The Best of the Forge
Yesterday at a forum on immigration sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill “is not amnesty” because “amnesty is wiping the slate clean and not paying any penalty for having done something wrong.”
We beg to differ, Mr. Chairman.
Thursday, our CEO Mike Needham said that Heritage Action would welcome a discussion about the real meaning of the word “amnesty” and whether the Gang of Eight bill is amnesty. Amnesty proponents – including some folks who call themselves conservatives – like to parade around telling the world that this amnesty bill isn’t amnesty because the illegal immigrants who would be granted registered provisional immigrant status are penalized and have to jump over “hurdles.”
Whether it’s our friends trying to redefine “amnesty” or Karl Rove trying to rewrite history to fit a political agenda, the folks pushing the Gang of Eight’s amnesty are just wrong, and that won’t help advance real solutions to our failed immigration system. On that note, another wise recommendation from Attorney General Meese is in order: “On legislation as important as this, lawmakers must take the time to read the bill, not rely on others’ characterizations of what it says.”
Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that he would vote for the trillion-dollar food stamp and farm bill. Though he has concerns with the bill, he stated that he will “vote for the farm bill to make sure the good work of the Agriculture Committee and whatever the floor might do to improve this bill gets to a conference.”
He thinks this will help bring about “the kind of changes that people want in our nutrition programs and our farm programs.” Moving the ball forward legislatively may be a good political strategy in Washington, but it is all but certain to result in bad policy (and thus bad politics). As Heritage has explained, the farm bill that the House has produced is dramatically flawed and beyond repair.
As the Washington Examiner recently pointed out, the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill fails to resolve a very pressing problem. “The bill,” they state, “would effectively encourage employers to hire newly legalized immigrants over American citizens as a way of avoiding Obamacare’s taxes.”
This problem would last for roughly 13 years when the illegal population who had been granted amnesty would be able to obtain full citizenship.
Heritage has explained that the situation bodes no better for Americans after the 13-year mark – the point at which most of the illegal immigrants who had been granted amnesty could become citizens.
Remember when then-Senator Barack Obama promised health care deliberations would take place in front of the C-SPAN cameras?
Well, the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill is Obamacare-esque legislation that was crafted behind closed doors. As a result, it is very difficult for the American people to really have a grasp of what the bill contains and who requested what provisions. During the committee markup, many Senators were more concerned with getting a bill passed just for the sake of getting something done than for the sake of enacting good policy.
A number of Senators expressed the desire to avoid any amendment to the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill that would jeopardize its chances of being passed. (The hearings and business meetings from the month of May can be found here.)