How far we have fallen as a political system: An entire political party is now willing to shut the government down over a policy exclusively for illegal aliens, not Americans. Even more appalling is that the leader of the shutdown is a man who has lied to us numerous times on immigration and has created the very immigration crisis we face today by pushing similar amnesty policies before. Most ironic, Schumer himself once expressed support for the very policies he is now calling racist and over which he has triggered the Schumer Shutdown.
On Thursday, Politico reported that Chuck Schumer told President Trump there will be no deal unless Sen. Tom Cotton is removed from the negotiating table. After all, the American taxpayer is not allowed to have a voice in the room who actually cares about the citizenry at least as much as illegal aliens. The problem is that Schumer and most other Democrats once upon a time supported what Cotton is trying to accomplish, at least in rhetoric. The reason Schumer is so disgruntled over the presence of people like Tom Cotton and Stephen Miller is because they have matched his knowledge of the immigration issue and deftly expose his double talk on the issue — double talk that has allowed him to get away with immigration fakery for 32 years as a member of both the House and the Senate.
The endless lies: “Immigration works for Americans”
Every bad outcome on immigration has emanated either from the unelected branches of government (administrative and judicial) or legislation that was sold to the American people as doing the opposite of its actual intent. This is true of the 1965 and 1990 immigration bills, the 1980 refugee bill, and the 1986 amnesty bill. It is widely known how Kennedy and other Democrats promised in 1965 that the new immigration system would not flood the country with poor chain migrants, undermine assimilation, and become a burden on Americans. What is less known is that the 1990 expansion of the ’65 Hart-Celler Act was actually designed to fix the flaws of the original bill (the flaws that were never supposed to exist), but once again did the exact opposite.
In 1989, there was a bipartisan consensus that there was too much chain migration, that there were too few immigrants of particular merit, and that the orientation of the immigrants wasn’t diverse enough. What they meant by diversity was that the Hart-Celler Act spawned a monopoly of immigration from Latin America and Asia, while locking out European immigrants. Schumer was lobbied heavily by the New York Irish community to increase immigration opportunities from Ireland, which eventually evolved into the diversity visa lottery. Contrary to popular thought, the diversity lottery was not designed to bring in more immigrants from the third world. Rather, it was designed to rectify the chain migration from the third world that locked out European immigration. And indeed, for the first three years of the diversity lottery, 40 percent of the visas were allocated to Ireland.
When the comprehensive bill was first introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee by Sens. Alan Simpson and Ted Kennedy, it actually had a points system that prioritized English language proficiency and limited chain migration. But even as the bill was quietly being made into yet another expansionist bill, contrary to its initial pitch, Chuck Schumer was still promoting the bill as a way of moving from chain migration to a skills-based system and fostering more, not less, immigration from Europe. On October 3, 1990, Schumer lamented on the House floor how “only 4 percent of all immigration is employer-sponsored,” which “hurts our economy” and “hurts every American.” He said that this bill would correct that problem by making immigration based on skills because “immigration should be job related … it should help America grow economically.” He also said “immigration should be as diverse as it once was,” because “countries like Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Nigeria … cannot get people into this country, even though there are many people of that ancestry here.”
Not only did Schumer lament family-based migration shutting out merit-based migration, he actually touched on America’s ancestry and lamented the monopoly of Latin America over Europe. And he did so almost 30 years ago, when we were at the foot of the mountain of chain migration from those countries. That was 30 million immigrants ago, almost all brought here though chain migration, many of whom came in as a result of immigrants who came here after enactment of the bill Schumer supported, which was supposed to rectify what he admitted harmed America’s economy.
Yet he lied to us in 1990 about fixing legal immigration, just as he lied to us in 1986 about amnesty.
During debate over the ’86 amnesty, Schumer said the following:
“What is it not? It is not millions of people cascading across the border. … It is not welfare benefits for those folks immediately. In fact, it’s in the bill right now that they cannot get AFDC benefits. … It is not immediately wives, husbands, and children will come across. Not the case.”
Guess what? The highest rates of welfare usage are now from the countries of origin most associated with illegal migration; namely, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
But it goes a step further.
Now those lies are home to roost
Schumer admitted amnesty was a gamble. Now he’s shamelessly asking us to gamble our future on the failed results of his first gamble.
As reported by the New York Times, following passage of the amnesty, Schumer said something amazingly prescient:
”The bill is a gamble, a riverboat gamble. There is no guarantee that employer sanctions will work or that amnesty will work. We are headed into uncharted waters.”
To this day, we are paying for Schumer’s self-admitted gamble on amnesty and lies about enforcement with an entire new generation of illegal immigrants that he promised wouldn’t exist. We are paying for his lies about the 1990 bill that it would fix chain migration, as we are witnessing a wave of chain migration even the skeptics could never have imagined back then. We are paying for his lies about the diversity lottery, which was supposed to reorient immigration toward Europe and has instead opened the floodgates from the Middle East and has brought in some terrorists.
And here we are three decades later with this same man now leading the Democrat Party and shutting down the government in order to promote amnesty for the very people that came from his original amnesty. Are we to continue taking this man seriously?
Either way, it’s important to observe that once upon a time, Schumer at least felt the need to lie to the American people and actually speak like Tom Cotton and Stephen Miller. Even as late as 2009, Schumer had to speak with clarity on illegal immigration:
.@SenSchumer in 2009: “People who enter the United States without our permission are illegal aliens and illegal aliens should not be treated the same as people who entered the U.S. legally.” pic.twitter.com/3BefWj7ERe
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 21, 2018
Except back then, very few called him out. Now he feels uncomfortable because Cotton has matched his institutional knowledge about the issue and is able to call BS on his duplicitous talk of enforcement.
Now Cotton has a bill that finally fulfills the bipartisan promise on chain migration. And Goodlatte has a bill incorporating both the Cotton bill and some sort of amnesty for 700,000 illegals. And yet Schumer is rejecting something that he has expressed support for, on an issue for which he is personally responsible.
We’ve been doing amnesty since 1986, and we’ve been lied to about immigration in general since 1965. We haven’t been fixing legal immigration to end chain migration, which was a bipartisan promise that Schumer agreed to in 1990. Isn’t it time to first fulfill the promise to Americans before pursuing another amnesty?
There’s an important lesson from Schumer and Kennedy in the 1990 bill. Aristide Zolberg, one of the leading immigration historians of recent memory, asked the question in his scholarly book, “A Nation by Design,” how a bill that was introduced amid anti-mass migration sentiment in the country wound up “moving in the opposite direction.” Citing other commentators, he noted that “while public support for a reduction in legal immigration was broad, it was not well-organized. … In contrast, a liberal coalition of well-organized organized groups, including ethnic organizations, churches, and employer associations, articulated strong opposition to proposals for restricting legal immigration.”
Schumer has moved full speed ahead on lies and subterfuge on immigration for decades because there was no organized and precise voice to give power to the silent majority on this issue. Nobody has stood for the forgotten American taxpayer, who must bear the burden of terrible immigration policy. That is changing with voices like Cotton and Stephen Miller. Which is why Chuck Schumer is no longer speaking the language of the American citizen — because there is now somebody on the playing field to hold him to account.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.