Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (pictured) is appearing in a 60 second TV ad in support of the Gang of Eight immigration bill, but Jon Feere at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) said, "Every claim made in the ad is deceptive."
The ad was paid for by a group that calls itself Americans for a Conservative Direction, which Politico reported is a front group for FWD.us, an organization supporting "comprehensive immigration reform" that was founded by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and headed up by Joe Green, a veteran of John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.
The Organizing Director for FWD.us is Daniel Shih, "an experienced community organizer," in the 2008 Obama campaign and later "served in the White House as Domestic Policy Analyst for Vice President Biden." Lisa Conn, a "regional field director with the 2012 Obama campaign" is listed as the Organizer.
Feere's CIS analysis listed exactly what the TV ad claimed and provided a detailed response, partial excerpts of which follow:
RUBIO: Anyone who thinks what we have now in immigration is not a problem is fooling themselves. What we have in place today is de facto amnesty.
CIS: The problem is that Rubio wants to turn this "de facto" amnesty into a formal amnesty, and grant millions of law-breakers work permits, driver's licenses, Social Security accounts, travel documents, and an unknown number of additional state-level benefits…
The (Gang of Eight) amnesty bill would make permanent the inability to enforce the law by giving Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano "virtually unlimited discretion" to waive all enforcement of immigration law.
ANNOUNCER: Conservative leaders have a plan, the toughest immigration enforcement measures in the history of the United States.
CIS: The so-called Gang of Eight senators who wrote the bill aren't all "conservative leaders", unless you consider Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to fit that description. True, the gang also includes Republican senators, but it is up for debate whether one considers Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to be conservative on immigration.
Their immigration report card grades, from the pro-enforcement group NumbersUSA, are troubling: Graham has a "C", McCain a "D", and a Flake "C"…
On closer inspection, many of these measures (noted below) are not as tough as they seem to be.
1. A new poll from Rasmussen Reports found that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (pictured) has lost support with Republicans because of his prominent advocacy of the Senate Gang of Eight Immigration Bill.
"Three months ago, 44% of GOP voters viewed him very favorably. Today, just 31% offer such strong praise," the Rasmussen analysis said.
The 844-page Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S 744, would provide amnesty for illegal aliens and an eventual pathway to citizenship--including the right to vote in elections--while allegedly strengthening the security of the U.S border with Mexico to prevent a future influx of "unauthorized immigrants."
However, another Rasmussen poll found that just 30% of voters think it's likely the federal government would actually secure the border and prevent illegal immigration if the reform plan became law. That's down from 38% in March and 45% in January.
Furthermore, a new Gallup Poll found that voters are not very interested in immigration reform.
Dr. Frank Newport, Gallup's Editor-in-Chief, stated:
Americans put reforming immigration and reducing gun violence--the focus of much of the attention on Capitol Hill in recent weeks--at the bottom of a list of 12 priorities for Congress and the president to address.
Americans instead say leaders in Washington should give highest priority to jobs and the economy, followed by making government work more efficiently and improving the quality of education.
This result was similar to a previous Gallup Poll on this subject, on which this newsletter reported last month.
The Heritage Foundation issued a new report indicating that the amnesty in the Gang of Eight's bill would cost the U.S. taxpayers $6.3 Trillion.
The U.S. Senate Gang of Eight's Immigration Bill would provide a "path to citizenship" for the 11 million illegal aliens now in the U.S., who would vote overwhelmingly Democratic in elections and move the nation sharply and permanently to the Left.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) urged its members to contact senators with the simple request: Read the 844-page bill, which is S 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.
The sponsor is Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), but Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been a prominent advocate for it.
The previous issue of this newsletter cited an article by A. J. Delgado in Mediaite, which found many differences in the statements about this bill in Rubio's news releases and what the legislation actually provided.
FAIR also found that claims about S 744 didn't match its provisions. According to FAIR, the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill:
1. Grants amnesty to illegal aliens simply after the Secretary of Homeland Security submits plans to secure the border;
2. Grants amnesty to criminals and gang members;
3. Does not require amnestied illegal aliens to pay back-taxes;
4. Does not require amnestied illegal aliens to learn English;
5. Allows illegal aliens to sue the government for amnesty;
6. Allows the open borders and pro-amnesty lobbies to sue to prevent enforcement measures from taking place before illegal aliens can receive green cards;
7. Requires taxpayers foot the bill for illegal aliens to fight deportations at the Attorney General's sole and un-reviewable discretion;
8. Requires only 3 of 9 southern border sectors to have a 90% apprehension rate, leaving the rest in the porous status quo;
9. Grants green cards and citizenship after 5 years to illegal aliens claiming to have come to the U.S. before the age of 16 who meet certain criteria; and
10. Effectively halts all deportations for years by requiring Homeland Security to allow every illegal alien its agents intercept to apply for amnesty and prohibiting agents from deporting them until the illegal alien's application is adjudicated.
1. The "Gang of Eight" Immigration Reform Bill, S 744, appears to be filled with errors and provisions that have alarmed many conservatives.
A summary provided by the authors of the bill, officially titled the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, is online at http://tinyurl.com/cy4z77u
However, in an article in the Mediaite website, A. J. Delgado, compared the bill, as it was introduced, to the summary and to multiple news releases and a video about it from Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and found many discrepancies. He lists the top 10 problems with the legislation:
1. There are no actual triggers of border enforcement or border security.
2. It could extend to undocumented immigrants who arrived after the news of a potential amnesty.
3. No, they don't have to go to the back of the line and there is special treatment.
4. Family members can piggyback on one's application.
5. "Rigorous background check"? Doesn't look like it!
6. Did we deport you? Come on back!
7. Are you currently undergoing deportation proceedings or have a deportation order? No worries!
8. Sure, the bill specifies applicants may not qualify for federal benefits but…
9. The bill does little, if anything, to track down those who overstay their visits.
10. A one-time fix?
Former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), the new president of the Heritage Foundation, cites the problems which this legislation will cause taxpayers. He wrote in part:
Now that the "Gang of Eight" has introduced a comprehensive immigration bill in the U.S. Senate, the cost to taxpayers of implementing amnesty for an estimated 11 million unlawful immigrants has come into focus.
The core problem with amnesty is clear: It encourages more unlawful immigration in hopes of future amnesties, and it treats unlawful immigrants more favorably than more than 4 million law-abiding people who wait outside our borders, following the rules, for their chance to come to contribute to the economic and social well-being of America…
Taxpayers are right to be cautious of another large, incomprehensible bill…In fact, Section 2524 of the bill sheds light on the rising taxpayer costs likely to flow from the bill, as it creates a new federal commission specifically designed to promote the use of federal benefits to newly legalized immigrants.
And the Washington Times' Stephen Dinan reported that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), a libertarian-leaning supporter of immigration reform, said debate on the bill should be halted until Congress grasps what went wrong in Boston.
"We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system," Paul said.
1. A new Gallup Poll found that very few Americans regard either gun control or immigration reform as a top problem facing the nation.
While President Obama and the news media have been consumed with these issues, voters are clearly much more concerned about the economy, unemployment, and the national debt. Other issues that ranked far above immigration and guns include dissatisfaction with government, health care, and the decline in ethical and moral values.
When asked the open-ended question, "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?," here is what people replied:
24% Economy in general
16% Dissatisfaction with government
11% Federal budget deficit/Federal debt
6% Health care
5% Ethical/Moral/Family decline
4% Immigration/Illegal aliens
4% Guns/Gun control
4% Situation with North Korea
3% Lack of money
2% Lack of respect for each other
2% Foreign aid/Focus overseas
A total of 62% mentioned some aspect of economic problems, while gun control and immigration were mentioned by a scant 4% each.
Dr. Frank Newport (pictured), Gallup's Editor-in-Chief, commented:
"This is not an unusual state of affairs; the economy or economically related issues have nearly always in recent years ranked at the top of the 'most important problem' list.
"The low frequency of mentions of guns is also not unusual--guns have never been highly prevalent on this measure. The low ranking of immigration is a bit more unusual, because Americans have been significantly more likely to mention it at previous points than they are now."
This complete lack of saliency for these two issues could explain that, while a Washington Post--ABC News Poll found that 90% of Democrats, 84% of Republicans, and 84% of independents support new background checks for gun purchases, the Senate defeated an amendment to do that. Needing 60 votes to pass, the vote was 54 to 46.
Another amendment to ban so-called assault weapons garnered only 40 votes in the Senate to 60 against.
Michael Falcone of ABC News reports that a rules fight at the spring meeting of the Republican National Committee (RNC) threatens "to turn it into the political equivalent of the wild, wild west."
Meeting April 11-13 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, the RNC will discuss the recommendations of the "Growth and Opportunity Project," otherwise known as the party's "autopsy" on the 2012 elections. Chris Moody of Yahoo News states the meeting agenda includes a trip to the Ronald Reagan Library in nearby Simi Valley to "spend five hours basking in the greatness of the Gipper."
But it is the rules discussion that may bring about the most fireworks.
Conservatives are seeking to reverse, or at least substantially modify, new rules that were adopted last August at the Republican National Convention in Tampa that would affect future national conventions and the entire structure of the GOP.
A previous issue of this newsletter reported on these rules, which were supported by the Mitt Romney campaign:
Morton Blackwell (pictured, above), the longtime Republican National Committeeman from Virginia and a Romney delegate, was livid. In a letter to fellow delegates, he wrote that these rule changes "could fundamentally change our Republican Party--and not for the better."
Blackwell, who has attended every convention Rules Committee meeting since 1972, said, "These rule changes are the most awful I've ever seen come before any National Convention."
When they came up for a voice vote on the Convention floor, many neutral observers thought that, while it was close, the "no" was slightly louder. But the presiding officer, Speaker John Boehner, ruled the "aye" vote had prevailed.
This was actually a plan that the Republican Party's establishment elite have been hatching for many years…
The last thing Washington's establishment Republicans want is a Republican Party controlled by a bunch of people from the sticks who will nominate a candidate who actually means what he or she says about ending crony capitalism, reining-in spending, and holding the Republican Party to small government constitutional principles.
President Obama and congressional Democrats want to pass immigration reform quickly, but the issue is much too complex to be rushed.
In an interview with Univision, Obama said he expects an immigration bill to pass the Senate next month and the final bill to reach his desk for signature by the summer.
Politico’s Mike Lillis reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also predicted enactment of an immigration bill soon. "The good news is that we really do think that on the immigration issue, that we will, before summer, have comprehensive immigration reform," she told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The reason Obama and Pelosi are so upbeat is the collaboration of a bipartisan group of eight senators who have been working, with some apparent success, to forge an immigration plan that would garner widespread support in Congress.
The members of the Gang of 8, profiled by Rachel Weiner in the Washington Post, are Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Michael Bennett (D-CO).
The Associated Press reported the Gang of 8 has agreed to a package that would "provide a new class of worker visas for low-skilled workers, secure the border, crack down on employers, improve legal immigration, and create a 13-year pathway to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants already here."
Graham told Candy Crowley on CNN, "We've got a deal" and predicted the Gang of 8 bill will pass the Senate.
The U.S. Supreme Court may render a split decision on the re-definition of marriage.
As the Obamacare case illustrated, the questions and comments of the Supreme Court justices may not be a conclusive indicator of how he or she will vote on the case. But as far as can be determined, it appears the Court may provide a limited victory to the supporters of homosexual marriage but could fall well short of a blanket 50-state ruling.
There are two different cases before the high court: The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8, the California voter-approved state constitutional amendment, both define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Homosexuals want to re-define marriage in a completely different way.
However, there are serious questions whether either case is properly before the Court. The Obama Administration refused to defend the federal statute and both the current governor of California, Jerry Brown, and the previous governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, refused to defend the constitutional amendment.
So, in both cases, these measures are being defended by entities that may not have actual legal standing to do so.
In the DOMA case, United States v. Windsor, the U.S. House of Representatives is defending the law through an entity called the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG). An outside lawyer appointed by the Court, Vicki Jackson, urged the justices to wait for "another case, another day" as a challenge to DOMA.
This would be a welcome outcome for conservatives. Instead, the Washington Post, The Hill, and the Huffington Post all believe that a majority of the justices have clearly indicated their willingness to overturn DOMA.
Interestingly, the rationale for finding DOMA unconstitutional may be used to uphold California's Proposition 8. Justice Anthony Kennedy (pictured) appeared to side with the view that DOMA interferes with the right of states to define marriage.
"The question is whether the federal government, under our federalism scheme, has the authority to regulate marriage," he said.
While many observers felt the defense of DOMA didn't go well before the Court, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (FRC), had a more optimistic assessment. He wrote:
FRC's Senior Fellows Chris Gacek and Ken Klukowski, both attorneys, were at the Supreme Court for the oral arguments, and Chris said not to believe media spin that DOMA took a total beating. He reported that Paul Clement, the former U.S. Solicitor General hired by the House BLAG to defend DOMA, gave the strongest performance of any attorney in the two days of arguments.
Readers can hear for themselves how things went. Complete audio arguments on DOMA are available on the Supreme Court's website.
The Court's website also has a written transcript of the arguments.
There are important battles going on now within the Republican Party.
A recent article in the ConservativeHQ.com website commented on the 1,011 ideas that have been submitted for the Liberty Prize, a contest offering a $10,000 prize for the best plan for conservatives to take over the Republican Party, win the 2016 elections, and actually govern America.
The article stated that all of the contest entries had one thing in common:
They each understand that this is one of the most important political battles in American history--and this battle is not between Republicans and Democrats or between Liberals and Conservatives. It is inside the Republican Party. It is the battle for control of the Republican Party between Establishment Big Government Republicans and Limited Government, Constitutional Conservatives.
One manifestation of this battle is the conflict between Karl Rove and Sarah Palin (pictured, at CPAC last weekend).
Peter Grier in the Christian Science Monitor remarked that this dispute seems "prone to framing as a high school spat, as if it's the head cheerleader versus the student body president."
But Grier adds "this split is about more than two people. In a way, it represents the struggle now going on for the heart of the Republican Party. It's Palin and her Tea Party ideology versus a more traditional Washington GOP establishment."
At the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., Palin spoke for many conservatives who are uneasy over Rove's new Conservative Victory Project, which states its goal as backing candidates in the Republican primaries who Rove thinks have the best chance to win general elections.
Rove's previous organization, American Crossroads, raised enormous amounts of money in the 2012 elections, but almost all the Republican candidates the group supported lost to Democrats.
Time magazine reported, "Grassroots conservative activists are attacking the Karl Rove-backed Super PAC American Crossroads as ineffective in a letter to top-dollar Republican donors in an effort to protest against the group's pledge to play a role in Republican primaries."
Richard Viguerie, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and other conservative Catholics praised the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as Pope Francis.
Francis (pictured), elected by a two-thirds majority on the 5th ballot, became the 266th or 267th pope in the Church's history. (Stephen II died in 752 before taking office, so he is sometimes not counted.) The New Advent website has a complete list of all popes.
Viguerie, the Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, said in a statement:
"Secular liberals who were hoping the new pope would bend the Church's teachings to their political agenda--such as acceptance of same-sex marriage--will no doubt be disappointed to discover that Francis is, in fact, a Catholic…
"As American Catholics face a continuing battle with the Obama administration, and the President's secular liberal allies, over Obamacare's abortion mandate and President Obama's push for universal acceptance of same-sex marriage, we can take heart that we have a new pope who has already shown he is willing to stand before worldly leaders girded only in Christ's teachings to tell them they are wrong…
"Such moral leadership and courage will inject much-needed backbone into the bishops, priests, and lay-leaders here in the United States, where the Church has too often adopted the trends and habits of a secular amoral society."
Newmax reported that Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston also noted that the new pope takes office amid "an increasingly secular culture" in the world.
The highest ranking Catholic Republican, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), said:
"Thanks be to God for our new pope…For me, it is truly inspiring that our new pope has taken the name of Francis, the saint who lived a simple life of humility and charity, setting an example for how to make God's love visible to all, especially those in despair or pain."
According to the Examiner.com website, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, tweeted, "Prayers of gratitude on the election of Pope Francis. His life of humility & commitment to the poor inspires us all."