U.S. Rep. Mike Pence has just come out against the new immigration bill, saying that it “amounts to amnesty.” This brings up an “I told you so” point. Pence had an excellent bill on this subject last year, which I believe I was the very first person to write about and endorse. Some conservatives called Pence a sell-out. But not only did they misunderstand his bill, they also utterly misread the political tea leaves. The Pence bill was MUCH stricter against the spread of illegal immigration, much more rigorous overall, than this new one is. And the Pence bill, if embraced by some conservatives and not loudly opposed by others, might well have passed last year. It was utterly predictable, though, that if nothing passed last year, we would be presented with a WORSE bill this year because it was clear conservatives were going to lose ground in Congress in the 2006 elections. Pence’s proposal would have seriously closed the border, and would have used a combination of the free market and strict enforcement to make sure that no illegals could thrive here without first leaving the country and coming back under legal auspices. Most of the ingenious Pence provisions are lacking from this so-called compromise. By not embracing Pence, conservatives condemned the country to a bill concocted by Ted Kennedy. Nice work. Not.
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