Farewell to amnesty

The speaker pro­nounces im­mi­gra­tion bill dead in Congress

The Washington Times Daily - - Editorial -

Pres­i­dent Obama’s re­lent­less bridge-burn­ing strat­egy to get his way on the bud­get and health care leg­is­la­tion turns out to have an un­ex­pected ad­van­tage for Repub­li­cans still smart­ing from the st­ing of de­feat at the hand of the pres­i­dent. They might not be in­ter­ested in sur­ren­der­ing to another lick­ing on another big-ticket leg­isla­tive item.

House Speaker John A. Boehner pro­nounced the death of the Se­nate’s amnesty leg­is­la­tion, to no­body’s sur­prise. “The idea that we’re go­ing to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read,” the speaker said Wed­nes­day, “which is what the Se­nate did, is not go­ing to hap­pen in the House.” Lest there be any room for doubt, he added read-my-lips as­sur­ance. “I’ll make it clear, we have no in­ten­tion of ever go­ing to con­fer­ence on the Se­nate bill.”

Mr. Boehner made his an­nounce­ment sev­eral hours af­ter two back­ers of the Se­nate amnesty bill at­tempted to ruin break­fast at his fa­vorite Capi­tol Hill diner. The Fair Im­mi­gra­tion Re­form Move­ment sent two teenage “Dream­ers,” video cam­era in hand, to con­front the speaker and his ba­con and eggs with heart­string-tug­ging sto­ries of how their par­ents are at risk of de­por­ta­tion with­out an amnesty. Mr. Boehner lis­tened po­litely and sent them on their way with his good wishes. The would-be sand­bag­gers per­suaded the speaker only that he should put an end to spec­u­la­tion about the prospects of the amnesty bill in the House.

Repub­li­can mem­bers of the Gang of Eight are hav­ing sec­ond thoughts about their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the amnesty cam­paign, too. Sen. Marco Ru­bio of Florida was first to back away. Sen. John McCain, per­haps the most ded­i­cated Repub­li­can fan of amnesty, showed signs of sec­ond thoughts Wed­nes­day at the con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing for Jeh C. John­son as head of the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity. Mr. John­son lost Mr. McCain’s sup­port when he de­clined to pro­vide de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on what Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion needs to pro­vide “90 per­cent” con­trol of the U.S.-Mex­i­can bor­der.

The clock is rapidly run­ning out on a ses­sion of Congress that must re­visit ne­go­ti­a­tions on the con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion on the bud­get, the debt limit, the farm bill and other mat­ters. There isn’t enough time be­fore the end of the year to con­sider even the nar­rowly tai­lored im­mi­gra­tionre­form bills al­ready cleared by House com­mit­tees. The Se­nate bill would fol­low all that.

Some of the back­ers of amnesty pro­fess to be wor­ried about the fu­ture of Repub­li­cans. (Who knew?) Frank Sharry of the pro-amnesty Amer­ica’s Voice says “the fu­ture of the GOP de­pends on what the House Repub­li­can lead­er­ship de­cides to do on im­mi­gra­tion re­form.” This con­cern by lib­er­als like Mr. Sharry may, or may not, touch the speaker’s heart, but it’s not per­sua­sive. The more per­cep­tive Repub­li­cans un­der­stand that Democrats re­gard amnesty as the key to im­port­ing mil­lions of Demo­cratic votes.

The Gang of Eight will likely come alive again next year, but not with­out first re­cruit­ing one or two or even three new gang­bangers. Given the elec­tionyear re­al­i­ties, amnesty is not likely to get to the Oval Of­fice next year, ei­ther. The Gang of Eight has been ex­posed as the gang that can’t shoot straight. So far they’ve put a hole only in amnesty.

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