No sooner had his party won the November elections than President Bush let it be known that he really is pursuing amnesty for millions of illegal Mexican aliens after all.
Mr. Bush was not honest enough to admit this to the American people himself, but it escaped the lips of his new ambassador to Mexico nevertheless, almost certainly with the president's permission so as to break the grim news to the public and his own party as discreetly as possible.
Sworn in as ambassador to Mexico two weeks ago, Tony Garza, an old Bush crony from Texas, told the Washington Times that "reaching an accord legalizing the status of Mexican immigrants—without giving them citizenship—continues to be a top administration priority." ["Bush to push for amnesty," November 23, 2002, Washington Times, By Jerry Seper] Both the ambassador and the administration like to pretend that "legalizing the status" of illegal aliens and not granting them immediate citizenship is not really an amnesty, and it may be that many Republican lawmakers will fall for it. But there are two groups that probably won't: The Mexicans and their immense and increasingly powerful lobby in this country, and plain American citizens who have less and less representation in Washington but who know a lie when they hear it.
But if Mr. Garza and the administration believe they can get away with an amnesty that is not an amnesty, they also seem to think that legalizing illegal aliens will somehow solve the illegal alien problem. "If we don't do something about their status," Mr. Garza moaned, "we will be admitting that our country has a permanent underclass."
Most Americans have long since tumbled to the fact that we do have a "permanent underclass" and have it regardless of mass immigration, but they also know that mass immigration has merely imported yet another underclass even as those who peddled Open Borders claimed that immigration was a smashing economic success.
They also know that legalizing the status of aliens who violated our laws to come here, so far from solving the problem of a "permanent underclass," will not only lock the new underclass into American society and economy forever but also will extend an open invitation to the numberless armies of other aliens waiting to immigrate.
It's no accident the Border Patrol reports that illegal entries from Mexico have now rebounded to the same levels they were before Sept. 11, 2001. In August of this year alone, some 82,000 illegals were nabbed crossing the border, compared to 84,000 in August last year. Undoubtedly the word is out across the Rio Grande: Get in now, before the amnesty, and you can stay forever.
Despite the half-truths, sugar-coatings, non sequiturs and outright mendacities with which the administration tries to package the amnesty, many even in its own party aren't buying. The Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus opposes amnesty, arguing that it would be "a kick in the teeth to the thousands of individuals across the world who are legally attempting to enter the United States."
So it is, but it's also a kick in the teeth to others as well, mainly the millions of Americans born in this country, whose ancestors created it, and who themselves will have to carry the burdens that legalizing millions of illegal aliens will bring.
Those burdens include not only the welfare, education and health care costs that illegals would start claiming but also the crime they will commit and the costs created by those Americans whose jobs they will take.
Presumably the Caucus casts its argument against amnesty in terms of the injuries amnesty would inflict on legal immigrants because that sounds a bit more liberal and progressive. It might be nice if the Caucus could cast it in terms of the interests of the real, legal and usually native-born Americans who put its members in office and pay their salaries.
Whatever the Republicans do about immigration, legal and illegal, or amnesty, or whatever they want to call it, may not matter as much as what the Democrats do in response.
The Democrats have no intention of letting their rivals run away with credit for granting amnesty to millions of aliens who will some day become voters, nor do the Democrats display even a smidgeon of the Republican reluctance to grant amnesty to any and all illegals.
If the administration and its party proceed down the path of amnesty, even a moderate and limited one, the Democrats will simply run down the same path faster, and the Republicans won't be able to catch them because their own conservative constituencies will drag them back.
The amnesty race is one that neither the Republicans nor the real Americans who have to live with its consequences can win.
[A selection of Sam Francis' columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control.]
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December 02, 2002