Immigration reform, deportation laws, border security, pathways to citizenship, illegal aliens…….All very descriptive words concerning a very controversial issue involving the current 11-15 million non US citizens here in the United States illegally and the millions of those outside the US wanting to become citizens.
This is the type of issue that can define a Presidency or tear one down, and an issue that has been passed down year after year after year from Democrat to Republican and back to Democrat. What has been done to solve the debate? Where do our leaders stand on the issue? Where do the American people stand on the issue? What can we do to finally solve this raging debate and finally have some peace?
Let’s go back to the Carter administration. I’m not saying that this is when the debate actually started, but for time constraints, we will begin in 1977.
Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, released his plan for addressing immigration.
-Stiff civil fines and criminal prosecution for employers with repeat offenses of hiring undocumented immigrants .
-Social security was to be used as the official document to verify eligibility for employment
– Increase in the patrol and security of the southern border with Mexico
-Amnesty program granting permanent residence for all undocumented immigrants in the US prior to 1970.
Although a gallop poll showed that 72% of Americans favored penalties for businesses and employers that hired illegals, many more were not in favor of granting amnesty to 3-6 million immigrants. His plan failed.
Jumping on to Ronald Reagan, a conservative Republican, who said,
“Anybody who’s here illegally is going to be abused in some way, either financially or physically. they have no rights.”
In a Presidential debate with Democrat Walter Mondale in 1984, Reagan said,
“I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.”
In 1986 President Reagan signed a sweeping immigration reform bill into law, “Reagan’s 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act.”
There would be tighter border security and employers would face strict penalties for hiring undocumented workers. The bill also gave amnesty to any immigrant who had entered into the United States illegally. The bill was passed by both Houses, but, as expected there was a great amount of controversy over the passage of the bill. It was not the amnesty that created such a stir, but the fact that the sanctions on employers hiring undocumented workers was stripped from the bill. The law granted amnesty to nearly 3 million immigrants.
Between 1986 and 1998, Congress increased the Border Patrol’s budget six fold and yet over that time the number of undocumented immigrants in the US doubled, and security at the border has remained unchanged.
Since the passing of Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act, 6 million illegal aliens have received amnesty in the United States. In 1994 a temporary rolling amnesty for an additional 578,000 aliens was added to the law and President Clinton twice signed continuing resolutions to extend the expiration date for those receiving amnesty and Congress again extended it for a third time.
In 1997 we had the NACARA (Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act). This was a program for Nicaraguans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Guatelmalans and Eastern Europeans. It granted amnesty to all those who lived in the US illegally since 1995 along with spouses and unmarried children.
In 1998 the HRIFA Amnesty Act, (The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act), was an amnesty program for Haitians who had been in the US a since 1995 along with their spouses and unmarried children.
The late Amnesty of 2000 was an agreement between Bill Clinton and Trent Lott which granted amnesty to all illegals who had been a part of lawsuits and did not receive amnesty under the 1986 law.
Then in 2000 we had the LIFE Act Amnesty. This was passed for those who missed the 1986 extension of amnesty.
In March of 2002, President Bush and the House passed a bill that allowed amnesty for 8 to 12 million illegal immigrants by the margin of one vote in the House. There was a lot of controversy over the bill. Most felt it sent an unmistakable message:
“America is a country of saps, whose leaders will trade national sovereignty for a little Latin lovin’ at the polls. If you can make it past the border patrol and hang on for a few years, you too can be amnestied. Then you can send for the rest of your family.”
A former Democratic congresswoman, the late Barbara Jordon, who chaired a presidential immigration commission in the 1990’s, put the matter in the proper context,
“Immigration is not a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to everyone and anyone in the world who wishes to come to the United States. It is a privilege granted by the people of the United States and to those whom we choose to admit.”
Some felt that Bush granted amnesty to so many for “greed” and “lust” for power as well as the need for new voters. Sam Francis, a nationally syndicated columnist wrote in 2002,
“Neither the safety of Americans from terrorism and crime nor respect for the laws that the illegal aliens violated to come here were the least concern to the Bush administration or those who voted as it directed this week. Their sole concern was for cheap labor which profits are heaped and cheap votes from which power is built.”
In 2004 President Bush proposed a new temporary worker program for new illegal immigrants in the country. There were mixed reactions. Some called it another amnesty, some thought it would affect the wages of domestic workers, others thought it encouraged illegal immigration flows because the border control and interior enforcement was inadequate. The bill did not pass.
There have been various bills proposed by both Republicans and Democrats since, none with any success.
In 2004, credible estimates of undocumented immigrants living in the United States range from 8-15 million.
In 2005, the House passed bill HR 4437. This bill, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2006, sought to criminalize undocumented workers in the United States by making unauthorized entry an “aggravated felony.” The legislation also made provisions to erect a 700 mile long fence along the US- Mexico border. However, the demonstrations that followed were some of the most significant public opposition to federal legislation since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. The bill did not pass the Senate.
Democrats tend to focus on worker programs and Republicans tend to focus on stricter controls. Interestingly enough, polls indicate that the majority of Republicans, Independents and Democrats favor both.
In 2008, then Senator Obama voted for the Senate immigration overhaul bill to strengthen border controls, create a guest worker program and legalize millions of foreign workers. He also supported the Secure Fence Act and co-sponsored a bill to allow states to offer illegal immigrants in-state tuition.
In 2006, Congress passed the “Secure Fence Act,” which called for a double tier fence to be built along 700 miles of the border. But a year later, Senators slipped language into a spending bill to water the requirement down.
President Obama made a speech in El Paso back in 2011 and declared,
“The fence along the border with Mexico is basically complete!” “We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement.” They’ll want a higher fence, maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat. They’ll never be satisfied. I understand that. That’s politics!”
On the same day as Obama’s speech, Jim DeMint for the National Review said,
“Five years ago legislation was passed to build a 700 mile double layer fence along the southwest border. This is a promise that has not been kept. Today, according to staff at the Department of Homeland Security, just 5% of the fencing is complete….36.3 miles.”
Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano claimed in April of 2013, that the border was more secure than ever. But figures released by Customs and Border Protection say arrests were actually up 13% compared with the same time the previous year.
Representative Chaffetz of Utah, traveled to the border and found multiple spots where you could see trails of people coming in. They were still apprehending massive amounts of drugs out there. Texas was seeing a 53% increase in arrests in the Rio Grande, 22% increase in the Laredo and 24% increase in El Paso. This increase came at a time when Congress was preparing to debate immigration legislation, which is expected to include amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants already here. The provision is expected to entice even more to cross into the States. According to the Accountability Office, up to 50% of those who make it over never get caught. So, once again, more amnesty is offered up and in exchange we do not get the 700 mile, double tiered fence to protect the borders that we, the American people, were promised. No tracking system has been put into place to control those who come and over stay their Visas. Once again, Amnesty 6 going on 7, Sovereignty – 0.
To make matter worse, Immigration officials knowingly, under Obama’s instruction, released 36,000 immigrants from custody back into the United States in 2013.
116 murderers, 228 Kidnappers, 426 rapists, 1,317 convicted of domestic assault, 1,317 convicted of domestic violence, 1,724 convicted of weapon offenses, 2,104 for obstructing police, 9,187 convicted for dangerous drugs, 15,635 for drunken driving, 47 arsonists, 14 convicted of voluntary homicide, 17,228 convicted traffic offenders, 2,394 convicted of fraud, and more! So now all these criminals are free to wander the US among the American citizens!