The newly amended 1,198-page “comprehensive” immigration bill was plunked on Senate desks last Friday afternoon. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid forced through an initial vote over the objections of senators who said they had not read it. Sen. Mike Lee labeled the ploy “banana republic” politics.
The bill bribes reluctant senators to get their votes. A provision slipped in to extend taxpayer-financed advertising for Las Vegas casinos and other tourist attractions converted Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada into a last-minute co-sponsor. A $1.3 billion jobs program mollified Sen. Bernie Sanders (Sec. 1102(f), Sec. 1501).
Top banana Harry Reid is spending your money to buy support for his agenda and power. The nation is reeling under the Obama health law, rammed through the Senate by Reid in a similarly corrupt manner. The hurried vote on Monday produced a 67 to 27 majority (including 15 Republicans) that will move immigration reform to a final Senate vote later this week, and then on to the House of Representatives.
The House should discard the Senate bill and give us a series of 20-page bills in plain, honest English that members will read before voting. Opponents of the Senate bill object to its failure to secure the borders. Last week, the Congressional Budget Office report validated their concern, concluding that the bill would reduce illegal immigration by a meager 25 percent, making future amnesty crises inevitable.
In response, Sen. Bob Corker put forward the amendment voted on Monday night that purports to secure the border. In truth, it requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to present a plan that includes 700 miles of fencing, an elaborate list of technologies, such as drones, ground sensors and seismic imaging, a “surge” of border agents from the current 18,000 to 38,000, an e-verify employment system and tracking to identify visa overstaying.
The bill guarantees a tough plan, not implementation. Slippery language affords the secretary discretion to weasel out of fencing.
The target of 38,000 agents doesn’t have to be met until 2021, turning a surge into a trickle. Sec. 5(b)(5), and Sec. 1102(a).
The bill’s authors seem incapable of honest dealing. They label numerous provisions “emergency” legislation to avoid Congress’s own “pay as you go” rule, which requires that any new mandatory spending be offset by reductions elsewhere or tax hikes. Labeling this bill an emergency is cooking the books.
Shockingly, the bill exploits immigration reform for partisan purposes, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds into “non profits,” meaning immigrant advocacy groups and community activists.
This is a replay of the Obama health law, which is providing truckloads of money to the NAACP, SEIU and local groups for “outreach” to the uninsured. The money is said to go for door-to-door canvassing and phone banks — the same techniques used to register voters and get them to the polls.
Numerous sections of the immigration bill empower the Secretary of Homeland Security to make grants to “community organizations.” Here is a sample: Secs. 2106 and 2537 funnel $150 million in grants to non-profits to provide legal assistance, screen aliens for eligibility and assemble proof of residence and employment, and complete applications for family members and waivers. These functions belong in the Office of Immigration. Why outsource? Because community activists can say and do things government employees can’t.
Sec. 2531 of the bill sets up a nonprofit United States Citizenship Foundation run by 10 directors from national community organizations. They will develop “citizenship preparation” materials to teach newcomers about American history and civics. That job is currently done by the Federal Office of Immigration, but outsourcing will allow it to be done with a partisan slant and without public scrutiny.
Just as the Obama health law elevates community activists into the “go-to” people for health benefits and other social services, the immigration bill would make them the “go-to” people for amnesty.
Empowering and funding these groups will tilt the scales against a two-party system and make it difficult for Republicans to compete fairly in another national election. That’s a step closer to one-party, banana republic government.