Immigration bill

Congress and the White House on Friday announced a compromise "immigration reform" deal which proponents contend will end the current invasion of this nation by illegal aliens who scoff at the right of the sovereign government of the United States to set conditions for their entry and immigration.

The measure would allow illegals who are here right now to immediately come forward and pay $5,000 for a card which would "set them on the path to legal residency."

Proponents would thus be more honest to call their current proposal another "amnesty."

Perhaps we're not supposed to remember that 20 years ago, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed a "one-time-only" immigration amnesty law that allowed 1.3 million of those who had been in the country illegally since 1982 to apply for permanent legal resident status.

Then, after the INS obeyed the new law by turning away hundreds of thousands because they had not been in the country continuously for that five-year period as required, advocates for those who had been rejected filed class action suits that resulted in "consent decrees" that allowed them the same benefits, as well.

But Americans weren't to worry: It was all to be "one time only." Honest. New enforcement methods and technologies were to guarantee us there would be no recurrence of the need to "legalize" as many as 1.3 million trespassers, ever again.

Estimates of the number of illegal aliens currently in the country, anxiously awaiting their new amnesty? Twelve million to 20 million.

Does that mean the next amnesty, in 2027, could hand "green cards" to somewhere between 120 million to 200 million illegal aliens? Pretty soon, if we may paraphrase the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, this could start adding up.

But proponents of the new deal insist no more illegals will be allowed to enter the country, after this. Why, after all, the new plan calls for the hiring of 18,000 more border agents. Not only that, 370 miles of fencing will be erected along the 1,500-mile Mexican border.

Oh, and four new unmanned aerial drones will also be launched.

Close readers of last week's newspapers will have noticed congressman complaining they were "misled" when they allocated millions of dollars to include new "biometric identifiers" -- mug shots and digitized fingerprints -- in the nation's new border crossing cards. It now turns out the matching capability is rarely used. In fact, the scanning equipment hasn't even been installed in border vehicle lanes, for fear of worsening traffic jams.

But under the deal announced Friday, new "secure and effective identification tools" will guarantee us that no illegal alien will ever again be able to take a job in America!

There are a few good things in the proposed compromise -- assuming they can be believed, and that outraged Democrats (to whom the proposal seems too harsh, of course) don't immediately scuttle them.

Supposedly, after the new "one more time only, we promise" amnesty, just 380,000 new visas per year will be awarded on a point system -- 50 percent for employability, 25 percent for education, 15 percent for English proficiency, and only 10 percent on family connections.

Sounds good, if that really means 380,000 English-speaking Ph.D.s from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe -- easily employable as doctors, chemists, computer engineers, and the like -- would receive priority.

Spouses and minor children of future immigrants would be allowed in, but not siblings and adult children. A slight improvement. And families could join our newly legalized "guest workers" here only if they could show proof of medical insurance and demonstrate their wages were at least 150 percent of poverty level.

Again, sounds good.

But it all comes down to: Why should anyone believe these "new safeguards" will be enforced any better than the old ones?