Today, after 25 years of posturing and broken promises, Americans can be forgiven for displaying a distrust of new promises. How about a plan of action, not a plan for more broken promises?
History is apparently not Newt Gingrich’s strong suit, despite the fact that he has a Ph.D. in history and taught it in college before entering politics. Probably he knows a lot about Greek or Roman history â€“ but things that happened only 25 years ago? Don’t ask.
Gingrich suggests it would be “humane” to allow illegal aliens “who have been here 25 years, go to church and raise children in our communities” to have legal status. Of course, he then backtracked and said, let’s not do this until after we have border security.
That’s basically what we did in 1986 with the amnesty legislation that gave legal status to 3 million illegal aliens. Gingrich wasn’t in Congress yet, but surely he has heard of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
That amnesty was sold to Reagan and passed as part of a “bipartisan deal,” the terms of which were never honored. We were promised three things. First, this was to be a one-time amnesty, never to be repeated. Second, new laws were enacted to punish employers who hired illegal workers. Third, the border was to be secured.
All three promises have been broken. There have been numerous small amnesties enacted since 1986, and enforcement of the employer sanctions was never undertaken in a serious way. But by far the most egregious and hypocritical broken promise was that of border security.