Many Republican supporters of loose borders, along with quite a few Democrats, vehemently deny that they support amnesty. They contend that merely asking illegal aliens to pay a fine and back-taxes in return for legal status is not amnesty. Fox News’s Brit Hume passionately denounced those who refer to some of the immigration proposals in Congress as amnesty.
But amnesty means means “an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole.” What else would you call granting legal status, let alone the privilege of full blown citizenship, to millions of people who came to the U.S. illegally?
Even beyond amnesty itself, Congress seems to trip over itself providing benefits to people who came to the U.S. illegally. Just look at the inability of the GOP-controlled House to deny aliens welfare and benefits even before they are granted legal status.
Word has gotten out in Central American publications that anyone who wants to drop their poverty off on America’s doorstep will be accommodated. Those rumors were well founded.
I’m sure the Framers had this in mind when they gave Congress the power of the purse. At a time when Americans are languishing from a stagnating economy and crushing debt, the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Labor-HHS passed a bill appropriating $1.9 billion in aid to fund care for the new arrivals of the illegal inundation from Central America across our southern border.
The Labor, Health and Human Services Committee unveiled a bill Tuesday which includes $1.94 billion in funding to cope with the 92 percent surge. […]
As part of the deal, the administration will be required to report back to Congress with a specific plan to deal with the surge.
Language in the bill also gives the Department of Health and Human Services additional powers to shift funds between accounts to cope with the problem.
Under the law, HHS is responsible for feeding and caring for the children after they are apprehended by border security officials. HHS bares the biggest share of costs in handling the migrants.
The Senate package should fully cover the $2.33 billion in new funding which White House deputy budget director Brian Deese asked the upper chamber for in a May 30 letter. [The Hill]
So where were the Republicans?
The deal was crafted by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) who negotiated with Harkin, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
The bill passed out of subcommittee on a voice vote and heads to a full committee markup on Thursday. There were no audible objections.
Taking a look at the membership of the panel, it’s no surprise that there were no GOP objections. But there is one inescapable question:
Guess who is the Ranking Member of this subcommittee?
Where is his voice? Where is his zeal to stand up for Mississippi workers and taxpayers?
The debate over illegal immigration is one of the most frustrating issues for those who approach public policy logically. Seldom do we have so much history to draw upon when crafting new policies like we do with illegal immigration, yet nobody in Washington is willing to learn the lessons of the past.
We have seen time and again how one amnesty begets another because liberalizing our immigration laws without a commensurate plan to prevent future flows of illegal immigration will only encourage more of the same. The solution is not an enigma. All we have to do is actually implement the border and interior enforcement mechanisms that both Republicans and Democrats claim to support and eliminate all welfare and birthright citizenship for future waves of illegal immigration. At that point, the question of what to do with those already here will be minimized and any legal status granted will be done from a position of strength – knowing that we will not encourage a new wave of illegal migration.
So if all sides supposedly agree on the need to prevent a new wave of immigration, and in light of the past failures of an ‘amnesty first’ approach, why aren’t the liberals willing to try our approach?
On Fox News Sunday, former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) provided us with a candid answer, revealing what we have always known about our opponents in this debate. The point of contention is not just about the status of those already here illegally. Rather, it’s about the essence of our existence as a sovereign nation with defined borders. Individuals like Bush support illegal immigration and open borders as an ends to itself – even an ideal. They actually extol the virtues of illegal immigrants over Americans. Here is what the former Florida governor had to say yesterday:
“I’m going to say this and it will be on tape, and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their family’s dad who loves their children was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table, and they wanted to make sure their family was intact. And they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. it’s kind of — it’s a — it’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that’s a different kind of crime that should be, there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t be — it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families. And the idea that we’re not going to fix this but with comprehensive reform ends up trapping these people, when they could make a great contribution for their own their families but also for us.
Taking Jeb’s approach to its logical conclusion, it is clear that his side has no desire to prevent future waves of illegal migration, and in fact, they would oppose actions to do so. Indeed, their vocal efforts to delegitimize our laws, borders, and sovereignty have already engendered an increase in illegal border-crossings.
As for Jeb’s false sense of love, it is born out of the same dyslexic priorities of the left on fiscal policy in general. What liberals don’t understand is that public policy in this country cannot be geared towards accommodating every person living in poverty throughout the world. Constitutional governance must take into account the best policies that benefit the broadest number of Americans without redistributing wealth while still being within the confines of the Constitution.
Hence, on paper it would make sense to redistribute wealth from the richest among us and support those who live in poverty. After all, the wealthy do not need all the money they earn, and it can certainly go towards a better cause. However, conservatives intuitively understand that it is not the job of this country and this nation’s government to take the fruits of labor from some and redistribute to others. Moreover, it is counterintuitive, mitigates economic growth, and has a net effect of creating more poverty.
The immigration issue is no different. Undoubtedly, there are many impoverished people in this world of 7 billion individuals, particularly in Latin America. However, it is not the duty of our government to take care of the world. We already lack the resources to properly foster economic opportunities for those who are subject to the jurisdiction of this nation. And indeed we currently have the most generous immigration policy in the world. In recent decades, we have let in over a million new immigrants annually, many of whom are from penurious parts of the world.
The idea that we must support a welfare system for millions more throughout the world represents a false sense of morality – the same morality that fuels the pagan beliefs of the modern-day Baal worshipers who advocate redistributionist policies. In fact, those Republicans who advocate for open borders are even worse because they are extrapolating the traditional liberal ethos on a domestic level to a global level.
Ironically, open borders Republicans are promoting illegal immigration for the expressed purpose of lining the pockets of big business with cheap labor. It is precisely because they intend to pay them cheap wages that the average taxpayer will be caught holding the bag paying the massive tab for their welfare checks and healthcare bills. Their highbrow rhetoric about love and compassion is about as credible as a blue city mayor exalting the successes of socialism in creating economic opportunity.
Furthermore, the creation of an unnaturally large flow of people from impoverished countries will artificially depress wages and lower the standard of living for Americans, particularly recent legal immigrants.
Unlike our liberal counterparts, conservatives believe that solving every socio-economic problem – certainly those outside of our borders – on the backs of American taxpayers is beyond the scope, the ability, or the moral foundation of the government. The job of our nation is to protect liberty, economic freedom, and religious freedom so that the greatest number of people in this country can reap the blessings of God’s gifts. In turn, as individuals and practitioners of the world’s major religions, we care for all of humanity through prayer and charity.
But until the leaders of either party learn about the fundamentals of borders and sovereignty, our declining Republic and economic system will continue to inhibit us from serving as the beacon of light for the rest of the world.
Now that House Republicans have passed a trillion dollar omnibus and trillion dollar farm bill, they are prepared to tackle the most pressing issue of our time – granting benefits to illegal immigrants.
The key to understanding the politics of illegal immigration is that this is not just about amnesty (legalization and/or citizenship). It’s not just that these people are calling for amnesty because of logistics, yet desire an end to illegal immigration in the future. If that were the case they would simply implement the enforcement measures that have been passed on numerous occasions (eight times, in the case of Visa exit-entry), and address those already here from a position of strength – knowing that this won’t happen again.
What they really desire is open borders. That is why they always propose the legalization before implementation of enforcement measures and cutting off of magnets and benefits. They know the latter will never come to fruition while the former will occur immediately. They want to continue the perennial cycle of open borders and amnesty.
Ryan said the principles would outline a bill that would allow immigrants living in the country illegally to “come out of the shadows” to receive a probationary work permit.
To get out of the probationary status and receive a regular work permit, triggers for border security and interior enforcement would have to be met and independently verified.
Those immigrants would also have to pay a fine, learn English and civics, and prove that they are not on welfare.
At that point, they would be able to apply for a green card for permanent residency through regular procedures.
What a novel idea! Probationary status. Why haven’t we thought of that? Oh, wait, that was the cornerstone of the Senate “Gang of 8” bill last year. The difference is that Ryan seems to imply that when the government fails to stop illegal immigration the status will be revoked!
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Economy
Year after year, leftists run for office promising to solve the very problems they helped create with central planning and distorting the private economy. They self-righteously ingratiate themselves to an array of constituencies promising policies that will redistribute wealth and create a utopia for all. Well, 50 years into the so-called war on poverty, and after flushing roughly $20 trillion in inflation-adjusted spending on mean-tested programs, they have nothing to show for it but dependency and perpetuation of their own power.
Throughout the 1950s and early ‘60s, the federal poverty rate declined sharply thanks to the post-WWII economic boom. In 1964, as the poverty rate was tumbling, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the Great Society campaign, ironically declaring an end to “the days of the dole in our country.” Well, as President Reagan noted in 1988, “the federal government declared war on poverty, and poverty won.”
Sadly, things have only gotten worse since Reagan’s era.
The AP reports that according to a revised census measure released today, the poverty rate has topped 16%, enveloping 49.7 million people. In 1966, the poverty rate was 14.7%. So after spending at least $20 trillion on welfare programs, we have failed to move the needle one inch against poverty. Instead we have perpetuated and exacerbated the problem.
We could have flushed $20 trillion down the toilet and enjoyed the same result sans the dependency and extra Democrat votes. Or as Cato’s Michael Tanner pointed out last year, with the amount we spend on combined federal and state welfare each year, we could write a $61,830 check to every poor family of three.
Unfortunately, when you ponder the real motivation behind the welfare state, it is clear that the war on poverty was a smashing success.
Ever since the 1930s, or perhaps the times of Woodrow Wilson and the progressives, we’ve ceased to function as a constitutional republic governed by our founding laws. Instead we have transitioned into a pure democracy government by majority rule. The tyrannical rule of a majority of the political class, in conjunction with the lack of courage from those who claim to represent We the People, has bequeathed us with a losing equation for almost a century.
There is an imbalance of power inherent in the political system of any pure democracy, in that the forces of tyranny have a built-in advantage over the defenders of freedom. It takes but one legislative or administrative victory for statism to succeed in guiding society on an indelible path towards socialism. As long as the media and societal institutions manipulate 51% of the population to elect 51% majorities for any big government proposal, they secure a permanent victory. The forces of freedom are never strong enough to overturn a government intervention once the dependency takes root.
On the other hand, we don’t have the ability to perpetuate the lack of government intervention. Even if we succeed in blocking a proposal, they will try a second, third, or fourth time until they are successful. Hence, when liberals failed to institute a government takeover of healthcare in 1993, they tried again the next time they won unfettered power, and achieved their dream. If our approach to governance is to consummate liberal programs into law when we have a seat at the table, we will never slow the inexorable slide into socialism.
We have approximately 77 welfare programs, and the best we can do is offer some minor tweaks.
We have government-run healthcare for seniors and complete federal control over our retirement, yet those two failed programs have become untouchable.
We have officious federal involvement in agriculture, housing, education, energy, and local transportation, yet all we can do is nibble around the edges.
We stand today at the precipice of enacting the worst government program ever. We have two choices: we can continue funding Obamacare, only to find ourselves discussing modest tweaks to the law in 10 years from now – not unlike the way we are forced to approach Medicare now. Or we can end the cycle of big government by forcing a fight to the death over this cancer to our country before it take effect. It is that simple. There are no other options. Anyone who opposes the defund effort before the law takes effect is essentially admitting that Obamacare will become enshrined into the welfare state forever.
Some figures in the beltway conservative intelligentsia are scoffing at the idea, asserting that we will have better opportunities to get rid of Obamacare. Others ask why we are not pushing budget brinkmanship over other conservative policy priorities if we think it will work with Obamacare. These people are overlooking several factors:
Elite Democrats and their Republican co-dependents are representatives of a government enterprise to ensnare citizens in the bowels of a swelling federal beast. It explains the insane drive of Democrats and Republicans alike to immediately legalize 11-20 million illegal aliens. It is directly linked to their need to be seen as the governors of a massive, paternalistic State that provides for every needs of the bedraggled poor. Democratic Senators such as Marco Rubio, disguise this by arguing that amnesty will be a net plus for the economy [read: federal government].
We know it won’t be. As Steven Camarota has been documenting for over a decade, immigrants have the highest usage of social services.
This is no small point. Among its more pernicious acts, the welfare state entices Americans to exchange their hard won but fragile liberty for a seemingly secure and well padded servility.
Black mutual aid societies were defensive accommodations of Jim Crow. The New Deal, while repressive in many respects, offered blacks a pathway out of the Depression that seemed even-handed and inclusive. Blacks would gain an equality before the law at least as much as they were recipients of government largesse. Black workers — last hired, first fired and worse off in the Depression than other groups — were offered a hand by their government. It was the first time in living memory for most blacks that the U.S. government showed any interest in them as citizens. It proved to be a powerful stimulus to ditch the self-help ethos that had dominated black thinking until that time.
Roosevelt won the black electorate by advertising the federal government as a reliable replacement to the localized structures that sometimes failed. In 1936 the black vote turned Democratic.
By 1960, despite the segregationist bloc in the South, the black vote was reliably Democratic. The federal government could not remove the boot of Southern Jim Crow regimes but its welfare programs could lessen the pain caused by racist local governments. New Deal programs were administered with less discrimination in the North than in the South which further encouraged black migration to Northern cities. That distance from the Wallaces, Connors’ and Barnetts of the world made it easier for blacks to vote for Democrats.
Johnson’s Great Society and War on Poverty went beyond replacing neighborhood welfare structures. They were billed, in part, as a repentant nation’s response to historical injustices wrought upon African slaves and their descendants. The traditional view that civil and economic rights were unalienable to all humanity was discarded — the federal government was now in the business of securing those rights for its downtrodden black wards. In a hundred years blacks had gone from actively seeking their own betterment and defending what was theirs by birth to becoming passive recipients of whatever the Democratic Party could secure for them through legislation.
Marching in unison behind men with bullhorns is a relatively new feature of black political life. Actually, it is a perversion of the great social movements blacks cobbled together to survive and advance in a society that ranged from antagonistic to indifferent.
Admittedly this recounting leaves out the radicalization of the NAACP and other civil rights organizations and it bypasses entirely the cynicism of the Democratic and Republican parties. All that is being stated here is that the social tradition of blacks in America — strong families, mutual aid and self-help (exactly the purported virtues of the allegedly morally pristine aliens the government class wants to grant citizenship) — was gutted and filleted by the federal welfare state long ago.
And lest you think this is isolated to the black community check out the rising dependency in white America. For working class whites illegitimacy is up, disability claims are up and workforce participation is down. Charles Murray’s 2012 book, Coming Apart, The State of White America, 1960-2010 is an outstanding read into how the welfare state’s encroachment is damaging a growing segment of the white community.
Native born Americans have been swallowed up and degraded by our voracious welfare establishment. It doesn’t take a deep imagination to understand what will happen to scores of the poor we plan to import.
Repealing Obamacare will increase the deficit by $109 billion over 10 years.
That was a headline from a CBO report in May when Republicans voted on full repeal of Obamacare. Somehow, when it comes to ascertaining the costs of wrongheaded policy, CBO wants us to engage in willing suspension of disbelief. The most costly entitlement will actually reduce the deficit, they claim. In Washington, up is down and down is up.
We are now seeing the same thing with the amnesty/immigration deform bill. You need not be an actuary to understand that 11 million poor illegals and tens of millions of other poor legal immigrants and guest workers, along with their American-born children, will wind up receiving a lot more in benefits that they pay in taxes. Yet, CBO will have you believe that this bill will actually reduce the deficit over 10 and 20 years by $197 billion and $700 billion respectively. In fact, the only main costs in this bill are the border security provisions.
Well, if you take their estimate to its logical conclusion, we should double the number of illegal immigrants, thereby doubling the level of deficit reduction. Also, countries like Mexico should be economic superpowers by now. It’s this sort of dyslexic bean counting that has led to $17 trillion in debt.
When determining whether a population would be a net contributor or a net recipient to the tax/benefit structure we have in this country, you have to understand that tax/benefit structure. All conservatives agree that when the income level is relatively low, those individuals will be net recipients; hence, the progressive system that everyone on the right rails against. Yet, somehow, when that simple fact is extrapolated to new immigrants, some of these people get disgruntled.
But CBO fails to factor in the degree of progressivity to our tax system even for the native population. In 2011, CBO issued an analysis showing that our tax and government transfer system had become less redistributive since 1979. At the time, I showed that, in fact, the share of income taxes paid by the top 1% grew from 19% to 36.7% while the share of the bottom 50% shrunk from 7% to 2.25%. Meanwhile, government transfer payments have exploded since 1979.
But somehow CBO found that our system had become less redistributive since the growth of refundable tax credits and welfare programs. With that in mind, it’s no enigma that they believe a low-income group of aliens will also be net contributors.
One of the most perplexing dynamics in modern politics is Obama’s resilient floor of support. He has been a failed president, he is embroiled in scandals that threaten the foundation of our Republic, and his views are clearly outside the mainstream of public opinion. Yet, despite his dip in approval, Obama still commands the support of roughly 45% of the country. What gives?
Well, if you get your sustenance from the government, what else are you supposed to think of the man who runs that government? This, from CNS News:
A common ploy in parliamentarian scheming is for leaders to hand out hall passes for vulnerable members to vote against leadership’s proposal, knowing that it has the votes to pass anyway. The rationale is that those members should be able to hoodwink their constituents without compromising passage of the bill. This dynamic usually plays out with the leadership and rank-and-file of the same party, but during today’s Senate Judiciary Committee markup, it was Chuck Schumer who was handing out hall passes to Republicans.
Throughout the past week of marking up the amnesty bill, the Republican gang members on the committee – Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham – were voting together with the Democrats against amendments that would strengthen the enforcement mechanisms to trigger any amnesty. However, on some of the more embarrassing amendments, the two Republicans have been voting the right way. After all, Democrats have enough votes to defeat those amendments without their participation, so why make them look bad with the rubes in the GOP base? We long suspected collaboration between the Democrats and these members, but today Chuck Schumer gave away the secret.
Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been a statesman on this issue, offered an amendment to bar illegals from receiving refundable tax credits during the “RPI” amnesty status. Remember, that advocates of the gang’s bill are incessantly denying the fact that these people will receive benefits during the first 10 years of the amnesty. Well, every Democrat affirmed what we already know by voting to retain those benefits. Except, in this case, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake voted with Sessions and the Republicans. If you watch the roll call (at around the 3:05 mark), you can hear Chuck Schumer asking an aid “do our Republicans have a pass on this one?” The aid says, “yes.”
Hmm…later in the day, Chuck Grassley offered an amendment to bar gang members from receiving amnesty. This amendment was also defeated along a party-line vote…without the help of Flake and Graham. I guess that was embarrassing enough for them to warrant a hall pass from Schumer. Same goes for Cornyn’s amendment which would bar amnesty for criminal aliens , including domestic abusers, child abusers, and drunk drivers, all of whom could potentially get legal status under the Senate bill.