The Bush amnesty for hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, rushed through the House Tuesday night, will undermine both the rule of law and the moral authority of the United States in the world.
As the world knows, U.S. immigration laws are being daily mocked and violated. No one is certain exactly how many scofflaws and gate-crashers are here. Estimates run as high as 11 million -- or as many illegal aliens in this country as there are people in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
With this vote to grant mass amnesty to hundreds of thousands from Mexico, the House and the president abdicated their duty to defend the American Southwest from foreign invasion. And by rewarding the illegal invaders, they made fools of those good folks who have waited in line for years to become Americans.
Why did President Bush pressure the House to grant amnesty and put these illegal aliens on the fast track to U.S. citizenship? Because the president is going to Mexico and wants to give a gift to President Fox. And, as Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo notes, the GOP had another motive: To pander to Mexican Americans in the prayerful hope they will look with gratitude on the GOP in 2002 and 2004.
Thus is the national interest sacrificed to petty politics. Thus does America, land of the free and the home of the brave, become an international flophouse and a polyglot crash pad for the world.
It was not only what the House did, but how it did it that enrages. Though immigration is second only to the war on terror as a boiling issue, few Americans were even aware a vote was coming. Yet, with only hours' notice, a firestorm arose on talk radio and in the immigration reform community. Congress was inundated with phone calls and faxes pleading, "Don't do this!" But well after dark, Speaker Hastert, under a suspension of rules, did his business and ran it through, by one vote. White House lobbyists had greased the skids.
Why did the GOP leaders not want a debate? Because they feared they would lose or pay a heavy price, as huge majorities of Americans oppose another amnesty. From experience, Americans know this amnesty, like the last, will only mean another new army of aliens heading for the U.S. Southern border in anticipation of yet another amnesty.
Other consequences will follow from this vote. It must surely demoralize a Border Patrol whose agents risk their lives to defend our frontiers. It will sell out U.S. citizens whose taxes must pay for the social services and schools illegal aliens use but do not pay for with their own taxes. It will put at risk many Americans who will be victimized by crimes aliens commit in disproportionate numbers.
One can imagine the reaction in the Southwest, where the U.S. Border Patrol apprehends 1.5 million illegals, most of them Mexican, every year, as 500,000 successfully break into the United States. If those agents decide not to do their duty to protect our border, how could you blame them -- when the GOP leadership and president have decided not to do their duty to protect our borders?
Who will look into the criminal records and the security threat of these illegals once they get amnesty? The same Immigration and Naturalization Service that approved a student visa for Muhammad Atta to begin pilot training, six months after he crashed that 767 full of Americans into the World Trade Center.
"We are a nation at war," protested Arizona conservative J.D. Hayworth. "To move forward with this (amnesty) in wartime ... sends the wrong message, especially to those who try to play by the rules."
Defending amnesty was House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who declared: "The president is saying it's not right to make people be separate from their families and go through the extra hardship because this agency (the INS) doesn't keep pace with the workload."
But if reuniting families is the objective, why not tell the lawbreakers, who left their families behind when they snuck into the United States, to go back and rejoin their families in Mexico?
Ronald Reagan once said that a country that cannot control its borders isn't really a country anymore. If Mexicans, spurred on by their government, can break our laws in the millions, sneak over our border and expect amnesty, is America really a country anymore?
Tuesday night, many of those high-minded Republicans who voted to impeach Bill Clinton for failing to faithfully execute the laws of the United States absolved themselves of their own duty to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.