This is a truly interesting development, because it illuminates the vast gulf between the urgent need to legalize illegal aliens felt by the Ruling Class and its media, and the way average American citizens view the issue. The “Enlist Act” mentioned by Politico is probably the least controversial form of amnesty imaginable – a “DREAM Act” giving citizenship to young illegals who serve in the military – and it was going to be passed by stealth, plugged into the National Defense Authorization Act. But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor still backed away from it:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor won’t allow attempts next week to include a measure on a must-pass defense policy bill that would legalize young undocumented immigrants who serve in the military.
A spokesman confirmed Friday that the legislation, known as the Enlist Act, will not be among those debated with the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that sets policy for the Pentagon. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), the Enlist Act’s chief sponsor, had pledged to bring it up as part of the floor battle over the defense bill.
“No proposed ENLIST amendments to NDAA will be made in order,” a Cantor spokesman, Doug Heye, said in an e-mail Friday. He did not elaborate immediately on the reasons.
Conservative organizations such as Heritage Action and the Madison Project had come out in furious opposition to the measure, which would allow green cards to be issued to young undocumented immigrants who serve in the Armed Forces. Opponents of the measure argue that doing so would be considered amnesty to immigrants living here illegally, and also believe that a must-pass bill such as the NDAA shouldn’t get tangled up with controversial topics such as immigration.
As Politico goes on to mention, a sizable factor in Cantor’s decision might have been his surprisingly difficult re-election campaign. But that’s just a symptom of the gulf in thinking I mentioned above. Voters, especially Republican voters, are uncomfortable with the idea of rewarding lawlessness. They don’t see why people who break the rules should get special deals, while the hard-working taxpayer groans beneath an increasingly heavy burden of government. They also don’t think it’s such a good idea to bring millions of new workers into a high-unemployment economy, particular when there is also agitation for higher minimum wages. And they simply do not trust Big Government, especially when it’s trying to paper over the consequences of a shocking dereliction of duty that stretches back for decades: the failure to protect citizenship and secure America’s borders.
The usual tactic of assailing amnesty opponents as racists and xenophobes is going to backfire, because middle-class Americans are sick and tired of being insulted by their Ruling Class. There are items on the public agenda far, far higher than “comprehensive immigration reform,” and they’re not interested in watching the political elite beat itself up over something that rarely cracks the top 10 list of issues voters are concerned with.
There must be some surprisingly bitter internal polls floating around Capitol Hill on immigration reform, if a bipartisan amnesty caucus that was pretty much on fire to get something passed is backing away from even the most palatable measures they envisioned. One would think the notion of extending citizenship to illegals who serve in the military would be one of the least objectionable measures for a broad swath of the public… and yet, at least for the moment, it’s back on hold.