"Comprehensive Immigration Reform": an Oxymoron in the Making

By W.D. Reasoner, November 20, 2012

Well, the election's over and the drumbeat has begun: "Comprehensive immigration reform now!" "¡Sí, se puede!" Most assuredly by now, virtually everyone understands that "CIR", to use the acronym, is code for amnesty for most of the millions of aliens illegally in the United States. For background on this issue, see for example, the remarks of Mark Krikorian in a National Review Online op-ed and his blog entry, "Thou Shalt Not Be Comprehensive".

Not unexpected, but a trifle more surprising is the rapidity with which Republican stalwarts have started climbing on this bandwagon. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has joined Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York to begin the process of introducing legislation.

House Speaker John Boehner has also weighed in, saying, among other things, "It's an important issue that I think ought to be dealt with … I'm confident that the president, myself, others, can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all."

Here are some of the rationalizations used by advocates to justify "comprehensive immigration reform" and my responses to them:

The border is under better control than ever. This old saw has been repeated by every administration since the first amnesty in 1986 when Reagan was president. So, exactly how did 10 to 12 million illegal aliens slip in here then? Maybe by "Beam me down Scotty!" technology?

Border apprehensions are lower than they've been in a decade. This is true, and of course the Border Patrol itself touts this as proof of its effectiveness (they have to; they've more than doubled in size). Of course, the Patrol also says, when apprehensions are high, that it's proof of their effectiveness. I've noted this terrific statistical sleight-of-hand in blogs before, and noted the Rand Corporation's dry observation that any statistic that can be manipulated to claim success when it is either at its highest or its lowest is no measure of success at all. Besides, nearly half of the illegal-alien population came here legally as nonimmigrants, and then just stayed. So, please, let's not tout lack of border apprehensions as proof that the problem of illegal aliens is under control.

Deportations under this administration are the highest ever. Well, not really. Even the president called that statistic "a little bit misleading". This is because under the Obama administration, Homeland Security has chosen to combine formal removals (deportations) with voluntary removals. No other administration has ever done that before; there has always been a bright line between the two. Strip one away from the other and examine the two sets of numbers separately, and they begin to look somewhat less robust.

This administration is deporting more criminal aliens than ever before. True, but this administration is also releasing more criminals than ever before. It has relaxed its policies to permit misdemeanants to walk away from county jails without having detainers filed against them; offered weak-as-water responses to local jurisdictions that refuse to honor the detainers; instituted a "prosecutorial discretion" policy that has permitted trial attorneys to jettison thousands of cases pending against illegal aliens, including criminals under poorly-defined parameters; and even allowed aliens with criminal histories to apply for the executive action version of the DREAM Act, which is supposed to allow deserving youth to remain in the United States. I am sure there are gangbangers all over the country laughing up their sleeves at that.

So, please, let us not use the word "reform" when speaking of amnesty. What, exactly, is reformed? Simply treating the massive presence of illegal aliens as a backlog to be washed away, with no plan in mind to stop the "backlog" from immediately starting again is no reform at all. It's just another example of politicians kicking the can down the road for others to deal with, because they refuse to.

What is more, the downtick in border crossings — if it can truly be inferred from the downtick in apprehensions (a cause-and-effect proposition for which I've seen no empirical evidence) — will likely reverse itself quickly now that all the chatter has begun, as aliens position themselves to be "in" before any amnesty passes and begin to collect the bogus receipts and other fabricated evidence of having been here for whatever requisite period is decided upon.

But back to Speaker Boehner's curious use of the phrase, "once and for all". I keep sticking on those words. Why would this amnesty be once and for all, unlike the one in 1986 when politicians also said it would be once and for all?

We've seen that as soon as amnesty advocates get what they want, they immediately work to destroy the other side of the equation — serious, significant immigration enforcement both at the border and in the interior — so what basis is there to trust their assurances now?

Or are we as a people now resigned to accept cyclical mass amnesties every 20 or 30 years? If so, then let everyone be honest about it, including the politicians who should admit that, like so many other intractable issues, they're just kicking this one down the road, too, for someone else to handle, once again, a generation or two from now.

If you think that this amnesty will in fact be once and for all, then I've got an interesting and confidential business proposal I'd like to make, so please send me your e-mail address right away. Oh, and don't be surprised if the response comes from Barrister Prince Sonny Chukwo Ife. That's just my online business persona, which I use because this proposal is so unique, and the rate of return on investment is so high, that I can't afford to offer it to everyone — just special persons like you my friend, and all the others who read and respond to the extraordinary offer I am making in this blog.