A bipartisan group of moderate politicians come together to push for the largest immigration reform since the Reagan era legislation that provided a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. The second term president strongly supports the effort and will sign the bill if it passes both houses of Congress.
Countering this endeavor are millions of Americans who believe that an amnesty bill without real enforcement would lead to the same mistake of the 1980s – millions more undocumented immigrants streaming across the porous borders to take the place of those who gained citizenship.
Sounds like the current state of affairs in America, doesn't it? Except the exact same events as recounted happened in 2007 with an amnesty bill pushed by John McCain and Ted Kennedy, with George Bush's approval.
These amnesty advocates use peaceful, but increasingly disruptive methods of bringing attention to their agenda, in an attempt to move the country toward reform that would include a “path to citizenship.”
The biggest difference between then and now is the presence of a mostly grassroots effort by groups advocating for what they call “immigration rights” — a clever misnomer to blur the lines between legal and illegal immigration.
In attempting to implement the lessons learned from the successful Civil Rights Movement of half a century ago, these amnesty advocates use peaceful, but increasingly disruptive methods of bringing attention to their agenda, in an attempt to move the country toward reform that would include a “path to citizenship.”
The same desperation that would make someone make the long dangerous trek into America is the same animus that might coalesce into a more militant movement demanding amnesty at the least, and open borders at the worst.
But this effort will fail if it continues to veer away from peaceful advocacy toward violent action, and it will fail because it misunderstands the nature of the American people.
Americans are by their nature sympathetic and compassionate. If you read those words and scoff, then you will not be able to persuade Americans toward whatever political agenda you might have.
And that's the problem with the militant amnesty agenda.
Marisa Franco, organizer for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, when explaining the increased militancy, says, "the people will take power back into their own hands and set a true example of leadership that the Beltway will have to follow.”
The assumption of this sentiment is that immigration reform is stymied because of intransigence by politicians at the federal level, and “the people” actually want amnesty. If this were true, then more direct action could possibly force the political class to accept the popular will.
What is actually the case is that many Americans support deportation, don't support a “path to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, and more militancy will only further alienate them (intended) from greater acceptance.
If anything, it's the politicians at the federal level who are pushing “comprehensive immigration reform” on an unwilling and disinterested populace.
In this, they should look to a more proximate example – the gay rights lobby. By deftly manipulating the image of gay marriage as merely demanding the right to establish a family, the thorny question of whether it is properly the province of the federal government to settle the issue is side-stepped.
But it took a long period of garnering sympathetic allies in Hollywood, news media, and academia to achieve the unquestioned success of the gay rights lobby.
By contrast, amnesty advocates seem to be impatient for reform despite the relative lack of urgency among Americans about immigration.
Angrier, and more violent protests will only set back the movement as it continues to falsely accuse resistance to their efforts as motivated purely by racism or xenophobia.
As long as the advocates for undocumented immigrants continue to believe their struggle is a Manichean war against malicious Americans, they won't make any advances toward actually persuading us that amnesty would be good for America.
Which it isn't.