Tom Tancredo

To hear the accounts about tough bipartisan negotiations from the Senate’s “Gang of 8” on immigration, one would think that Hatfields had just made peace with the McCoys. The truth is that all the Republicans on this gang have long been supporters of amnesty. The border enforcement group Numbers USA gives Jeff Flake, Lindsay Graham, and John McCain F grades for their support of amnesty. Rubio has not had a chance to vote for an amnesty yet, but he has been vocally supporting the policy for the last year. Similarly, the four Democratic Senators who sponsored the bill, Richard Durbin, Michael Bennet, Chuck Schumer, and Bob Menendez all have F-.

This tells you a lot of what the American people should expect when they hear about “bipartisanship”: nothing more than a compromise between F- Democrats and F Republicans. And sure enough, what they offered represents the worst from both parties. The comprehensive immigration reform they offer reflects the tired scheme of amnesty and massive increases to legal immigration in exchange for vague promises of enforcement. America was promised enforcement in exchange for amnesty in 1986. The enforcement never came, and 20 years and 12 million illegal aliens later, the same compromise was offered. The American people were not fooled in 2006 and 2007 and they rejected amnesty, despite the support of the Republican and Democratic establishment.

The Gang of 8 proposal will give amnesty to virtually every single illegal immigrant living here. Like the failed 2007 amnesty, they say citizenship is “contingent upon our success in securing our borders.” The illegal aliens will be able to live and work in the US immediately, but they will not be given citizenship until a commission declares that the border is secure. However, the Democrats have already admitted that the commission will be powerless. According to Greg Sargent in the Washington Post, “Democratic Senators reassured immigration advocates that this commission won’t be constructed in a way that will hold up the process for too long.” He continues, quoting amnesty lobbyist Frank Sharry, “Democrats realize that they can’t ‘allow the commission to have a real veto.’”

In 2006, Flake, Schumer, Graham, Durbin, and McCain all voted for the Secure Fence Act that was supposedly going to create a border fence. However, the Democratic Congress cut the funding for the fence and it was never built. The new blueprint says nothing about a border fence or troops on the ground, but merely increasing “infrastructure” and “technology,” something that both President Bush and Obama claimed they had already done. In fact, in 2011, Janet Napolitano said “The border is better now than it ever has been.”

The Gang of 8 also promises workforce verification, by “developing a tough, fair, effective and mandatory employment verification system.” Sounds good, except that there already is a tough, fair, and effective employment verification system called E-Verify. However, the Gang’s proposal does not mention E-Verify. We can only assume that they will eliminate the program and replace it with a new program that is filled with loopholes.

The proposal also massively increases legal immigration. It calls for unlimited high skilled immigration and massive low skilled guest worker programs. They also propose that the amnestied illegal immigrants will not receive green cards until “every individual who is already waiting in line for a green card, at the time this legislation is enacted, has received their green card.” Even though America issues over one million green cards each year, there are over 4.5 million people on the wait list, which is 20 years long in some categories. So either there will be over a 20 year wait for the new illegals to get amnesty, or else they will expedite those waiting, leading to an increase of millions of legal immigrants.

Thus far, the Gang of 8 released a 4 page summary of their plan that will inevitably turn into a bill that is hundreds if not thousands of pages long. You can be sure that the final product will have tons of loopholes that I have not even contemplated.

Listening to the media, one would think that the support of a few establishment Republicans who always supported amnesty for this bill represents a major shift in the political winds. Yet I heard the exact same talk in 2006 and 2007. We stopped amnesty then, and we can stop it again.


Tom Tancredo

Tom Tancredo represented Colorado's 6th Congressional District from 1999 until 2009 where he chaired the 100+ member bipartisan Immigration Reform Caucus. He currently serves as co-chairman of Team America PAC and president of the Rocky Mountain Foundation. He authored "In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security.