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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Muth - 2004, July 06 Jack Kemp and Our Immigration Fiasco

Muth - 2004, July 06
July 06, 2004
Jack Kemp and Our Immigration Fiasco
Chuck Muth

In California last month, the Border Patrol actually did what Americans thought the government was supposed to do with regard to illegal aliens. It arrested 420 of them. About time, you say? Not so fast. Rep. Joe Baca (D-Ca.) has objected profusely to Asa Hutchinson over at Homeland Security. Let the back-tracking begin.

Although such sweeps fall within the purview of the Border Patrol, Hutchinson is now saying the effort took place without approval or authorization from the feds in DC. Hutchinson says that while such arrests by the Border Patrol were “within their legal authority,” he also says they should have been handled by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

What Hutchinson DIDN’T say was that, according to the Washington Times, ICE has “acknowledged that they lack the manpower and resources to target out-of-status aliens now living and working in the United States.” Out-of-status is Washington-speak for “illegal.” And it’s estimated that there are some 8 to 10 million of them in-country today.

So to recap: The Border Patrol, which is responsible for enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, used their legal authority to arrest a small number of illegal aliens, only to be told by the pooh-bahs in Washington that they really shouldn’t have done it because that job technically belongs to another government agency which doesn’t have the ability to do it.

And some people still wonder why so many Americans are so thoroughly ticked off about President Bush’s amnesty proposal? It’s not so much that voters aren’t open to hearing possible solutions to the existing problem as it is they aren’t willing to consider such proposals UNTIL the government takes seriously the matter of stopping future illegal immigration so we don’t have to keep revisiting this issue every 15-20 years.

Which brings me to Jack Kemp, the guy who lost to Al Gore in 1996.

Kemp, as a reminder, was extremely outspoken in opposition to a California ballot initiative a few years back which would have withheld non-emergency taxpayer-funded benefits from illegal immigrants. His rhetoric gave the clear impression that anyone who supported the wildly popular measure was some kind of anti-immigrant racist and a “bad” conservative. Kemp hasn’t changed his tune much since then.

In a recent column, Kemp blasted Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Co.) for setting up “a political action committee and Web site to attack pro-immigration candidates,” such as amnesty proponent Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah). But this is a false accusation by Kemp...false by omission. It’s not pro-immigration candidates who so many people object to; it’s pro-ILLEGAL immigration candidates. Funny how Kemp so conveniently left out the word “ILLEGAL” in his anti-Tancredo diatribe.

Kemp also took a shot at Cannon’s GOP primary opponent, saying Matt Throckmorton “made immigration the central issue” of his campaign. No he didn’t. Throckmorton made ILLEGAL immigration the central issue.

Then there’s Kemp’s endorsement flip-flop in North Carolina last week. He initially endorsed congressional candidate Vernon Robinson in the 5th district GOP primary race, but now says he switched his endorsement because Robinson was “running a very negative and anti-immigration campaign.” But again, that’s just not true. Robinson is running a very aggressive campaign against ILLEGAL immigration. Does Kemp really not understand the difference...or is he just misleading the public on purpose?

“Looking to the fall campaign,” writes the guy who lost to Al Gore, “I hope other Republicans will stand against anti-immigrant policies.” Hey, me too. There are a TON of liberty-loving immigrants I’d rather have living here than some of our natural-born socialists. A certain couple who tarnished the White House a few years back comes immediately to mind.

But I hope Republicans WILL support anti-ILLEGAL immigration policies...you know, that rule of law thing...and wish people like Kemp would be honest enough to make that distinction in this important debate. Let’s leave the obfuscation to folks such as Al Gore.

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