Exclusive: Immigration ‘Reform’ Would Be Disastrous for America

by JAMES JAY CARAFANO, PHD, PRESIDENTIAL POLICY: DOES IT MAKE THE GRADE? August 18, 2009
Last week, national security news began on Monday at the North American Summit where President Obama met Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Guadalajara, Mexico. Much of the get together was “happy talk” with positive words on issues of mutual concern from dealing with a return of the Swine Flu (H1N1 virus) this autumn to the ongoing was against the cartels menacing both sides of the US-Mexico border. Obama, however, badly stumbled when he took on the issue of immigration reform.
 
Immigration reform is vital to national security. The flood of illegal crossings on the U.S. southern border makes controlling the border more difficult...that creates ideal conditions for criminal cartels that smuggle drugs, people, guns, and money (and recently, as reported in the press, oil too). Likewise, dealing with illegal crossings and the associated activities prevents federal, state, local law enforcement from dealing with the violent criminal activities that undermine U.S. sovereignty and threaten the safety and prosperity of American communities.
 
At the summit, when it came to immigration, Obama went wrong from the outset. The President started out by calling opponents of a general amnesty as “demagogues.” This was a bad word choice on his part on two counts. First, demonizing opponents is hardly the way to lower the temperature on an already very hot and controversial issue. Second, he ignores that opponents of amnesty have a legitimate concern. The U.S. tried a policy of granting a national amnesty in 1986. After the law was passed the unlawful population got larger, not smaller. 
 
To make matters worse during the press conference, Obama said he “expects Congress to overhaul the country’s immigration system…”early next year.” Speaking to Hispanic reporters at the White House, Obama said he hopes a bill for comprehensive immigration reform will be drafted by the end of this year.” He has tasked Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano with working with Congress to draft the bill. This is a prescription for disaster…and here is why. The draft bill they are working on adopts the same tried and failed strategy trotted out by the Bush administration, starting with massive amnesty and then loaded down with provisions to buy off as many constituent groups as possible. It is impossible to imagine how such a bill could get through the Congress. Second, tasking the Homeland Security Secretary to “take the lead” is a tragic mistake (mimicking another failed Bush strategy when he had Secretary Chertoff lead the forlorn charge to push through a bad bill). Making her the “point person” in this highly-charged political debate will likely only undermine her credibility as the chief officer responsible for securing our borders.
 
The president’s plan for immigration reform can’t but help lower his grade for looking after national security.
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is a leading expert in defense affaires, intelligence, military operations and strategy, and homeland security at the Heritage Foundation. Feedback: editorialdirector@familysecuritymatters.org.
 

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