From the SL Trib entitled “Sen. Bennett sides with Bush on immigration reform“:
Angry Utahns by the hundreds are calling, e-mailing and faxing Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, demanding he oppose an immigration bill that would provide legal status to an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants.
Those voters generally receive a coy answer.
“My public position is that I’m reviewing the amendments,” Bennett said Tuesday.
It’s a ploy meant to defuse emotion. But here’s what Bennett’s staffers are not saying: he plans to vote for it.
Not shocking or earth shattering. Bennett just doesn’t want your opinion to bother him on this issue. Bother him anyway, it is your right (and duty). If you want more background on the bill, I‘ve written up my problems with it and the Heritage Foundation has a good, brief analysis on some of the glaring ‘inadequacies’ with the bill.
The pro-Amnesty side has not been able to satisfactorily address the issues raised and it seems they are losing the argument given the fact that they are now resorting to race-baiting, name calling, and other ad hominem attacks (Chertoff and, now, Chavez) when challenged to address specifics within the bill. This really isn’t anything new, but it is coming from folks who usually won’t resort to unless their totally desperate.
President Bush is also going after those questioning the bill (especially 601(h) – which does give immediate ‘probationary’ legal status without a limit on renewal and no fines etc…sounds like amnesty):
Amnesty is forgiveness for being here without any penalties — that’s what amnesty is. I oppose it. The authors — many of the authors of this bill oppose it. This bill is not an amnesty bill. If you want to scare the American people, what you say is, the bill is an amnesty bill. It’s not an amnesty bill. That’s empty political rhetoric, trying to frighten our fellow citizens…
…Those determined to find fault with this bill will always be able to look at a narrow slice of it and find something they don’t like. If you want to kill the bill, if you don’t want to do what’s right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people…
Basically, the White House seems to think if you disagree with portions of the bill and would like to see them fixed or addressed – sit down and be quiet. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of those opposing the bill aren’t out to scare anyone, there are simply some factual issues within the bill that need to be addressed.
A lot of the resistance to this bill actually goes back to 1986 (and subsequent limited amnesty bills) where enforcement promises were broken, current laws are essentially unenforced, the border fence which was cut in size and is progressing very slowly, and this bill continues to allow for sanctuary cities. After this, people tend not to be so open the the ‘trust me, we’ll do it this time’ line.
Ultimately, many people want to actually see the enforcement stuff implemented first prior to any amnesty or guest worker programs being implemented (besides, 601(h) etc, the current bill gives the bureaucracy power to interpret that enforcement is ‘good enough’ and immediate authority to implement the visa programs). That’s why I suggested running this in two separate bills – pass and implement the enforcement bill, then pass the ‘guest worker’ bill (I think the latter would face far less opposition).
In the meantime, feel free to use the VIP line to call Hatch and Bennett.
UPDATE: Ed Meese discusses several issues (found at the Heritage Foundation). He was the Attorney General during the Reagan Admin and, as I recall, was around during the 1986 Amnesty bill: