Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine, speaking during an interview with the Spanish-language TV network Telemundo on July 25, stated: “Hillary is going to [push for immigration reform] in the first 100 days of her administration.” As part of that “reform,” Kaine suggested that many children coming here illegally from countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala “could have a chance at asylum.”
The term “immigration reform” can have very different connotations, depending on the political persuasion of the individuals using the term — as was demonstrated during debate over the merits (and faults) of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744) introduced by Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). It was popularly called the “Gang of Eight” bill because it was cosponsored by the other seven members of the bipartisan group of senators who wrote and negotiated the bill. (The others besides Schumer were Senators Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
A description of the “Gang of Eight” bill, accompanying The New American’s “Freedom Index,” which rates bills on their adherence to the Constitution, said it would have provided “a transition to the open borders sought by the advocates of a North American Union and other regional government schemes threatening our national sovereignty.”
Conservative members of Congress, including Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), were quick to express sharp criticism of the 844-page bill. In a statement quoted by CNS News, Smith said: “Despite assurances, the border is not secured before almost everyone in the country illegally is given amnesty. The bill guarantees there will be a rush across the border to take advantage of massive amnesty.”
The bill was passed by the Senate on a 68-32 vote, with Kaine (along with every other Democratic senator and 14 Republicans) voting for it.
Heritage Foundation president and former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint described the Gang of Eight bill as “immediate amnesty in the form of provisional status within months and lofty promises of 'strategies' and 'plans' for enforcement years later.”
Under the “path to citizenship” aspect of the “immigration reform” bill — which conservatives were quick to more accurately label as “amnesty” — illegal aliens (aka, “undocumented immigrants”) could work in the United States under provisional status for 10 years, but would be barred from receiving federal benefits. After 10 years, they could apply for green cards, and three years after that, for citizenship.
Because conservative Republicans in the House were so strongly opposed to the amnesty aspects of the bill, former House Speaker Boehner never allowed it to be brought to the House floor for a vote.
During his Telemundo interview, the interviewer posed a hypothetical situation to Kaine that seemed to speculate about whether having Ryan in place of Boehner as House speaker would have an impact on the prospects of any “immigration reform” legislation that Clinton might present: “If the Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate anyway, we’d just be in the same position we are in today,” noted the interviewer.
In the Senate, we still have a bipartisan agreement to reform the system. Many of my Republican colleagues are saying that after January we have to do something to reform the system. A lot of Republicans in the Senate support this. In the House of Representatives, things are little different. But Paul Ryan, the Speaker, understands numbers. He understands votes. November is going to send a signal, a strong message about voters’ opinions. If Hillary is the president, her support for immigration reform is going to be one of the most important things in this campaign. I think she is going to win, because voters are going to send a message that they want the system to be reformed. Paul Ryan and the other leaders of his party are going to understand that if they want a future for their party they are going to have to work together to find a solution to this.
In other words, asserts Kaine, a Clinton win would signal that most Americans want “immigration reform” of the type favored by Clinton and Kaine, which is in reality, amnesty for illegal aliens.
Kaine also touched on another area that would be greatly impacted by the outcome of the November election — the Supreme Court. Many conservatives have talked about the difference a Clinton High Court nominee, as opposed to a Trump nominee, would have on decisions related to things such as abortion. But Kaine pointed out how having a Clinton-appointed justice would affect immigration, as well:
There are a lot of people — the “Dreamers” and others — who want a path to citizenship, for example, a chance to come out of the shadows. But there’s something else we have to do: There are now eight justices on the Supreme Court. With nine justices, I think the Court would approve President Obama’s executive orders on DAPA and DACA. The Republicans are fighting the Court, because they don’t want a Court that would approve the president’s actions. And so, there is a big difference, and because of that the struggle between now and November is very important. There are other issues too, of course, but support for new Americans is one of our country’s values and a value that Secretary Clinton holds dear, and that’s going to make a big difference.
Kaine is correct in that an appointment to the High Court of a justice sympathetic to a Clinton amnesty plan (which would probably be identical to the Obama amnesty plan) would pave the way to a Clinton renewal of Obama’s executive order related to DAPA and DACA.
The present divided court rendered a tied 4-4 vote on June 23 in the case of United States v. Texas, which left intact a lower-court ruling that blocked the Obama administration from implementing its plan to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation and grant them the right to work legally in the United States.
Had the court overturned the lower court decision, an estimated 4,948,000 illegal aliens would have been eligible for the Obama deportation deferral (amnesty) programs, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).
President Obama was quick to comment on the decision and found a way to blame it on Republicans in the Senate who for have refused to consider his nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. By this statement, Obama displayed a high level of confidence that Garland would have voted to overturn United States v. Texas, thereby allowing the administration amnesty plans to proceed. “The court’s inability to reach a decision in this case is a very clear reminder of why it’s so important for the Supreme Court to have a full bench,” Obama said on June 23 at the White House.
If Kaine’s fervent wish comes true and Clinton is elected in November, then his prediction that a Supreme Court composed of nine justices (including a Clinton appointee) would approve the Obama-Clinton executive orders on DAPA and DACA would most certainly be accurate.
Given Trump’s outspoken statements against illegal immigration, it is just as certain that a court with a Trump nominee aboard would rule just the opposite.