Friday, November 20, 2009

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch Joins In Republican Criticism Of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano's Call For A "Path To Citizenship" For Illegals

What in hell's happened to Senator Orrin Hatch? He's acting and talking like a patriot again. First, he has relentlessly criticized the obscene excesses of the proposed Obamacare health bill. And now, he's joined with other Republican senators in rejected Homeland Security Janet Napolitano's call for a "path to citizenship" for illegal immigrants. Media story published November 20th in the Salt Lake Tribune.

A November 13th speech by Napolitano to the Center for American Progress, which is a left-wing think tank, has got them riled up. In that speech, the spinster Secretary claimed that putting undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship would boost the economy. She said that a "tough and fair pathway" to legal status for millions of immigrants would bring them out of the shadows and allow them to pay taxes as legal Americans do. She also opined that it would facilitate enforcement of laws against unscrupulous or exploitative employers. Admittedly, Napolitano doesn't want to make it easy; she envisions a rigid pathway to legal status would require illegal immigrants to register, pay a fine, pass a criminal background check, learn English and pay all taxes.

But even those conditions do not satisfy Senator Hatch and his eleven other colleagues. According to the letter signed by Hatch and 11 fellow Republican senators and sent to Napolitano, they charge that rewarding undocumented immigrants with legal status would hinder Americans' ability to find jobs. "With all due respect, legalizing those who have no legal right to be in the United States will not be a 'boon' to American workers," the senators wrote. "Rather, it would only exacerbate the unfair competition American workers currently face as they struggle to find jobs." The senators asked Napolitano to halt any talk of enacting a "legalization program" that would only hurt U.S. workers and impede law-abiding citizens opportunities during the economic downturn. Read the full letter posted HERE.

The other 11 Senators co-signing the letter deserve to be recognized publicly by name. They include Charles E. Grassley (R-NE), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), David Vitter (R-LA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim Bunning (R-KY), James M. Inhofe (R-OK), James E. Risch (R-ID), Roger F. Wicker (R-MS), John Thune (R-SD), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

Bingo! They get it! When the official American unemployment rate is over 10 percent, and the unofficial rate close to 20 percent, it is ludicrous to be making it easier for foreigners to get jobs in the United States. Foreigners steal jobs from Americans because they are willing to work at lower wages and endure harsher working conditions, which are backward steps for the American working class. Foreigners transform many American jobs from "affordable jobs" downward into "subsistence jobs". And how many Americans are willing to work in an environment were most of their co-workers can barely speak English?

In response to the senators' criticism, Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler ducked the issue, refusing to respond directly to Hatch's criticisms, but defended Napolitano's position. "Secretary Napolitano will respond directly to Senator Hatch, as we do not respond to correspondence through the media," Chandler said. Translation: Hatch is right, but we're too embarrassed to admit it.

The Deseret News appears to be skeptical of Hatch's sudden volte-face, pointing out that Hatch himself has previously called for ways to legalize aliens short of giving them amnesty and has pushed bills to repeal sanctions against employers who hire illegal workers, as well as bills to allow illegal immigrants to receive federal loans and work-study assistance for college. Hatch's voting record on immigration issues is highlighted HERE, and his career "report card" is only a C+. Hatch and fellow Utah Sen. Bob Bennett more recently have been under attack by Utah conservatives who say they sometimes are too liberal. The critics include several conservatives who are challenging Bennett in his re-election bid next year and have said he is not tough enough on illegal immigration. Although Hatch is not up for re-election until 2012, perhaps he's taking his cue from the fate suffered by Chris Cannon in 2008 and the possible fate awaiting Bob Bennett in 2010.

Or perhaps the death of Ted Kennedy finally freed Orrin Hatch from Kennedy's Svengali-like influence. In any case, we tentatively welcome Orrin Hatch back into the ranks of patriots once again.

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