Like many teenagers, President George W. Bush dashed off to Cancun for spring break. Protected by a long and impenetrable fence and plenty of security guards, he met privately with the Mexican president and wealthy chief executive officers from both countries.
Bush should have gone to the Arizona border where U.S. citizens really need a fence to protect themselves, their children, their animals and their property from the hundreds of illegal immigrants who tramp across their land every night.
Bush thus gave the back of his hand to the 88 percent of Republican House Members who voted to secure our borders against the invasion of criminals, smugglers of illegal drugs with their armed escorts, smugglers of thirsty humans in crowded vans, and Other Than Mexicans who obviously aren't coming here to pick strawberries.
While Bush was closeted in a plush foreign resort hotel, the people who support his plan rather than the bill passed by the House demonstrated in the streets and the schools, flying the U.S. flag upside down subordinate to the Mexican flag, and carrying placards asserting that Mexico owns the Southwest United States. Are those the people Bush is now allying himself with instead of the people who elected him?
At a closed meeting of conservatives last week in Washington, D.C., a Bush representative tried to deny that the president is advocating amnesty, but a participant retorted, "His dispute is not with us; it's with the dictionary." The comment "We don't believe the President anymore" elicited spontaneous applause.
In another semantic deception, Bush said in Cancun that he is committed to signing a "comprehensive immigration bill. And by 'comprehensive,' I mean not only a bill that has border security in it, but a bill that has a worker permit program in it. That's an important part of having a border that works."
That statement is false, a non sequitur, and offensive to the intelligence and wishes of the American people. Our experience with the 1986 law proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that amnesty destroys border security and quadruples the number trying to enter the United States illegally.
Even the use of the word "comprehensive" is odious. For 20 years, those of us who have fought education issues know that "comprehensive" is the code word used to conceal from parents the fact that sex education includes teaching kids in coed classrooms how to use condoms.
Likewise, "comprehensive" border security means concealing from the public that it means immediately legalizing illegal immigrants who are already in the United States and giving worker permits to many more foreigners to come in, while giving us only pie-in-the-sky promises about closing our borders to illegal entry.
On the eve of the Cancun trip, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted for the Kennedy-McCain amnesty-guest-worker-no-border-security bill with the votes of all the Democrats and four Republicans. The bill would provide legal status to at least 11 million illegal immigrants (Bear Stearns estimates 20 million) now living in this country plus 1.5 million guest farm workers, plus guest-worker status for at least 400,000 new non-farm workers every year with their relatives, plus in-state-college-tuition status for illegal immigrant students.
Putting his name on a bill alongside that of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., should forfeit any chance Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., might have had to be the 2008 Republican presidential nominee. The Amnesty Four who voted for the Kennedy-McCain bill, Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Sam Brownback, Michael DeWine, and Lindsey Graham, also forfeit their Republican respectability.
Rep. Bob Beauprez, R-Colo., figured it out correctly. He said this would be "the biggest magnet ever, ... a dinner bell, 'come one, come all.'"
The Kennedy-McCain bill is directly contrary to what the American people want. A new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reports that 53 percent of Americans believe illegal immigrants should be required to return home, and only 40 percent said they should be granted some legal status to remain.
George W. Bush, who will never again run for office, is selfishly destroying the Republican Party. He is molding the Republican Party into the Party of Big Business and Big Government.
While employers benefit from the importation of millions of "willing workers" from poor countries, the taxpayers are stuck with having to pay for social benefits for low-paid workers: schooling, health care, food stamps, housing subsidies, Earned Income Tax Credit handouts, law enforcement.
What's more, if amnesty passes, 10-plus million people will be added to the already staggering number eligible for Medicaid.
Economics 101 teaches that an increase in low-paid labor supply inexorably depresses wages and increases the costs of social benefits. Who benefits? Corporate donors to Bush and the Republican Party.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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