Ed Meese, the attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, supported the 1986 amnesty that was passed. Now he says things today look similar and the amnesty that he supported in 1986 was a mistake and utter failure.
We're doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past again. Meese compares the bill from '86 to the bill that is in the Senate that is expected to pass today.
Ed Meese in the NY Times
Two decades ago, while serving as attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, I was in the thick of things as Congress debated the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The situation today bears uncanny similarities to what we went through then.
OK are you ready to be shocked at the stupidity of the Senate? Oh, you wouldn't be shocked? Well read on anyway just to reinforce your already correct opinion of our "leaders"
In exchange for allowing aliens to stay, he decided, border security and enforcement of immigration laws would be greatly strengthened — in particular, through sanctions against employers who hired illegal immigrants. If jobs were the attraction for illegal immigrants, then cutting off that option was crucial.
Beyond this, most illegal immigrants who could establish that they had resided in America continuously for five years would be granted temporary resident status, which could be upgraded to permanent residency after 18 months and, after another five years, to citizenship.
Note that this path to citizenship was not automatic. Indeed, the legislation stipulated several conditions: immigrants had to pay application fees, learn to speak English, understand American civics, pass a medical exam and register for military selective service. Those with convictions for a felony or three misdemeanors were ineligible.
These are pretty much the same provisions included in the new Senate proposal and cited by its supporters as proof that they have eschewed amnesty in favor of earned citizenship.
Meese continues on how the amnesty in 1986 -- which granted 2.7 million illegal aliens amnesty -- failed through massive document fraud, lack of enforcement and after 6 months a surge of more illegal aliens across the border. Those who weren't granted amnesty stayed anyway. He also rightly points out that this current Senate bill just passes the buck onto future Congresses and presidents.
This Senate bill doesn't solve the problem is what it all comes down to. It is almost a cookie cutter of the 1986 amnesty and the results will be the same ... only this time the numbers will be greater.
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