The Ideological Divide on Immigration: Prevention vs. Protection

GOP DEMOCRAT

Jerry Kammer | Center for Immigration Studies

I’ve been writing about border issues for 30 years. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a clearer demonstration of the ideological chasm between Republicans and Democrats on border issues than Thursday’s House immigration subcommittee hearing on the surge of Central Americans across the Southwest border.

For Republicans, the crisis is a failure of prevention and enforcement. Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Robert Goodlatte70%House Republican Average39See Full Scorecard70% made that clear in his opening statement as chairman of the full Judiciary Committee:

Record numbers of unaccompanied alien minors and adults traveling with minors are again surging across our southern border, overwhelming federal and state resources, creating a border security nightmare, and ensuring record profits for the criminal organizations that control the drug and human smuggling and trafficking business along the border. … With every successful entry and reunification, it encourages thousands more to illegally enter and further degrades our border security.

For the Democrats, the central issue is the moral and legal obligation to protect the rights of the Central Americans to seek asylum as they flee violence in their home countries. As the subcommittee’s ranking Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Zoe Lofgren10%House Democrat Average39See Full Scorecard10%, said:

Women and children fleeing violence are a vulnerable population and they should be treated with heightened sensitivity, awareness and comprehensive access to counsel. We have a moral as well as domestic and international legal obligation to ensure that no mother or child is sent back to a country where they face torture, or death. Every effort must be made to ensure that this vulnerable population has access to counsel and full due process protections prior to deportation.

Lofgren said the influx would continue as long as the Central Americans suffered the misery of poverty, violence, and governments too corrupt or incompetent to provide basic security. She characterized the crisis as “a humanitarian, refugee issue and not an illegal immigration phenomenon.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Trey Gowdy87%House Republican Average39See Full Scorecard87%, the immigration subcommittee chairman, charged the Obama administration with failure to manage the crisis. He pointed to reports that migrants had told Border Patrol agents they came north because they had heard that if they made it across the border they would be allowed to stay in the country.

“In other words, no adequate steps have been taken to halt the surge or discourage aliens from attempting to enter the United States,” Gowdy said. “We must at some point send a clear message to potential unlawful immigrants” that they will not be allowed to stay in the United States.

In response to Gowdy’s call for tough-minded resolve, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. John Conyers Jr.13%House Democrat Average39See Full Scorecard13% called for big-hearted compassion. Said Conyers: “People need to live free from an endless cycle of violence and persecution. … We must address the root causes of the hemisphere crisis. … We have a moral as well as a legal obligation to provide asylum seekers the opportunity to apply for humanitarian protection.”

Thirty years ago Democrats and Republicans managed to bridge the much narrower ideological divide of that era. Congress passed and President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, calling it a solution to illegal immigration. IRCA was built on a hard-won compromise that promised to combine protection in the form of amnesty with prevention in the form of worksite enforcement.

IRCA, of course, proved to be a colossal failure that resulted in a massive expansion of illegal immigration. It created demographic, political, and cultural facts that have amplified demands for protection and muffled calls for protection. The moderate Democrats who used to see illegal immigration as a threat to be opposed have been replaced by ideologues who see it as a humanitarian cause to be defended and accommodated.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Luis Gutierrez17%House Democrat Average39See Full Scorecard17% who is the most ardent congressional defender of illegal immigrants, offered this visionary suggestion at Thursday’s hearing: “We should create a system that allows people to come, not through coyotes, not through drug smugglers, not through human traffickers, but with a plane ticket, with a visa, a legal way to come to the United States, so that we can have an organized fashion in which we have our immigration policy set forth.”

Gutierrez’s field of vision did not include current immigration policy, which has made visas a form of congressional pork to please friends and contributors and already provides green cards to about 1 million immigrants every year.

Gutierrez had some fun at the Republicans’ expense as he referred to their decision to invite Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, to testify about the situation along the border. Judd, whose organization is the union for border agents, told the committee that when “laws are broken on a large scale, chaos is the byproduct. And make no mistake; chaos defines parts of our southwest border today.”

Said Gutierrez, “It’s always good to see a labor union that the Republicans actually invite to come and give testimony.” It was a sly reminder that Republicans and labor unions have a generally antagonistic relationship and that most unions now favor “comprehensive immigration reform” to provide another amnesty.

Of course, the labor movement used to be a militant foe of illegal immigration, regarding it as a threat to American workers. In 1986, for example, labor pushed its Democratic friends in Congress to support the amnesty-for-enforcement bargain embodied in IRCA

Labor at that time believed that IRCA could succeed in stopping illegal immigration. Only after enforcement was thwarted did labor reverse positions, calling for an end to worksite enforcement and a new amnesty. In other words, labor decided that if it couldn’t beat illegal immigrants, it would try to organize them.

SOURCE: Jerry Kammer’s Blog

 

Assad Regime Gains in Aleppo Alter Balance of Power in Northern Syria

Christopher Kozak | ISW BLOG

Battlefield realities rather than great power politics will determine the ultimate terms of a settlement to end the Syrian Civil War. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies in Russia and Iran have internalized this basic principle even as Washington and other Western capitals pinned their hopes upon UN-sponsored Geneva Talks, which faltered only two days after they began on February 1, 2016. Russian airpower and Iranian manpower have brought President Assad within five miles of completing the encirclement of Aleppo City, the largest urban center in Syria and an opposition stronghold since 2012. The current campaign has already surpassed the high-water mark set by the regime’s previous failed attempt to besiege Aleppo City in early 2015. The full encirclement of Aleppo City would fuel a humanitarian catastrophe, shatter opposition morale, fundamentally challenge Turkish strategic ambitions, and deny the opposition its most valuable bargaining chip before the international community.

The campaign against Aleppo City began in October 2015 and proceeded in several phases. Regime forces enabled by Russia and Iran initially mounted probing attacks along multiple fronts in Aleppo and Idlib Provinces as part of a larger campaign designed to confuse and overextend the opposition. They conducted shaping operations in the southern, eastern, and northern countryside of Aleppo City in order to draw opposition forces out of urban terrain, relieve long-besieged pockets of regime forces, and set conditions for a future decisive operation to besiege the city, as ISW warned on December 30, 2015. They also secured core regime terrain along the Syrian Coast against further opposition attacks through a series of rapid offensives in Latakia Province. These gains marked a fundamental shift in battlefield momentum following dramatic losses experienced by the regime in the first half of 2015.

President Assad has used unconventional shaping operations to complement these ground offensives and further strengthen his bargaining position. The regime intensified its campaign of sieges and aerial bombardment against opposition-held pockets in Homs and Damascus Provinces in order to impose one-sided local ceasefires that would allow it to consolidate control in these two vital cities. These operations in some cases included the use of chlorine gas and other unidentified chemical weapons in violation of international prohibitions. The regime also escalated a campaign of targeted assassinations against key opposition commanders – most notably the Saudi-backed Damascus powerbroker Zahran Alloush – in order to weaken the political influence of its opponents. These gains strengthen the hand held by President Assad at the negotiating table and incentivize further violence among all sides in an attempt to secure additional concessions during an eventual settlement. The mounting pressure will tend to drive the opposition towards militarily reliable but politically irreconcilable Salafi-jihadist groups such as Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. Conditions on the ground remain unsuitable for the achievement of any meaningful peace in Syria.

Aleppo Province

The regime and its allies have waged a multi-pronged campaign in Aleppo Province over the past four months to set conditions for an offensive to isolate and ultimately seize Aleppo City. The opposition is uniquely vulnerable in Aleppo City due to its position along a lengthy salient that relies upon one primary ground line of communication (GLOC) that faces compounding pressures from the regime, ISIS, and the Syrian Kurdish YPG. The return of the largest urban center in Syria to government control would represent a major victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that would bolster his leverage in current or future political negotiations. A successful campaign for Aleppo City would also constitute a serious blow to the morale of opposition groups that have contested the city since mid-2012.

The operations in Aleppo Province have hinged upon heavy military support from both Russian warplanes and Iranian proxy fighters. Russia concentrated a significant portion of its air campaign against opposition forward positions and supply lines in Aleppo Province. Meanwhile, U.S. officials estimated in October 2015 that up to 2,000 Hezbollah, Afghan, and Iraqi Shi’a militia fighters led by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani currently operated in Aleppo Province. U.S. officials also stated that Russian Spetsnaz special operations forces recently began operating in conjunction with pro-regime forces near Aleppo City. The regime has become increasingly dependent on this foreign support in order to conduct successful maneuver warfare.

Aleppo

Southern Aleppo Province

The regime and its allies launched the first shaping operations of their reinvigorated campaign in Aleppo Province on October 15, 2015. Regime forces supported by heavy Russian air cover and Iraqi Shi’a militiamen mounted an offensive against the sparsely-populated opposition-held villages in the southern countryside of Aleppo City. The regime secured steady advances against opposition forces over subsequent weeks despite opposition attempts to reinforce the front with hundreds of fighters drawn from Aleppo City and northern Aleppo Province. Several Western-backed opposition factions also deployed multiple TOW anti-tank missiles systems to the region. An opportunistic attack by ISIS in late October 2015 managed to disrupt the ongoing operation temporarily by seizing several positions along the regime’s primary ground line of communication (GLOC) to Aleppo City. Pro-regime forces nonetheless seized the opposition-held towns of Hadher and Al-Eis on November 12, securing the only prominent population centers in southern Aleppo Province.

The opposition responded to the advances by deploying valuable reinforcements to the region. Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) and other key opposition groups reinforced the southern countryside of Aleppo City from Idlib Province. Prominent Salafi-jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham (HASI) issued a general call for mobilization to southern Aleppo Province on November 13, 2015. The arrival of fresh opposition reinforcements managed to blunt and in some cases reverse regime gains on a tactical level. These minor reversals also corresponded with an apparent operational pause by pro-regime forces to consolidate their new holdings and receive additional reinforcement, including several advanced T-90 main battle tanks provided by Russia. The regime mounted a renewed offensive in early December and seized the opposition-held town of Khan Touman directly southwest of Aleppo City by December 20. The regime and its allies have used these new gains to contest the strategic M5 Highway and the opposition-held southwestern suburbs of Aleppo City.

The regime designed its operational maneuvers in southern Aleppo Province to set conditions for the upcoming offensive to isolate opposition forces in Aleppo City. The offensive drew opposition reinforcements out of Aleppo City and fixed them in a battle of open terrain that allowed the regime to fully-utilize its advantages in armor, airpower, and artillery. The loss of this pool of combat reserves will weaken opposition defenses against future operations by the regime and its allies to isolate Aleppo City. The gains also position the regime to threaten the eastern flank of core opposition-held terrain in Idlib Province. Iranian-backed proxies have repeatedly asserted that the operation in southern Aleppo Province ultimately aims to relieve the besieged pro-regime towns of Fu’ah and Kefraya near Idlib City. The need to defend against this threat further constrains the flexibility and freedom of action available to opposition commanders in northwestern Syria.

Kuweires Airbase and Al-Bab

The regime and its allies began a second simultaneous shaping operation in eastern Aleppo Province on October 15, 2015 in order to relieve the besieged Kuweires Airbase. The base faced repeated challenges from ISIS that threatened to overrun the facility, fueling simmering discontent within the regime’s base of popular support along the Syrian Coast. Elite regime light infantry units supported by Russian aircraft and reinforcements from Lebanese Hezbollah conducted a slow battle of penetration along a narrow front in the face of heavy ISIS resistance. Pro-regime forces successfully established a ground line of communications (GLOC) to the Kuweires Airbase on November 10 in a major symbolic victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The operation revitalized the morale of regime loyalists and demonstrated the first tangible battlefield achievement for the regime since the Russian intervention on September 30.

The regime has since leveraged its forward position at the Kuweires Airbase as a staging ground to conduct follow-on operations against ISIS in eastern Aleppo Province. Pro-regime forces expanded the defensive perimeter of the Kuweires Airbase throughout late November 2015, enabling the regime to resume both fixed-wing and rotary-wing flights out of the airbase by December 15. Regime forces later conducted several advances west of Kuweires Airbase in an offensive aimed at encircling an ISIS pocket that threaten the key regime-held logistical hub of Al-Safira and the adjacent supply route to Aleppo City. This offensive sets the stage for a classic ‘cauldron battle’ drawn from Soviet military doctrine, illustrating the degree to which Russian advisors likely play a role in operational planning. The regime also advanced north from the Kuweires Airbase in January 2016, seizing several villages less than five miles from the major ISIS-held urban center of Al-Bab. Regime forces currently hold optimal positions to mount a potential operation to seize Al-Bab and secure additional legitimacy before the international community as a partner against ISIS. Russia reportedly deployed two hundred personnel and several air defense systems to Kuweires Airbase in February 2016 in likely preparation for such an operation. The regime may intend to use future anti-ISIS operations by the U.S.-led coalition in eastern Aleppo Province as an opportunity to secure its own gains near Aleppo City.

Northern Aleppo Province

The regime mounted its most significant shaping operation in Aleppo Province in February 2016 with a renewed attempt to complete the encirclement of Aleppo City. Pro-regime forces lifted the siege of the pro-regime towns of Nubl and Zahraa in northern Aleppo Province on February 3, linking regime forces in an arc of control that dominates almost all opposition supply lines between Turkey and Aleppo City. The regime previously failed to capitalize upon a similar offensive over the same terrain in February 2015. The opposition nonetheless faces a severe challenge in mobilizing sufficient forces to reverse this new attack given the conditions set by the regime and its allies in Aleppo Province over the past four months. The regime and its allies will likely attempt to complete the encirclement of Aleppo City in coming weeks by seizing its opposition-held northwestern suburbs. The end result of this operation could be a protracted siege of Aleppo City that bolsters the political leverage exerted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while subjecting the remaining civilian population in opposition-held districts to a punishing campaign of starvation and aerial bombardment.

Latakia Province

Latakia

The regime and its allies simultaneously conducted major operations to expel opposition forces from core regime terrain along the Syrian Coast. Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) and other armed factions have occupied the Jabal al-Turkman and Jabal al-Akrad regions of northern Latakia Province since 2012, providing the opposition with a safe haven from which to threaten the Alawite population that constitute the popular base of support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This threat reached unprecedented heights after opposition forces secured control over almost all of Idlib Province in mid-2015 and began posturing for an offensive into Latakia Province. The stabilization of this front thus constituted an immediate priority for the regime and its foreign backers. Russia provided extensive military support with the provision of technical advisors, armored vehicles, rocket artillery, and a heavy campaign of aerial bombardment based from its nearby airfield at Bassel al-Assad International Airport near Latakia City. Iran also committed significant numbers of proxy forces to enable the mobilization of local pro-regime militias. These deployments produced a significant reversal in the balance of forces in Latakia Province over recent the past three months.

Pro-regime forces launched an offensive against opposition forces in Jabal al-Turkman on November 19, 2015 in an attempt to deny opposition forces access to supply routes across the Turkish border. The regime seized multiple villages and hilltops in the mountainous region within several days with the support of heavy Russian airstrikes. The offensive drew immediate condemnation from Turkey as thousands of ethnic Turkmen refugees fled across the border ahead of regime forces. Two Turkish fighter jets later shot down a Russian warplane on November 24 after the aircraft violated the border while conducting operations against the opposition. The escalation in geopolitical tensions nonetheless failed to prevent continued tactical advances by the regime and its allies in both Jabal al-Turkman and Jabal al-Akrad.

The regime secured major breakthroughs in its operations to clear Latakia Province in January 2016. Regime forces seized the opposition stronghold of Salma in Jabal al-Akrad on January 12 after successfully surrounding the town from three sides over the preceding weeks. Salma occupied a dominant high ground and served as the anchor for the opposition frontline in northern Latakia Province. The regime and its allies exploited the collapse of the front in order to secure rapid advances deep into opposition-held terrain. Pro-regime forces later successfully encircled and seized the town of Rabi’ah on January 24, securing the primary command-and-control node for the opposition in Jabal al-Turkman. These gains threaten to expel all overt opposition presence from Latakia Province over the next few months. The regime and its allies likely intend to ultimately seize the opposition-held city of Jisr al-Shughour in western Idlib Province in order to anchor their advance and secure a buffer against future counterattacks.

Strategic Effects

The direct threat posed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to core opposition terrain in Aleppo City and other parts of Northern Syria will present a critical challenge for U.S. strategic interests. The realities on the ground currently being set by the regime will entrench the position of President Assad and his foreign backers, preserving Syria as a regional base of operations for both Iran and Russia. The renewed pressure being placed upon the opposition also risks driving opposition groups to deepen their coordination with Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) and other Salafi-jihadist factions. Major opposition factions in the Jaysh al-Fatah Operations Room based in Idlib Province reportedly came close to signing a unification agreement supported by Jabhat al-Nusra emir Abu Muhammed al-Joulani. The incentives to solidify this cooperation will only grow in the face of further regime gains. The current violence thus stands to solidify Syria as an arena for U.S. adversaries over the coming months.

The willingness of parties on both sides to pursue further conflict will only serve to prolong the bloodshed of the Syrian Civil War and exacerbate the humanitarian consequences of the conflict. UN officials reported that nearly 40,000 civilians fled the southern countryside of Aleppo City amidst regime operations in October 2015, while at least 70,000 civilians have fled the latest round of violence in northern Aleppo Province. The regime has also conducted a series of engagements in in Central and Southern Syria meant to increase the pressure brought to bear upon remaining opposition pockets, particularly through the use of sieges and starvation as weapons of war. The flows of displaced persons generated by this campaign will place additional strain upon regional U.S. allies while fueling further resentment and radicalization among the refugee population.

The looming siege of Aleppo City poses a strategic dilemma for Turkey. Turkish President Recep Erdogan provided weapons, supplies, and safe haven to opposition forces in order to advance Turkey’s strategic objectives, including the formation of a Sunni Islamist government to replace Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The mounting opposition losses in Aleppo Province directly undermine these core strategic interests and bring Russian military personnel to vital positions within forty miles of the Syrian-Turkish border. Turkey will likely respond to these inflections through military force. President Erdogan may even consider a range of high-risk military options to reassert his control over the conflict that could include providing the opposition with man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) or mounting a cross-border intervention into Northern Syria. These operations risk fueling an intensified regional proxy war or even a direct confrontation between Turkey and Russia. The current campaign undertaken by President Assad and his allies in Moscow and Tehran will be a driver of long-term disorder in Syria and the wider Middle East.

SOURCE: Institute for the Study of War

Iran Infiltrates the West Bank

Khaled Abu Toameh | Gatestone Institute

  • “The Patient Ones,” Al-Sabireen, are seeking Palestinians as a group to become an Iranian proxy in the region, and redoubling efforts to eliminate the “Zionist entity” and replace it with an Islamist empire.
  • Loosed from its sanction-based constrictions, Iran is now free to underwrite terror throughout the region. This is precisely what is happening in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Iran’s infiltration of the West Bank should serve as a red flag not only for Israel, but also for the U.S. and other Western powers. An Israeli pullout, leading to a Hamas takeover of the West Bank, has been a subject of concern. Now, a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians are wondering if such a vacuum will provide an opening for Iran.

Emboldened by its nuclear deal with the world powers, Iran is already seeking to enfold in its embracing wings the Arab and Islamic region.

Iran’s capacity for intrusions having been starved by years of sanctions. Now, with the lifting of sanctions, Tehran’s appetite for encroachment has been newly whetted — and its bull’s-eye is the West Bank.

Iran has, in fact, been meddling for many years in the internal affairs of the greater region. It has been party to the civil wars in Yemen and Syria, and, through the Shiite Muslims living there, continues actively to undermine the stability of many Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The lives of both the Lebanese and the Palestinians are also subject to the ambitions of Iran, which fills the coffers of groups such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

Until recently, Iran held pride of place as Hamas’s primary patron in the Gaza Strip. It was thanks to Iran’s support that Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, held hostage nearly two million Palestinians living in the Strip. Moreover, this backing enabled Hamas to smuggle all manner of weapons into the Gaza Strip, including rockets and missiles that were aimed and fired at Israel.

But the honeymoon between Iran and Hamas ended a few years ago, when Hamas refused to support the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad — Tehran’s major ally in the Middle East — against the Syrian opposition. Since then, the Iranians, who have lost confidence in their erstwhile Hamas allies, have been searching among the Palestinians for more loyal friends. And they seem to have found them: Al-Sabireen (“the Patient Ones”).

Al-Sabireen, Iran’s new ally, first popped up in the Gaza Strip, where they recruited hundreds of Palestinians, many of them former members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Palestinian sources report that Al-Sabireen has also succeeded in enlisting many disgruntled Fatah activists who feel betrayed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president, Mahmoud Abbas. This sense of betrayal is the fruit of the PA’s failure to pay salaries to its former loyalists. In addition, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination in mosques, social media and public rhetoric has radicalized Fatah members and driven them into the open arms of Islamist groups.

The Iranian-backed Al-Sabireen is already a headache for Hamas. The two terror groups share a radical ideology and both seek to destroy Israel. Nonetheless, Al-Sabireen considers Hamas “soft” on Israel because it does not wage daily terror attacks against its citizens. The “Patient Ones” are seeking Palestinians as a group to become an Iranian proxy in the region.

Ahmed Sharif Al-Sarh

Al-Sabireen’s Gaza commander, Ahmed Sharif Al-Sarhi (left), was responsible for a series of shooting attacks on Israel before he was fatally shot in October 2015 by IDF snipers along the border with the Gaza Strip. The Iranians are also believed to have supplied their new terrorist group in the Gaza Strip with Grad and Fajr missiles (right) that are capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

Indeed, Al-Sabireen appears to be redoubling its efforts to eliminate the “Zionist entity” and replace it with an Islamist empire. Toward that goal, the group is now seeking to extend its control beyond the Gaza Strip. The lifting of the sanctions against Iran coincided with reports that Al-Sabireen has infiltrated the West Bank, where it is working to establish terror cells to launch attacks against Israel.

According to Palestinian Authority security sources, Al-Sabireen has already located some West Bank Palestinians who were more than happy to join the group’s jihad against Jews and Israel.

PA security forces recently uncovered a terror cell belonging to Al-Sabireen in Bethlehem and arrested its five members. The suspects received money from the group’s members in the Gaza Strip in order to purchase weapons to attack Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank.

Al-Sabireen is not the only Iranian proxy whose eye is on the West Bank. Last month, in the West Bank city of Tulkarm, Israeli security forces uncovered and broke up a terrorist cell commanded by Hezbollah, which was planning suicide bombings and shooting attacks. The Palestinian members of the cell had been taught by Jawed Nasrallah, the son of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, how to carry out suicide bombings, assemble bomb vests, gather intelligence, and set up training camps.

All of this sounds eerily familiar. As it has spread its wings over Al-Sabireen and Hezbollah, Iran has done much the same with its other proxies such as the Houthis in Yemen and members of the Shiite communities in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, all the while fomenting instability and gaining bases of local power.

Loosed from its sanction-based constrictions, Iran is now free to underwrite terror throughout the region. This is precisely what is happening in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Iran’s infiltration of the West Bank should serve as a red flag not only for Israel, but also for the U.S. and other Western powers. At the moment, there is little to be done to combat Iran’s presence in the Gaza Strip. But Iran on Israel’s West Bank doorstep is a flag of a different color.

An Israeli pullout, leading to a Hamas takeover of the West Bank, has been a subject of concern. Now, a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians are wondering if such a vacuum will provide an opening for Iran.

The future of the Middle East and Europe would be shockingly different if any Palestinian state were to fall into the hands of Iran’s Islamic extremists and their allies.

The Palestinians and all interested parties might remember that Al-Sabireen is — if nothing else — patient.

Khaled Abu Toameh is an award winning journalist based in Jerusalem.

Source: GATESTONE

Rubio’s Aggressive Pro-amnesty Record Betrayed Americans and His Record of Lies

Rubio Gang of Eight

Marco Rubio and other members of the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight” in 2013. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Rubio is the candidate of open borders, Obamatrade and mass immigration, making one last attempt to pull off one big con. A vote for him is a vote for open borders, unlimited refugee resettlement and much more, read on…

Eagle Forum

THE ‘BIG CON’ BEGINS

To win in the 2010 Tea Party Wave, Rubio ran as the anti-amnesty candidate despite an aggressive pro-amnesty record.  Politico reports:

“Arturo Vargas, the executive director for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, said Rubio, the son of Cuban exiles born in Miami, blocked ‘scorched-earth’ legislation that sought to clamp down on illegal immigration. ‘He, as speaker, kept many of those from coming up to a vote,’ Vargas said. ‘We were very proud of his work as speaker of the House.’

“In 2006, Rubio even voted for a bill that would have allowed the children of illegal immigrants to pay the same tuition rates at Florida colleges as residents. Vargas now says Rubio, the candidate, takes a more pointed, less nuanced tone as he stresses border enforcement and his opposition to amnesty. ‘He’s become your typical candidate in terms of playing to his primary election base…’”

Rubio used amnesty opposition to get elected before coming to Washington to push the biggest mass immigration / amnesty bill anyone had ever seen.  He declared of Gov. Crist’s position that “an earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty,” and that illegals seeking citizenship should “return to their homeland,” and that “if you grant amnesty as the governor proposes that we do, in any form, whether it’s the back of the line or so forth, you will destroy any chance we will ever have of having a legal immigration system that works here in America.”

THE DREAM ACT

When Rubio came to Washington he immediately began working on the DREAM Act he campaigned against. He staffed his office with several of the most pro-amnesty individuals in Washington (like Cesar Conda) and was limp to the point of lifeless in his response when the President nullified immigration law with the DREAMer executive amnesty.

Then came the Romney defeat.  Billionaire donors and their pollsters declared that the GOP must pass an amnesty and mass immigration plan.  Rubio then joined the Gang of Eight — whose members understood that Rubio would be able to sell their disastrous product to conservative media in a way they never could.

Rubio is now cashing in his chits with the big money open-borders crowd.  Or, as The Hill put it: ”A group of Republican fundraising heavyweights and wise men in Washington’s business community are solidly behind Rubio, and see him not only as someone who could win the White House, but someone they can work with.”

LYING TO CONSERVATIVE MEDIA

Rubio’s repeatedly stated reason for joining the Gang was to get the most conservative bill out of the Senate; the reality, however, was that Rubio sold Republican lawmakers on a bill radically to the left of McCain-Kennedy: a bill that granted instant legalization, doubled annual foreign worker admissions (a much larger increase than McCain-Kennedy), issued 30 million green cards, provided mass amnesty, expedited citizenship for DREAMers without an age cap, removed the limits on family-based migration, etc., etc.  Rubio’s bill was supported by every single Senate Democrat, every single liberal house lawmaker, every progressive politician and group in the country, Nancy Pelosi, Luis Gutierrez, Harry Reid, La Raza, Center for American Progress, George Soros, and on and on.  Of course the White House was the biggest champion.

Rubio traded shamelessly on the affection and trust conservatives had placed in him.  His deceptions about his immigration bill rivaled and exceeded Obama’s claims about disastrous Obamacare.

The seminal moment of the media tour occurred early, on Rush Limbaugh’s show.  He declared: “if there is not language in this bill that guarantees that nothing else will happen unless these enforcement mechanisms are in place, I won’t support it.”

Of course, we know there wasn’t any such language but he voted for it anyway.  But this promise — and many others — and the calculated neutralization of conservative media, helped Schumer get 68 votes.  But conservatives trusted Rubio.  Limbaugh declared: “you are meeting everybody honestly.”

Rubio told Hannity, on his media tour, that: “I don’t think any of that [amnesty] begins until we certify that the border security progress has been real. That a workplace enforcement mechanism is in place. That we are tracking visitors to our country, especially when they exit.”  This prompted Hannity to reply: “It’s probably the most thoughtful bill that I have heard heretofore.”  At this point, it looked like the biggest mass immigration plan in history would breeze through Congress — all without Rubio saying a word about what was really in the heart of the bill: the largest immigration expansion in American history.  To this day, Rubio will not answer if asked about how many green cards his bill gave out.

Some of the most-repeated untruths flatly ignored the most basic features of the bill.  For instance, in explaining his endorsement of Rubio’s product, Bill O’Reilly said: “Senator Rubio told me on the phone today that it would be at least 13 years, 13, before people in the country illegally right now could gain full legal working status and even longer to achieve citizenship.”  In actuality, they gain legal working status the moment the bill is enacted, and the citizenship provisions begin in 5 years, starting with the DREAMers (who will then be able to get green cards for their foreign relatives).

Rubio pledged in an ABC news interview: “We are going to get the toughest enforcement measures in the history of this country.”  When the bill was introduced, Rubio put out a fact-check — and linked up with donors to run ads to the same effect — which declared Schumer’s plan to be “THE TOUGHEST BORDER SECURITY AND ENFORCEMENT PLAN IN U.S. HISTORY.”  And people believed him.

As the Washington Times reported:

“Mr. Rubio’s main public role in the debate wasn’t about amendments or specifics; it was about selling the measure to a skeptical conservative electorate. As a face of the 2010 tea party revolution, Mr. Rubio had the kind of lingering good will that gave him the opening Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and another key bill author, had long since squandered with much of their party.

“Mr. Rubio’s office said he averaged three or four cable television news appearances a week, appeared on every major nationally syndicated talk radio program — often more than once — and visited smaller shows, too.

“He set what pundits said was a record by doing seven Sunday political talk shows the same weekend in April — all five English-language shows and two Spanish-language programs. Mr. Rubio also did four or five Spanish-language interviews a week during the immigration debate.”

When people started discovering how the bill violated every one of his promises, Rubio would just insist — without evidence, without page numbers, without citations — that charges were untrue.  For instance: “In an interview with Ted Cruz, Mark Levin revealed that Rubio texted him about an hour before this interview and told him that what he is saying about the Senate immigration bill is not accurate. He told Cruz that Rubio flat out denies that Napolitano can ignore portions of the bill due to waivers and he asks Cruz if that is correct.”

And yet, to this day, Rubio has not only never retracted one of his false statements — never admitted any wrongdoing — but never even apologized to those he deceived, and their millions of listeners. Instead, he is raising more money and telling the same lies all over again, as he continues his push for mass amnesty and mass immigration.

BACK TAXES AND BACKGROUND CHECKS

Rubio said, often and repeatedly, (and does to this day in pitching his immigration plans) that illegals would have to “pay taxes and undergo a background check.” As we know now from the executive amnesty, there is no such thing as “back taxes,” for illegal immigrants as most have no net tax liability. Giving illegals Social Security numbers and the ability to collect tax credits represents a huge net cost to taxpayers, whereby the IRS mails illegal immigrants thousands of dollars in free benefits. Those granted amnesty under the plan became immediately eligible for ACTC and EITC. Amendments to actually require illegal immigrants to pay back taxes were defeated in the committee.

As for background checks, his bill allows the Secretary to grant amnesty to serious criminals including known gang members; those with convictions for serious crimes such as drug trafficking, sexual abuse, prostitution; those with any type of arrest record; fugitives from deportation orders and those who have been deported — for any reason — and are no longer in the country, or have illegally re-entered after being deported.

ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION

One of the big jokes in the behemoth bill was that the pointless enforcement mechanisms were all at the discretion of the Administration. Rubio explained: “the security triggers are not left at the discretion of politicians with agendas. Real measurable results must be achieved, and politicians cannot override them.”  As it was, this whole thing was happening in a post-executive amnesty environment. But the bill drastically expanded executive discretion beyond imagination.  In fact, Rubio’s immigration bill — designed by open borders advocates to end immigration law enforcement — had more waivers per page than Obamacare!

WE’LL FIX THE BILL

When criticism reached a point Rubio could not easily paper over, he adopted a new tactic: promising to fix the bill before it passed. In a closed-door House meeting, Rubio pledged to conservative lawmakers that he would oppose the bill unless it was fixed.  As ABC wrote: “now that he’s hearing serious resistance to the bill from his fellow conservatives, he’s threatening to vote ‘no’ on the very bill he helped write unless changes are made to strengthen the border security provisions.”  Washington Post wrote: “Rubio’s been saying for weeks that he can’t support the bill in its current form.” Rubio even launched a page on his website, saying: “submit your ideas below, on ways we can improve” the bill.

He even published a WSJ op-ed which began with this sentence: “intense public scrutiny has helped identify shortcomings and unintended consequences that need to be addressed.”

This was the new tactic: every time someone has a concern, just tell them it will get fixed in committee or on the floor. Consider this question from Sean Hannity: “Are you telling conservatives then to be patient with you? That the bill is not finished and maybe they’ve read too much into it too early?”

But this was another ruse: the Gang of Eight was working together to ensure no real changes were ever made to the bill.

The Washington Post reported: “the eight met in private before each committee hearing, hashing out which amendments they would support and which oppose as a united coalition. Senate aides said amendments were rejected if either side felt they would shatter the deal.” Politico reported: “During the Judiciary Committee markup in May, the Gang routinely met to decide which amendments they would support or oppose. In one meeting, the Senators thought they had all agreed to defeat a proposal from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to require a biometric exit and entry at points of entry before undocumented immigrants could secure green cards, according to one Senate Democratic aide.”  A hot mic confirmed it to the whole world: “A hot microphone caught Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) coordinating which way members of the ‘Gang of Eight’ who serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee would vote on immigration bill amendments… ‘Do our Republicans have a pass on this one if they want?’ the microphone caught Schumer saying.” What Schumer was referring to was that the bill — written with special interests like the Chamber of Commerce and La Raza — was to be protected from any amendment that advanced an interest other than those signed off on by these outside groups.  The writing of the bill, in many major respects, was outsourced to industry groups.

When the bill came to the floor — before Reid completely shut down the amendment process — Rubio joined the entire Gang of Eight in voting down an amendment to require completion of the entry-exit tracking system and the border fence before the amnesty. Rubio even voted down Chairman Grassley’s amendment to require enforcement first — again, keeping with his private deal to protect the amnesty at all costs.

Reid then shut off all amendments and the Gang of Eight famously filed a new 1,200-page substitute bill — worse than original — and invoked cloture, ending all amendment and ensuring a final vote before anyone could read it. This broke Rubio’s other promise: “Sen. Rubio has said he would not support this legislation if it was rushed through.”

The final product surely was one of the worst bills mashed together in the history of legislation itself.

THE MERIT-BASED MYTH

One of Rubio’s constant selling points for the bill was that it transformed our immigration system from family-based to merit-based. He said this over and over. In many respects, it was one of the biggest deceptions of all.  The bill issued approximately 33 million green cards in ten years. At an absolute maximum, under the bill, 2.5 million of those green cards would be issued on a merit basis (the merit-based section covered 120,000-250,000 visas a year).  But it gets worse: even within the merit-system, it favors low-skilled and family-based immigrants. For instance: the foreign sibling of a U.S. citizen with no education would receive 10 points; an alien with a bachelor’s degree would receive five points. An alien from a country with low immigration rates to the U.S. with no education would receive the same five points as well.

And it gets worse still — despite making the “merit-based” system one of his central selling points, the bill substantially increased chain migration by allowing for an unlimited number of visas for children and spouses of green card holders (including all illegal aliens given green cards), leaving intact the unlimited visas for the parents of citizens (including for illegals, beginning with adult DREAMers parents, spouses and children in the first 5 years), and clearing the so-called backlog of 5 million immigrants (mostly low-skilled and family-based) with surplus applications to enter the U.S. beyond existing annual limits.

As the liberal Migration Policy Institute explained: “the Senate bill would lift numerical limits and increase the number of permanent visas issued on the basis of nuclear family ties… [and] would dramatically expand options for low- and middle-skilled foreign workers to fill year-round, longer-term jobs and ultimately qualify for permanent residence.”  The Center for American Progress crowed that the family-based system would be three times larger than the merit-based system under the new plan (not even counting the amnesty).

Yet Rubio’s office claimed that: “Those given legal status will not be able to use chain migration or anything else to bring family members into the U.S.”  This statement defies comprehension.  Under current law, illegals cannot legally bring a single relative to the United States.  Under Rubio’s plan, they are given green cards and made citizens, guaranteeing them the right to bring relatives to the United States. And the bill goes further, expanding dramatically the way that green card holders — including every single amnestied illegal — can bring their relatives to the United States.

“THE SIZE OF THE FUTURE POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES WILL NOT BE IMPACTED”

One of the more extraordinary claims Rubio made was that the immigration bill would not increase (the already-record) rate of immigration into the United States.  Rubio’s office put out a fact-check declaring: “the size of the future population of the United States will not be significantly impacted by this legislation.”  Nevermind that CBO, Migration Policy Institute, NumbersUSA, Center For Immigration Studies, and Senator Sessions’ office all painstakingly documented the massive immigration increases in the bill.

Under the bill, had it been enacted in 2013, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population would eclipse every known historical record by 2022.  The total number of green cards issued would have tripled. Based on CBO data, the foreign-born population from outside the U.S. (not counting illegals inside the U.S. granted amnesty) would have grown 24 million in just a ten-year time frame. To put all that in perspective, during the first full decade of Kennedy’s 1965 immigration law, less than 5 million new immigrants were issued green cards.

But Rubio never discussed any of this openly. Instead he relied on vague euphemisms: saying his goal was “modernizing the legal immigration system to meet America’s 21st-century economic needs for both highly skilled talent and guest workers to fill labor shortages.”

Rubio’s entire career rests on the fact that no one will question his syrupy scripted bites and homeroom-president style rehearsed speeches.

NO WELFARE

To the end, Rubio declared that there would be no welfare allowed to illegals, and this was featured in a prominent ad on TV throughout the debate.  For example, Rubio said: “And then they don’t qualify for any federal benefits. This is an important point. No federal benefits, no food stamps, no welfare, no Obamacare.”  The rebuttal here is short: every illegal immigrant given a green card gains automatic, guaranteed access to federal welfare, every illegal alien given a work permit gains access to tax credits, and every illegal immigrant made a citizen gains access to everything.  In the interim, the bill allows illegals to claim generous state and local benefits (along with federal tax credits).  The benefits cost for the amnesty population would run into the trillions.

DECEIVING LAW ENFORCEMENT

Senator Rubio met with corporate interests to craft the Gang of Eight plan but not America’s ICE officers.  Eventually, right before the bill was dropped, Rubio finally did meet with the ICE Officers’ President Chris Crane and promised him he would “fix the bill.”  But Rubio did no such thing — in fact he made things worse — not better — for ICE, and Crane was livid.  The bill would have permanently destroyed immigration enforcement while legalizing dangerous aliens and exposing citizens to a rash of crime that could otherwise be stopped in its tracks.  Crane issued a press release which said:

“Senator Rubio, who promised ICE officers and Sheriffs that he would take steps to repair the bill’s provisions that gut interior enforcement, has abandoned that commitment.  He directly misled law enforcement officers. Senator Rubio left unchanged legislative provisions that he himself admitted to us in private were detrimental, flawed and must be changed.  Legislation written behind closed doors by handpicked special interest groups which put their political agendas and financial gains before sound and effective law and the welfare and safety of the American public. As a result, the 1,200-page substitute bill before the Senate will provide instant legalization and a path to citizenship to gang members and other dangerous criminal aliens, and handcuff ICE officers from enforcing immigration laws in the future.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Gang of Eight members on the Judiciary committee killed an amendment that would have stripped the amnesty-for-gang-members provision in the bill — i.e. a simple amendment to deny amnesty to gang members was defeated, ensuring that Rubio’s bill would allow illegal immigrant gang members to become citizens and bring their relatives to join them in the United States.

Rubio, during his time as Florida Speaker, also let a bill die to block sanctuary cities — and Miami is one of the biggest sanctuary cities in the country.

Revealing Rubio’s character, it is also worth recalling that during his introduction press conference, Rubio stood frozen like a statue as ICE officer, council President, and former Marine Chris Crane was removed from the room for trying to ask a question. Shameful. Crane would later testify: “Never before have I seen such contempt for law enforcement officers as I’ve seen from the Gang of Eight.”

AMERICAN WORKERS CAN’T CUT IT

In a for-attribution interview with Ryan Lizza, two senior Rubio staffers expressed frustration that they couldn’t get even more foreign workers crammed into the bill for their boss.  They explained: “There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it.”

Rubio’s spokesman — now his campaign spokesman — also compared opponents of amnesty to slaveholders.  More on that here.

FIANCÉ VISAS

Rubio’s bill opened the floodgates for fiancé visas — and fiancé children — an unprecedented security risk and another handout to the foreign immigration lobby.

DIFFERENT MESSAGE FOR SPANISH MEDIA

At the same time Rubio was pledging to conservatives his bill was enforcement first, Rubio had a different message in Spanish media.  As Byron York reported:

“Let’s be clear,” Rubio said. “Nobody is talking about preventing the legalization. The legalization is going to happen. That means the following will happen: First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border. And then comes the process of permanent residence.”

“As for the legalization, the enormous majority of my colleagues have accepted that it has to happen and that it has to begin at the same time we begin the measures for [the border],” Rubio said. “It is not conditional. The legalization is not conditional.”

Of course, this presentation to Spanish media was accurate: the bill conferred immediate legal status on illegal immigrants that included work authorization, federal benefits, the ability to travel in and out of the country, immunity from deportation the second the bill was passed, and a path to citizenship.

Caught in the contradiction, Rubio had a new explanation for conservatives.  Byron York writes again:

“Why is it necessary to legalize the roughly 11 million currently illegal immigrants in the U.S. before newly enhanced border security and internal enforcement measures are in place? Sen. Marco Rubio, the leading Republican on the Senate’s Gang of Eight, says part of the reason is that the federal government can’t afford to secure the border on its own and needs financial help from the immigrants themselves, in the form of fines paid when they are legalized.

“‘We need to register them as soon as possible, not just to keep the problem from getting worse, but we’re going to require them to pay a fine, and that’s the money that we are going to use to pay for the border security,’ Rubio explained. ‘If we don’t get that fine money from the people that have violated our immigration laws, then the American taxpayer is going to have to pay for border security.’”

Then Hannity did another interview.  Highlights:

Fox News’ Sean Hannity: “You said in a Univision interview, Senator, that got a lot of play and a lot of anger among conservatives, you said ‘legalization is going to happen. First comes legalization, then comes measures to secure the border.’  Is that the priority? Shouldn’t it be secure the border first?”

Rubio: “Well, first of all, that’s not what the bill does. How the bill works is, permanent residency, which is the ability to stay in the country permanently and one day even apply for citizenship, for that to happen, E-Verify has to happen…”

Hannity: “Can I just get you to maybe reiterate — just because there’s been so much debate about this — you’re saying that you’re pretty confident tomorrow that the border will be secure first, with triggers, before there’s any path to legalization?”

Rubio: “Before there’s any path to permanent residency.”

Hannity: “Senator, I think a lot of people were surprised that — in previous interviews that I had with you — you said that you’d secure the border first, but a number of amendments have been voted on that would do just that, a couple yesterday, and you voted against them.”

Rubio: “The reason why Sean, is that I think the proposals need to go even further.”

Yet Rubio’s website still touted (and touts): “The most important thing that happens on day one is that the toughest border security and enforcement plan in American history will be the law of the land. Those who came here illegally after the December 31, 2011 cut-off date will be deported.”  (How he was going to get President Obama to deport every illegal who arrived after 2011 was not clear.)

“WHITE HOUSE OFFERS STEALTH CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT IMMIGRATION BILL”

Part of the song and dance show was the White House agreed not to publicly push the bill too loudly while Rubio was trying to sell it to conservative media.  Of course, the White House knew they made out like bandits with the bill.

About a week before passage, the NYT ran an article entitled “White House offers stealth campaign to support immigration bill.”  What Rubio never told anyone — what to this day he has never been asked about — is that the White House was running the show in the Senate.  The NYT explained:

“The hide-out has no sign on the door, but inside Dirksen 201 is a spare suite of offices the White House has transformed into its covert immigration war room on Capitol Hill.

“Strategically located down the hall from the Senate Judiciary Committee in one of the city’s massive Congressional office buildings, the work space normally reserved for the vice president is now the hub of a stealthy legislative operation run by President Obama’s staff. Their goal is to quietly secure passage of the first immigration overhaul in a quarter century.

“‘We are trying hard not to be heavy handed about what we are doing,’ said Cecilia Muñoz, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and the president’s point person on immigration.” [and former VP of La Raza]

REFUGEES:

Rubio’s bill included language giving the President unprecedented power to expand refugee resettlement.

IMMIGRATION-FOR-PROFIT:
Rubio’s lawyer who wrote the bill also enriched his clients through it.

RUBIO REVERTS AGAIN TO PASS THE BILL

Having done his best to delay and defer conservative criticism with one misdirection after the other, Rubio returned to his original pitch to pass the now 1,200-page monstrosity — filled with giveaways for the most powerful corporate interests on the planet — declaring once again: “The proposal mandates the most ambitious border and interior security measures in our nation’s history.”

Rubio’s pledges to “fix the bill” — were of course hollow.  Again, the Washington Times writes:

“Heading into the debate, Mr. Rubio said he wanted significant changes, including to border security, to the entry-exit system to check visitors’ visas, and to the requirement that newly legalized immigrants show they have learned English before they earn green cards.

“Mr. Rubio called the English-language loophole ‘one of the bill’s shortcomings’ and vowed to fix it, and even wrote an amendment to require immigrants to prove English skills, rather than merely sign up for classes, which under the bill is considered acceptable.

“The Senate never considered that, nor Mr. Rubio’s other amendment to modify eligibility for the Dream Act.

“The Senate also ignored the list of nearly two-dozen changes Mr. Rubio’s office floated ahead of the debate in a three-page document designed to point out potential flaws and solutions to the bill.”

National Review wrote: “It is painful to watch Marco Rubio’s maneuverings on immigration. He is refusing to say whether he will vote “yes” on his own Gang of Eight bill after spending months drafting, defending, and helping shepherd it to the floor. He has supposedly discovered that the enforcement provisions are inadequate, although he has done countless interviews touting that the bill contains the “toughest immigration-enforcement measures in the history of United States” (which is what his website still says). At the same time, Rubio declares the bill 95-96 percent perfect.” Again: National Review has never received an apology for being repeatedly lied to by Rubio.

Of course, in the end, Rubio voted for it, ignoring every prior commitment and promise that he made.

Here is what the head of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, representing 12,000 USCIS employees, had to say about the final version of the bill as adopted:

“The amended 1,200-page immigration bill, if passed, will exacerbate USCIS concerns about threats to national security and public safety… It will allow immigrants to break the law in the future and still be eligible for citizenship, as it absolves prospective behavior, not simply past mistakes. It will do away with the applicability of certain grounds of inadmissibility as contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act. It will wipe away the enforcement process that compels law breakers who overstay their visas to return to their home country and restart the immigration process. This bill rewards immigrants who break the law, more so than the prior bill proposed by the Gang of Eight…It was deliberately designed to undermine the integrity of our lawful immigration system. This bill should be opposed and reforms should be offered based on consultation with the USCIS adjudicators who actually have to implement it. Hopefully, lawmakers will read the bill before casting their votes. I say put a cork in it.”

As the ICE Officers’ Council intoned about the final 1,200-page substitute bill:

“[The bill] became a wish list for special interest groups representing and profiting from illegal immigrants. Regretfully, the months of talking points by the Gang of Eight do not accurately reflect the content of this bill… Instead of empowering ICE agents to enforce the law, this legislation empowers political appointees to further violate the law and unilaterally stop enforcement…Far from fixing the bill, the [substitute bill] makes it worse… the 1,200-page substitute bill before the Senate will provide instant legalization and a path to citizenship to gang members and other dangerous criminal aliens, and handcuff ICE officers from enforcing immigration laws in the future…”

Or, as Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol put it in a joint op-ed: “[The Gang of Eight] bill, passed out of the Senate, is a comprehensive mistake. House Republicans should kill it without reservation… House Republicans can do the country a service by putting a stake through its heart.”

BACK TO HIS OLD WAYS

Running for President, Rubio now continues to deliver different messages for different audiences. Asked by Hannity about executive amnesty he said: “absolutely, that would be reversed,” under his presidency. Simple enough, right?  Well, not so fast. Here is what he told Jorge Ramos: “DACA is going to have to end at some point. I wouldn’t undo it immediately. The reason is that there are already people who have that permission, who are working, who are studying, and I don’t think it would be fair to cancel it suddenly. But I do think it is going to have to end. And, God willing, it’s going to end because immigration reform is going to pass.” So, Rubio’s message for Spanish media is that an illegal unconstitutional amnesty which provides work permits, tax credits, Social Security and Medicare to illegal immigrants will remain in place until a legislated amnesty takes its place, “God Willing.” So the voters don’t get a say: they’ve defeated the DREAM Act legislation over and again, but Rubio is saying: you only get two choices, an unconstitutional executive amnesty for DREAMers or you can make them citizens under the DREAM Act. President Obama says the same thing.

And what about border security first? Another continuing lie. Breitbart writes: “The chief spokesman for the presidential campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in an on-record interview with Breitbart News that the senator, if elected president, would not require a secured border before he gives legislative and permanent amnesty to recipients of President Barack Obama’s first executive amnesty, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program… ‘I mean when we were working on the 2012 bill, that was independent of the border,’ Conant said. ‘These are the kids that already — I mean, the kids are in a very unique situation because they didn’t willingly break the law.’”

Rubio continues to talk about modernizing our immigration system to make it “merit-based” without ever being called out on the fact that his idea of merit-based is 30 million green cards to mostly low-skilled foreign workers. And, he is the lead sponsor of legislation to triple H-1Bs and have functionally unlimited foreign hiring through universities — which translates to a huge green card increase sold to foreign nationals by college and universities with no accountability. And, just like his old Gang of Eight days, he’s pretending his foreign worker surge (of course he never admits it’s that, but uses the same misleading language as always) would help workers while his new bill — a legislative creature developed by technology tycoons for their benefit — would destroy them. The public vehemently repudiates a foreign worker surge, perhaps why Senator Rubio doesn’t mention that’s what his plan does.

Rubio also refuses to say whether he’d sign his own Gang of Eight bill into law if he were President (since, after all, he loses McCain’s 2010 Senate Campaign “trust” argument if he, not Obama, is President).

Rubio is also the only candidate in the race still advocating citizenship for all illegal immigrants, and all that necessarily entails in terms of fiscal costs and chain migration.  (Jeb’s book did not call for universal citizenship, like Rubio.) To this day, Rubio has not backed off a single policy in the Gang of Eight bill (see more here).

Rubio has also backed the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States and OPPOSED efforts by conservatives to strip funding for refugees. And his new I-Squared bill — backed by his top tech donors like Larry Ellison — would massively expand Muslim immigration without limit. He has also called Muslim immigration a constitutional right.

Perhaps the single most telling fact is who reportedly joined Rubio’s campaign team as staff or advisor: the exact same team that brought you the Gang of Eight bill: the same attorney who wrote it (Enrique Gonzalez), the same communications staffers who sold it, the same Senate Chief of Staff who helped dream it all up (Cesar Conda) and, most importantly, the campaign strategist more associated with mass immigration than any consultant in America (Whit Ayres).

The open-borders donors, like Paul Singer, know exactly what they are buying with Senator Rubio. They are in on the con, and their mark is America.

CONCLUSION

There is no single major distinguishing policy difference between Marco Rubio, John McCain or Lindsey Graham. They have the same trade policy, immigration policy and foreign policy.  But on immigration most especially — the issue in which all four have invested the most — there is no daylight separating them.

The difference, then, is one of persona, not policy.  And in the arena of immigration, this translates into a vital difference.  The biggest change from McCain-Kennedy, which could not get out of the Senate, and the Gang of Eight — which was nursed along by conservative pundits despite being to the left of Kennedy’s bill — was the presence of Rubio.  Rubio created the conditions necessary to produce a considerably more open borders bill: conservatives who were invested in the Rubio Brand provided no early pushback but accepted Kennedy’s old talking points, and Rubio gave red state Democrats the political space necessary to support it.  This is how it got 68 votes in the Senate.

The stakes of course are raised considerably if Rubio is President or Vice President. Rubio would have a much, much better chance than Obama of getting an open borders bill through Congress — while Boehner could refuse to bring up Obama’s mass immigration/amnesty bill for vote in 2014, Ryan would never refuse Rubio’s bill.  Rubio’s presence, as it did with the Gang of Eight, would create the cover for both certain Republicans and all Democrats to get behind a far more open borders plan.  Given that nearly every House Democrat sponsored the Gang of Eight House version (including Pelosi and Gutierrez), Ryan would not need to gather that many additional votes (House GOP leaders might have refused Obama’s 2014 request for a vote but they would not refuse President Rubio’s).

All of which adds up to: there is likely no person in the United States of America in a better position to enact mass immigration legislation than a President Rubio — no one who could deliver more votes in both parties for open borders immigration.  Senator Rubio is not Main Street’s Obama, he is Wall Street’s Obama: President Obama was a hardcore leftist running as centrist; Senator Rubio is a Wall Street globalist running as a tea party conservative.

Unlike other legislation, the effects of bad immigration policy cannot be repealed. They are forever. The Republican party would never nominate a pro-Obamacare candidate, and it must be an even stronger maxim that it should not nominate any candidate who is committed to a policy of mass immigration. Rubio wrote the Obamacare of immigration policies: a bill that would have eviscerated the middle class, plunged millions into poverty, legalized the most dangerous aliens on the planet, overwhelmed our schools and safety nets, and done irreversible violence to the idea of America as a nation-state. Rubio is the candidate of open borders, Obamatrade and mass immigration, making one last attempt to pull off one big con.

America’s “Last Chance”

US Flag

Phyllis Schlafly | Eagle Forum

February 3, 2016

On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, where the first ballots for the next president are cast, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Jeff Sessions85%Senate Republican Average29See Full Scorecard85%, who has not endorsed a candidate, gave a round of interviews declaring that 2016 “is the last chance for the American people to take back control of their government.”

“This election is different because we have pell mell erosion of law, the constitutional order, where President Obama has pushed an agenda that eviscerates the immigration legal system, and pushed this trade agreement that will commence decades of transferring American economic power to an ever-expanding international commission. It’s just not going to stop.”

“This is the way the European Union began,” he added. Daily news reports are now vividly describing how the EU is disintegrating, making Americans mighty glad we never joined any proposed North American Union.

Europe has been in an uproar for months over Germany’s decision to admit 1.1 million refugees, mostly young men of fighting age from war-torn countries, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has finally started to backtrack from that reckless decision. Merkel announced that refugees will be sent back home after the war is over in their homeland, and she even suggested that border guards should shoot at migrants who try to enter Germany illegally.

In Britain, meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has been trying to get permission from the EUrocrats to impose a four-year waiting period for the most generous welfare benefits, in order to discourage new immigrants from other EU countries. A spokesman for the grassroots organization called Leave. EU points out that even if Cameron’s proposal were approved, “we are not even asking for an end to the supremacy of EU law over national law, genuine control over migration or independent representation on global bodies and the power to make our own trade deals.”

Our nation’s sovereignty depends on control of both immigration and trade, and that’s why Senator Sessions urges voters to choose a candidate who promises to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal with nearly a dozen Asian nations. A new study by economists at Tufts University predicts that U.S. ratification of the TPP would shrink our GDP by $100 billion, leading to a loss of 448,000 American jobs.

This election will be the last chance for Americans to get control of their government,” said Sessions, after 30 years of promises to end illegal immigration. “I think this election is the big one.

“To win, Republicans need to demonstrate that they care about the average person who goes to work every day,” he added. Average Americans are tired of paying billions in welfare handouts to immigrants who are undermining U.S. wages.

“People should have total confidence and a clear commitment on those issues. If they don’t, then they don’t have my vote,” he said.

The importance of Sessions’ statements on key issues in the presidential race, especially immigration and TPP, should not be underestimated. Sessions warned that, if the next president approves the TPP, it would put our trade with Asia under a powerful international commission on which the United States would have just one vote.

Our immigration policy has been anti-American, decade after decade, and the voters need to know that 2016 might be our last chance to elect a president who can reduce this tide of illegals crossing our borders. The interests of working Americans, their jobs, their wages, their hospitals, their schools, and the public safety, must “be put first,” Sessions urged.

“We need a president with the credibility to tell the world that the time of illegality is over. Do not come to this country unlawfully,” he said.

“Make sure – because this could be the last chance – that the vote you cast is for a person who is going to, with courage and steadfastness, fix the immigration system that’s so broken and is impacting adversely Americans’ safety, their wages, their hospitals, their schools, those kind of things,” Sessions said during an appearance on the Howie Carr radio program, which is heard throughout New Hampshire.

“And also we need to know with absolute clarity: are you for or against the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he added. “It must not pass.”

“This may be the last opportunity the American people will have to have their will imposed and create a lawful immigration system that serves the national interest,” Sessions emphasized. “I know we have to talk about the economy, national security, and the military, and the budget, and it’s hard to know who’s got the best idea,” Sessions said.

“But on these two issues [immigration and TPP], I think the voters should say, ‘If you’re not going to be right on those, I’m not voting for you in this primary and I’m not going to vote for you as president.’ I really think it’s that important.”

Further Reading: This Is The Jeff Sessions Election And The GOP Is Just Along For The Ride

SOURCE: EAGLE FORUM

Removal Of Sanctions Will Make It Easier For Iran To Keep Funding Terror

Memri

Writers In Gulf Press: Removal Of Sanctions Will Make It Easier For Iran To Keep Funding Terror, And Will Facilitate Its Plans To Harm Other Countries

Following the January 16, 2016 publication of the International Atomic Energy Agency report verifying that Iran has met its commitments under the JCPOA, nuclear-related sanctions on Iran have been lifted, and $100 billion in Iranian assets has been unfrozen. In response, many writers have published articles in the Gulf press stating that the West is deluding itself by thinking that Iran’s behavior will now change for the better.

These writers warned that Iran will continue to fund terror organizations across the world and to seek to destabilize its neighbors in order to bring down their regimes, and that the infusion of billions of dollars will only help it do so. They also said that the Iranian regime and its affiliates, first and foremost members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), are the only ones who will profit and benefit from these funds, while the Iranian people will continue to live in poverty and oppression. One writer even called the U.S. “a cheating, lying ally undeserving of a minimum of trust,” and stated that its insistence on bringing Iran back into the international fold is aimed at igniting the Middle East in order to justify a permanent U.S. presence there.

Conversely, a Kuwaiti writer expressed hope that the lifting of the sanctions will lead to strengthening of the moderates in Iran, and called on the Gulf states to immediately launch an open dialogue with them, for the good of all the peoples in the region. This, he said, is preferable to squandering huge sums on weaponry and on a war that no one will win.

The following are translated excerpts from the articles.

Qatari Writer: Those Who Believes Iran Has Changed With The Lifting Of Sanctions Are Deluding Themselves

Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, a Qatari writer and intellectual and former dean of the Shari’a and Islamic Studies faculty at the University of Qatar, wrote in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida that the lifting of the sanctions on Iran will not make Iran a more decent and honest state, but a more violent one: “All those who are betting that this [Iranian] regime will become more decent and will return to the fold of the international community as a normal state… are deluding themselves. The Western countries and the U.S., that are betting on the removal of the sanctions and the ending of the embargo strengthening the reformist forces and bringing about the longed-for change, are completely ignoring the nature of this regime… [This regime] cannot exist without interfering [in other countries], because if it did not do so, it would lose its religious and doctrinal legitimacy.

“Evidence that the [Iranian] regime cannot change or become decent or normal is the fact that its appetite for ballistic weapons only increased after the sanctions were lifted, and that its interference in the region has become more violent, after the [show of] smiles by [Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad] Zarif and the optimism of [Iranian President Hassan] Rohani.”[1]

Cartoon in Bahraini Daily The Billions that Iran regains will become explosives

Cartoon In Bahraini Daily: “The billions that Iran regains will become explosives” (Source: Akhbar Al-Khaleej, Bahrain, January 24, 2016)

Saudi Writer: Kerry’s Illusions That The Region Will Now Be Safer Will Not Change Reality

Mashari Al-Zaydi, columnist for the Saudi London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wrote that U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and the entire West are deluded if they thought that the situation in the region would improve following the lifting of the sanctions: “Will our region become safer and more stable after Europe and the U.S. lift the sanctions on Iran? This is the essential question in the story. As far as President Obama’s staff is concerned, first and foremost Secretary of State John Kerry, this will indeed happen with Iran, after the signing of the decision to lift the sanctions…

“John Kerry, the godfather of the JCPOA, said at a meeting with his Iranian bridegroom Foreign Minister Zarif that [the agreement] was the result of steps taken since last July, and that as a result of it ‘the U.S. and its friends and allies in the Middle East and worldwide are now safer.’ [Also,] EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that [this agreement] will strengthen stability and peace in the region…

“[But] the agreement, as has already been said again and again, is flawed in structure, since it restricts the problem of Iran to the nuclear issue, and [disregards] its destructive political conduct in the region, which is the main problem. Proof of this is that Iran has remained loyal to this destructive path, both before and after the announcement of [the JCPOA’s Implementation Day]. Moreover, the U.S. Treasury Department has [even] placed new sanctions on Iran because of its test-launches of ballistic missiles…

“In truth, there is no need for panic, because Obama and all those beside him have built this agreement on castles in the sand, and the wave of reality that will come will wash them away. This is because Khomeinist Iran can be only what it is , and Kerry’s and Mogherini’s delusions will not succeed in changing the geographic, demographic, and historic facts in the Middle East.”[2]

Bahraini Commentator: With The Billions It Receives, Iran Will Again Fund Terror Organizations

Sa’ied Al-Hamad, a Bahraini media figure, writer and  political commentator, warned in the Bahraini daily Al-Ayyam that the Iranian regime would use the unfrozen billions to continue funding terror. The Iranian regime, he said, has never hidden the fact that it funds terror organizations operating in neighboring countries, and neither is it hiding it now; furthermore, even Secretary of State Kerry acknowledged this.

Al-Hamad wrote: “About the funds that Iran will regain following the lifting of the sanctions, Kerry said, ‘I believe that some of these funds will reach the IRGC or other bodies, some of which are classified as terror organizations’… A senior Iranian official told the Times … that the IRGC, especially [its] Al-Qods [Force], will profit from the new fortune that will come with the lifting of the sanctions, and that the IRGC and the Qods Force represent the main ammunition of Iran in the region. He used the military term ‘ammunition’ explicitly, [the meaning of which] is not obscure to any reasonable person. Another Iranian official [said]: ‘When you are rich, you can better help your friends.’ He did not clarify who these friends were, and left it for observers and those concerned to figure out – but [understanding] this demands little effort or brains.

“The Iranian regime does not hide the massive funding that it has allocated in the past to militias, groups, and organizations that it planted in neighboring countries, which have carried out sabotage and terror operations in order to bring down those regimes and to pave the way for the turban-wearers in [the Iranian holy city of] Qom, to fulfill their dream, and to reestablish their Safavid empire. This is the ideological [Iranian] dream, which cannot be denied.

“The Iranian people is perhaps the only one that knows and understands that the lifting of the sanctions and the return of the billions will not help it, because these [funds] have been divvied up and allocated to elements that will benefit from them even before they reach Tehran… [The Iranian people] will emerge emptyhanded, and its rejoicing at the lifting of the sanctions and at the return of the billions was disproportionate to the magnitude of the event, because it knows the path of the ‘one and only leader’ [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei and knows to whom these funds will be directed…”[3]

Hizbullah Assad the IRGC Al-Qaeda and Shiite militias

The terror organizations including Hizbullah, Assad, the IRGC, Al-Qaeda and Shi’ite militias, that will benefit from the unfreezing of Iranian assets (Source: Al-‘Arab, London, January 24, 2016)

Kuwaiti Writer: Billions Will Flow To The IRGC; The Iranian People Will Continue To Be Oppressed And Impoverished

Similar statements were made by Kuwaiti writer ‘Abdallah Al-Hadlaq, who, in an article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan, accused the Iranian regime, particularly the IRGC, of plundering Iran’s economic resources while the Iranian people “is bowed under the yoke of oppression and poverty.” He argued that this will not change even after the sanctions are lifted and billions of dollars are unfrozen: “The fascist Persian Iranian turbaned regime that rules Tehran… interferes in every single matter, and deposits the country’s resources in the hands of those with whom it is pleased, or those who guarantee its continued existence, primarily the Persian Revolutionary Guards. When the sanctions on Iran are lifted, and the billions return to it, the people, who is bowed under the yoke of oppression and poverty, knows that it will receive a mere pittance from it, and that the situation will remain the same or even grow worse.

“In terms of economic resources, Iran is considered wealthy, even very wealthy… But this wealth is not reflected in the lives of its residents; only the tiniest fraction of it reaches their pockets… The men of the Persian regime and the IRGC are the unrivalled leaders of the [economic] battle – while the sanctions have hurt all Iranians, they have greatly benefited the IRGC, because after foreign firms left Iran, much of what they had been doing was taken over by the Persian IRGC, allowing it to increase its influence in the country and to take over the billions belonging to the Iranian people…

“The issue of lifting economic sanctions on Iran once again brings up the main question: Will things change? The answer of all those who follow [this issue] indicates that things will indeed change – in greater profit for these same [already wealthy] elements and for the Persian IRGC, which hold the [most important] economic junctions, and will partner the foreign investors on most new projects. The profits of those who already stand to gain will increase, and as for the poor – they will become even more impoverished and miserable in the face of an accursed revolution that consumed its own sons, and then their resources. The unfrozen billions will help strengthen the fascist Iranian Persian regime’s ability to support, fund, and sponsor global terrorism and the satanic and evil plans of the land of the Persians – Iran.”[4]

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Bahraini cartoon: “Iran after sanctions are lifted” (Source: AkhbarAl-Khaleej, Bahrain, January 26, 2016)

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The burning Middle East pays the price of U.S.-Iran relations (Source: Al-‘Arab, London, January 15, 2016)

 

Kuwaiti Commentator: “The U.S. Is Nothing But A Cheating, Lying Ally Undeserving Of A Minimum Of Trust”

In a scathing article in the Kuwaiti Al-Rai daily titled “John Kerry, Your Loyalty Is Less Than Zero,” Mubarak Muhammad Al-Hajri accused the U.S. of insisting on bringing Iran back into the global arena in order to ignite the Middle East; this, he said, serves American interests: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has come to the Gulf region many times to warn of the increasing Iranian power [there], and to clarify [to the Gulf states] that the U.S. will not be able to protect them, using various baseless pretexts and excuses [to demonstrate this]. Naturally, the Gulf states are not as naïve as the Americans think, and have tired of the games played by the American diplomats and of the psychological warfare that they are constantly waging [against them] – to the point that even a simpleton far from the air and filth of politics can clearly see that the U.S. is nothing but a cheating, lying ally undeserving of a minimum of trust.

“[The U.S.’s] policy and statements that contradict each other leave us no choice but to expect an Iranian return to the international community, sponsored by the U.S. – despite its black record of supporting terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, Argentina, and other regions that have not escaped the Iranian regime, and despite its human rights violations and its oppression of domestic minorities and the opposition, and other shameful things of this kind. But the U.S. insisted on bringing Iran back into the global arena, as it disregards international peace and security…

“Once, the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] states were considered to be not independent and the weakest link in the Middle East – but they have managed, admirably, to reverse this equation… and now they are in charge and enforce their [own] decisions despite U.S. ire.

“The White House diplomats do not want to hear this harsh truth, in light of Iran-U.S. harmony. The unfrozen $100 billion will not go to the Iranian people, but rather to the militias and gangs loyal to the Iranian mullahs, to spark more sectarian wars and conflicts [in the Middle East] and to spread chaos and instability [there]. It is this that the U.S. wants, since this is absolutely in line with its agenda, which has transformed the Middle East into a collection of tension[-filled] hives so as to justify its permanent presence there.”[5]

US Iran Handshake

Arabs squeezed by U.S.-Iran handshake (Source: Al-‘Arabi Al-Jadid, London, January 17, 2016)

Kuwaiti Writer: Needed Immediately: Political-Economic Reconciliation With Iran

Taking a different tack than the others, Kuwaiti writer Hassan Al-‘Issa, in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida, expressed hope that the lifting of sanctions would strengthen Iran’s moderate forces and deescalate tensions in the region. He called on the Gulf states to immediately launch a dialogue with Iran, with the aim of gaining political-economic reconciliation that would benefit all the peoples of the region:

“The lifting of the international sanctions on Iran, and its entry in force into the oil export market, rub salt on the wounds of the [Gulf] Cooperation Council states, which are drowning in the mighty torrent of their increased [oil] production and the lack of a demand, at a fair price, for their orphaned goods. However, as an Omani official said, beyond this pessimism lies some optimism, in that the lifting of sanctions could bring about a kind of peaceful atmosphere in our burning region, and because the status of the moderates in the [Islamic] Republic of Iran… will grow stronger vis-à-vis the extremist forces… having proven the seriousness of their policy in dealing with the extremists, and successfully extricating Iran from the sanctions.

“Should there be open talks between our countries and Iran in order to emerge from the war that is being conducted in Syria and Yemen by means of proxies, we would stand to gain much, since the excuse for the massive expenditure for armament would become invalid, and we could be saving that money and spending it in the right places to serve our peoples instead of channeling it to the pockets of the arms-dealer cliques. Those who stand the most to gain [from such talks], even more than us, are the two peoples, Syrian and Yemeni. The tragedy of Syria has gone on for a long time and could go on even longer, so long as both sides in the struggle [i.e. Saudi Arabia and Iran] believe that they can achieve a decisive victory – while reality proves that such civil wars always end with no winner and no loser, as happened in Lebanon.

“In Yemen, Iran could agree to [adopt the policy of] its moderate wing… according to which there is no point in inciting the Houthis, and no solution except in agreement among all the Yemenis, from all sects and tribes. We must acknowledge that what is happening now is first and foremost a war of attrition waged against Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states that are subordinate to it…

“Let us look inward to our Gulf, and open the window of dialogue and reconciliation – because political-economic reconciliation [with Iran] is not a luxury but rather an urgent necessity that cannot be postponed or delayed.”[6]

SOURCE: MEMRI

Endnotes:

 

[1]  Al-Jarida (Kuwait), January 25, 2016.

[2]  Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 18, 2016.

[3]  Al-Ayyam (Bahrain), January 25, 2016.

[4]  Al-Watan (Kuwait), January 24, 2016.

[5]  Al-Rai (Kuwait), January 27, 2016.

[6]  Al-Jarida (Kuwait), January 19, 2016.

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