Immigration Reform's Potential Effect on Elections

Immigration Reform's Potential Effect on Elections

In May, the “Gang of Eight’s” immigration reform bill passed a procedural hurdle in the United States Senate and moved to full Senate consideration.

Now the debate is underway and expected to last through the month of June. Proponents of the amnesty plan in the Senate pretend to be confident that the mammoth bill – which weighs 24 pounds – will pass, with a few “tweaks.” Per Yahoo News:

Two pragmatic Senate Republicans are working furiously with Senate immigration reformers to strike a compromise on a package of amendments to the bipartisan reform bill, offering up the Senate’s most realistic chance of passing a reform bill with the slew of GOP votes that the bill’s authors have long coveted.

“We have some people on our side of the aisle that aren’t going to support the immigration bill, period,” says Sen. Bob Corker (R) of Tennessee, who along with Sen. John Hoeven (R) of North Dakota are working on the GOP’s amendment package.

Yet “there are a number of people on our side of the aisle that if we can just get it tailored a little bit with a few other amendments, [they] might be willing to send it over to the House,” Senator Corker says.

And on this point, I have to give Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) points for honesty. He explained quite clearly on Meet the Press why he feels Republicans need to support this bill: “We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party, and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community, in my view, is to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

Despite the best efforts of Corker and Graham, among others, do not count Republican Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) among those ripe for conversion. During his comments on the Senate floor, which was broadcast nationally via CSPAN-2, Senator Sessions referenced a Judicial Watch investigation clearly demonstrating the Obama administration has no credibility on the subject of border security.

Senator Sessions cited documents uncovered by Judicial Watch which show that the Department of Homeland Security has abandoned background checks on illegal immigrants. This discovery proves the falsity of the Obama administration’s claim that only “law-abiding” illegal immigrants will benefit from illegal immigration amnesty.

“Public safety threats or national security threats require that we do background checks,” said Senator Sessions.  “So in effect…we’re moving many people without background checks that are criminals, [and] may be connected to terrorist organizations, from the shadows to broad daylight with absolute protection of legal immigrant status.”

Instead of thoroughly doing background checks, as the law requires, the Obama DHS adopted costly “lean and lite” procedures in an effort to keep up with the flood of amnesty applications spurred by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) directive, which grants illegal immigrants a two-year deferment from deportation.

As Senator Corker pointed out the next step is to send the bill over to the House of Representatives.

Since Republicans have a majority in the House, if Boehner sticks to this plan the bill would seem to be DOA.

While all of this was going on in Congress, another branch of the federal government further highlighted the importance of secure borders and the crisis to our polity caused by the illegal immigration. The Supreme Court struck down an effort by Arizona to ensure that only citizens were registering to vote. 

Judicial Watch had filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, the driving force behind Prop 200, also known as the Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Projection Act. (You can read more about that here.) I personally monitored oral arguments in the case with Senator Pearce and thought that we might win. But we (“we” meaning Americans who believe in the fundamental principles of the Constitution, federalism, and election integrity) didn’t.

Here’s the statement I offered to the press: “The integrity of our nation’s elections suffered a blow today from the Supreme Court. This issue takes on increasing urgency with the prospect of 11 million illegal immigrants being given amnesty. It is essential that our elections be secured by ensuring that only citizens register to vote.”

Proposition 200 passed in 2004 with 56 percent of the vote. It provided that state election officials “shall reject any application for registration that is not accompanied by satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship.” Such evidence could have included a driver’s license, a photocopy of a birth certificate or passport, naturalization documents, or “other documents that are meant as proof that [may be] established pursuant to” federal immigration laws.

In somewhat of a surprising development, conservative Supreme Court Justice Scalia wrote the opinion for the High Court’s 7-2 majority.  Justices Thomas and Alito dissented, with Justice Alito noting the Court’s ruling “seriously undermines” the state’s interest in preserving the integrity of elections. There are silver linings in the majority opinion, which rejects the view that the Feds can run roughshod over the constitutional rights of the states to conduct elections. But in the short term, elections will be less secure in Arizona and other states that had similar proof of citizenship requirements. 

So what are the action items for activist patriots? Call the U.S. Senate at 202-544-3121 to let your representatives know how you feel about the Gang of Eight amnesty bill. There are too few moments when citizens can play a decisive role in the outcome of legislative debates in Washington. This is one of those moments.