At Accuracy in Academia’s Immigration Forum on Capitol Hill, John Keeley of the Center for Immigration Studies spoke about how a woman at another meeting had told him that in Poland there are about 22,000 illegal immigrants. Keeley told her that 22,000 was a “slow Saturday night” coming into Tucson, Arizona.
The Center for Immigration Studies, or CIS, has worked for the past twenty-one years on returning to what it calls the “historic norm in America” on immigration. In that connection, Keeley told the audience that bureaucrats are “anything but overworked.”
Keeley argued that the term comprehensive to bureaucrats is just a “euphemism for a teaspoon of enforcement [of U. S. immigration laws] helps the amnesty [for illegal aliens] go down.” He informed the audience that there are over 560 immigration bills in legislative bodies all across the country. According to Keeley, out of the 560 bills, none are truly “comprehensive.”
Keeley believes that “it is better to have no bill,” than the wrong bill passed into law. He argued that the laws should reflect “the people’s will.” “In a democracy, we kind of like that,” he said.
He also discussed the story of Hazelton, Pennsylvania. The people of Hazelton had grown tired of waiting for the national government to act on the issue of illegal immigration, and passed a law of their own that puts fines on the hiring of illegal immigrants.
“I have a loaded question for you,” AIA executive director Mal Kline asked. “Why are we letting illegal aliens in from Mexico, a democracy, at the same time that we are sending Cuban boat people back to a dictatorship and why is it, then, that we patrol our coastline with paramilitary precision but do not do the same on our southern border?”
“Is the Rio Grande a more formidable obstacle than the Atlantic Ocean?,” Kline asked, adding wryly, “Is that question loaded enough for you?”
“That’s pretty loaded,” Keeley agreed good-naturedly. He argued that U. S. immigration law should be equitably administered to all visitors regardless of the form of government in their countries of origin but admitted that a double standard exists in U. S. policy towards southern border migration vis-a-vis Caribbean escapees.
“We call it wet foot/dry foot,” Keeley said of the Clinton era rule on Cuban émigrés that still governs federal agency operations. “If they could outwit the Coast Guard and survive shark-infested waters and place at least one foot on the dry land of America, they would be allowed to file for asylum here.”
Keeley delivered his remarks to a capacity audience at AIA’s Conservative Univesrity forum that included students, journalists and Capitol Hill staffers.
Matthew Murphy is an intern at Accuracy in Academia.