If you governed a country with more than 20 million of its citizens unemployed or underemployed, with trillion-dollar annual public deficits piled atop $17 trillion of accumulated debt, and with borders so porous that foreigners come and go-but mostly come-at their own pleasure, what would you do?
Would you double legal immigration to two million per year? Would you amnesty (legalize) nearly all 11 million illegal aliens who've crashed our borders or overstayed a visa? Would you hobble enforcement against future illegal immigration, thus guaranteeing that yet another mass amnesty will be demanded ten years hence? Amazingly, those are the three main features of the "comprehensive immigration reform" bill, S.744, approved May 21 by the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee and sent to the Senate floor for action by mid-June.
The "Gang of Eight" senators who wrote S.744 have shown little interest in scoping their bill's main impacts. But others have slogged through its 1,076 pages to assemble the picture. Most startling, counting both the mass amnesty and the doubled legal immigration, 33 million new lifetime work permits would be given to foreigners by 2024. (This includes permits for the approximately eight million illegal aliens working here today-if S.744 passes, they could no longer be deported to free up jobs for citizens.) One analyst wrote, "If Congress passes this bill, it would be like re-creating ALL of the Top 20 cities in the United States, filling them entirely with foreign citizens and giving them lifetime work permits to compete with America's struggling workers-and in just 10 years time."
Using Department of Homeland Security [DHS] and Census Department data along with techniques pioneered by the National Research Council, other policy analysts have calculated in detail the expense of the amnesty itself. Public benefits collected by these former illegal aliens over their lifetimes would cost about $9.4 trillion, while they'd pay about $3.1 trillion in taxes. The $6.3-trillion difference would be shouldered by the rest of us. For perspective, spreading a $6.3-trillion burden among 100 million American families over 50 years, means amnesty will cost the average tax-paying family $1,260 per year. (All figures are in 2010 dollars.)
Further, the 100-percent increase in legal immigration would add substantially to our fiscal burden because most of today's legal immigrants, like today's illegal aliens, have little education and few skills, making them low earners and, hence, natural clients for welfare programs. As the Center for Immigration Studies summarized in 2011, "57 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal and illegal) with children (under 18) used at least one welfare program, compared to 39 percent for native households with children. Immigrant households' use of welfare tends to be much higher than natives for food assistance programs and Medicaid. Their use of cash and housing programs tends to be similar to native households."
The looming amnesty results directly from 1986's, which legalized about 2.7 million. In a cynical bait-and-switch, amnesty happened immediately, but the promised enforcement against further illegal immigration was evaded and gutted, so today we have four times as many illegal aliens as before we "fixed the problem for good" 17 years ago.
But S.744 contains serious enforcement measures, right? No. As U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow wrote recently, "[There's] no border security in the bill. It's a mirage. The bill only requires the DHS secretary to present a plan to secure the border. Meanwhile, the amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants isn't merely a plan, it's a reality. The bill's various border-security 'triggers' are little more than 'boob bait for the bubbas,' providing no guarantees whatsoever that any steps will be taken to secure the border."
Surprisingly, Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, an open-borders lobbying group relentlessly pushing S.744, confirmed Kirsanow's take. Sharry told the Wall Street Journal, "The triggers are based on developing plans and spending money, not on reaching that effectiveness, which is really quite clever."
Other claimed features in the bill, touted in endless broadcast ads funded by tycoons such as Mark Zuckerberg-like requirements that amnestied illegals "learn English" and "pay back taxes"-are notable for their toothlessness or complete absence.
Standing against the billion-dollar juggernaut of the cheap-labor and ethnic lobbies are several brave legislators (e.g. Senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Chuck Grassley of Iowa). Plus the American people: We have the power to kill S.744, but only if we use it, as we did in 2007. For Montanans, this means phoning Senators Baucus and Tester to say "NO on S.744!" until they get the idea.
Why involve yourself? Recognize that under the threat of this ruinous bill, we're in a fight for our country's life. Envision what an ever more crowded, debt-ridden, and multilingual America would be like, especially for your children and grandchildren. Then make those phone calls.
— Paul Nachman, 1611 W. Koch, Bozeman, is a retired physicist and a founding member of Montanans for Immigration Law Enforcement (MILE). MILE's website is www.MontanaMILE.org.