Jewish World Review April 12, 2006 / 14 Nissan, 5766

Thomas Sowell

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Immigration ‘solutions’, Part III | The same man said all of the following things. Can you guess who it was?

"Our borders have overflowed with illegal immigrants placing tremendous burdens on our criminal justice system, schools and social programs."

"Our federal wallet is stretched to the limit by illegal aliens getting welfare, food stamps, medical care and other benefits, often without paying taxes."

"Safeguards like welfare and free medical care are in place to boost Americans in need of short-term assistance. These programs were not meant to entice freeloaders and scam artists from around the world."

"Even worse, Americans have seen heinous crimes committed by individuals who are here illegally."

Who said all these things? Pat Buchanan? Bill O'Reilly? Lou Dobbs?

Not even close. These statements were all made by Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, and currently Senate Minority Leader fighting fiercely to protect illegal immigrants from the restrictions proposed in Republican bills in Congress.

When Senator Reid said all those other things, it was 1993. There was no congressional or presidential election that year and it was not the Republicans who were trying to pass an immigration bill. It was Senator Reid who introduced his own immigration bill.

In short, the immigration bill is not just about immigration. It is about politics — and the stakes are high. Under such conditions, it is not unusual for a politician to rise above principles.

Immigration represents a golden political opportunity for the Democrats to regain power. It is an ideal issue for the Democrats because it unites them and divides the Republicans.

The Republican majority in Congress is split between supporters of President Bush's "guest worker" proposal and those who are serious about controlling our borders and upholding our laws. Meanwhile, the Democrats are united for legalizing illegality.

Under these conditions, the chances that Congress will solve the nation's problem, rather than the politicians' problem, seem slight — unless the voting public's anger is expressed so clearly and so massively as to outweigh the political intimidation of the pro-illegal immigrant marches.

If the Republicans wimp out, that could so demoralize their base that Republican turnout in the fall elections could decline to the point where Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives.

With California's ultra-liberal Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi as the new Speaker of the House, Democrats would be in hog heaven. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, so even the wild Republican spending of the past few years could be escalated to new heights with Democrats in the majority.

Impeachment charges also originate in the House of Representatives, so Democrats could deal the Republicans another blow by impeaching President Bush. It doesn't matter that he would never be convicted in the Senate.

What matters is that the Republicans would be forced on the defensive and bogged down politically.

Even if a bill of impeachment did not get a majority vote in the House of Representatives, it would get major coverage in the media, which would accomplish the same purpose of damaging the Republicans before the 2008 presidential elections.

In short, the Democrats' goal is not immigration reform but recapturing the White House in 2008. This is clearly demonstrated by the way Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has gone all-out in opposing the kinds of immigration crackdowns that he himself advocated back in 1993, when the political situation was different.

It is all a political charade. At the heart of this charade is a package deal that will allow Washington politicians to be on both sides of the issue — in favor of the appearance of border control, while making it easier than ever for existing illegal aliens to stay and get citizenship, and allowing more people to cross our borders for their own benefit, rather than ours.

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