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President Non-Sequitur By: Alan Nathan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 14, 2007


As many are now aware, while defending the Senate’s bipartisan Immigration Reform bill, President Bush expressed an extraordinary assumption. He denounced those opposing immediate legal status for 12 million non-documented aliens as folks not wanting what’s best for America.

On May 29th, multiple news outlets like USA Today quoted Bush saying, "Some people's solution to illegal immigration is ‘kick 'em out,’ he said. That is simply unrealistic. That won't work."

Assisting in these fantasy charges are Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). All of them are further enabled by equally misguided journalists like Fred Barnes (Editor of the Weekly Standard), Morton Kondracke (Editor of Roll Call) and Juan Williams of (NPR). They have each artificially characterized the debate as, "Can’t have border security first because we can’t deport 12 million people."

This is a bad-faith argument to validate an indignation that would otherwise have no grounds because not one illegal immigrant needs to be removed in order for us to nail down the border. Why bother using an excuse that has never been an impediment?

Also, why take such a phantom rationale and ceaselessly project it onto Americans? Is it because the majority aren’t shy about expressing their support for securing the border before granting to illegal aliens their pathways to citizenship? The Democratic and Republican backers of this wondrously inbred compromise are creating makeshift foundations to justify actions normally devoid of all merit.

History is already recording the government’s unconvincing theatrics for dodging the Constitution’s Article IV, Section 4 requiring them to protect all of its citizens from invasion. Hounding us about legalizing the illegals as the contingency for tightening our boundary lines is to falsely subordinate already existing constitutional law to weaker legislative law – in this case, one still pending!

And why lie about the polls to claim a consensus not yet earned when the sham can be so easily revealed? Talk about a fast track to illegitimacy.

While the majority of surveys over the last two years have consistently reflected most wanting border-security before granting non-documented aliens legal status, supporters of the President’s incomprehensive immigration reform boasted about a NY Times/CBS poll backing their contention that over 65 percent of the public agreed with them on the bill - and they were all shown to be wrong!

It’s accurate to say that over 62 percent of respondents were supportive of illegal immigrants having the opportunity to keep their jobs and getting a shot at legal status. However, as the Rasmussen Reports cited in their May 25th clarification story, that same NY Times/CBS poll showed a concurrent sentiment:

By a 2-to-1 margin (60% to 28%), Americans believe it is more important to gain control of the nation’s borders than to "legalize the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States."

The Rasmussen Reports also emphasized that the poll never asked about the Senate bill in question. Strange then how its authors came to further bolster legislation with the very survey that opposed it.

Another slight-of-hand style of poll-politics arrived in the form of a May 30 – June 3 Pew Research Center Survey in which the same overwhelming support for legalization was clearly in evidence. However, the Associated Press discovered that, "People were fairly ill-informed about the complex Senate measure, which less than one-third said they had heard a lot about."

They later expanded:

Those who had heard at least a little about it were split on the Senate measure. Of that group, 33 percent favor the bill, 41 percent oppose and 26 percent gave no response or said they didn’t know. Republicans opposed it by 43 percent to 36 percent, Democrats by 37 percent to 33 percent, and independents by 46 percent to 31 percent. Immigration Bill Suffers a Big Setback, Associated Press, June 7, 2007

So let us quickly recap: once informed, most opposed - got it.

Perhaps the silliest denial over this issue came from one of its framers, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), while participating in the May 24th edition of "Hannity & Colmes" aired on The Fox News Channel.

Sean Hannity: And the Heritage Foundation came out with an estimate, Robert Rector, that it would be $2.5 trillion over the next couple of decades in terms of the cost to Social Security, Medicare, the infrastructure of this country. We don't even have a full cost analysis here. Why don't we put that off, secure the borders first, and deal with these issues secondarily?

Senator Lindsey Graham: Because there are people within the 12 million that mean us harm. And if we don't do it comprehensively, we're going to have the old system. Amnesty is the current system. I understand how people feel about securing the border. That's part of the deal, but there's more to do than just that if you want to be safe.

Notice how Graham has no answer on point. How does border-security first equal the "old system" when it has never been a part of it?

If amnesty truly is the "current system," how does border-security first continue that status-quo when its addition would clearly represent change?

But Senator Graham is most emblematically speaking for colleagues Kennedy, Durbin, Clinton, McCain, and Chambliss when he contends that we can’t have border-security first "Because there are people within the 12 million that mean us harm." Since when do the consequences of shoddy border security become the justifications for not correcting it first?

One has to wonder. Why are we letting these disingenuous politicos use constitutionally required border security as a bargaining chip for immigration reform when said reform has absolutely no legal parity?

As I’ve argued before, border security and immigration reform are not mutually exclusive. The former has never been contingent upon the latter. However, these charlatans in Congress and the White House have reason to obfuscate. They’d rather pander to the corporate right wanting cheaply acquired labor and the socialist left wanting cheaply earned votes.

The political gamble is that vested affluent backers can always provide enough cash to finance whatever gap-closing measures are necessary to return the disgruntled back to the fold. But Democrats and Republicans blew it this time. Unlike other legislation passing despite popular opposition, e.g., NAFTA, this disconnect is felt more personally in that it violates our citizens’ sense of fair-play.

It seems morally repugnant that Americans taught to obey the law must now fight so hard to keep their leaders from ignoring it.


Alan Nathan, a combative centrist and "militant moderate," a columnist, and the nationally syndicated talk show host of "Battle Line With Alan Nathan" on the Radio America Network.


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