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Right Wingers Plot Sell Out on Amnesty for Illegals

group of right-wing Republicans in Washington, D.C., is planning to betray the nation's grassroots opposition to amnesty for illegal aliens. The group, which includes the chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU) and former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is pushing a guest worker amnesty plan developed by Rep. Mike Pence, R-IN, that includes allowing unlimited immigration to the U.S.

A key supporter of the amnesty plan is ACU Chairman David Keene who raises money for his group through mass direct mail appeals to conservative Middle Americans by claiming to oppose amnesty for illegals.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, which has published editorials calling for abolition of border controls between the U.S. and Mexico, Rep. Pence described his plan as "a strong alternative" that he hopes will break the congressional logjam over immigration legislation. Under his plan, the millions of illegal aliens working in the U.S. will be allowed to keep their jobs and incur no penalties if they return home - or to a town just across the border - for one week and pick up a "guest worker" permit to be issued there by private employment agencies licensed by the federal government. Armed with the new permit, the newly amnestied alien can return to the U.S. and resume working at his old job.

Pence says the employment agencies will have to process the guest worker permits very quickly, within a week, because, "no employer in America wants to lose employees for an extended amount of time. No worker who is earning money to feed and clothe a family can afford to be off the job for long... I envision employers working with placement agencies to make sure that their long-time illegal employees get their paperwork processed ... and visas issued so that they will be back on the job quickly."

Pence claims that is not amnesty because the illegal has to go back across the border to get his permit. But under his plan, neither illegal aliens nor their employers are subject to any penalty for violating federal immigration and employment laws, and their illegal relationship is simply converted to legal status. After six years, the newly legalized alien can apply for another six-year guest worker permit or apply for citizenship.

Pence told Wall Street Journal readers that immigration under his plan will have no limits. "There will initially be no cap on the number of visas that can be issued; for the first three years, the market and the needs of U.S. employers will set the limit on the number of guest workers." He said that after three years, the limit will be determined by the Department of Labor, based on "employer needs and other research." Employers, of course, will always "need" cheaper labor.

Besides former Speaker Gingrich, other GOP stalwarts endorsing the plan include former GOP Majority Leader Dick Armey, a long-time advocate of increased immigration, Quin Hillyer, editor of the pro-immigration The American Spectator, and Gary Bauer, President of the group, American Values.

Pence said that ACU's David Keene also supports the plan. Writing in a Capitol Hill newspaper, Keene called the plan "an alternative that could attract support from reasonable men and women on both sides" of the immigration issue. But Keene himself appears to be on both sides of the debate. Although he is pushing Pence's amnesty, he is currently raising money in direct mail letters denouncing amnesty for illegals with strong rhetoric.

"If you think the government should be deporting illegal lawbreakers instead of rolling out the red carpet for them, then please help me oppose this dangerous legislation," said Keene in an appeal for money to fight the Senate amnesty plan. "And say 'NO' to letting 11 million illegal immigrants become U.S. citizens just because Ted Kennedy and John McCain think it's too much trouble to deport them," he said. His letter urges recipients to send him money to prevent "legislation that will turn more than 11 million trespassing immigrants into legal U.S. citizens."

Amnesty opponent Pat Buchanan said Pence's amnesty plan is the result of "immense" forces at work in Washington, D.C. "Behind closed doors," he said, "deals are even now being discussed for a 'compromise' bill that will give GOP congressman cover for selling out the cause" of immigration law enforcement.