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A Letter on the Immigration Bill

"Unmask the RINOs"?

I received this note yesterday, pursuant to the below column on the immigration compromise:
I would like to know the names of the "so-called leading Republicans" who met in the back room with all those illegal backing organizations of activists to try to put over this obscene immigration bill. They certainly were not in tune with the American voters, and my guess is that they were RINOs.

They should be unmasked.

[Name redacted], Los Alamos
After thinking about this for a few moments, I decided to pen a response:

Dear [Name redacted],

Several Republicans were involved in this compromise legislation, including Arizona Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain (whose appearances at the meetings were, until last week, mostly made by proxy due to his busy campaing schedule), Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, and Sen. John Cornyn from Texas. The fact that Senators Kyl and Cornyn were complicit in this agreement, though, should not cause them to be newly branded as RINOs so much as it should raise eyebrows about their apparent naivete in trusting that the provisions for which they fought - and for which they made concessions - would actually be included in the bill's final draft. For example, as mentioned in the original column, while Jon Kyl was appearing on television Thursday night touting the major accomplishment of getting a measure included in the bill which would eliminate chain migration, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was on another network promising that that provision would not be included in the bill's final draft.

It should also not be assumed from their participation in this venture that all of the Republicans involved were in agreement on what concessions to make, what provisions to fight for, and what a "successful" immigration bill would contain. There was a great deal of friction between the participating Republicans -- especially on the final day of negotiations, when Cornyn was the object of a profanity-laced blowup by McCain. This apparently came about when, as the time approached for the prescheduled triumphant joint press conference announcing the agreement, the former remained unwilling drop his request for inclusion in the bill of a provision streamlining deportation procedures, instead choosing to champion principle over concession and easy compromise. For his trouble, after working with those involved "in good faith" for three months, Cornyn was ordered by McCain to leave the negotiating room – and his provision was not included in the final draft of the bill.

Simply branding those Republicans who were involved in this matter as "RINOs," without looking a bit deeper to see their motivations and the concessions they hoped to gain from the other side, is a bit of a hasty indictment of Senators who may well have been acting in good faith. However, more even than the bill's contents, it is the hasty, secretive manner in which this was carried out which is, to me, most worrisome -- as well as the fact that some of these Senators, after years of being stonewalled by the Democrats to such a degree that they could not accomplish many key legislative goals while in the majority, have continued to demonstrate an unfortunate unwillingness to learn from that past experience, as well as a naive belief that, if they only made certain concessions to the opposition and to those who hold entirely different beliefs on this issue, their pragmatism would be reciprocated, and their provisions would also be included in this "comprehensive" bill.


Jeff Emanuel

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