Surprise! The Left is now screaming about enforcing the terms of the 1986 amnesty

· August 12, 2019  
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Democrats promised President Reagan that in return for amnesty for 2.7 million people, they would agree to pass a law barring employment of future illegal immigrants and ending illegal immigration as we know it. Indeed, the entire purpose of the infamous 1986 amnesty bill, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), was “to combat the employment of illegal aliens.” The law specifically makes it “illegal for employers to knowingly hire, recruit, refer, or continue to employ unauthorized workers.”

Sadly, as always, those laws were never enforced, even as the amnesty was swiftly implemented. Now we have countless millions of new illegal aliens, including at least two million with criminal records. Yet now that the Trump administration is finally enforcing just a few of those laws, including the one at the center of the 1986 amnesty deal, the Left is crying bloody murder, shopping around pictures of crying children and breathlessly deriding a humanitarian crisis of children without care. The AP, blurring the difference between those who were legally admitted into the country and those who broke in illegally, dramatically reports, “Immigrants lock doors, rally around children of detained.”

In reality, leftists are the ones responsible for creating this mess to begin with. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. They got their amnesty and didn’t uphold their side of the bargain, so now we have endless new waves of illegal immigration. Now they have the nerve to demand amnesty for endless waves of new aliens resulting from their previous sabotage of their part of the deal and are using children as human shields for it. Promises of enforcement in return for amnesty have now become demands for no enforcement ever.

In comes the Trump administration. While keeping in place many policies of not enforcing laws, the administration has at least begin enforcing other laws. One of them is the law against employing illegal aliens, which was the center of the 1986 amnesty. To that end, the DOJ and DHS announced last week the apprehension of nearly 680 illegal alien workers targeting five companies in Mississippi. Yet thanks to one-sided media outrage revolving around children, officials have released nearly 300 of them on “humanitarian grounds.” ICE is officially monitoring them with ankle bracelets, but illegal aliens are the consummate flight risk. No other American criminals with a similar risk of absconding would be released in this situation.

Are we a sovereign country or not? If the media can now use children as human shields to invite anyone from around the world to bring a child to the border, gain admission, and then never be deported because of having a child, we no longer have a border.

As reported by the New York Times, following passage of the 1986 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.”

And here we are three decades later with this same man now leading the Democrat Party and promoting amnesty for the very people who came in because of his original amnesty. Is it now the position of Schumer and his allies that we can no longer enforce this law, after they got what they wanted from Reagan?



1996: Democrats agreed to a bill that was supposed to end illegal immigration altogether and ensure that illegal aliens are removed expeditiously. Again, every major Democrat today who was in Congress back then voted for it. In fact, Dianne Feinstein was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as supporting the bill, though she felt it wasn’t tough enough on employment. She said she was “disappointed” that the law did not increase the penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants and that it did not have a more comprehensive verification system to identify illegal immigrants who try to work in the U.S.

And now the Left clamors to disallow this very enforcement, even though the problem is worse than ever.

The American people were promised the following in the 1986, 1996, and the 2006 laws, supported by nearly every major Democrat leader:

  • Full operational control of the border;
  • A border wall;
  • A visa exit-entry tracking system;
  • Criminalizing employment in the country;
  • No benefits for illegal aliens (Democrats explicitly made that clear while preserving welfare for legal immigrants in 1996);
  • State and local cooperation with immigration enforcement;
  • Expedited removal, especially for those with criminal records.

Now, after what is likely the most costly and cumbersome wave of illegal immigration in modern history, whenever ICE finally enforces a fraction of these laws, the Left engages in social media lynching and has sob stories of children being separated from parents. But that is their own doing. They are the ones who concocted out of whole cloth the absurd notion that someone can wrest citizenship from the people of this country when they were not admitted legally. If they cared about their children, they would take them back with them.

If American citizens are arrested for crimes, particularly labor and human trafficking, they are arrested irrespective of the welfare of their kids. Why should these individuals, who had kids working in some of the plants as young as 14 years old, be given an amnesty not accorded to American criminals? Yet the Democrats and the media will never show the other side of the story – the sex and labor trafficking, the human smuggling that is allowed to happen in order to enrich big business interests.


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Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.