RUSH: I want to share with you two stories from the Associated Press. One</a> was posted at 3:16 this morning — both the same writer, Suzanne Gamboa — and the other one</a> posted a little bit less than an hour ago at 12:19. Here’s the first one. “Senate Republicans…” This is the one from 3:16 this morning. “Senate Republicans searching for a compromise on whether more than 11 million illegal immigrants should be allowed to eventually seek citizenship moved toward limiting that opportunity to those who have lived in the country at least five years. Negotiators who met for about an hour late Monday evening in the office of Senate majority leader Bill Frist seem to have settled on five years as a demarcation for those who could remain and work and eventually earn citizenship.
“Details were to be provided to other Senate Republicans at their closed-door Thursday morning meeting. ‘We’re looking at the roots concept, and that is if they have been here more than five years,’ said Senator Specter. ‘If they’ve been here less than five years, they don’t have roots to the same extent and can be treated differently, and that’s what we’re looking at.’ The fate of those with less time in the country was unclear, but Specter suggested they might be asked to go to ports of entry…” (Laughing.) Pardon me, folks. I just love it whenever the word “ports” shows up in any story. (laughing) Send them to ports of entry! (Laughing.) “…like the Texas border city of El Paso, and they would not have to return to their native countries.”
Well, they stay in El Paso? We’re going to send them all to El Paso? You didn’t think of El Paso as a port of entry, did you? “Opponents consider the judiciary committee bill amnesty. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) would give illegal immigrants up to five years to leave the country before they can return legally to apply for permanent residents. Cornyn was not at the meeting at Frist’s office but his spokesman, Don Stewart, was skeptical of the suggested compromise. ‘It’s a matter of giving amnesty to eight million people or giving amnesty to 12 million, it’s still amnesty to millions of people.'” All right. Now, that’s the story at 3:15. Let’s go the story that was just posted at 12:19 this afternoon. I have that story right here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers.
“Supporters of a guest worker program that would let illegal immigrants stay in the United States said Tuesday they don’t have enough Senate votes to overcome objections from conservatives who oppose the measure on grounds it amounts to amnesty. As negotiators worked on a compromise to let those who have been here longest remain,” that’s the roots concept, “Senator McCain [the maverick from Arizona] said a majority in the 100-member Senate support his and Ted Kennedy’s proposal to provide green cards to illegal immigrants after they’ve worked in the US for six years, but it takes 60 senators to overcome opponents’ parliamentary tactics, and McCain said they didn’t have that many.
“More than 11 million immigrants are believed to be in the US, and Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) and he and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) are pushing a fall-back plan that would put those who have been here the longest on a track toward citizenship but treat more recent arrivals differently. A similar approach was rejected by the Senate judiciary committee last week, but it was revived Monday night during the meeting in Bill Frist’s office. About 30 Republican senators huddled for more than an hour Tuesday. No consensus emerged.
“McCain and Kennedy denied that their proposal is amnesty, saying illegal immigrants would have to pay $2,000 in fines and any back taxes and clear background checks before they could get in line for a green card.” I still want to know how we’re going to find these people. How are we going to collect the fines? When are they going to be fined? You know what’s going to happen. The word’s going to spread in the illegal community that this is a trick. Don’t turn yourself in because it’s secretly a plan to deport you, and if you go identify yourself, that’s what’s going to happen. I guess what I’m getting at is where are the enforcement mechanisms in even this? I mean, if they’re afraid to enforce the current laws on the books for fear that they will lose politically in terms of Hispanic votes, then isn’t any kind of enforcement going to upset this community and impact negatively the possibility they would vote for Republicans down the line? So I don’t see any kind of enforcement mechanism here that’s going to work. But McCain says that there’s not enough backing in the Senate for his and Ted Kennedy’s guest worker program, folks. It just isn’t there. It’s maybe a little early to suggest that there’s movement taking place here on this in the right direction, but it appears so.
RUSH: I have some other interesting immigration stories in the immigration stack today, one of them from the American Thinker by Herbert Meyer. Herb Meyer served during the Reagan administration, special assistant to the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He is also vice-chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council, and the title of his piece: “Why Americans Hate This ‘Immigration’ Debate — Simply put, the debate in Washington isn’t about ‘immigration’ at all and that’s the problem.
“To ordinary Americans, the definition of ‘immigration’ is very specific: You come here with absolutely nothing except a burning desire to be an American. You start off at some miserable, low-paying job that at least puts a roof over your family’s head and food on the table. You put your kids in school, tell them how lucky they are to be here and make darn sure they do well even if that means hiring a tutor and taking a second, or third, job to pay for it. You learn English, even if you’ve got to take classes at night when you’re dead tired. You play by the rules which means you pay your taxes, get a driver’s license and insure your car so that if yours hits mine, I can recover the cost of the damages. And you file for citizenship the first day you’re eligible.
“Do all this and you become an American like all the rest of us. Your kids will lose their accents, move into the mainstream, and retain little of their heritage except a few words of your language and if you’re lucky an irresistible urge to visit you now and then for some of mom’s old-country cooking. This is how the Italians made it, the Germans made it, the Dutch made it, the Poles made it, the Jews made it, and more recently how the Cubans and the Vietnamese made it. The process isn’t easy but it works and that’s the way ordinary Americans want to keep it. But the millions of Hispanics who have come to our country in the last several decades and it’s the Hispanics we’re talking about in this debate, not those from other cultures are, in fact, two distinct groups.
“The first group is comprised of ‘immigrants’ just like all the others, who have put the old country behind them and want only to be Americans. They aren’t the problem. Indeed, most Americans welcome them among us, as we have welcomed so many other cultures. The problem is the second group of Hispanics. They aren’t immigrants which is what neither the Democratic or Republican leadership seems to understand, or wants to acknowledge. They have come here solely for jobs, which isn’t the same thing at all. (And many of them have come here illegally.) Whether they remain in the U.S. for one year, or ten years or for the rest of their lives they don’t conduct themselves like immigrants. Yes, they work hard to put roofs above their heads and food on their tables and for this we respect them. But they have little interest in learning English themselves, and instead demand that we make it possible for them to function here in Spanish. They put their children in our schools, but don’t always demand as much from them as previous groups demanded of their kids. They don’t always pay their taxes or insure their cars.
“In short, they aren’t playing by the rules that our families played by when they immigrated to this country. And to ordinary Americans this behavior is deeply very deeply offensive. We see it unfolding every day in our communities, and we don’t like it. This is what none of our politicians either understands, or dares to say aloud. Instead, they blather on and on about ‘amnesty’ and ‘border security’ without ever coming to grips with what is so visible, and so offensive, to so many of us namely, all these foreigners among us who aren’t behaving like immigrants.” No desire to become Americans. “If we hadn’t always had a huge number of these miserable jobs available that none of ‘us’ would do there wouldn’t have been a way for immigrants throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to step off the boat and find work.
“A willingness by ‘immigrants’ to start at the bottom so they can move up the economic ladder or at least give their kids a shot at the higher rungs is precisely how the system is supposed to work. And it always has. (My own family is one of the tens of millions that did precisely this. My grandfather came from Poland and found work as a pocket-maker in New York’s garment district. The pay was low, the hours were long, and when the old man finally retired he could hardly move his fingers or see without thick glasses. Yet one of his sons, my uncle, became a lawyer with a fancy practice on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. His kids did even better; his son wound up chairman of Stanford University’s history department, and his daughter became a famous art critic, moved to London, and married an Englishman who became a member of the House of Lords. What is astonishing about this story is that it isn’t astonishing. It’s the sort of thing that happens all the time, and it’s why ordinary Americans don’t want to change the system that made it possible.) Until our elected officials come to grips with the real issue that’s troubling ordinary Americans not a growing population of foreigners among us, but rather a growing population of foreigners among us who aren’t behaving like immigrants public frustration will grow no matter what bill Congress passes in the coming weeks. It could lead to the kind of political explosion that none of us really wants.”
Again, that was Herbert Meyer who served during the Reagan administration, special assistant to the director of the CIA. Yeah, they’ll call him a “nativist” and other such things. Rich Lowry has a piece today</a>. I’m going to the bottom of the stack here, but it dovetails nicely with Herb’s piece — and, by the way, Herbert Myers’ piece that I just shared excerpts with you, is found at the AmericanThinker.com. “Forget the long-running bipartisan concern about creating an educated, highly skilled workforce. What the U.S. economy desperately needs is more high-school dropouts so desperately that we should import them hand over fist. Such is the logic of the contention by advocates of lax immigration that the flow of illegal labor from south of the border is a boon to our economy.
“But it doesn’t make intuitive sense that importing the poor of Latin America would benefit us. If low-skill workers were key to economic growth, Mexico would be an economic powerhouse, and impoverished Americans would be slipping south over the Rio Grande. The National Research Council reports that an immigrant to the U.S. without a high-school diploma whether legal or illegal consumes $89,000 more in governmental services than he pays in taxes during his lifetime. An immigrant with only a high-school diploma is a net cost of $31,000. Eighty percent of illegal immigrants have no more than a high-school degree, and 60% have less than a high-school degree.
“Steve Camarota of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies estimates that illegal immigrants cost the federal government $10 billion a year. State and local governments lose even more. Illegals pay some taxes, but not enough to cover governmental expenses like Medicaid and treatment for the uninsured… Whatever benefit illegals provide to the economy in general must be minuscule. All workers without a high-school education illegal and otherwise account for only 3% of economic output. Even if illegal immigrants were dominant in low-skill industries, their broader impact would be small. But they aren’t dominant, and that includes job categories associated with immigrants. Nearly 60% of cab drivers are native-born. In only four of 473 job classifications are immigrants a majority of the workers.”
Now, Lowry’s point is this: “With the U.S. population aging, don’t we need highly fertile immigrants to replenish our working-age population?” Because our birth rate in this country is down because of abortion and a number of other reasons — people like me, not having kids. The birth rate’s down, and so there’s going to have to be replacement levels here, and Lowry’s point is replacing young workers with people that don’t have high school diplomas from Latin America is senseless. If we really need more poorly educated workers here, we can always rely unfortunately on the public schools to produce them indigenously. We have plenty of them in our own country.
“Immigration from Latin America, in short, does not chiefly benefit our economy, government or society, but rather the immigrants themselves. Their motives, if not their means, are admirable they want to improve their lives. Advocates of a lax immigration policy should admit that their policy has a humanitarian, not an economic, rationale, and its beneficiaries aren’t Americans but mainly people from rural Mexico,” and when I read this, I thought of Dick Durbin yesterday and his comment that we need these people. These are the backbone of America! These people coming here, they are our future. They’re neurobiologists or what have you. But Lowry is exactly right. If a permanent underclass with no high school diploma or education was the key to economic growth, Mexico and a lot of other countries would be ruling the economic roost of the world. But they aren’t, are they?
RUSH: There’s a story from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, headline: “Migrants Find a Gold Rush in New Orleans — Word spread to Latino laborers as Katrina’s floodwaters ebbed: There is work with good money and no questions about papers.” That’s the subhead. “As the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina receded in September, roads filled with residents leaving the city, their cars, SUVs and moving vans jammed with what they had salvaged of their lives. But another mass movement was taking place on the other sides of the highways. Thousands of men from Mexico and Central America were driving into the city.
“Word had spread throughout the Latino immigrant diaspora in America that the city had plenty of work, construction wages had doubled to $16 an hour and no one was asking for papers. ‘It was like a Gold Rush,’ said Oscar Calanche, a Guatemalan immigrant who lived in New Orleans before the storm and returned as soon as the waters receded. ‘In one car there’d be three up front and three or four in the back, with suitcases and tools on top. It looked like a river of people from our countries.’ Latino workers have gutted, roofed and painted houses and hauled away garbage, debris and downed trees. Undocumented workers have installed trailers to houses returning evacuees at New Orleans City Park, their pay coming from FEMA subcontractors.
“‘It’s all illegals doing this work,’ said Rey Mendez, a FEMA trailer subcontractor from Honduras. No one knows how many Latino immigrants are here, but John Logan, a Brown University demographer who has studied the city since Katrina, says ‘there must be 10,000 to 20,000 immigrant workers in the region by now, and the number is going to grow.'” New Orleans, as you know, ladies and gentlemen, is a big port town. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. So I just want to throw this in. They’re looking at it as a golden opportunity, as the other residents flee. Concord, New Hampshire, Mark, glad you waited. You’re up next on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Rush, good to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: One thing that Thomas Sowell</a> brought up in an article a long time ago, and you might have read it, it seems that these immigrants — excuse me, illegals — most of them work in agriculture, and a large part of them are working for farms which, my guess, are getting subsidies from the US government and/or getting tariffs to restrict imports. Now, the tariffs arguably protect American jobs.
RUSH: That’s right.
CALLER: Jobs being manned by illegal aliens, and the subsidies that they’re going to a farm that has to hire illegals to produce something, what the hell is going on here? Particularly the sugar industry. There’s no reason they need to be producing sugar in America when they could import it for half the cost somewhere else. But the tariff on there, and we have to hire illegals to do it here, this is ridiculous. I mean, why is nobody making this argument except Thomas Sowell?
RUSH: Well, you know, we’ve talked about this I don’t know how many times. The agricultural business in this community is one side of the controversy in the Republican Party on this. It is cheap labor, and this has spawned the phrase, “This is work that Americans will no longer do.” But Sowell’s column was right on the money. I mean, there’s subsidies’, there are tariffs. There are subsidies for not growing crops, depending on the crop year to year, and then the American taxpayer is further subsidizing by essentially allowing cheap labor.
But this has resulted in the agriculture business, people calling here defending the program, and they do it on the basis: “You want cheap food? Food is necessary. Food is not an option. We all have to eat, and the objective of the farm community has always been to produce food — processed or natural, organic, what have you — at the lowest possible price.” But do you know what the markup is at the grocery store on actual food? I’m not talking when you go in there and you buy stuff that’s not food, I mean, the markup on that stuff is outrageous.
One to two percent is the markup in your average grocery. I’m not talking about these little trendy, you know, Upper West Side delis and stuff. I mean, your average supermarket, the markup is very little. It’s because people have to eat, and one of the things they say is, “Well, if you force us to put all this expensive labor in there then you better be prepared for the price of your food to go up and people have gotten so accustomed to it.” Farming, by the way, have you ever heard when unemployment figures or employment figures are announced, invariably you will see if you read about it or in some places depending on who reports it, you will hear, “Non-farm payrolls” this period either up or down or whatever.
Non-farm, you get two payrolls in this country, goes way, way back to the day when the #1 business. It may still be, in one sense or another, agriculture, but there is the old family farm. That’s why non-farm payrolls are considered to be different than standard get up nine to five jobs. But in the old days before all these giant corporations owned the production of food in this country it was little mom and pop farm, go way, way, way back. There’s almost a nostalgic tradition associated with it, and it survives to this day, regardless who the owners, because that was a tough, tough business.
You couldn’t guarantee a crop every year. If you had a dust-bowl period, if you got wiped out by a storm, heavy rains or whatever, it was a very risky proposition, and that’s why a lot of these subsidized programs began was to protect these people because they were feeding not only the people in this country but they began to feed the rest of the world as well — and farming today is still treated, policy-wise, for the most part, like it was when it was a mom and mom operation in the 1800s, and now these agribusiness people are very powerful. They’ve got a lot of political influence and so forth, and so that’s why these programs have basically hung on.
I had two stories for you last week. I found this fascinating bit of information</a> at Right Wing News, a blog, about two efforts back in the mid-nineties by the then INS, the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Listen to these two stories. The first story was from Georgia, and the INS was trolling around looking for illegal immigrants and so forth, and they came across an onion farm and they found what had to be a bunch of illegals in there so they conducted a raid, and sure as heck, found a bunch of illegals, and the illegals — half of them, more than half of them — just split, could never be found, the others are rounded up and, you know, told to take a hike.
Well, the onion farmer got on the phone to his senators — one was a Republican, one was a Democrat — raised holy hell, and the guy got hold of his congressman, too, and the INS director got a phone call from members of Congress, said (paraphrasing): “You idiot, you like this job? Here’s what you do. You go round those people up and you bring ’em back and you let ’em finish picking the crop and then you run ’em off, preferably before the farmer has to pay ’em, but you have just destroyed this man’s ability to pick his onion crop this year,” blah, blah, blah.
So the INS, doing what it thought it was charged to do, gets beat up on by a couple of members of the Senate — and, like the article said, if you’re a government bureaucrat, making what they make, with a couple kids in school, you’re going to buckle to the pressure rather than make a stand on principle and get canned and probably blackballed. The next story involved the meatpacking industry in Nebraska. It’s a pretty big industry, and so the INS not wanting to make the same mistaken they made in the onion farms of Georgia, instead subpoenaed the employment records of as many employees of the meatpacking firm as was practicable at the time.
There was about 4,000, and they started matching Social Security numbers, and they found 3,000 phonies. They found 3,000 illegals, and they intended to do this every two to three months, and after awhile they figured they would have the whole state cleaned out of illegal immigrants. Well, before they even got to do it a second time, the meatpacking industry let their elected officials in Washington know what the hell was going on, and the poor people at the INS heard about it again — and so the bottom line is the INS has been told not to enforce any of this stuff when it comes to agribusiness or there will be hell to pay.
These are the people, by the way (senators, congressmen), these are the people that write the law! These are the people writing the law, and they end up telling the INS, the then-INS, “You’d better not enforce it. You’d better not enforce it, or it will be big trouble for you.” So when you hear stories like this, it sort of helps you focus on why there’s not a whole lot of enforcement going on out there when it comes to illegals, because the current existing law would fine these employers for doing this, but it doesn’t happen, and that’s why the focus now is on the border, and they’re trying just to keep as many of them out as possible.
But that’s not even a serious attempt that’s being made right now. There’s call for that. You have so many factors in this. The bottom line is, folks, that the people who write the laws in this country really don’t have any interest in this. They’re all just pandering to us. Every 20 years, Simpson-Mazzoli was the last time, same thing happened, was supposed to fix it. I mean, the figure that we were dealing with then was four million illegals. We’re going to get rid of them. We’re going to fix the problem. It isn’t going to happen, and it just keeps amplifying itself and growing because there’s no enforcement.