On a day when President Bush's renewed drive for amnesty is making front page news, the collapse of the intelligence overhaul bill is dramatic evidence that patriotic opposition within his own party might once again block his open border plans.
As late as Friday night, it looked like Americans might once more be cheated by the Congressional elites serving at the pleasure of the cheap labor, open border lobbyists who supply their campaign funds.
But on Sunday, the three major newspapers, the NY Times, the LA Times and the Washington Post, all had front page stories about, as the Post headline blared, "Intelligence Overhaul Bill Blocked: House Conservatives Deal Blow to President, Speaker in Rejecting Compromise" [by Charles Abington and Walter Pincus, November 21, 2004]. The Post reported that House Judiciary Chairman, Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) and Armed Services Committee Chair, Duncan Hunter (R-CA) had "persuaded scores of GOP colleagues to join their opposition."
This was no mere bureaucratic infighting, as these press reports tended to imply. Immigration policy was the underlying issue. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) who has headed a House immigration reform caucus with now over 60 members, was most effective in preventing an attempt to sabotage the key provision in this legislation: Verifiable immigrant identification.
These House Republicans, called "conservative" by the Post when the word must surely be "sensible and patriotic," knew that the White House and the Speaker wanted a bill for political purposes—but they also knew that the Senate version of the bill ignored the ID question.
Thanks to their brave efforts, Speaker Hastert, "tried in vain to find enough votes to the pass the bill without relying on Democrats." This was "a scenario too embarrassing for Republicans to endure."
Apparently, not enough people read what is the number one paperback best selling book in America: The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of The National Commission On Terrorist Attacks on the US. [PDF]
If they did, they would know that among the primary starting points was this recommendation (page 390 of the hardback edition):
"It is elemental to border security to know who is coming into the country....Secure identification should begin in the United States. The federal government should set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and sources of identification, such as drivers licenses. Fraud in identification documents is no longer just a problem of theft. At many entry points to vulnerable facilities, including gates for boarding aircraft, sources of identification are the last opportunity to ensure that people are who they say they are and to check whether they are terrorists."
As for those who continue to worry about possible invasions of privacy, Jodie Allen of US News & World Report noted in a recent opinion piece that she would far rather have a verifiable ID than continue to be "groped" by airport entry employees. [Here's Looking At Your ID, November 15, 2004]
These same privacy folks apparently haven't read the Patriot Act and/or seen what can already be done now to invade one's privacy.
Most Americans, busy with busy lives, don't even know about the protracted negotiations over HR10, the House of Representative bill and the Senate version which started a couple of weeks ago. The House bill embodied many of the provision of the 9/11 Commission's key security recommendations. But the Senate bill demanded that illegal aliens in some states continue to be permitted to obtain drivers licenses—despite the grave national security implications which were proved by the skyjackers' obtaining such licenses in order to run planes into the World Trade towers and the Pentagon.
According to a press release of November 19 from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR),
"Senators Collins and Lieberman have inexplicably opposed vital House provisions in H.R. 10 to finally close loopholes in America's identification and drivers license issuing process. Led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, key House Republicans have been hanging tough, resisting changes to these vital proposals." [Proof Positive: Administration and Key Senators Will Not Stem Tide of Illegal Immigration, November 20, 2004]
The senators tried to insist that the main issue of contention was the powers of the director of the new National Intelligence Center. But that really was a complete red herring, in my view.
The FAIR press release goes on to say that, until this final breakdown, everyone was going to
"to adopt watered-down 'business as usual' studies that prove once and for all that too many in Washington are willing to play Russian roulette with America's border controls."
Can you imagine the idiocy of a failure this fundamental to our safety? What further incentive do we need?
Guess these senators need to have another 3,000 killed before they get it.
Thirteen (13) states give drivers licenses to illegal aliens now. Many more will be issued if this ghastly miscarriage of the 9/11 Commission's intentions gets rammed through in a future session.
And with the growing numbers, since our borders remain wide open to the massive invasion of both legal and illegal aliens (Time's 9/20/04 cover story says 3 million illegal aliens come here yearly), the chance for more terrorism in our country is ever more certain. When it occurs, check out your senators and house members to see how they voted.
Dan Stein, FAIR's President, spoke for all Americans when he said,
"This Administration thinks it can come back and demand big amnesty programs disguised as guest worker programs–and not pay proper attention to the nation's border/immigration security–well that's not going to happen."
Stein went on to demand that, "We want the House version of the drivers' license and document control provisions or nothing." He notes with emphasis that, if flawed legislation which ignores the basic premises of the 9/11 Commission's recommendation is enacted, it will be further "proof positive" that the Bush Administration and Congress refuse to act to protect us against "the tide of illegal immigration" and the terrorism which will inevitably accompany it.
Speaker Hastert has said he will bring the bill up again on December 6th in another lame duck session.
Of course, since, the Democrats have long pandered to any open border bill that comes along and are just as culpable for ignoring immigration reform as Republicans, Hastert may be able to swallow his pride and accept Democratic support to pass a weaker bill.
But his party's immigration patriots will be waiting—and preparing for the great amnesty battle ahead.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.