It happens all the time in Congress. Politicians push through legislation that is not supported by the American people. The members of Congress listen to the lobbyists, special interest groups and powerful political forces, but rarely listen to average voters.
It happened with the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and it is on the verge of happening once again as Congress is in an artificial rush to “do something” about illegal immigration. Most Americans are concerned about the economy, but the politicians want to pass “comprehensive immigration reform.” A 1,000+ page bill is being rammed through the Senate. It will create a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million illegal immigrants who are in this country
Democrats want the legislation to pass for they know that the newly legalized immigrants will most likely vote for their party. In the last election, 77% of Hispanic voters cast their ballots for President Obama.
Republicans are under the illusion that Hispanic voters will reward them if they acquiesce in passing this bill. Such beliefs are truly ridiculous and are not supported by electoral history. In 1986, Republican President Ronald Reagan and a bi-partisan coalition in Congress passed an immigration reform bill that granted amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants. Yet, the Republican share of the Hispanic vote dropped from 37% in 1984 to 30% in 1988. There was no reward for supporting the bill, just the opposite. It could be argued that a large contingent of Hispanic voters, native born or legal immigrants, was upset at the GOP for supporting the amnesty bill and withdrew their support for the party.
A key part of the 1986 legislation included guarantees for additional border security. However, 27 years later, Americans are still waiting for border security. It is clear Congress does not ever intend to secure the border. Today, only 36 miles of the 1,951 mile border with Mexico is secured with double fencing. There are 656 miles of single fencing, a paltry one third of the total area that needs to be secured.
Bills have been passed to extend the border fence, such as the Secure Fence Act of 2006, but they have been subsequently ignored by Congress and the White House. In fact, in March of 2010, President Obama eliminated funding for the expansion of a “virtual fence.” Since that time, the number of illegal immigrants has increased, but there has been no progress on the border fence, either actual or virtual.
In reality, America needs a physical double fence that secures a very dangerous southern border with Mexico. Regularly, there is human and drug trafficking across the border. Ominously, there is a real national security threat as our open border could be exploited by a terrorist intent on attacking this country.
The current immigration bill offers legal status to the illegal aliens before securing the border. This emphasis is in direct opposition to the wishes of the American people, who, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, by a 4-1 margin are demanding that the border be secured first before any amnesty is granted to illegal aliens.
The result is a phony rush to pass legislation that thwarts the will of the American people. Immigration reform will not solve any problem. It will just lead to more illegal immigration without dealing with the lack of security at the border.
It is time for a total revamping of our political system. It is not working; the voice of average Americans is not being heard.
Until we can implement effective political change, such as term limits or other reforms, look for Americans to get angrier and angrier. This could spell trouble in the days ahead.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.