2010 is election year; unemployment will be 10.5%; many will still be mad about health law, etc.; & Obama to tackle illegal immigration? No way.
A 6-24-07 post entitled "Senator Kennedy and President Reagan on the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986" reads as follows:
Senator Ted Kennedy said: "This amnesty will give citizenship to only 1.1 to 1.3 million illegal aliens. We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another amnesty bill like this."
[Actually, almost 3 million illegal immigrants were granted amnesty under this legislation, and the amnesty was followed by an explosion in illegal immigration.]
President Ronald Reagan said: "Future generations of Americans will be thankful for our efforts to humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people, American citizenship."
A 5-26-07 post entitled "The complicated mess we have with illegal immigration and how to solve the problem -- More on the 1986 legislation," reads:
A 5-25-07 post noted:
If you grant legal status to those here illegally without first securing the border, millions more will flood into our country illegally. That's exactly what happened with the flawed immigration law that was passed in 1986, and our country has been paying the price ever since.
Time said this about the 1986 legislation:
[T]he failed amnesty of 1986 [is] widely viewed as the genesis of the current crisis. The moment newly legalized farmworkers realized they had better options, they left for the cities instead of staying in low-paying agriculture jobs. Their exodus from the fields opened the door to an even larger wave of illegal immigration.
And another article in Time gives us these details about the legislation:
The immigration overhaul in 1986 was supposed to have fixed the root problem of an uncontrolled influx by making it illegal for U.S. employers to hire undocumented workers and offering an amnesty to illegal immigrants who had been here for five years at that point. Instead, the best estimates suggest that since then, the number of illegal immigrants has more than tripled.
The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire undocumented workers and imposed penalties of up to $11,000 for each violation. But lawbreakers are rarely punished. In 2005 the government issued just three notices of intent to fine companies for employing illegal workers, down from 178 in 2000.
It's easy to understand why the idea of an amnesty [sparks] such a negative reaction. The country tried one with the 1986 law. Nearly 3 million people took advantage of it, and the amnesty was followed by an explosion in illegal immigration.
Today an article in The New York Times notes:
The Obama administration will insist on measures to give legal status to an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants as it pushes early next year for legislation to overhaul the immigration system, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Friday.
In her first major speech on the overhaul, Ms. Napolitano dispelled any suggestion that the administration — with health care, energy and other major issues crowding its agenda — would postpone the most contentious piece of immigration legislation until after midterm elections next November.
With unemployment surging over 10 percent and Congress still wrangling over health care, advocates on all sides of the immigration debate had begun to doubt that President Obama would keep his pledge to tackle the divisive illegal immigration issue in the first months of 2010.
Ms. Napolitano unveiled a double-barrel argument for a legalization program, saying it would enhance national security and, as the economy climbs out of recession, protect American workers from unfair competition from lower-paid, easily exploited illegal immigrants.
Under the administration’s plan, illegal immigrants who hope to gain legal status would have to register, pay fines and all taxes they owe, pass a criminal background check and learn English.
Drawing a contrast with 2007, when a bill with legalization provisions offered by President George W. Bush failed in Congress, Ms. Napolitano said the Obama administration had achieved a “fundamental change” in border security and enforcement against employers hiring illegal immigrants. She said a sharp reduction in the flow of illegal immigrants into the country created an opportunity to move ahead with a legalization program.
As noted above, the failed amnesty of 1986 is widely viewed as the genesis of the current crisis. The moment newly legalized farmworkers -- who were referred to as migrant workers during my earlier years -- realized they had better options, they left for the cities instead of staying in low-paying agriculture jobs. Their exodus from the fields opened the door to an even larger wave of illegal immigration.
And with the continuous wave of illegal immigrants that has followed (and only recently slowed because of the weak economy and stronger enforcement), the administration now -- even as unemployment is surging toward 10 1/2 percent -- feels that this is the time to move forward to protect American workers from unfair competition from lower-paid, easily exploited illegal immigrants. Frankly, I cannot connect the dots here, and need to study the administration's logic.
Like many Americans, I am conflicted on the topic of how to fix the illegal immigration problem other than border security being the first priority without regard to cost. (For two decades after the 1986 amnesty bill the government did nothing to secure the borders. It said it would, but the bill did not require it.)
But this much I know. Given our country's current situation, at this time middle America wishes the president and Congress would focus their attention on the deficit rather than health care reform with its $1.1 trillion price tag.
The timing for bringing yet something in addition to health care to the table for public debate could not be worse.
Many Americans still feel that the bailout of Wall Street was done on the back of Main Street. They did not see their non-UAW businesses and employers getting bailed out (while an American icon was handed over to an Italian car company), nor money being doled out to them to buy goods and services from their business or employer similar to the cash for clunker program.
For these Americans there is seething resentment, even anger, just below the surface, that will take time and an economic recovery to dissipate.
In 2007, the immigration reform failed as many members of Congress were bombarded with opposition from constituents and activist groups.
If (and I should probably say when) the administration brings immigration to the forefront (and there is more bipartisan support for this than the GOP wants to admit), hopefully the debate will be determined by our representatives hearing from their constituents and activist groups alone, and we will not experience what occurred in 2009: disruptive town hall meetings and tea parties.
If my preference is wrong in this regard, I fear the unfortunate August 2009 town hall meetings in retrospect may appear to be civil walks in the park, practice rounds for things to come. And of course if there are tea party rallies galore, this time there will be more than just your right wingers in attendance.
Part of this will probably because during the town house meetings a certain part of the population felt empowerment when they got to hold a mike and incoherently blow out an elected representative, even while the individual was being an embarrassment to all who knew him.
In 2007, the immigration reform failed as many members of Congress said they couldn't support a program of mass legalization in the face of opposition from constituents and activist groups critical of easing the road to legal immigration for those who had already violated the law.
That sentiment continues, but will be buttressed by the argument of how can Congress allow 12 million illegal immigrants to take jobs that should go to who are here legally.
Based on the results in Virginia and New Jersey, our work was already cut out for us. And now this . . . .
See also a short article in The Wall Street Journal.