Nearly five years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, our borders remain porous. The deportation system remains broken. The government's tracking systems for criminal illegal aliens and visa overstayers remain incomplete. So, what's Washington's latest homeland security solution?
"Gold Cards" for illegal aliens.
I kid you not.
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee began debate on a proposal by Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., that would create a "Gold Card" program for illegal aliens who broke the law to get into the United States before Jan. 4, 2004. Applicants for the Gold Card would supposedly undergo a background check by the Department of Homeland Security, then be eligible for two-year work visas that could be renewed indefinitely.
If that isn't the dictionary definition of amnesty, I don't know what is. Indeed, Specter's plan amounts to an unprecedented mass governmental pardon for millions of immigration law-breakers (plus their spouses, children and, by extension, their employers). There's nothing in his measure that bars Gold Card holders from obtaining eventual U.S. citizenship.
This proposal is a gargantuan political and bureaucratic disaster. It's a slap in the face to millions of naturalized Americans who followed the rules to follow their dreams, and to millions more legal applicants who are waiting in line to get here. Open-borders activists talk dreamily of bringing illegal aliens "out of the shadows" and into the American mainstream, while snubbing all the legal immigrants who have never hid from the law, disguised their true identities or otherwise deceived authorities to live and work in the United States.
Which side is the party of law and order on, anyway?
Amnesty-pushers argue that the Gold Card plan for illegal aliens is the only way to "deal with reality" and that immediate mass deportation is "not practical." Phony arguments. The reality is that the massive chasm at Ground Zero was facilitated by lax immigration enforcement. Business as usual is a recipe for another gaping hole. The policy decision is not between mass amnesty and mass deportation. It is a matter of prioritizing: Will Washington put enforcement first or not? Will it clean house, strengthen the borders and support rank-and-file interior enforcement employees, investigators, detention and deportation officers, and Border Patrol agents? Or will it undermine them?
Will it punish employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens? Or will it abet them? Will it enforce the laws on the books and make sure there are sanctions for immigration law-breaking? Or will it ignore those laws and create more incentives, rewards and chaos instead?
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