'Immigration Reform' – Coming Soon to a Congress Near You!

By W.D. Reasoner, January 4, 2013

Those bright, sunny days immediately following reelection of the president seem to be facing the possibility of scattered showers, possibly thunderstorms, where "comprehensive immigration reform" (CIR) is concerned – so, at least, hints the Los Angeles Times in an article published last weekend.

This is in stark contrast with a story published a scant couple of weeks previously by the same newspaper, which began confidently, "As soon as the confrontation over fiscal policy winds down, the Obama administration will begin an all-out drive for comprehensive immigration reform, including seeking a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants, according to officials briefed on the plans."

What's changed?

  • Weeks of partisan wrangling over a deal to avoid leaping over the fiscal cliff, which remains unfinished business because, in the end, they passed a stopgap measure which didn't address government spending levels;

  • Another fight likely in the immediate future as the federal government once again hits its debt limit; and

  • Divisive battles over the size and shape of new gun control legislation (if any).

Nonetheless, advocates for CIR (their euphemism for amnesty) are steadfastly denying that any change may be in the wind, choosing instead to show a confident face to the world: "'They are not in competition; they are complementary,' said Angela Kelley, an expert on immigration at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington [referring to gun control and immigration legislation]. 'The White House can walk and chew gum, as can lawmakers.'"

How curious. Since when are gun control and amnesty for illegal aliens complementary? If I were a conspiracy theorist, I might think there were a "vast left-wing conspiracy" afoot.

But going back to the walking-and-chewing gum analogy: I'm not so sure about that, and neither apparently is a majority of the American public. As recently as November 26, 2012, the Gallup organization published the results of a poll showing congressional approval ratings at a paltry 18 percent.

And there is hefty reason for the skepticism. Our political leaders led us, lemming-like, to the edge of the fiscal cliff - which was of their making - and have repeatedly addressed the debt ceiling by short-term temporary measures because they seem to be incapable of arriving at any long-term, strategic solutions. I not only doubt that they can walk and chew gum, at this point there's a legitimate question as to whether they can tie their own shoes.

This Congress taking on massive immigration reform bill will have the same effect on the body politic as a python after it's tried to eat the whole pig on one sitting - lethargy, inaction, and, quite possibly, terminal paralysis from having swallowed more, much more, that it can digest.

So ask yourself: Do you really trust either Congress or the administration to handle anything as complex and nuanced as a comprehensive immigration reform bill in an intelligent and meaningful way? Do you? I know my answer to that.

Better to take small, digestible bites, a little at a time. How about starting with immigration enforcement? Something the public can get behind, like eliminating federal subsidies for states and localities that snub their nose at honoring both the spirit and letter of immigration law by ignoring immigration detainers.