Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Only Thing In The Middle Of The Road Is A Dead Armadillo

Senator Joe Biden, whose many years in Congress lent a gravitas to the charismatic, inexperienced fellow from Illinois, helped Barack Obama be elected President.  Vice-President Joe Biden, who announced his support for same-sex marriage while his wavering boss still was "evolving," helped secure the Democratic base in 2012 and pave the way for Obama's re-election.   And just as with gay marriage, Biden is attempting on immigration reform to buck up the president and move him in a more definitive direction, issuing the challenge "John Boehner, call up the bill."

At a White House question and answer session on Skype on Wednesday, Biden was asked by conservative blogger Crystal Wright, as The Blaze put it, why it is fair to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. Biden, possessed of an understanding of the language which escapes most conservatives, responded "They're not being ranted amnesty. They have to earn it. They have to go to the back of the line, pay taxes and have a background check."  Unfortunately, he added "so we don't concede it's amnesty."

"Concede" is what is generally regarded as true but which we deny, and thus sounds a heck of a lot like an admission.  It is not "amnesty," as he had pointed out, when something is asked of an individual receiving a favor. (For her part, Wright recently posted "Obama is America's first Black POTUS, may be America's Worst," which is evident on its face.  Obama is America's worst black President. And its best.)

A Melissa Mullins asked Biden
My ancestors escaped Ireland to escape the potato famine and from Italy to escape Mussolini’s rule. They did it legally. With the influx of immigration and the out of control deficit, what do you say to legal immigrants when they see others taking advantage of other benefits such as health care, education and tuition assistance meant for American citizens.

Biden responded

By the way, my parents, my great grandparents, my great-great grandparents came to escape the famine and they didn’t all come here legally,” Biden said. “They didn’t all come legally. So listen, the existence of the system wasn’t as nearly as truncated as it is now. A lot went to Canada. Came down. So, I’d check your ancestry to make sure they did come in legally, if that’s a concern to you...

The other piece here is that there is this misnomer that somehow, with us moving toward this immigration reform, and pathway to citizenship, that all of a sudden 11 million folks in the shadows now are going to be able to qualify for all these government programs.  They will not qualify. By the way, when they are in the system, identifiable and everyone knows they are on this pathway, it’s easier to determine they don’t qualify. It’s easier to determine they will not get the benefits.

Biden did not get to be vice-president by being stupid.  He avoided the temptation to note that illegal immigrants do receive health care and public education, as they should, lest they remain uneducated and poor on their way to an earlier death, an accurate response which might have annoyed the millions of misguided Americans who are opposed to both deportation and enabling illegal immigrants to live decently while here.

Municipal government expert Robert Longley summarizes

While illegal aliens do not enjoy all of the rights granted to citizens by the Constitution, specifically the rights to vote or possess firearms, these rights can also be denied to U.S. citizens convicted of felonies. In final analysis, the courts have ruled that, while they are within the borders of the United States, illegal aliens are granted the same fundamental, undeniable constitutional rights granted to all Americans.

The individuals uncomfortable with "rounding them up" but also hostile to rights and benefits for illegal immigrants might- unbeknownst to them- have an ally in President Obama. USA Today reported in late October that the President urged Congress to address immigration reform this year (video from an interview a month earlier) but

also made it clear that he prefers the bipartisan approach of the Democratic-controlled Senate, which passed a comprehensive package June 27 that has been languishing in the GOP-controlled House. House Democrats have offered similar legislation, but Obama added that "if House Republicans have new and different, additional ideas for how we should move forward, then we want to hear them."

The House has been working on its own series of smaller immigration-related bills but has yet to pass any.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has signaled that action on immigration is still possible, and several GOP lawmakers have indicated they are exploring approaches to addressing the legal status of the undocumented population.

Oh, sure they are.  As with Democrats, the GOP wants to increase visas and thereby the employment pool, which would drive wages down.  But that appears to be what Repubs are selling as their concession to Democrats, for whom jacking up the number of immigrants is an aim, but not the centerpiece of their legislative effort.    Make no mistake about it:  both parties see increased immigration as a social good- but Republicans would deny rights to immigrants as much as possible, creating a whole new class of the impoverished, while Democrats would provide a pathway to citizenship.

By promoting the comprehensive approach, Joe Biden is not only staking out the party's desired position as a negotiating tactic.  He's also promoting the only immigration policy which would not be a disaster for the nation


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