I was sitting at my computer starting to write this week's column when I received a phone call asking me to listen to an important recorded message from our old friend Newt Gingrich. Expecting to get more information about his new alliance with Hillary Clinton to change health care as we know it, I stayed on the line.
But no, the former Republican Speaker of the House was telling me about the danger from immigrant aliens coming across our open borders illegally. He talked about the threat this poses to our national security in an era of terrorism, the high costs to U.S. taxpayers, the follies of multiculturalism, and the urgent need for everyone in our country to be able to speak English.
The message was skillfully designed to appeal to Americans who are outraged at our government's failure to protect us from the invasion of illegal immigrants. But slyly buried in the middle of Newt's message was an endorsement of a "guest worker" plan to invite even more aliens to take U.S. jobs.
The politicians and business executives, who are determined to continue bringing in foreigners to work for lower wages than Americans expect, have gotten smart. The plan to import "willing workers" from other countries is now being packaged in the language of concern about border security.
This strategy is obvious in the new White House-backed coalition called Americans for Border and Economic Security, organized by Republican lobbyist (and former Republican National Committee Chairman) Ed Gillespie. Admission to this coalition costs $50,000 to $250,000, fees that will finance a political-style campaign to sell the U.S. people on a guest-worker program wrapped in a few border-security measures.
This bait-and-switch maneuver is also the approach of the soon-to-be-introduced bill sponsored by U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and John Kyl, R-Ariz. It's called the "Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act," and boy is it comprehensive; the advance summary runs a dozen pages of fine print.
The Cornyn-Kyl bill starts off with authorizing 10,000 more Border Patrol agents. But more agents were congressionally authorized months ago and the Bush administration refused to add them.
The Cornyn-Kyl bill increases criminal penalties for alien smuggling, document fraud, gang violence and drug trafficking. But that only applies to criminals who are caught; our Border Patrol is catching less than half of the illegal immigrants coming over the border, and we inspect only a tiny percent of the Mexican trucks which the North American Free Trade Agreement has forced us to allow on our highways.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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