Congress Makes Last-Ditch Amnesty Push
By Joe Guzzardi
Emboldened by their better-than-anticipated mid-term election performance, the Democratic Party is entering the Lame Duck session with an aggressive agenda that includes one of it favorite goals – amnesty. Democrats will control the Upper Chamber during the 118th Congress, but the GOP by the narrowest margin – a handful of seats – will have the edge in the House.
The Democrats’ strong showing inspired President Biden to unequivocally pronounce that he plans to do “nothing“ differently during the two years that remain in his first term. Biden interprets the election results as an endorsement of his policies, especially at the border and with his quest to legalize as many illegal aliens as possible.
The status quo, especially as it relates to enforcement, is exactly what’s happening. Just days after Biden’s stand pat commitment, the Border Patrol reported that agents had at least 230,678 known October encounters, exclusive of nearly 1 million known gotaways, compared to 159,113 last October and 69,032 in October 2020. The October 2022 total, driven by Cubans and Nicaraguans, is the highest in Department of Homeland Security history.
Immediately after the Thanksgiving recess, all eyes will be focused on the Lame Duck session that will provide a chance for Biden to finalize his legislative objective. And Republicans may be willing to lend a helping hand, a possibility enhanced with the re-election of pro-amnesty Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Although amnesty goes against most Americans’ wishes, Congress dismisses voters’ concerns, and presses on.
Common sense dictates that already present illegal aliens shouldn’t be granted amnesty until, at a minimum, the DHS seals the border against the new illegal alien wave that includes thousands of unaccompanied minors. But looking ahead to a possible 2024 re-election bid, the president’s advisors are scratching together a possible slogan, “Promises Kept.” Since immigration doesn’t fall into the “kept” category, at least in the White House’s view, Biden’s advisors perceive the need to forge ahead on amnesty.
Earlier this year, the House laid amnesty’s foundation when it passed the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, amnesty for about 2.1 million illegally present farm workers. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – DACA – and farm workers are the two top amnesty priorities. Democrats have already written a game plan to send DACA legislation to the Senate that would amnesty more than 4 million illegal immigrants before their House majority expires. A sidebar: legislation to grant amnesty to deferred action recipients has, since 2001 when it was first introduced, consistently failed to get congressional majorities.
Just behind deferred action legalization’s priority are the farm workers who would be tied, if the amnesty passes, to agricultural employment for years – indentured servitude – with the carrot being eventual citizenship. Despite the bill’s title which suggests modernization, no such feature is included. Modernization means using artificial intelligence, the bane of donors who support keeping the ag industry dependent on cheap, stoop labor.
Both DACA and the farm act require ten Senate yeas which the House is unlikely to get. Without the ten necessary upper chamber votes, amnesty advocates could attach either or both DACA and the farm act to must-pass, omnibus legislation – the landmine that immigration restrictionists most fear.
Nothing stops the amnesty lobby – not 9/11, not the mortgage crisis and not dismal employment markets. When amnesty advocates have friends in high places such as the White House, the Senate and the House, pressure for passing amnesty is, as proven during the days leading to the 2022 Lame Duck, intense. Amnesty recipients obtain lifetime valid employment permits, a coveted affirmative benefit that expands the labor market and hinders blue-collar Americans, including blacks, Hispanics and other minorities, the constituency that Congress deceivingly purports to care about.
Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. Joe joined Progressives for Immigration Reform in 2018 as an analyst after a ten-year career directing media relations for Californians for Population Stabilization, where he also was a Senior Writing Fellow. A native Californian, Joe now lives in Pennsylvania. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.