Originally created 01/15/04

Bush amnesty scheme fiscally irresponsible



PRESIDENT GEORGE W. Bush, goaded by adviser Karl Rove and the radical open-borders lobby, incredibly proposes that Congress "adjust the legal status" of the 8-to-10 million illegal immigrants in our country. The president claims his proposal is not amnesty - but it is.

It is also a blatant undermining of the rule of law, a threat to homeland security, a death-blow to Social Security and a below-the-belt punch to American workers and those who came here legally.

The president says an illegal immigrant could apply for temporary worker status here for up to six years, getting all the benefits of a citizen ranging from drivers' licenses to Social Security checks. To facilitate this, Bush proposes hiking the legal "green cards" to immigrants each year (currently 140,000), but doesn't specify how many millions will be needed.

INCREDIBLY, Bush says these temporary workers could apply for citizenship "in the normal way." Well, then they wouldn't be temporary, would they? If his plan is passed by Congress, there would be no effective limit on "temporary workers" admitted. Employers will be hiring more foreigners - and the Bush proposal makes no mention of what this will do to salaries.

The Washington Times quotes a White House official saying the fact that a job is open will be assumed to mean that the marketplace has determined the need for immigration. So the impact of more Third World immigration on joblessness and wages will be tremendous - a fact the eventual Democratic presidential nominee, if he is smart, could underscore repeatedly.

The president also stabs at the heart of the troubled Social Security system. Under the Social Security Act, illegal aliens are eligible for benefits if the United States and the home country of an illegal have a "totalization" agreement. If Congress agrees with the president and grants it, what's the end result?

THE CENTER for Immigration Studies says, in light of the number of legal and illegal Mexicans potentially eligible for benefits under the Bush agreement, the total expenditure for U.S. taxpayers would far surpass $1 billion annually. So if untold millions of illegal Mexicans, Middle Easterners and others are allowed to collect full Social Security wages for themselves and their families - without having to work the required number of years that law-abiding citizens work to be eligible - the system could go belly-up fast.

Remember, too, that any child of an illegal immigrant born on U.S. soil automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. So, the magnet to draw illegal immigrants is not removed under the Bush plan. Poor people will still want to sneak across our borders to become "temporary workers" with no fear of deportation. They know Uncle Sap will underwrite their stay - especially if they have babies born here.

THE GOOD NEWS is that there is already a negative public reaction to this rip-off. Amnesty doesn't "reward work" by illegals here. It rewards law-breakers. The National Border Council, which represents 9,000 Border Patrol agents, sums it up: The proposal is "insulting" and "demoralizing" to agents who risk life and limb every day to apprehend illegal border crossers.

The Bush scheme will not pass Congress if a majority realizes that amnesty is fiscally irresponsible, encourages illegal immigration and would further balkanize society by fostering an underclass that doesn't want to learn English or participate in mainstream American culture.

(Editor's note: Phil Kent is an Atlanta media consultant, executive director of The American Immigration Control Foundation and author of The Dark Side of Liberalism.