Reagan and Bush Offer No Precedent for Obama's Amnesty Order

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. Revmitchell

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    Feb 18, 2006
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    1) Reagan and Bush acted in conjunction with Congress and in furtherance of a congressional purpose. In 1986, Congress passed a full-blown amnesty, the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, conferring residency rights on some 3 million people. Simpson-Mazzoli was sold as a “once and for all” solution to the illegal immigration problem: amnesty now, to be followed by strict enforcement in future. Precisely because of their ambition, the statute’s authors were confounded when their broad law generated some unanticipated hard cases. The hardest were those in which some members of a single family qualified for amnesty, while others did not. Nobody wanted to deport the still-illegal husband of a newly legalized wife. Reagan’s (relatively small) and Bush’s (rather larger) executive actions tidied up these anomalies. Although Simpson-Mazzoli itself had been controversial, neither of these follow-ups was.

    2) Reagan and Bush legalized much smaller numbers of people than Obama is said to have in mind. While today's advocates cite a figure of 1.5 million people among those potentially affected by Bush's order, only about 140,000 people ultimately gained legal status this way, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data as reviewed by Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies. (Updated: Krikorian reconsidered the numbers and now concludes the true figure is even lower—less than 50,000.) Obama’s June 2012 grant of residency to the so-called “Dreamers”, people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, could potentially reach 1.4 million people. His next round of amnesty, which is advertised as benefiting the parents of the Dreamers and other illegal-alien parents of U.S. resident children, could reach as many as 5 million people.

    3) The Reagan-Bush examples are not positive ones. The 1986 amnesty did not work as promised. It was riddled with fraud. The enforcement provisions were ignored or circumvented. Illegal immigration actually increased in the years after the amnesty. The supposed "once and for all” solution almost immediately gave rise to an even larger version of the original problem.

    4) The invocation of the Reagan and Bush cases exemplifies the bad tendency of political discussion to degenerate into an exchange of scripted talking points. “Oh yeah? Well, this guy you liked also did this thing you don’t like!” Is that really supposed to convince anybody? What we have here is not a validation of the correctness of President Obama’s action. It’s the shaking of a fetish, an effort to curtail argument rather than enlighten it.

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