By all accounts New York Senator Chuck Schumer is one of the most adept Capitol Hill politicians. Schumer should be good at his job; he’s been at it for 33 years.
First elected to the House of Representatives in 1980, Schumer ascended to the Senate in 1999. During Schumer’s 12 years in the Senate, he’s served on the finance, banking and judiciary committees. Beltway insiders claim that along his path to success, Schumer mastered the politicking art.
But the insiders must be wrong. A supposedly skilled politician advocating for one of his most beloved causes, comprehensive immigration reform, could never write and sponsor a bill that will struggle to pass the Democratic controlled Senate and, if it ever reaches the House, would be dead on arrival.
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744, is a monstrous 1,076 pages, up from 867 pages pre-committee mark up which in turn was increased from its original 844 pages. Schumer’s biggest problem in selling his bill isn’t it imposing, unreadable length but its destructive contents. Earlier this year when the Gang of Eight was drafting the bill behind closed doors, Schumer and his gangster colleagues promised that border security would be first and foremost before a single illegal alien became legalized. Schumer also pledged that the aliens would pay back taxes, fees and learn English, all of which turned out to be bold-faced lies.
S. 744’s final 1,076 page version, the one that will be debated next week, contains no true border security provisions. During the three week mark-up process, Schumer beat back Senators Ted Cruz, Jeff Session and Chuck Grassley’s amendments to secure the border. In fact, the Committee defeated every amendment that was designed to show good faith to the public by requiring some enforcement before giving amnesty benefits.
What is in the bill will be tough to sell to the public. Within a decade, S. 744 will authorize 33 million work permits to foreign-born visa holders — more than the total number of visas issued from 1972 to 2012— plus millions more guest workers and their families.The Judiciary Committee refused to acknowledge the bill’s devastating consequences on 20 million unemployed or under-employed Americans who have struggled through years of wage stagnation and can’t find a job in the midst of the current labor glut.
The committee also rejected attempts to speed up a mandatory E-Verify system that would insure that all U.S. employees are legally authorized to work. E-Verify is crucial to end the jobs magnet that draws thousands of illegal aliens to America. States were denied the option having a faster time-table on mandatory E-Verify than the five year minimum the bill sets for the federal government. Because of ambiguities and loopholes in the language, even the five year federal provision is squishy.
Finally, the committee refused to require electronic monitoring for guest-workers in the new W visa program for low-skilled overseas employees to ensure they leave when their visas expire.
Those are only some of S. 744 most glaring flaws. Schumer promised that “the bill will pay for itself.” But according to the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector, the taxpayer’s net cost will reach $6.3 trillion. As for Schumer’s guarantee that back taxes will be satisfied and English learned, those turned out to be more lies. Nowhere in 1, 076 pages of legislation are taxes or language mentioned.
S. 744 is great for cheap labor seeking employers, unions that want to shore up their dues-paying base, ethnic-identity lobbyists who want to wield more power, immigration lawyers and, of course, the aliens themselves.
But for American workers and taxpayers who want to protect the nation’s sovereignty, S. 744 is a disaster that the Senate must vote down.
Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. He lives in Pittsburgh. Contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org