Michael G. Hammond: Approving amnesty will not help the Republican Party
Watching the platitudes in Friday’s New Hampshire Union Leader from five largely moderate former chairmen of the New Hampshire Republican Party on behalf of the Obama-backed immigration bill makes you realize why our party’s fortunes have plummeted.
There are many things that Hispanic voters care about. Granting amnesty to those who ignore our laws is the worst way to try to reach out to them.
In the early 1980s, on behalf of U.S. Sen. Paula Hawkins, R-Fla., I drafted the language that created Radio Marti. As a result of Sen. Hawkins’ efforts, the Miami Cuban community remained firm supporters of the GOP for a generation.
The 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty bill, on the other hand, turned California from a “swing state” into a rabidly liberal state. And Hispanics were less favorable to the Republicans after the passage of the GOP-sponsored bill than before. At least 11.5 million persons were subsequently convinced to enter or stay in our country illegally because of it.
Since the former chairmen have, unlike me, apparently not read the new immigration bill, let me clarify a few things:
First, the bill merely cuts some, but not most, government benefits for legalized residents.
Second, there are currently visa programs for high-skilled and agricultural workers, and it is possible to improve these without turning Washington into Sacramento.
Third, if the bill’s draftsmen thought anything effective was going to be done about border security, they wouldn’t have granted legal residency to 11.5-20 million illegals, irrespective of what happens on the border.
Fourth, having had a great amount of experience with the flawed “Brady check” system for guns, I can tell you that requiring the government’s permission before you can work (the so-called E-Verify system) is going to be an Orwellian disaster.
Fifth, for the 40 percent of illegals who come into this country legally, but overstay their visas, we may know who they are under this bill, but not where they are. The situation would essentially be like the status quo.
Sixth, depending on the outcome of the Defense of Marriage Act case that will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court this month, the amnesty bill will undoubtedly be a federal guarantor of same-sex marriage.
Seventh, for those who opposed “Real ID,” the “fraud-resistant” Social Security card will almost certainly be biometric. But, like they say, we need to “pass it so we can know what’s in it.”
Eighth, how many Tsarnaevs are we guaranteeing legal residence? We don’t know. There will be a “terrorist screening,” probably against a “watch list,” but that process didn’t prevent the Boston Marathon bombing.
Ninth, many of the signatories of Friday’s article were responsible for giving us Mitt Romney, a genuinely horrible candidate. The fact that he couldn’t get support from a whole bunch of demographics shouldn’t suggest that we add up to 8.4 million voters whose circumstances (independent of their race) indicate that they will vote overwhelmingly liberal.
In short, you don’t shoot yourself in the head to avoid having someone else shoot you in the foot.
Shame on the short-sighted GOP chairmen.
Michael G. Hammond of Dunbarton worked for the U.S. Senate for 18 years, most of that time as general counsel to the Senate Steering Committee.