Many Republican supporters of loose borders, along with quite a few Democrats, vehemently deny that they support amnesty. They contend that merely asking illegal aliens to pay a fine and back-taxes in return for legal status is not amnesty. Fox News’s Brit Hume passionately denounced those who refer to some of the immigration proposals in Congress as amnesty.
But amnesty means “an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole.” What else would you call granting legal status, let alone the privilege of full blown citizenship, to millions of people who came to the U.S. illegally?
Even beyond amnesty itself, Congress seems to trip over itself providing benefits to people who came to the U.S. illegally. Just look at the inability of the GOP-controlled House to deny aliens welfare and benefits even before they are granted legal status.
On Tuesday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) offered an amendment to the FY 2015 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (H.R. 4745) to cut off Section 8 housing for those here in the country illegally. Gohmert cited a 2009 HUD study which showed that 0.4% of spending for housing programs go towards subsidizing illegal immigrants. His amendment would have cut the Public Housing Capital Fund by $7.1 Million and the Public Housing Operating Fund by $17.6 million, which is commensurate to the 0.4% share of the overall budget steered towards housing subsidies for illegal aliens.
“In a time when some American citizens can’t get the housing they need it is unacceptable that those ineligible are stealing from them. This amendment would help encourage HUD to look into this problem and make corrections in their oversight and enforcement of the laws that should govern the way they run the federal housing assistance programs,” said Gohmert.
Amazingly, 70 Republican House members joined with almost every Democrat to defeat Gohmert’s amendment. Among those who voted to keep the subsidies for illegals were Eric Cantor and Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), two Republicans who were challenged on their support for amnesty. Ironically, Cantor was defeated in a stunning upset on that very day by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) who criticized Cantor for promoting policies that have attracted more illegal immigration.
Worse, on the same day the House rejected the effort to cut off housing assistance, the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Labor-HHS passed a bill appropriating $1.9 billion in aid to care for the new wave of illegal immigration from Central America pouring into the Rio Grande Valley. According to The Hill, this provision was crafted by Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) along with the Republican committee and subcommittee ranking members Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). No Republican objected or voiced concern for this open-ended commitment to subsidizing the illegal migration.
Most egregiously, we are witnessing members of Congress and the administration moving at the speed of lightning to provide illegal immigrants with immediate medical care at a time when our own veterans are being denied care.
Sadly, it appears that Republicans have not learned their lesson from Cantor’s historic loss since Tuesday. The only candidate to replace Cantor as Majority Leader is GOP Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who was the first member of GOP leadership to support legalizing illegal immigrants.
Democrats and establishment Republicans will continue to vociferously deny their support for amnesty, but their refusal to take legalization and welfare benefits off the table even before securing the border speaks for itself. Call it amnesty, lawlessness, open borders, a convoluted version of immigration reform, or just plain doubling down on failure, but one thing is clear: it is wrong for America. It places the interests of foreign citizens over those of native Americans and legal immigrants. If the continued border surge (engendered by the magnets of endless subsidies and care), coupled with Cantor’s defeat, do not serve as a wake-up call, some of these politicians might have to learn the hard way.