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Clueless GOP elites want clock back to 2007 on immigration

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Clueless GOP elites want clock back to 2007 on immigration

It’s not 2007 again. But apparently no one has told George W. Bush.

To coincide with the release of a book of his paintings of immigrants, “Out of Many, One,” the former president wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post plugging the sort of immigration package that went down to defeat in both his administration and in the administration of his successor, President Barack Obama.  

Bush is an unusually earnest politician whose views on immigration are deeply felt and honestly come by — they are just anachronistic, or should be. 

If there is any lesson that everyone should have learned from former President Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP, it’s that the party’s old consensus on immigration is no longer sustainable.

Yet there is still a reflex toward the lazy conventional wisdom that all that ails the country on immigration is lack of an agreement to give an amnesty to illegal immigrants already here and to increase numbers of legal immigrants, in exchange for more bells and whistles at the border — what is commonly known as “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Bush says not passing immigration reform is his biggest regret and John Boehner, out with a score-settling memoir of his time as House speaker, says it is his second biggest regret (after not forging a big fiscal deal with Obama). 

Boehner spends a lot of time mediating on how the GOP became, in his telling, “Crazytown,” a party of extremists and paranoiacs that eventually threw itself into the arms of Trump. 

The former speaker spreads the blame widely, but it evidently doesn’t occur to him that one major factor driving a wedge between the party’s establishment and its grass roots was the former’s insistence on repeatedly trying to pass immigration bills that Republican voters rejected. 

For his part, Bush sounds as if he has learned nothing. In his Post piece, he cites all the usual measures at the border included in these sort of bills: “manpower, physical barriers, advanced technology, streamlined and efficient ports of entry.” 

That’s all fine, but it is no substitute for rigorous enforcement in the interior of the homeland and can’t counteract the open-borders message sent by welcoming illegal immigrants into the country. 

In that regard, Bush professes, as all supporters of comprehensive immigration reform always do, to oppose amnesty as “fundamentally unfair to those who came legally or are still waiting their turn to become citizens.” He then calls for an amnesty couched as, in one of the laziest clichés in the immigration debate, bringing illegal immigrants “out of the shadows.”

This will be achieved “through a gradual process in which legal residency and citizenship must be earned,” by requiring “proof of work history, payment of a fine and back taxes, English proficiency and knowledge of US history and civics and a clean background check.”

Such requirements are always promised in comprehensive immigration bills and are always toothless, serving only as a way to deny that the amnesty for illegal immigrants is, indeed, an amnesty. 

Bush says, as well, that both parties should be willing to get behind “increased legal immigration,” a characteristic feature of these bills. In another tired talking point, he insists that more immigration is necessary to bring more skilled immigrants, never considering that we could also reduce the number of low-skilled immigrants.

But supporters of the old consensus aren’t especially keen on understanding the arguments of opponents. Boehner refers to the “far-right crazies,” who never forgave John McCain for pushing immigration reform. 

So far this year, Republican senators have only talked of a narrower immigration bill focused on an amnesty for so-called Dreamers. Surely, though, the instinct toward comprehensive immigration hasn’t gone away. It’s up to GOP voters to constantly remind the party’s officeholders that 2007 is, indeed, a very long time ago. 

Twitter: @RichLowry

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Opinion

Jeff Bezos exposed as the king of fake news

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Jeff Bezos exposed as the king of fake news

Wow: It now looks like Jeff Bezos and his damage-control team just made up not one but two whole stories to deflect coverage of his affair with a then-married woman: one, a claim that the Saudis had hacked his phone to get telling texts and revealing photos; two, charges that the National Enquirer tried to blackmail him into halting his investigation into how the shots had leaked.

Eventually, the world learned that the guy who sold the info to the Enquirer was Bezos’ girlfriend’s brother, a Hollywood press agent — no hacking required and nothing to make the Enquirer fear any “investigation.”

Brad Stone’s new book, “Amazon Unbound,” excerpted for Bloomberg News, details how a consulting firm helped the Amazon CEO assemble his false counterstory, which relied on the suggestion that he’d been targeted because his Washington Post was so critical of both the Saudi regime and then-President Donald Trump — and allowed him to reveal the affair himself while pretending he was being heroic by refusing to be blackmailed.

Pretty masterful while it lasted . . . except that the owner of The Washington Post (“Democracy dies in darkness” is its self-righteous Bezos-era motto) now stands exposed as a cynical purveyor of fake news who even tried to frame a media outlet to protect his own image.

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No ethics needed for President Biden’s best buddies

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No ethics needed for President Biden’s best buddies

Packing his administration with Big Labor operatives matters more to President Joe Biden than his own much-ballyhooed ethics rules, and he’s not even embarrassed about it.

With great fanfare his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order mandating that all his appointees “in every executive agency” sign an “ethics pledge” that “contractually committed” them to refraining from participating “in any particular matter on which” they lobbied, along with “the specific issue area in which that particular matter falls,” for two years. They also couldn’t “seek or accept employment with any executive agency with respect to which” they lobbied for two years.

The media touted this “revolving-door ban” as far tougher than the Obama and Trump rules. Oops: It turns out Team Biden is handing out truckloads of ethics waivers to labor-union veterans.

The latest winner is Celeste Drake, Biden’s pick to head his new Made in America Office. Ethics restrictions that would have stopped her from communicating with previous employers the AFL-CIO and the Directors Guild of America won’t apply, Axios reports. “The successful accomplishment” of her “mission” requires “extensive, open and collaborative communications” between her office and Big Labor, a White House lawyer claimed in a disclosure memo.

In March, Team Biden waived rules for the Office of Personnel Management’s new director of intergovernmental affairs, Alethea Predeoux. Her work as the head lobbyist for the American Federation of Government Employees should have precluded her from any job at OPM.

Biden has given union hacks senior posts in the departments of Labor, Homeland Security and Education, as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (Not to mention letting the American Federation of Teachers dictate language to the Centers for Disease Control for its guidelines on school reopenings.)

And of course his larger agenda is one long union giveaway, from overturning state right-to-work laws to dumping trillions subsidizing and creating new unionized jobs.

Responding to the Axios report, a White House flack declared, “President Biden has stood strong for unions throughout his career, and he’s proud to have leading labor voices in the White House and throughout his administration helping to enact that agenda.”

In other words, ethics rules don’t apply to his besties.

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I lived through NYC’s bad old days and know Eric Adams can get it back on track

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I lived through NYC's bad old days and know Eric Adams can get it back on track

Most of the mayoral candidates running in New York’s June 22 Democratic primary don’t seem to notice: The city is slipping back to the bad old days of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is the exception.

I was New York City Council president at that time; then-NYPD Sgt. Eric Adams used to come into my office to talk to me about the city, safety and crime, seniors and New York’s economic problems.

New York City was facing widespread lawlessness. Crime statistics were shooting up. Folks were fleeing the city. Seniors did not feel safe. Houses and apartments sold at bargain rates. Black and brown communities were suffering. The economy was down. The problems were endless.

Eric and I talked about crime, about increasing the police force and about the economy. He was worried about the city and its future.

Here we are again, 30 years later. And the choice we make for mayor will determine the future of New York.

Back then, Eric was smart, complicated and always thinking outside the box. He still is. Which is why I am going to vote for him: Eric Adams is the candidate who is going to move New York City ahead on the right trajectory. 

We cannot allow New York to once again become a city saturated with fear, insists Adams. At the same time, he notes, we face “a crisis of confidence in our police.” I agree: We can’t be asked to stand against the police; we must be for a better police force.

Some of the Democratic candidates talk about reducing the force. Yet Adams knows that if you don’t have a strong police force and a strong presence in every community, you’re not going to have a safe, strong city where jobs can come back for everyone.

He envisions a police force that connects precincts to the people and empowers communities to have a say in their precinct leadership. He’ll require the NYPD to keep lists of cops with records of complaints and violent incidents.

Meanwhile, the recent surge in shootings is frightening our seniors, our middle class and black and brown communities. Tourists don’t feel safe. Whether the shooting is in Times Square, Brownsville or Fordham Plaza, it must stop. Seniors are afraid to walk the streets in the middle of the day. Stray bullets are killing people.

Adams has the knowledge and the courage to staunch this spike. He believes New York’s economy will grow when the streets are safe. Small businesses can’t make a comeback until the streets are filled with employees.

Last Sunday, my good friend John Catsimatidis interviewed the beep on his radio show. Adams stressed that he’s concerned wealthy New Yorkers are leaving the city and believes a cleaner, safer New York would help keep them here.

“I don’t join the chorus that tells the 65,000 New Yorkers that are paying 51 percent of our income tax and are only 2 percent of our income-tax filers, I don’t join in the chorus that states, ‘So what if they leave?’” explained Adams. “I am just the opposite; I join the chorus that tells them, ‘We need you here.’”

Again, I fully agree. New York City is now in fierce competition with Florida and Texas to keep our financial leaders in the Big Apple. Florida’s cities are relatively new and clean — and they’re courting New Yorkers aggressively.

COVID-19 has driven many of our residents south, in search of more open space and sunshine. We’re in a really tough fight to keep these leaders of our economy here in New York, when other cities are offering them attractive alternatives and Zoom makes it possible to work from home.

I frequently run into folks who remember my investigation of nursing-home abuses and my advocacy for seniors and senior-citizen centers. When we talk about the mayor’s race they say, “We need a tough mayor who is going to stop crime and get the city on the right track.” They’re right. And that’s precisely why I’m endorsing Eric Adams for mayor.

Andrew Stein (D) was president of the New York City Council from 1986 to 1994.

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