immigration line

Illegal aliens need to "get to the back of the line for citizenship"

Another misleading comprehensive immigration reform talking point is that illegal aliens need to "get to the back of the line for citizenship". Many politicians and groups have said something similar; that specific quote is from an Obama editorial. And, it's highly misleading since there's really no such thing as the "back of the line": people are constantly joining the line and those currently in the line might have been there for over a decade. The only way there could be an actual "back" to the line is if we stopped legal immigration; there's very little chance of that happening.

The "line" is actually more like a toll road, with cars stretching back miles bunching up at toll booths. If, say, thousands of people left an event and got on the toll road, all those people would have an impact on everyone else on the road.

Likewise, amnestying millions of people would affect everyone else in line and all those who joined the line for years to come. If FBI-level background checks were done, at the current rate it would take five years to check 10 million people, assuming that we completely stopped doing those same checks on legal immigrants. And, obviously, that would have a very delitirious impact on those who followed our rules, delaying their applications by five years or more. If we divided our processing between illegal aliens and legal immigrants, it would take a decade to do the checks on 10 million illegal aliens. See also this.

One alternative is to increase the number of FBI agents, just so we can give amnesty. That would take a while, even assuming there are enough eligible applicants. Another alternative is to not do FBI-level background checks, something that would allow untold thousands of criminals to be legalized and would no doubt give citizenship to terrorists.

Last modified Jun 3, 2009
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Greg Orman misleads on immigration using cookie cutter talking points - 09/28/14

[UPDATE: Orman supports the 2013 Senate amnesty bill, see below]

Greg Orman is the independent candidate for Senate from Kansas. His thoughts on immigration are completely unoriginal and just as deceptive.

DHS nominee Jeh Johnson supports Senate immigration amnesty bill, prosecutorial discretion - 12/13/13

Jeh Johnson is the nominee to be the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and it appears he'll be confirmed. He recently sent a letter to Republican senators, obtained by Politico and which is in this PDF file: link.

Paul Ryan promotes amnesty for "undocumented Americans" (immigration reform) - 07/27/13

Yesterday at a "Hispanic town hall" (link), Paul Ryan promoted comprehensive immigration reform, aka amnesty. This shouldn't be a surprise: fiscal conservatives are all about the money, and there's money to be had by supporting amnesty.

How the American Action Network immigration poll misleads (Steve King, Iowa) - 07/24/13

The American Action Network ("AAN") has released an immigration poll that claims to show support for amnesty in the Iowa district of U.S. Rep. Steve King.

Questions for Kelly Ayotte about comprehensive immigration reform (amnesty, New Hampshire) - 06/09/13

New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte comes out for comprehensive immigration reform (aka amnesty) in an OpEd entitled "Why I'm backing legislation to fix our broken immigration system" [1].

Obama misleads on immigration at Facebook; Zuckerberg and incompetent/corrupt GOP, Teaparty leaders help - 04/21/11

Barack Obama spoke live over Facebook yesterday at an event sponsored by that company. He misled about immigration and promoted an anti-American bill. He got direct help with his attempt to mislead from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and he got indirect help from corrupt or incompetent GOP and Teaparty leaders:

GOP leaders want hearings on birthright citizenship; bogus political ploy? (McCain, Graham) - 08/03/10

* Lindsey Graham - someone frequently known as "Grahamnesty" due to his support for comprehensive immigration reform - recently said he might introduce a constitutional amendment to revoke the practice of birthright citizenship (for the children of illegal aliens; see UPDATE 3) [1].

* Jon Kyl - someone who in 2000 recommended the sister of the head of the National Council of La Raza for a judgeship - came out in support of holding hearings on the matter.

* Just today, John McCain - previously the top Republican Senator supporting amnesty - also called for hearings on the matter.

* Mitch McConnell - someone who supported amnesty in 2007 and who's involved with the "National Council for a New America" - said "I think we ought to take a look at it - hold hearings, listen to the experts on it."

From the above, you might reasonably suspect that such calls are just a political ploy. Perhaps they're trying to appeal to the GOP base, or perhaps they're trying to arrange bargaining chips to use when helping the Democrats push amnesty. Mark Krikorian says they're making a mountain out of a molehill (link), although others disagree (link).

Whatever their actual motivations, such a push gives more ammunition to the far-left and at the same time it does ignore things that are easier to accomplish such as increased workplace enforcement. It would be extremely difficult to push through a constitutional amendment, especially since those above and their supporters aren't really prepared to deal with the backlash that would result. The other side would use them as a pinata and there's little they could do about it because their supporters don't know how to do things correctly.

UPDATE: As could be expected, buffoonish illegal immigration supporter Luis Gutierrez gets up on his high horse (link). He says there should be hearings, because he thinks they'd break his way. And, he's probably right, and that's a combination of those listed above not really supporting (at least fully) what they pretend to support combined with the fact that those who control the debate - the Democrats and more generally the establishment - would pull out all the stops to make those on the other side look bad. And, there's little that the anti-birthright citizenship side could do because, as stated above, their supporters don't know how to do things correctly. These are the same people who barely said a word about Sonia Sotomayor having been a member of the National Council of La Raza, and now they're expected to get a constitutional amendment passed?

UPDATE 2: As also could be expected, it becomes clear that Graham is doing this for political reasons. From the interview here:

I think it’s fair to say that I need to go home to South Carolina and say: listen, I know we’re all upset that we have 12-14 million people illegally. I’m going to have to be practical. We’re not going to deport or jail 12-14 million people. A practical solution is not awarding this citizenship on day one, but to allow them to stay here on our terms, learn our language, pay a fine, hold a job, and apply for citizenship through the legal process by getting in the back of the legal line.

That to me is a practical solution. But, I have to be able to say, as part of doing that, we looked at all the incentives that led to the 12-13 million coming, and we changed them. That we did secure our border, unlike any other time in the past, that we now have laws that make it possible to verify employment; we now have a temporary worker program that will allow people to come here and work on our terms temporarily, and help our employers with labor when they can’t find American labor. I have to be able to say that, because I think most Americans are willing to clean this mess up. They’re not willing to perpetuate it.

In the first paragraph he promotes comprehensive immigration reform and uses two bogus talking points: deportations false choice and immigration line. If he were serious he'd explore much less difficult options, such as making sure that the Obama administration is enforcing the law to the greatest extent possible. Instead, this amounts to little more than a show.

UPDATE 3: This post uses the phrase "birthright citizenship" just to mean the practice of giving citizenship to the children of illegal aliens; the debate is just about that.

Millions unemployed, Harry Reid wants several million new legal workers to compete against Americans (fairly) - 05/11/10

Harry Reid offers "Our immigration system is broken, and only bipartisan work will fix it" (link). If you've already read a few editorials in support of comprehensive immigration reform, everything he says will be very familiar, right down to his use of trite talking points like system is broken, secure the border, immigration line, and the (more rare) immigration wage floor.

However, American workers - especially voters in Nevada - might want to take a closer look at this paragraph:

Fixing our broken immigration system is also important to strengthen America’s economy. We need to protect American workers. Workers in Nevada and across America are often squeezed by unscrupulous employers who exploit immigrant workers here illegally and use them to undercut American wages. Immigrant workers know that complaining about illegally low wages or harsh working conditions could lead to deportation. Once these workers get right with the law, they will no longer serve as a cheap labor force that competes unfairly with American workers.

In other words, he doesn't mind that those millions of newly-legalized workers compete with Americans, he just wants the competition to be "fair". He's not putting the interests of American workers first and working to enforce our immigration laws in order to minimize competition and raise wages.

Instead, Harry Reid wants millions of newly-legalized workers to compete with Americans on a level playing field. Note that those newly-legalized workers will be able to apply for any job that they're qualified for, and not just those that illegal aliens can get. This would increase competition for already-scarce jobs in many jobs classifications, but Harry Reid doesn't care: he wants the competition, he just wants it to be "fair".

Obama meets with black leaders on unemployment, Hispanic leaders on amnesty (+Graham, Schumer) - 03/11/10

Barack Obama met earlier today with two groups with competing interests, even if neither he nor most of the rest of the political establishment would even hint at that (link):

[At a White House meeting earlier today] African-American members of Congress said they told the president that job creation is critical to their communities and that federal resources should be directed toward workforce training, specifically for infrastructure projects.

Unemployment among black Americans was 15.8 percent in February, compared to the overall jobless rate of 9.7 percent nationally.

"We talked about the desperation that we're feeling in our communities throughout the country," Democratic Representative Barbara Lee, head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said on the White House driveway with a phalanx of other lawmakers beside her...

[At a different meeting also earlier today,] Obama spent an hour meeting with officials from immigration advocacy groups who pressed him on an issue that did not feature highly in the president's first year, which was dominated by fixing the economy and healthcare.

"We leave the meeting today feeling hopeful," said Clarissa Martinez de Castro of the National Council of La Raza. "The president took an hour of his time to have a conversation, not to give a speech and that is significant."

She said that "there were commitments made about truly seeing this issue moving forward and the White House getting engaged to help in that process."

As if that wasn't enough, Obama also discussed amnesty plans with Sens. Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham.

UPDATE: Per Peter Nicholas of the Los Angeles Times (link), the latter two gave Obama a three-page "blueprint":

Although details of their blueprint were not released, Graham said the elements included tougher border security, a program to admit temporary immigrant workers and a biometric Social Security card that would prevent people here illegally from getting jobs.

Graham also said the proposal included "a rational plan to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States." He did not elaborate on what the plan would be. But in a recent interview, he suggested that onerous measures were unrealistic.

"We're not going to mass-deport people and put them in jail, nor should we," Graham said. "But we need a system so they don't get an advantage over others for citizenship."

1. The national/biometric ID part in relation to amnesty is probably news to many commentators, but it's been discussed here for years: here, here, here, here, and so on.

2. The last quote from Graham combines two misleading talking points: deportations false choice and immigration line.

How weak is Scott Brown on immigration? (Massachusetts senate race; Ted Kennedy seat) - 01/02/10

Former Cosmopolitan centerfold Scott Brown is trying to become the new Senator from Massachusetts to replace Ted Kennedy. He doesn't appear to be in the Tom Tancredo mold when it comes to immigration, but there isn't enough information to tell whether he's just a little weak or whether he's very weak and would support some form of comprehensive immigration reform. He's the GOP establishment favorite, even if the national GOP - in a rare show of sanity - isn't throwing their full weight behind him due to his slim chances of victory. While he's gotten some tea parties support, they have their own, fringe candidate (Joe Kennedy, see this).

This is the entirety of Brown's immigration position from his site (

I recognize that our strength as a nation is built on the immigrant experience in America. I welcome legal immigration to this country. However, we are also a nation of laws and government should not adopt policies that encourage illegal immigration. Providing driver’s licenses and in-state tuition to illegal immigrant families will act as a magnet in drawing more people here in violation of the law and it will impose new costs on taxpayers. I oppose amnesty, and I believe we ought to strengthen our border enforcement and institute an employment verification system with penalties for companies that hire illegal immigrants.

The above is mostly stock boilerplate. While the drivers licenses and DREAM Act portions are both clear and welcome, some of the rest is open to interpretation. Every politician opposes amnesty; the question is whether they'd agree to "comprehensive immigration reform", and under what conditions. Every politician wants to also secure the border, and even the latest Luis Gutierrez amnesty supports some form of employment verification system. And, instead of simply stating that he welcomes legal immigration, he needs to state how much, of what kind, from what countries, and so on. Would he support limited legal immigration, or would he support even more than we have now? Would he seek to limit chain migration? Would he support some form of massive H1B program? None of that is clear.

In September of last year he said (link):

the national Democratic Party wants a rubber stamp in Washington. There are some important votes coming up in the U.S. Senate on issues like healthcare reform, cap and trade and immigration reform... ...They want a “yes” vote on immigration reform, even if it means amnesty for illegal aliens.

That's somewhat hopeful, although once again he could be playing word games and would support "reform" under some conditions.

This recount of an appearance is also mixed (link):

The discussion on Afghanistan led to a related issued that Brown believes is equally tied to national security and that is immigration. He said that our immigration laws need to be reformed. However, programs that give preference in granting citizenship to illegal over legal immigrants are problematic for him. He commented on the negative impact illegal immigration is having on the country and particularly on Massachusetts. Brown charged that illegal immigration was responsible for draining the state’s “free care” pool, which was set up to provide medical service to our indigent residents. He noted that our public education resources are also being drained by the demands caused by illegal immigration.

It's good to see that he's tying immigration to national security and some of the rest is also good. But it's a bad sign that he wants to reform immigration laws. While minor tweaks might be needed here and there, the problem isn't so much with the laws but with the fact that politicians are corrupt and don't support enforcement of those laws.

And, this says the following although their summary of his position might not be correct:

Immigration: Coakley supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants now in the country. Brown believes they should apply for citizenship, return to their native land, and wait their turn.

Once again, more information is needed. Is he suggesting a "symbolic rebooting" where illegal aliens would only return home for a few hours (the "touchback" provisions in previous bills)? What would he say about immigration line?

There are a lot of questions about his stance, and if you're in Massachusetts I urge you to go ask him questions designed to reveal where he actually stands. Here are some questions for Doug Hoffman; #1, #4, and #5 apply to him as well (and perhaps the AgJOBS question too). See also the questions here. After asking him one of those questions, upload his response to video sharing sites.

Meg Whitman spouts amnesty talking points (California governor candidate) - 10/29/09

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is apparently like a talking doll you might find on that site, except in this case she says pro-business, pro-massive/illegal immigration talking points. Speaking at the border (link):

[She said] it is “simply not practical” to deport the estimated 12.5 million illegal immigrants living and working in the United States. (note: see deportations false choice)

The candidate, 53, said the solution is to find a mechanism that allows them to live here legally. "Can we get a fair program where people stand at the back of the line (note: see immigration line), they pay a fine, they do some things that would ultimately allow a path to legalization?" she asked. (note: see comprehensive immigration reform for some of the many downsides)

Whitman also urged tougher measures against those who hire undocumented workers, and said that as governor "I would be an advocate . . . for the people of California to make sure we really do secure this border." (note: see secure the border)

...[in the past she's] said that had she lived in California in 1994, she would have voted against Proposition 187... Yesterday, Whitman reiterated her opposition to "sanctuary cities"...

Obama at Hispanic Prayer Breakfast: same old immigration speech (+sounds like McCain) - 06/19/09

Earlier today, Barack Obama spoke at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast [1]. Others in attendance included Cecilia Munoz, Ed Rendell, and Janet Napolitano; the event was organized by Rev.

David Montgomery /WaPo: nearly no real reporting in Luis Gutierrez puff piece - 05/08/09

David Montgomery of the Washington Post offers a five-screen puff piece (link) on far-left amnesty supporter Rep. Luis Gutierrez and his recent "Family Unity Tour" that completely fails to call him on his many disreputable statements, such as the time he called ICE agents "Gestapo agents". The article fails to call Gutierrez on the many huge flaws in the comprehensive immigration reform that he supports. This is the only part of the article that discusses actual policy:

Gutierrez and his allies generally define immigration reform to include an end to workplace raids and deportations that break up families, and creation of a program for the 12 million illegal immigrants to get in line behind those who have already applied legally. There would also be enhanced border security and other steps.

A real reporter who's familiar with this topic would call Gutierrez on the fact that with little or no enforcement millions more people will come here and, after most of those have U.S. citizen children, the same cycle that Gutierrez is complaining about will start again. A real reporter would have pointed out that there's no way for illegal aliens to "get in line behind those who have already applied legally": the line has no end; it stretches back years and people are constantly joining it. Because of that fact, any illegal aliens that are processed will cause those already in line to have to wait. And, if slapdash background checks are performed, thousands (or tens of thousands) of criminals will be legalized, as will many potential terrorists. Those are hard questions that people like Gutierrez should be forced to answer. Montgomery is just a hack and has no ability to or interest in pushing anyone on those points.

Barack Obama immigration editorial misleads - 04/15/08

But, you already knew that. Barack Obama offers an editorial entitled "Enforce tighter border, employer verifications" (link):

While I understand the passions -- and legitimate differences -- on both sides of this difficult issue, we must restore civility and reason to the conversation.

Translation: "my opponents are gun-toting anti-immigrant racists". And, "as irrational as it seems, what I propose is the rational approach."

First, we must reinforce our borders to deter the more than 2,000 immigrants who cross them illegally each day. Most of these aspiring laborers risk death in the desert to come here illegally, and they are diverting our attention from those trying to enter to do us harm.

That's the same thing Bush and Chertoff have said at least a few times. The use of "aspiring laborers" is a minor variation of the Busboys Canard as used by Tamar Jacoby, David Brooks, the WSJ, and on down the line.

We also have to ensure that employers are hiring only legal workers. That's why I've worked with Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic Sen. Max Baucus to make it significantly more difficult -- if not impossible -- for employers to hire workers who are here illegally, including the more than 40 percent who came legally and overstayed their visa... This will require a mandatory electronic system that enables employers to verify the legal status of their employees within days of hiring them.

If that just uses SSNs, that might be acceptable. If however it involves a biometric national ID card, that probably wouldn't be. More on that later...

Second, we must require the 12 million undocumented immigrants who are already here, including more than 300,000 in North Carolina, to step out of the shadows and onto a path that includes the ability to earn citizenship by demonstrating a sound character, a commitment to America, and a strong work ethic.

Bolding added; see Possible Democratic Party immigration "reform" charade: "offer legalization" to become "require". At least he's got his talking points in order!

While it's unrealistic to deport them, illegal entry cannot go unpunished. That's why we must require them to pay a fine, learn English, and get to the back of the line for citizenship behind those who came here legally.

Unfortunately, there's no "back of the line", since the line is constantly being replenished. Not only would granting amnesty greatly impact those now in the line or who want to get in the line in the normal fashion, it would either take five to ten years to do all the background checks or they'd be extremely sloppily done.

We are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and we must reconcile those traditions. It's time to move beyond our broken politics and achieve real progress on immigration reform, not just for the sake of passing a bill, and not as a favor to immigrants, but so that we can finally address the concerns of the American people, and make real the hopes of all those who want nothing more than a chance at the American Dream.

Certainly, many want the "American Dream". Others just want to earn money. And, their leaders have shown time and again that they have other goals in mind.