Joe Biden continues reminding us that despite what some may pretend, he’s no moderate.
Biden campaigned on amnesty, and during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt yesterday confirmed that it would be on his agenda to complete during his first 100 days in office if President Donald Trump’s legal challenges to the election fail. “I will send an immigration bill to the United States Senate with a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people in America,” Biden said.
Eleven million illegals is just one estimate of the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. – one Yale study has the figure double that. In other words, 11 million is really the minimum amount of people who would be receiving amnesty.
Biden acknowledged that his success on the issue would boil down to if Congress allows it – and control of the Senate currently hinges on two runoff races in Georgia. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin’s past criticisms of Obama’s immigration policies also indicate that he’d join Republicans in a vote against amnesty.
While Democrats like to frame the issue of amnesty as one coming from a place of compassion, it’s more likely coming from their desire to add up to 11 million new Democrat voters to the electoral rolls.
Much like how student debt forgiveness doesn’t solve the problem of why that debt existed in the first place, amnesty doesn’t solve the problem of illegal immigration. In fact, it tends to encourage more of it (leading to more amnesty in the future).
We already know what amnesty will do to rates of illegal immigration because in 1986 Congress passed (and Ronald Reagan signed) so-called comprehensive immigration reform (that couldn’t have been all that comprehensive because politicians are still calling for the “comprehensive reform” today). That reform included legalizing most illegal immigrants that had been in the U.S. prior to 1982. The newly legalized immigrants were at least prevented from receiving most types of federal welfare and were eligible for citizenship after five years of lawful permanent residency.
Resulting from the amnesty, 2.7 million illegal immigrants (of 3.2 million total) were given lawful permanent resident status. The overall illegal immigrant population has since ballooned to an incredible 15+ million today, or nearly five times the 1986 peak, despite eventually legalizing 84% of illegals that were in the country at the time as a result of the amnesty. If we were to legalize all current illegals, we’d be debating another amnesty in another couple of decades. It’s truly a paradox created by the Left (and in this case, aided by some Republicans) that guarantees the problem will never be solved.
That’s even visible in the case of the 1986 amnesty before it could take effect, as apprehensions on the southern border (a proxy for illegal crossings) increased until hitting a record high in 1986, which had only been eclipsed in one year since. In other words, illegals began rushing the border ahead of the 1986 amnesty’s passage, even though it would only apply to illegals who entered the country prior to 1982. Even they were smart enough to know our government wasn’t capable of enforcing the criteria they created.
Beginning in 1993, those illegals turned “lawful residents” could begin applying for citizenship. The Clinton administration launched “Citizenship USA” in 1995 to speed up the processing of applications for legal status for illegals, and a 2000 review by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice found the program “rife with fraud.” One sample of 7,000 applicants found evidence of fraud in 462, or 6.6% of applications. To quote the report; “evidence of fraud was not adequately explored and, in some instances, was completely disregarded.”
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) also failed to provide background checks for nearly a fifth of immigrants and didn’t enforce the English-language requirement for citizenship. Interviews to determine whether illegals had good moral character lasted about five minutes per applicant.
So, that was a trainwreck, and that “only” applied to 2.7 million illegal immigrants. Can you imagine the disaster if they tried with eleven million?
Hopefully we won’t have to.