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Donkeys and Elephants don't always agreed

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Guest column by Jim Flynn

By Jim Flynn

It’s not true that Democrats and Republicans in Congress can’t agree on anything. Over the past 10 deficit years, they agreed to increase their salaries eight times - from $141,300 in 2000 to $174,000 in 2009.

Another matter on which Republicans and Democrats have been in agreement is lax enforcement of our immigration laws.

Our current problems began with the Immigration Act of 1965, what one commentator called “the most important piece of legislation no one has ever heard of.” The primary but unstated goal of the 1965 Act was to change the ethnic makeup of the U.S. by admitting more immigrants from Asia, South America, and Africa.

A comical aside to the 1965 Immigration Act was its cheerleading cabal of Massachusetts Democrats – President John Kennedy, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, House majority leader Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill, House speaker John McCormack, and newly minted Senator Edward Kennedy. When told later that 25 percent of immigrants from Central and South America were born-again Evangelicals, Tip O’Neill asked incredulously “How did that happen?”

Successive congresses and administrations have been silent about the unstated goal of the 1965 Act - to change American culture by creating more diversity in the U.S. population. As Senator James Webb (D-Va.) suggested in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the 1965 law has been a 40-year affirmative action program for undocumented immigrants.

Because of the 1965 law there are now between 10 and 20 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Washington pretends to know the real number, but they’re guessing -- as usual.

Immigrant advocates believe their clients deserve more rights and more benefits. Prior to 1965 millions of legal immigrants did not expect and did not receive public assistance of any kind. They became the citizens who created a U.S. industrial giant, brought peace out of World War II, and created the American middle class.

In a moment of deliberate nonsense President Lyndon Johnson said generations of immigrants prior to 1965 were not rewarded on their merit. Johnson and other supporters of the 1965 Act used reuniting families of legal immigrants as a smoke screen for their unspoken political and social goals. The strategy worked.

In recent decades the complaints of the opponents of the 1965 law have became a reality. Enforcement was ignored by Democrats who were courting Hispanic voters. Republicans turned a blind eye to employers and campaign contributors who wanted unlimited numbers of low-wage workers.

All the while, air-headed politicians fluffed off the problems by suggesting we’re a nation of immigrants. Bunkum. Until 1965 we were a nation of assimilated legal migrants who came to the U.S. to be Americans. Another unstated goal of the 1965 immigration law was to expunge the assimilated culture of Americanism, and substitute a multi-lingual island of refuge for all the oppressed people of the world.

In a moment of uncharacteristic naivete, President Reagan signed an immigration law in 1986 which granted amnesty to several million illegals and guaranteed strict enforcement against employers who might hire them. The flood gates were opened.

Now a new call for amnesty is being ballyhooed around Washington, in a disguise called “comprehensive immigration reform.” The smoke is as thick as 1965 and 1986 – talk about individual dignity, protection of families, respect for the law, fairness to taxpayers, secure borders, and a path to legal citizenship. But not necessarily in that order.

The President of Mexico, whose nation is a wild-west show, has the gall to chastise Americans for their concerns about exportation of his criminal and social problems to our side of the border. Immigrant advocates support Mr. Calderon’s gall by suggesting enforcement of U.S. law after years of neglect would be insensitive.

Comprehensive immigration reform is as phony as assurances that the 1965 law would not throw open our borders and that the 1986 amnesty would not encourage a flood of new immigrants. Washington lied – both times. We’ll know Congress and the White House are serious when they have secured our borders for five consecutive years and pressured employers of illegal immigrants to hire millions of unemployed U.S. citizens. Anything less is just more BS (big smoke).