Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Nothing sacred about Comprehensive Immigration (Amnesty) Reform bill

It's been awhile since we've posted, but the immigration issue is hot and we have something to say:

Attention, all Christians:

There is nothing sacred about the immigration "reform" bill currently being "debated" in the U.S. Senate.

Contrary to what some pastor, priest or bishop has declared, you are not automatically jeopardizing your standing with God by questioning the wisdom of this legislation, or by your support of local and state "enforce the law" measures.

We think it's important for someone to come forward and state this clearly, particularly now as what is taking place in the halls of Congress smells less of sanctity and more of over-ripe pork.

The United States is a republic. We elect representatives who take an oath - usually with the right hand on the Bible - to uphold the Constitution and laws of the nation.

We can say, without hesitation or reservation, that the effort to ram the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act through the Senate has violated the compact between the governing and the governed on several levels. Here are just a few of the problems:

- The bill is being rewritten even as senators try to debate it. Behind closed doors. Those who question the details are told that they must trust the bill's handlers, the proponents, to tell them what is in the bill.

- Many of the amendments which the bill's supporters promised would be considered before final passage are not written. At least one unspecified amendment was pulled from the bill without even so much as an explanation of what it contained. And yet the supporters are strong-arming the authors of failed amendments to support the bill in exchange for a flawed process!

- Typically any attempt to question the particulars of the legislation is met with cries of "racist!" and "extremist!" The ad hominem attacks on those who wish to know more about the bill have been unprecedentedly vicious.

- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is relying on a "clay pigeon" strategy in which all amendments to the core bill (the one being rewritten secretly) are voted down. This gives him unusually tight control of the processes of guiding the bill through the Senate. But this strategy requires supporters to work as a bloc and to deny any real debate on the provisions. It truly takes a person of great faith, or gullibility, to believe that this process will work in the best interests of the nation and its people.

Even the president, who allowed Senator Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., to craft the bill with the direct assistance of La Raza, a group which has long made no secret of its desire for the "reconquista of the American Southwest," has admitted that the bill is primarily an Amnesty bill. It would automatically grant legal status to somewhere between 12 and 20 million illegal aliens already in the country. It also contains provisions to allow the newly legalized to bring in direct family members.

The math is so simple "even a cave man could do it." We could have anywhere from an additional 12 to 60 million extra immigrants flooding into the country within a few years. The very prospect surpasses any historical period of immigration into this country, and the potential affects are staggering. Is it unchristian to question the impact of such an influx on one's own nation?

Supporters say that the existing system is broken and doing something, even if it is flawed, is better than doing nothing.

They are avoiding the real issue. Opponents of amnesty do not propose "doing nothing." They say it is time to enforce existing laws, tighten the border, and force businesses to comply with requirements that workers be in the country legally. Few people, and none who have credibility, are calling for mass deportations and detention camps. And yet that accusation is hurled frequently at those who question this legislative behemoth.

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, a man of moral character and Christian temperament, said this Wednesday on the Senate floor about the ongoing process:

“We have failed to instill the confidence in the American people in the Congress that we are about doing what is in the best long-term interest of our country. It’s not about being against immigration or for immigration. It’s not about being against or for an ethnic group. It’s not about liberal or conservative. It’s about the worry the American people have about the concept we call liberty…There’s worry that the thing that gives us liberty, which is the rule of law, is somehow being tinkered with in a way that undermines our confidence and security in what the American Dream is all about.”

The more we learn about the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, the more we learn that there is almost nothing within it that will cause this nation to get a handle on its border security. Instead the language of the bill is written in such a way that it will allow this and future administrations to once again allow benign neglect to be the law of the land. Even the $4.4 billion supposedly included for greater border security is a sham. The language allows the money to be diverted to other aspects of the bill, such as registration of the new Z-visas (amnesty).

From a Christian perspective, we find these efforts to obfuscate and confuse the public, to hide the bill's real intent, to be immoral and offensive. Even if one accepts the premise that good might come from the bill's passage, the process is not acceptable. You should not employ immoral or illicit means to achieve a good result.

The American people are worried about many things these days, not the least of which is the erosion of a culture that once stood for decency, hard work and respect for authority. Many argue that the new, largely Hispanic immigrants are more than willing to work hard and are people of good moral character. Yet there are millions who have begun their lives within the U.S. by flouting the authority of the laws that are supposed to require an orderly introduction to society.

Biblically speaking, it is good to have compassion for the alien. We get that part. But compassion must be balanced against justice, and there is an essential injustice in failing to secure borders and provide for an orderly system of newcomers where background checks can be made, criminals screened out, and certain provisions can be made for those who may require extra help from our social support networks.

Allowing unrestricted immigration, as we have now, and will have even more under the proposed "comprehensive" plan, is unjust to members of our society, as well as to those who come here thinking they will be welcomed and cared for.

One of the worst canards used to justify the amnesty bill is that the U.S. needs unskilled immigrants from Latin America "to do the work that Americans won't do."

Untrue. It is more accurate to say that these unskilled laborers will "do the work at rates of pay that Americans won't accept." In other words, the newcomers alter the balance of workforce supply and demand and, consequently, are paid much less. Many amnesty opponents cite declining wage scales as one of the big reasons they do not favor Bush-Kennedy's "Grand Bargain."

Polls show that the vast majority of Americans are against amnesty. It behooves our elected representatives in Congress to take their time and explain to us exactly why our concerns are misguided and wrong. So far we have received only condemnations for our efforts to ask "who, what, when, where and why?" Proponents of the Amnesty bill have displayed elitist behavior, telling us that we simply are incapable of understanding the complexities involved.

They are wrong. We understand the situation quite well. We can see the changes in our communities where we have growing populations of people who cannot speak the language of their new country, who overwhelm the emergency rooms because they can get federal aid for medical care under certain circumstances (no questions asked), and who drive unlicensed and uninsured on our streets and highways.

We've read the statistics about the dreaded MS-13 gang, a more vicious outfit than the Mafia ever dreamed of being, and how this Latin American cabal is moving drugs and illegals throughout the lower 48 states. We also have learned that the feds have substantial evidence that foreign terrorists masquerading as hispanic immigrants have entered the U.S. through our leaky southern border.

You'd think nearly six years after 9/11 we would've fixed that!

One of the essential roles of good government, whether it is a democracy, republic, or kingdom, is to provide protection for its citizens from foreign enemies. Unless a nation exists on its own island, like Australia perhaps, it requires border vigilance. We have not had that in recent years. The comprehensive immigration (amnesty) bill will not give it to us.

In this current debate, something's got to give. Either the people of the United States have their concerns and fears addressed in a responsible way, or there is going to be hell to pay come Election Day 2008.

Please, bishops, priests and pastors, do not claim we are not fulfilling our spiritual responsibilities if we oppose this Frankenstein's monster of an immigration bill. Do not lecture us on how terrible we are if we require background checks of new employees and ask our elected state and federal officials to merely enforce the laws that already exist by sending those who break our laws back to their point of origin.

There is a legal process for immigration. If we demand that it be respected and upheld, it will work.

We are not unkind people. Americans are very compassionate. We have and will again embrace immigrants from all over the world.

But we are not stupid. We know when the fix is in, and we know that feeling when it seems we are being taken advantage of. We have that feeling right now.