Despite a valiant effort, the power of conservative talk radio was no match for the White House, the Republican and Democratic Parties, and the major media.
The Senate on Tuesday voted to revive the illegal alien amnesty bill by a vote of 64 to 35. Senate leaders are pushing for a final vote of approval by Friday.
One reason for the outcome was the propagandistic ability of supporters of the bill, such as Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, to frame the debate in terms of a “solution” to the immigration problem-the Senate bill-versus rounding up illegals and deporting them in a Hitler-like un-American approach.
In a May 22 column, Robinson said opponents of the bill favored “hunting down millions of men, women and children and forcing them to leave,” a flat-out falsehood.
Robinson also suggested that opponents of the Senate bill were Nazis or fascists.
In essence, supporters of the bill managed to eke out a win by lying about their opponents.
Another factor, of course, was the misguided idea of some Republican Senators that the bill has to be passed in order to give President Bush part of a “legacy.” With the war in Iraq still going badly, Bush is desperate to put his stamp on something-anything-he can claim as a “victory.”
Republicans were playing into the hands of Senator Ted Kennedy, an architect of the bill. On June 24, 2007, the Associated Press quoted Kennedy as saying, “We have a terrible problem in this country that demands an answer.” For Kennedy, one of the main architects of the 1986 amnesty program, that answer once again is amnesty. Kennedy complained that those against amnesty offered no solution. He said, “We know what they’re against. What are they for?”
Taking the Kennedy line one step further, on May 22, 2007, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson concluded that opponents to the amnesty bill only offered Nazi-like deportation. He said opponents of the bill favored a “round ’em all up, kick ’em all out,” approach. Robinson called this “indistinguishable from a pogrom.”
The meaning was clear. Pogroms are programs of violence directed against minority groups. The term is usually associated with violence against Jews.
This was a despicable smear. It comes from a columnist for a paper whose top executive, Post chairman Donald E. Graham, is a trustee of a foundation that provides money to an illegal alien support group, CASA of Maryland.
Continuing his attack, Robinson asked, “Would SWAT teams of immigration officers descend on neighborhoods and go door to door? Would they snatch children out of schools? Where would they take these people? To special camps? To the nearest border?”
But deportation was never the alternative to amnesty and Robinson knows it. He concedes that, without the amnesty bill, public pressure will force “border states and gateway cities to develop their own immigration policies.” That implies a tougher approach that will dry up the market for cheap and illegal labor.
R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has been quoted as saying that if the amnesty bill did not pass, “The consequence of inaction is that more states and cities will target businesses and property owners.” But this is not inaction. It means that there will be pressure on businesses to quit hiring illegals. Josten doesn’t like that. But it is a logical and necessary response to the problem.
Hazleton, Pennsylvania has already passed ordinances to suspend the business licenses of employers who hire illegal aliens, penalize landlords who rent to illegal aliens with fines, and make English the town’s official language. This is effective local government action in response to illegal immigration.
Punishing businesses that hire illegal alien workers to combat illegal immigration is sometimes called attrition though enforcement. If it had happened after the 1986 bill, as it was supposed to, there wouldn’t be 20 million illegal aliens in this country now.
Numbers USA calls Attrition Through Enforcement “the most effective and efficient solution” to the problem. They say it would work “if our government refused to award illegal aliens another amnesty, mandated all employers to verify a person’s eligibility to work here, cracked down on identity fraud, and enabled local police to easily transfer illegal aliens in their custody to the feds.” More about this concept can be seen here.
The idea is to make living illegally in the United States too difficult. When the government, at all levels, from federal to state to local, enforces the laws already on the books, that leaves illegal aliens with no alternative but to leave the country because they can’t find work and don’t receive government social services. According to Numbers USA, there is no need “to round up and deport illegal aliens; they will buy their own bus or plane tickets back home if they can no longer earn a living here.”
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has told the Washington Post that he favors a similar approach whereby illegal immigrants “could be slowly sent back to their home countries simply through enforcement of current law.” He said the idea is “to take people who are here today and working here and replace them gradually and humanely with our own citizens as well as with legal immigrants who come in to take their place.”
Some deportations are absolutely necessary. Those illegal immigrants that come to the U.S. as terrorists, drug runners and dealers, or gang members, should be apprehended, jailed or deported. In addition, the building of a border fence, already mandated by law, would serve to keep other illegal aliens out and prevent the repeated return of those deported.
But dishonest journalists like Eugene Robinson want people to believe there are only two solutions to illegal immigration-amnesty or “round ’em all up, kick ’em all out” like a redneck Gestapo.
The alternative, which the media want to exclude serious debate over, is to enforce the current law by fining and penalizing businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens and take jobs away from Americans.
Talk radio needs to make this absolutely clear. Opponents of amnesty have a workable and viable solution.
Smear artists like Eugene Robinson of the Post should be roundly criticized for going over the line. His use of smear tactics suggests that he fully understands that he doesn’t have the facts or the evidence on his side.