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Congress: If On the First Three Tries You Don’t Succeed, Please Try Something New

Heritage makes a very valid point about amnesty: if we do the same thing about immigration – grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants – why should we expect a different result.

The last time we gave amnesty a go, it made illegal immigration into an even bigger problem.  And of course, today’s proponents of amnesty are singing the same old tune.  We’ll just give them amnesty this one last time, and we promise, we’ll secure the border and enforce the law.

Sure.  Only that’s not what happened before, and it’s not what will happen this time.  (Some people seem to like hitting their head against the proverbial wall, but conservatives don’t.)

Here is what happened in 1986:

In 1986, the IRCA provided millions of illegal immigrants with temporary legal status. After a year and a half, they could apply to become legal permanent residents (LPRs), and then citizens five years later. Indeed, nearly 2.7 million people eventually became LPRs under the bill.

Amnesty alone, however, would not have passed, so the authors of the bill added increased border security and stepped up the enforcement of existing immigration and labor laws. As a result, many in Congress justified their votes for amnesty because they believed they had strengthened security and enforcement that would prevent future streams of illegal immigration.

Of course, strengthening security and enforcement didn’t really happen. The executive branch didn’t enforce the new provisions well and the border remained porous. 

In 2007, Congress attempted to pass a similar amnesty bill that was also flawed and would have failed to secure the border.

Clearly, these three pieces of legislation are incredibly similar—all three are amnesties at their core and reward those who broke U.S. laws with legal status; all three have called for additional security and enforcement; and all three have done and will do nothing to fix our broken immigration system.

Have politicians learned anything?  Sadly, the Gang of Eight has not:

Flash forward yet again to the present, and many of the ideas from the failed 2007 bill are now being carried forward into the current “Gang of Eight” legislation. Instead of new ideas, the current bill is essentially just recycling the flawed and failed ideas of the past.

Conservatives – including legal immigrants like Jose Aldana and Octavio Sanchez – know very well that this amnesty bill will do nothing to solve immigration related problems or to improve our flawed immigration system.  It’s not fair to Americans or to immigrants who have come here legally.

We cannot bear the financial burden – roughly $6.3 trillion over the lifetime of illegal immigrants currently in the country.  Moreover, amnesty always undermines the rule of law and encourages future illegal immigration.

Must we continually repeat the mistakes of the past?

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