House Republicans didn't go nearly far enough when they passed a bill denying education to the children of illegal immigrants. That's a half-baked measure that will just leave kids hanging around street corners, getting into trouble. To be consistent, they should have ordered that illegal kids be rounded up, forcibly separated from their parents and shipped in boxcars back to their countries of origin. The boxcars are important not just for nostalgic reasons but because all those airplane tickets could be a budget buster.
Because of the irrational prohibition on child labor pushed through by bleeding heart liberals, illegal kids are of no use to us. It's only the adults we need. The Republican goal is to get rid of the children but keep their parents to pick crops, watch other people's kids and staff our finest restaurants.
That's why the new immigration bill takes it real easy on employers who might hire undocumented workers. Under House Speaker Newt Gingrich's leadership, a provision that would have required employers to check the documents of workers they hire against a national database was struck down. Such document checks will be voluntary under the bill passed by the House because business lobbyists convinced members that getting tough on illegal immigrants was a marvelous idea as long as it didn't cut into the available pool of undocumented workers. Thanks to those lobbyists and the Republican leadership that feeds at their trough, the bill does nothing to strengthen enforcement of the labor codes. It also avoids the issues of a tamper-proof identity card that job applicants would be required to produce and of criminal penalties for those who hire illegal immigrants. Employers will continue to police themselves, which means they will keep hiring undocumented workers.
So instead of eliminating the jobs that are the magnet for illegal immigration, we end the education of the kids whose parents take the jobs. The bill exempts employers, but it sends a harsh command to teachers, who now will be required to turn in their students to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. True, the Republican leadership is committed to getting the federal government out of the classroom, which is why it opposes national educational standards. But this is a matter of national security. Those kids have invaded our country and teachers must take the lead in defending the homeland. Grab any suspicious kid and turn him or her over to the INS. I can already visualize the "Uncle Sam Wants You" posters with a shivering kid at the end of his pointed finger.
Finally, the Republicans have found a useful role for the U.S. Department of Education, which could send out multimedia kits on how to spot illegal kids. The kits could include charts featuring the rather extensive spectrums of the colors brown and yellow. That's important, because we don't want teachers hassling Canadian and European children who might be here illegally through some minor oversight on the part of their parents.
The passion of the Republican legislators is understandable. They don't want those immigrant kids to learn English, math, science or other marketable skills because when they grow up, they might compete with the children of members of Congress and other "normal" Americans, to use Gingrich's favorite phrase, for good jobs.
Anyway, it's just the right approach for a get-tough politician. "Most everyone talks about getting tougher on illegal immigration, and now we have a clear opportunity," Dole said in support of the "end education" amendment. He's absolutely right: This is a clear opportunity to talk tough about ending illegal immigration.
Gingrich is another tough talker. In one of his rare speeches on the House floor, he made it clear that he is sick and tired of illegal kids learning something. And he's now figured out that it's not jobs but rather educational opportunity that lures those criminals to our shores: "Offering free, tax-paid goods to illegals has increased the number of illegals. . . . Come to America for opportunity. Do not come to America to live off the law-abiding American taxpayer."
You should quote Gingrich the next time you are in a restaurant or visiting a home where you spot what may be an illegal immigrant at work. Tell that person you're pleased that they have seized the "opportunity" to bus your dishes or diaper someone else's baby. Reassure him or her that Gingrich's new law doesn't threaten his job or employer. But warn her, in no uncertain terms, that she had better not have any kids of her own at home.
Don't you just love those "family values" Republicans?