By DEXTER DUGGAN
PHOENIX — This new year will be when “comprehensive immigration reform” passes, its champions say.
They said that in 2013, too. And in 2007. They were wrong.
Waves of illegal immigrants keep slipping across the border to await the legalized citizenship that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other organizations say they should receive. However, the illegal immigrants are still waiting.
What would be the answer to all their problems, they were told, is still coming up empty.
They might have been able to work things out better back home if they hadn’t bought the bottle of magic elixir they were told would slake their thirst in the desert and solve their problems as soon as they managed to evade the U.S. Border Patrol and march into this nation.
But “comprehensive immigration reform” won’t pass this year, either, the executive director of a leading think tank against massive immigration flatly told The Wanderer in a January 6 telephone interview from the organization’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.
“There just isn’t going to be a bill on the president’s desk by the end of the year,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), during an interview nearly a half-hour long.
Even a feature story in the liberal Washington Post last June cast the CIS’s Krikorian as a sort of little David against the Goliath of special interests demanding “immigration reform.”
The story was headlined, “Mark Krikorian: The provocateur standing in the way of immigration reform.” It said, “And so, a Washington question of the moment — Can immigration reform pass? — might be reframed this way: Can Mark Krikorian be stopped?”
CIS commentaries that media usually ignore are available online at www.cis.org.
When the “Gang of Eight” massive immigration bill passed the Democrat-controlled Senate late last June, Politico posted a photo of a gleeful Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) with a huge, gaping smile, and left-wing New York Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer’s happy hand on McCain’s shoulder.
Schumer said he thought it’d be impossible for the U.S. House to ignore the bill now. But the House did. As 2014 began, Schumer tried to raise hopes for passage again.
When The Wanderer mentioned the wealthy, powerful establishment groups demanding that the House agree to the massive legalization, Krikorian agreed it’s a “huge mismatch” of forces, with everyone from Internet billionaires to the Chamber of Commerce to the USCCB to the Democratic Party to the dominant media to the Republican establishment calling for passage.
On the other side, modest groups like Krikorian’s, plus the Republican Party base — and the concerned majority of the American people opposing intractable law-breaking.
Krikorian said, “I sometimes call them billionaires for open borders,” and when he actually looked into the supporting groups, he found that “there are a couple of dozen billionaires” pushing for functionally open borders.
As for Schumer’s cheerleading for passage in this new year, Krikorian told The Wanderer, “I don’t think it’s very realistic at all. These are comments to try to keep the troops motivated on their side.”
One scenario being laid out is that supporters of “immigration reform” will wait until the Republican primary-election season is past, so that House GOP members will feel free to vote for legalization while avoiding retribution from the public, and that House Majority Leader John Boehner will toss conservative and Tea Party Republicans into the ditch so he can shove the bill through his chamber.
In the first place, Krikorian said, the “reform” supporters are tipping off others to their strategy when laying out their plans this way. “It’s like giving away your stage directions.”
In addition, he said, Boehner wouldn’t arm-wrestle the GOP House base again, as he felt pressed to do over the budget agreement in late 2013. “It strikes me as very implausible,” Krikorian said. “. . . It’s a bridge too far for [Boehner]” to cross.
Referring to stories that the wealthy “donor class” of Republicans wants “immigration reform,” Krikorian said Boehner “wants to do what the donors want him to do,” but this is an issue “he wants to manage. I think he realizes what a bomb it would detonate under the Republican Party’s base” if he pushed through what opponents call disastrous “amnesty.”
Boehner has been pressed to make “increasingly strong commitments” that he won’t allow “comprehensive reform” through the House, Krikorian said.
Continuing the battlefield analogy later in the interview, Krikorian said, “It’s not the hill that Boehner will choose to die on.”
As January began, the open-borders New York Times had a story again hoping for “comprehensive reform” but conceding that Boehner recently said:
“The American people are skeptical of big, comprehensive bills, and frankly, they should be. The only way to make sure immigration reform works this time is to address these complicated issues one step at a time. I think doing so will give the American people confidence that we’re dealing with these issues in a thoughtful way and a deliberative way.”
In early December, Boehner announced he hired Rebecca Tallent, a former immigration staffer for both “Maverick” McCain and liberal, open-borders former Arizona Republican Cong. Jim Kolbe to advise him on immigration. “Amnesty” champions rejoiced.
However, Krikorian told The Wanderer, there may be more symbolism than substance to hiring Tallent.
“My sense is she is — I won’t say ‘cover,’ but he hired her to satisfy the corporate lobbyists. . . . They may have even suggested he hire her,” Krikorian said.
Krikorian suggested Boehner would be satisfied either way, whether an immigration bill is approved or not, but the House speaker understands the consequences of a bomb detonating in the Republican base if the bill were forced through.
Boehner’s “not on my side of the debate,” Krikorian said, but neither is Boehner an open-borders “ideologue” like McCain or the other Arizona senator, first-termer Jeff Flake.
As the new year began, The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest daily paper, noted that a poll showed Flake, after nearly a year in the Senate, had only 30 percent approval by “likely” voters. The Republic mentioned Flake’s drastic flip-flops on some issues once he entered the Senate.
Flake ran for election as a strong border protector against illegal immigration, but quickly became a major backer of the “Gang of Eight” bill. And he promised to vote against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill backed by the sexually disoriented. But both Flake and McCain voted for it.
The result for Flake, the Republic said, has been “a less-than-graceful debut in Capitol Hill’s upper chamber and poor poll numbers.”
McCain and Flake are examples of a corrupt Arizona political establishment whose priorities are out of line with the public’s.
That Isn’t Saying Much
In his interview, Krikorian noted the position of the USCCB that the U.S. can’t be allowed to have strong border protection unless it’s only part of the entire package of “comprehensive immigration reform.”
However, this allows massive illegal activity to continue.
Referring to recent reports that seven Mexican drug cartels direct their operations in the U.S. from bases in Texas, Krikorian said, “It suggests a level of impunity in crossing the border that is remarkable.”
“Absolutely” border protection is needed first, he said, adding that “no one believes their promises” that there’ll be “real commitment” to border security if “comprehensive immigration reform” is passed.
If “reform” champions want to prove such commitment, they could say right now that there should be criminal prosecution of everyone the Border Patrol catches, Krikorian said.
“More bang for the enforcement buck would come from interior enforcement” within the U.S., such as at job sites, not just at the border, he added. “. . . It’s sure not obvious we’ve done everything we need to do” at the border.
It’s true, he said, there’s better enforcement at the international line, but this isn’t saying much because it was so poor in the past.
Krikorian suggested that if immigration reform were done in separate pieces, this could peel away support from a “comprehensive” bill.
The high-tech companies don’t care about the amnesty part of the bill, he said, but each interest group wants its own part.
Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), a strong supporter of U.S. workers and foe of massive illegal immigration, called for the GOP to show clarity and resolve. In an opinion article posted January 6 at National Review Online, “Crowding Out U.S. Workers,” Sessions wrote:
“Although the GOP is the one group standing between the American people and this legislative disaster, its formal message has been muddled and uninspired. Rather than clearly opposing the White House immigration plan and exposing its flaws, the party’s official response to the White House pressure campaign has been passive, weak-kneed, and lacking in principle. . . .
“We are in the midst of an unprecedented period of uninterrupted levels of high immigration, coinciding with falling wages, declining work-force participation, and expanding welfare rolls. Yet ‘immigration reform’ somehow remains a euphemism for the tired formula of combining an indiscriminate amnesty with a massive surge in new workers from abroad,” Sessions wrote.
“Shouldn’t we allow wages to rise and give time for those more recently arrived to rise into the middle class?”