Thursday, July 08, 2010

"Amnesty," Then And Now

"I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally."

Rush Limbaugh says "They don't have to even ask for it. The next big push, almost immediately -- and they will use whatever unconstitutional measure they have to to get it done -- will be amnesty. And I want to predict to you how Obama is going to sell this." Worse yet (video below, from Media Matters), "President Obama "wants to create an illegal alien bill of rights."

No, wait- the quote above came from a different President, Ronald Reagan in 1984.

The great Republican icon, President Reagan, championed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act and "called this what it was: amnesty."

In truth, it wasn't actual amnesty. The Simpson-Mazzoli Act (that would be the same Alan Simpson now targeting Social Security), as it was popularly termed, required illegal immigrants to meet a set of conditions, including paying a fine and back taxes. But they were placed in line ahead of legal immigrants and the increased border security and employer sanctions in the bill became largely unfulfilled promises.

The Republican right should not be allowed to have it both ways: either President Obama's effort to provide a path to citizenship has merit- or President Reagan not only failed miserably on immigration but his intention was faulty. I vote for the second but will be satisfied with a little humility on the part of conservatives: their guy was wrong or our guy should be given a chance.

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