"Sellout." It may be harsh, but it's the most accurate and succinct way to sum up how conservatives feel right now about President Bush and Senate Republicans, who have cut a deal that would grant amnesty to the estimated 12 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. - not to mention the parents, spouses, and children of these illegals.
Title VI of a draft copy of the bill breaks down amnesty visas into three categories:
- Z-1 - Illegal aliens present and working in the United States up to Jan. 1, 2007.
- Z-2 - Parents and spouses of illegal aliens qualifying under the Z-1 category.
- Z-3 - Children of illegal aliens qualifying under the Z-1 category.
These "Z Visa" holders can stay in the "Z" status indefinitely, which means they never have to pursue "a pathway to citizenship." They also would be able to get Social Security numbers and benefit from some welfare programs. Shockingly, there is no cap on the numbers of amnesty recipients in the draft language. The only thing the Z Visa holder can't do is vote - until, that is, a liberal judge declares this limitation unconstitutional or until a liberal president can railroad through a "technical corrections" bill.
Notwithstanding all you are going to hear to the contrary from President Bush, Sen. John McCain, and their new ideological partner, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Title VI of this bill is amnesty, plain and simple. According to an op-ed by former attorney general Ed Meese that appeared last year in the New York Times discussing the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, "the difference is that President Reagan called this what it was: amnesty. Indeed, look up the term 'amnesty' in Black's Law Dictionary, and you'll find it says, 'the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provided amnesty for undocumented aliens already in the country.'" It was amnesty then, and it's amnesty now.
Why would Republicans negotiate with Ted Kennedy, a senator with impeccable credentials with the far Left of the immigration movement? And why would John McCain imperil his wobbly campaign for the presidency by allying himself with a Kennedy-drafted immigration bill? It simply defies common sense.
Some of these Republicans, I believe, have convinced themselves that they can convince the American people that "triggers," "tough border enforcement," and the Y Visa "temporary guest worker program" were concessions from the Left that balance out the amnesty part of the bill. Unfortunately, they're wrong. And Senator McCain's prospects to woo conservatives will suffer dearly.
The prospect of amnesty for illegal immigrants and their families outweighs any tough border initiative that may be in the bill, or the get-tough employment-enforcement provisions. All that will matter, if the bill passes, is that President Bush and presidential wannabe John McCain enabled and are responsible for a historic giveaway - for a program that grants amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who are being rewarded for breaking the law.
In the name of bipartisanship, they have given away the farm to Ted Kennedy and the left wing of the Democrat party in the Senate. I can't imagine any self-respecting conservative in America who would not hold this against McCain, Bush, and any other politician who supports this terrible idea.
Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at the Heritage Foundation.
First Appeared in the National Review