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Rohrabacher: Legislation will grow illegal 'invasion'

Blasts president for bill that would allow illegal immigrants to cut in front of immigrants who obeyed the rules.

June 07, 2007|By Michael Alexander

Taking an unusually hard line against President Bush, U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher slammed the president in a 60-minute speech on Capitol Hill opposing the immigration reform bill being debated in the Senate.

"The president insists on defining amnesty in a way that is contrary to the way everybody else defines that word," he said. "Every time he does, he loses credibility."

Calling himself a strong supporter of Bush throughout his administration, Rohrabacher said that this time he was personally offended by Bush's suggestions that the bill was good for America. He repeatedly referred to it as the "Bush-Kennedy" bill, linking Bush to Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, and he blamed the bill on an "unholy coalition between the big-business element of the Republican Party and the liberal left."

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"There are so many terrible aspects of this bill, that the bill's intent was clearly not the right intent to begin with," he said. "It was not intended to stem illegal immigration; it obviously had some other intent."

Rohrabacher spent the bulk of his time on the bill's "z-visa" provision, which would give those in the country illegally a renewable form of legal residency in exchange for $1,000. He called it an amnesty that would give millions of lawbreakers access to government programs like Social Security, and he said it let illegal immigrants cut the line in front of legal immigrants. He also attacked a proposed guest worker program and a points system to decide who would be allowed to come to the country legally.

The bill has no teeth in its enforcement provisions and would only embolden people to sneak across borders to get government benefits, Rohrabacher said.

"Wake up America," he said. "Our country is being stolen from us. Our country is being invaded. The Senate legislation will only accelerate this invasion."

The bill has not yet been voted on in the Senate, but on Wednesday several amendments that might have divided its supporters failed, and it remained mostly unchanged.

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