And, if they whip the people enough, the people will grant them even more access to power.
    Nobody’s gonna be turning on any light bulbs for these two.
    Was it McCain’s to lose? In my book, he lost it long ago. He lost “it” in 1996, when he read the polls, and new Clinton was gonna win. So he dropped out of the race. And, all those GOP “insiders” gave Bob Dole the “opportunity.”
    This time?
    At least there’s life out there. Not everyone running has a great chance. But it’s a better assortment than the donks offer!
    So, in McCain’s book? He INCORRECTLY assumes he’s attractive to the independent voters. NOPE.
    McCain is also very much like John Dewey. John Dewey did NOT win. Though he was given TWO attempts. The first one? Against FDR in 1944. FDR was so sick there was very little campaigning done, by FDR. John Dewey lost.
    Came up again four years later. Because the elites within the GOP have a terrible time of it when they’re asked to pick candidates.
    You could go down this list!
    Warren Harding. Picked because he was stunning to look at. (Okey dokey. Mitt Romney is running on that one, now.) The other thing? Harding was BRAINLESS. But, the movie industry would soon roll out sound; and Harding had a pitch perfect voice.
    An empty headed guy who looked good in suits. How old are you? Have you ever seen this playing out, before?
    1996 was easier to handicap. Because an incumbent president “should have” the advantage. True, Jimmuh Carter did not. And, Bush in 2004 got the strangest oponent in John Kerry. I’ve never seen anyone that weird selected by a major party.
    Why was John Kerry selected? Well, the “powers that be” tried to get Wesley Clark to stand. And, they had a revolt from their base. When things like that happen, party’s often go off-track.
    Which is what I suspect Pelosi thinks “can happen” in 2008.
    BOTH PARTIES ARE IN TROUBLE! I can’t remember a time people didn’t want to associate with a party label!
    It’s sort’a like the day I read Jonah Goldberg saying “if he saw a union label in a garment? He hung it back up on the rack! (Did you know how much money the unions spent on their little diddy “The Union Label?” Imagine getting people that angry, that you’re not longer identifying garments with these tags. Which are just another tag that needed to be ripped out.) It’s possible you also don’t see them because all the sewing jobs have dried up. And, have gone to China, and beyond.
    While candidates? It’s still all about power plays.
    Nixon, to get the nod in 1968 had to grovel at the foot of Nelson Rockefeller’s bed.
    And, in 1960? John F. Kennedy had to go to Eleanor Roosevelt and BEG HER for her support! Oddly enough, the donks were still thinking of running Adeli Stevenson. Again, not very appealing to most Americans.
    But that’s one of the reasons our parties are both ossified. The people who run usually lack charm. But they do their stuff; earning their brownie points, so they can, like Chucky Schumer; go from the house, into the senate. Because so many people had given him chits. And, it was his time to cash them in.
    IF it was a question of popularity? It’s still the “star system.” And, the funny thing about Ronald Reagan. He said that if his acting career didn’t tank, he wouldn’t have been out there looking for another profession. Those are the breaks.
    With the Internet throwing some of the big guys’ infuence overboard. But it’s still “travel by fancy yacht” for those who think the prize is worth it.
    I’m just waiting for one of the 8, now that Fred is for real, coming out against Bush, and all the disappointments he’s brought to the GOP political machinery ACROSS THE BOARD! (I’ll guess there’s fears, too. Since the social conservatives are getting hurt; and most candidates view that one with pleasure.)
    Today? Guiliani hit out against Hillary. So you know his focus is gonna be there. (I think going after Hillary is a waste of time. There’s nothing new to learn, folks.)
    While I think someone with courage will eventually ask “What does Dubya stand for?”
    Explaining how good ideas turn bad is something that’s do-able.
    It’s like the Edsel. If you manufacture it. And, people turn their backs. Why do you need competition from Japan to teach you about guality and cars?
    Wanna say something nice about American made autos? They’ve got great air conditioning! Otherwise? Chrome’s not gonna sell ya. And, retiring labels like the Oldsmobile? Do you know why? The car was only selling to old men.
    Yes, I think, come 2008 lots of Americans are gonna vote. But if all we get is the “canned sound bytes,” the people running aren’t gonna make it.
    One place I read the problem as “it’s as if all the 8 candidates have decided to strap on George Allen’s straight jacket. Where they are forbidden to do much; because anything they do will “upset” the crowds and they’ll lose votes! Anyone notice how the George Allen straight jacket actually worked out?
    Fred, by the way, by definition. Is not among the midgets.
    Oh, yeah. There are professionals who know how to count. And, there are professionals like the donks hire, where in 8 campaigns, there were 8 losses.
    Then there’s Guiliani.
    I know one thing about Broadway. When the show is on the road. It doesn’t even look like a hit. What with all the re-working.
    Take OKLAHOMA. Which broke all the rules. No orchestra. No warm up. Just a female on stage churning butter. The first big thing that came along? (Besides the wonderful songs?) The exclamation point! When it was put at the end of Oklahoma! The show jelled.
    We’re just at the try-outs stage. Behind the scenes there’s a lot of stuff going on.
    But you could ask yourselves? Other than the silly religious issue, what has Mitt Romney got? Yes. He’s got his good looks. Still, if a man from Massa2shits makes it up to the nomination stage; and its the GOP stage? You’ll be able to bowl me over with a feather.
    Hmm? Do you think Romney would transport himself to the donks? I’m just asking! Because I don’t think McCain even has those legs left.
    While Fred Thompson can make things better. He’s watched the two “tryouts” on Fox. He’s seen the debates. Which is more than what most people are willing to watch.
    And, if you’re an actor. And, you’re watching others. Isn’t it possible you can come up with stuff that’s attention getting?
    Katherine Hepburn, in her 50’s! Playing Shakespearian roles. Had the audiences so captivated they watched NO ONE ELSE ON STAGE when she was there. How’d she do it? When others spoke lines, it wasn’t uncommon for her to “play with” the folds in her skirts.
    Acting. It’s an art form.
    Those who copy George Allen are doomed.
    And, Guiliani? He needs to increase his range. Gotta get beyond the stuff that was successful in the old days.
    Ya know what was fresh and young about Reagan? He knew how to work the crowds. He made it look effortless. And, easy.
    That’s talent.
    Be nice to see TALENT, again. Not just another Jenifer Anison movie.

  14. Bush is not a moron. He’s just doesn’t care what we think anymore. The same stubborn streak that has been an asset in the WOT is working here in reverse. I think he holds a long term view that Canada, the US and Mexico have to unite to survive, and he’s doing his best to make it happen now that he doesn’t need us to vote him into office again. So, he’s not a moron, just a traitor. Still, even with this BS, he’s better than Kerry or Gore would have been. I don’t regret voting for him given the alternatives we had.

  15. Bush had total control of Congress for 6 years. Are you telling me the GOP,Boehner

  16. Imagine the Secretary of State insisting at one of the friendly Palestinian meetings sponsored by Bush’s Saudis friends (dynasty friends, that is) that “Syria has to start protecting its border!”. Imagine the massive laugh in the room – “Shall we take USA as a model, Mme Condi?”
    How can a country invade another one to impose the “law” while stating that its own survival depends on … sheer illegality (and that coming from El Presidente). The jobs that the Americans will not do – yeah, kicking the current regal avorton in his back when they had a good chance. Too late now.
    “Still, even with this BS, he’s better than Kerry or Gore would have been. I don’t regret voting for him given the alternatives we had.” Mm, I though the same comparing Bush with Clinton – I would be so happy now if the current avorton would just be busy seducing virgins in the White House. Oh, so much better really compared to the pain inflicted on a 300 million people that is just about to burst.
    First phase – Mexicans occupying the Southern States and transforming them in Greater Mexifornia (that will happen with the current status-quo anyway within 20 years or so – without will just accelerate). The rest of the population moving North (already happening). Secession war at some point due to the fact that the federal government will not be able to keep on paying for their demands – the Quebec of Central America. The pain to see how at every turn, the Spanish will decide the fate of America – while still being a minority. Watch Canada as an example. Well, the history of the Ottoman empire – like that of Canada – has no resonance in Americans – well, then Spanish will have to do.

  17. Captain Ed, you said this bill doesn’t offer amnesty? Let’s see. The only illegals who have to pay any type of fine are the ones who apply for citizenship. The rest are simply given ‘legal status’ and can continue living and working here with no penalty. So they break the law by entering the country illegally, work and live here illegally and then bring their families here to do the same. Now, I’m no Einstein, but what do you call it when people who do things illegally but then are given a pass? Why I think that’s amnesty!

  18. Ah come on captain. This is amnesty. Sure they say they’ll fine ’em, but two questions:
    1) why should anyone come out of the shadows. They have everything they want right now being in the shadows.
    2) What makes you think the government wont have a massive fine bailout program. Hey, don’t worry amigo… you can’t pay your fine? The American tax payer will pay it for you.
    Jim C

  19. Re: patrick neid at May 31, 2007 5:24 PM
    THINK. An unwatched fence will not remain a fence. An unwatched fence will become swiss cheese when the border guards are not there. It’s not just the cost of building the fence. It’s also the cost of watching and rebuilding it.

  20. “Still, even with this BS, he’s better than Kerry or Gore would have been. I don’t regret voting for him given the alternatives we had.”
    Mm, I though the same comparing Bush with Clinton – I would be so happy now if the current avorton would just be busy seducing virgins in the White House. Oh, so much better really compared to the pain inflicted on a 300 million people that is just about to burst.

    Gore would probably have asked Kofi what to do about about 9/11. Likewise with Kerry. And I can’t see either of those two libs being any better on illegal immigration than Bush is. I’m not defending Bush’s asinine behavior, just stating that even though he’s turned out to be a traitorous jackass on this issue, he was the still the best choice of the three “leaders” we had to pick from. It’s friggin sad.

  21. Dear Captain
    Please think twice before using the word nuance.
    I haven’t heard someone use the word nuance so much since Kerry was running for president.
    I distrust politicians and their defenders when they start trying to tell me how nuanced things are.
    There is no nuance to this issue.
    This bill gives immediate legalization to practically everybody the moment it passes. It’s amnesty.
    It would be amnesty If I stole a TV set and afterwards a law is passed allowing me to keep that TV set if I pay sales tax on it and fill out some paperwork.
    How is this current bill any different?
    Last year’s bill was to build a fence.
    There are laws on the books now that would allow the executive branch to deal with the illegal alien problem and border security.
    Bush has chosen not to enforce these laws.
    No one believes he’s going to enforce any immigration laws in the future.
    He doesn’t deserve any new legislation on immigration. We’ll wait till the next president starts enforcing the law. Thank you.

  22. Two thoughts:
    First, what if this is a head fake on the part of Republicans in the hope of recouping some of the Latino vote they lost from 04 to 06?
    Second, is there ANY political cost to making President Bush a eunich at this point? I mean, give him the podium at the 08 convention, but limit his speech to the GWOT. According to Chuck, Rahm, Nancy and Harry, the Republican congress has been a rubber stamp to every cause the President has put forward. If Republicans in congress drive the President’s immigration bill into the ditch, the Democrats lose the rubber stamp issue AND the base might actually believe that SOMEBODY on our side of the ball has a spine. : ))

  23. By “head fake” I mean the Republicans publicly backing the bill withdraw their support for the bill at the last moment forcing red-state Democrats to choose sides or let the bill die.

  24. RE: RBMN (May 31, 2007 7:50 PM)
    Fences serve as effective force multipliers for reduced personnel. They are but one of several necessary layers of deterrence as you know. Also, permanent, physical barriers are more immune to the whims of, say, a President who might otherwise remove mobile assets like border control personnel and UAV’s to other countries or for personal security detail for political candidates.
    What has been offered in lieu of tangible barriers? Maybe 370 mi of fence/speed bump/barbed wire, approximately half the inadequate distance of what was already committed just over a year ago by law and of which just two miles have been constructed; four UAV’s, one for each border state, assuming they remain operational 24/7/365, an impossibility; cameras that do not stop anyone and, as has been reported, remain severely compromised because of disrepair and neglect. Such a trivial hint of a barrier system certified as comprehensive remains as insulting in theory as it would be in practice.
    Yes, no system is going to be perfect, but we need some devices that will remain apolitical, non-biased, and reliable. Fences remain an outstanding investment in spite of flaws that can be amplified by dishonest and conniving subversives… on both sides of the barrier. But let’s not confuse the government’s definition of fence with one honest people and neighbors might use. We all know the open border advocates’ fence is really a gateway… and even it will not be built in earnest (if at all).

  25. Sorry, Cap’n… according to the White House, we’re the angry cattle…

  26. Oops.

    “…one for each border state…”

    should be amended to

    “…one for each southern border state without regard to any needs at the USA/Canadian border…”

  27. Or maybe just go ahead and declare Mexico the 51st state, and call it a day.
    Are you sure you didn’t mean us becoming the 38th state of Mexico (with Canada in waiting as number 39)?

  28. “My skepticism doesn’t come from amnesty, which this bill clearly is not…”
    It may be clear to you. It isn’t clear to me.
    The following is a partial quote from Thomas Sowell.
    “Back in 1986 it was “unrealistic” to round up and deport the three million illegal immigrants in the United States then. So they were given amnesty — honestly labeled, back then — which is precisely why there are now 12 million illegal immigrants.
    Are its advocates afraid that the voting public might discover what a fraud it is? The biggest fraud is denying that this is an amnesty bill.
    Its advocates’ argument is that illegal immigrants will have to meet certain requirements to become citizens. But amnesty is not about how you become a citizen.
    The word is from the same root as “amnesia.” It means you forget or overlook some crime, as if it never happened. All this elaborate talk about the steps illegal immigrants must go through to become citizens is a distraction from the crime they committed when they crossed the border illegally.
    Instead, all attention is focused on what to do to accommodate those who committed this crime. It is a question that would be recognized as an insult to our intelligence on any other issue.
    For example, there are undoubtedly thousands, perhaps millions, of unsolved crimes and uncaught criminals in this country, and we cannot realistically expect to find and prosecute all these fugitives from justice.
    But does anyone suggest that our focus should be on trying to normalize the lives of domestic fugitives from justice — “bring them out of the shadows” in Ted Kennedy’s phrase — and develop some path by which they can be given an acceptable legal status?
    Does anyone suggest that, if domestic criminals come forward, pay some fine, and apply to have their crimes overlooked, they can be put on a path to be restored to good standing in our society?”
    As to the Mexico Guatemala border, I think the previous posters are being kind to the Mexicans. Guatemalans who have come across the border report that all valuables are stolen the women and children are raped and sometimes people are shot all by the border authorities.

  29. The anger towards this shamnesty bill should be directed to its author, Ted Kennedy. The Senate committee, made up of lawyers who know how to compose nebulous phrasings and loopholes, created this travesty in closed-door sessions. Efforts were made to run in through to a vote without any transparency or debate. Presentations by senators who offered fiscal reasons why this bill is an economic nightmare were ignored.
    Legislators write the bills. It is they who should be getting the heat about why this compromise, indeed threat, toward our national security and sovereignty flies in the face of the Constitutional responsibilities they are sworn to uphold.
    For whatever reason President Bush is serving as a huckster for this nonsense– naive altruism? — he is a dupe for providing cover for Kennedy and his “Kronies”, who desire nothing more than to increase a dependent underclass to promote their own power base underpinned on promises of a welfare state.
    Kennedy and his backroom boys should be exposed and hit hard for their role in creating this monstrous bill.

  30. Two simple questions:
    First, why did Simpson-Mazzoli (the 1986 law signed by Reagan) fail? My answer: no funding or enforcement.
    Second, why is this bill any different from Simpson-Mazzoli? My answer: In failing to provide effective, credible mechanisms for funding and enforcement, it’s no different.
    As for John McCain’s “doing nothing amounts to amnesty” argument, since 1986, the U.S. Congress has been doing nothing effective to fund or enforce Simpson-Mazzoli. McCain’s been in the Senate that entire time. Why shouldn’t we blame him and his peers for this failure?

  31. This isn’t an amnesty bill???? First I’ve heard of it.
    No matter how you slice this bill, rationalize it, or look for its “nuances”, it is an amnesty bill through and through. With the swipe of a pen, Bush will gladly give a pass to an estimated 12M illegal aliens, pushing most of them onto welfare and opening the door for the next wave of illegals to replace them, because after all, we’ll still need that underground economy Bush’s donors are so dependent upon.
    This is a crock of s**t, and it’s called amnesty.

  32. I absolutely favor a comprehensive solution to immigration reform. We should deal with the ENTIRE problem, not attempt a patchwork “solution” which has no practical chance of success, even if passed.
    A good comprehensive plan would fully fund fencing where needed (which is the higher-traffic areas near population centers; it makes little sense to fence hundreds of miles of desolate prairie where few attempt to cross – IF any unfenced area truly becomes such a higher-traffic zone to be worth it, THEN fence those areas as needed, too), and reform visa rules to prevent aliens on tourist, student, or work visas from disappearing from our radar by regular updating of their address and expelling those who overstay. It would also recognize that different countries of origin should be treated differently – NO z-visas or anything else for those from countries with active jihadist networks UNTIL a thorough background investigation.
    But it also needs to address the needs of our economy for labor. That need is real and ongoing, as anyone with a calculator and the labor stats can determine. Therefore, a guest worker program and some way of legalizing those already here and working is necessary, too. I don’t give a rat’s patootie about the “path to citizenship” – you can make them wait 25 years for that if you like – but the others are pressing needs which should be addressed.
    In fairness, the bill does do some good things, like eliminating the extended family preferences and increasing the H-1B visas for workers with particular skills in demand. But when it says illegals have to go home and wait for months to come back to qualify, it ensures almost NONE will agree to it – and the whole point is to get these people into the legal system, paying taxes and obeying all laws, and out of the shadow existence.
    There are other defects – the 24-hour turnaround on z-visa issuance is a bad joke which does effectively make it an amnesty – but the pile of objections is high enough. It won’t work, and it can’t pass (Pelosi won’t even bring it to the floor of the House without a guarantee of 70 Republican votes, and that won’t happen in this Congress).
    Give it up, cut the losses, and start over again. Keep McCain and Kennedy OFF the committees reconstructing a bill, and it’s almost certain to produce a better one.

  33. rbmb,
    the fence is always watched by camera alerting border patrolmen who ride in the clear zone between the fences. it takes minimum personnel to patrol a double fence. that’s why they have been used worldwide for many decades. the fence dramatically slows the entry time giving the authorities ample time to arrive from several miles away to arrest the aliens…….i admit if thousands of illegals organized several miles away and then rushed the fence at the exact same time it would present some problems. but we can live with that eventuality.

  34. Re: Adjoran at June 1, 2007 12:25 AM
    The 24-hour turnaround time on Z-Visas is irrelevant in practice, since the card’s validity is always tested against a database, and that validity is what matters. The card number’s validity can be revoked at any time by the government, just like the validity of your credit card can be revoked at any time, making the card worthless when swiped in the card reader.

  35. Nearly two weeks ago I wrote:
    “Unfortunately, I think this latest amnesty bill draft is a fait accompli.”
    Some people were outraged, understandably. But all the signs were leading up to this being a bill that was going to be forced down our throats.
    But I just didn’t realize that President Bush would be the most vociferous in leading the charge to ram this through Congress. I knew he wanted this to be his “legacy” issue, but hadn’t realized the internal pressures on him to make it a reality, coming from brother Jeb and others.
    This is the single most important issue we must deal with now, even greater than the GWOT. This is a homefront attack on our borders being disguised as a cure-all for illegal immigration and the need for seasonal migrant workers.
    It’s a sham of the highest order. And if we, the voting public, don’t stand up to the Washington DC Insiders and wrest back control of this country from the out-of-touch-with-reality elitists, we may as well throw away the locks and keys and just hand over everything we own to the hordes that will flow here on top of those that already are seemingly entrenched, and laughing in our faces about it.
    We need to take back the GOP and get it back on track with its core Conservative principles. We need to send a message to President Bush that we will NOT let him take down this country just to satisfy his self-aggrandizement pet project. And we need to make sure that the GOP and the RNC know that we will destroy them and rebuild from scratch if we have to in order to ram the message home that We the People run this country, not some Washington elitist corp full of themselves and their foolish belief that they have power separate from the voters.
    This must be their, and the President’s, Waterloo, pure and simple.

  36. McCain and Bush need to start talking to those millions of marchers holding “AMNISTIA AHORA” signs…

  37. Those supporting this bill, have come up with weak & illogical arguments, thus the inability to persuade any of us to move in their direction. If this bill is good for America (as Jorge Bush demands), then why is it so hard to sell?
    Those opposing this bill, have come up with really good & sound questions; questions that have been answered with empty & angry replies. If we are so uninformed, then why is it that we have come up with questions & concerns that are logical and backed up by factual history.. Why is it that experts have now broken down this bill and are all uniting against the bill in it’s present form.. Why is it that Bush, McCain, & Kennedy started meeting in secret to draft this bill shortly after the Dems took back power; continued to draft this bill in secret over the past several months and then tried to push through a vote on this bill before the public had a chance to read and debate the merits of the bill..
    No, no, no; this entire procedure absolutely smells of agenda driven legislation with a total power play to get it through.. This bill, if passed, will create a huge welfare class of voters who will vote for the welfare party in masses, while sucking the life out of our existing infrastructure networks; destroy what’s left of our public education system; fill our streets with uninsured drivers; alter our culture the likes of what I have seen in Los Angeles; on & on..
    It’s obvious why the Democrat’s want this bill so badly; why do Bush and company want this bill so badly when it will destroy the GOP for decades to come.. I, for one, will not give the GOP a second of my time, let alone a dime of my hard earned money. When I got my notice to renew my membership (70.00) last week from the GOP, that notice hit the trash can with some force behind the toss! I, like most of you, am an American before I’m anything else. I live in the greatest and most successful country in the history of the civilized world. We are a nation of Laws; a nation built by it’s people upon a solid foundation of principles; a nation with a Bill of Rights & a written Constitution; a nation with borders that must be protected & laws that must be upheld by all, including the politicians that sit at the top! Any politician, or group of politicians that try to change the very principles that this nation was built upon, must be flushed out by the people. Our founders (forefathers) have proven to be very wise, brilliant; they gave us the gift of Freedom, Justice, & Liberty, along with a “check & balance” system of government.. We don’t need this current crop of leaders to tweak or alter what has been created by our founders; we need this current crop of leaders to work within the guidelines that have existed for 200 plus years and have the courage to be an American first, and a party member somewhere down the ladder of importance.
    John McCain is just flat out “a really bad politician”; Ted Kennedy is just flat out “a really bad politician who lacks personal character”.. These are the two designers of this bill folks!!! No freakin wonder this bill has so many problems; no wonder this bill is so bad for America..
    Kill the entire POS and get serious about real protection & about real immigration reform!

  38. WASHINGTON (Map, News) – While President Bush and pro-amnesty members of Congress are pushing an unpopular immigration “reform” bill that would bestow American citizenship on millions of people who have no regard for America’s laws, liberal Democrats across the Washington region are increasingly complaining about overcrowded houses, noise, loitering and general public nuisance — all caused by illegal aliens.
    These local liberals are in no mood for “celebrate diversity” chants.
    Listening recently to frustrated folks call a local radio talk show to vent about illegal aliens loitering in front of stores and cramming into $400,000 houses in their neighborhoods, I wondered if those same liberals accused pro-enforcement Americans of being “nativists,” “xenophobes” and “racists” for complaining about the same problems.
    Now that illegal aliens have migrated to their neighborhoods, such liberals have become pro-enforcement all of a sudden.
    People who read this also read:
    * Romney: Clinton a European Caricature
    * Garcia: Would you vote for parking?
    * Dickey: Giants have two golden arms
    * Whales presumed to be in Pacific
    * Whither the king of torts?
    A Republican called in to say her Democratic friends labeled her a racist when she’d complain about illegal immigration. She’d tell them something like, “You just wait until it happens to you. Then you’ll be singing a different tune.”
    It’s happening to them, and they are singing a different tune. It turns out that liberals in half-a-million-dollar houses don’t like living next door to a single-family house filled to the brim with illegal aliens who park on the front lawn, throw trash everywhere and urinate outside.

  39. I like to think of the Amnesty bill (SB1348) as a pig in lipstick; sure the lipstick adds some color to those porcine lips, but you are still kissing a pig. So why are Republicans so willing to kiss a porker? Because they are not Reagan Republicans anymore. Sure Reagan passed a bill giving Amnesty to some 2 million illegals, but I believe he truly thought that we would enforce our borders from then on. On this, he was totally wrong.
    Jump forward to the current day, and now we have a situation of 12 to 20 million illegals in our country, all due to a sort of Pre-Fall of Rome mentality of open borders by our politicians. This paired with a strange belief that the Conservative base of the party (The Reaganites) are monkeys they can shoot in a barrel. Nothing could be more wrong.
    It is my belief that it is we, the true believers, who are those who most clearly see the destruction should this bill pass; this will destroy the Republican party, our Democratic Republic (replaced by a European socialism), and will eventually destroy our country completely as it melts away into an Amorphous mass of cultures and languages.
    Can any true conservative sit idly by and watch such a crime be committed against the country they so love? Never.

  40. Want to know if this is amnesty? Ask someone who has been trying to immigrate into this country legally, following all the rules, and has not been able to because these 11 million lawbreakers have taken their places. I think you’ll have your answer,
    Further, it doesn’t matter what you call it. To give legal status and permanent residence of any kind to the illegals over these others is unfair, disgraceful and a dereliction of duty of the government. They are letting people who barged in illegally control immigration policy to the detriment of other legitimate entrants and that is incredibly stupid.
    If there are jobs “Americans won’t do”, why not legal Lithuanians? Chinese? Romanians? Or even legal Mexicans? What is so beguiling about this particular group of people? They are snotty, arrogant, nationalistic for Mexico, demanding, and have been led to believe by cowardly politicians that we cannot do without them. They come here already with a sense of entitlement and attach themselves immediately to racist political groups such as La Raza. We should rush headlong into giving them permanent residence and a path to citizenship? Please.
    George Will says we should just ignore them, continue with (I would assume stepped up) legal immigration, issuing biometric identity cards only to legal immigrants, and just let the others do whatever they want, including go home. And I agree.

  41. Great paragraph, KendraWilder. I expect most readers won’t agree with me, but most of the founding fathers would including all of the early presidents who weren’t in favor of getting into wars for altruistic reasons. Sadam was not our fight.
    “This is the single most important issue we must deal with now, even greater than the GWOT. This is a homefront attack on our borders being disguised as a cure-all for illegal immigration and the need for seasonal migrant workers.”
    I am the inverse of the typical Democrat: I am against involvement with nearly all wars, including the two against Sadam, I am even more against losing them. Therefore I strongly support our efforts in Iraq while the Democrats have tired of the game they helped start and are now bored with.

  42. “My skepticism doesn’t come from amnesty, which this bill clearly is not”
    It gives immediate legal status to all illegals. No fines. No “touchback”. If that isn’t “amnesty”, then what is?
    (Yes, the Z-visas and the citizenships demand marginal fines (1000 USD/5000 USD) – but that doesn’t matter – all illegals will be essentially deportation-proof upon the signing of this bill)

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