Will someone please please please ask Rudy Giuliani about what he was doing at the USDOJ in the early 1980s, under William French Smith, as Ronald Reagan permitted the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs to amass a speaker’s bureau dedicated to getting immigration reform legislation passed? (note how that 1983 article mentions Kennedy’s objection to the bill)
[NB: You may or may not recall that INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service), which no longer exists because it’s been under the Department of Homeland Security since 3/1/03, was an agency under the DOJ.]
I was there then. Giuliani was there then. Wyoming Republican Senator Alan K. Simpson was on the Hill then. Giuliani’s media stops were being monitored, along with those of all the deputy and assistant AGs, to see how often and when and where they were scheduled to travel and could squeak in conversations about that bill. I didn’t know or think squat about immigration, but I knew the name of the Simpson-Mazzoli bill (here’s the Wikipedia quick hit and here’s the Thomas info on the Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986) because I was the one monitoring the visits and making the calls to media outlets to try and get the AAGs airtime.
What will you learn if you ask any of these folks any questions?
I don’t know, but here are some clues:
Want more prognistications, so that if and when this thing passes and if and when it fails to accomplish anything anyone wanted, you can say, yup, I knew that would happen?
Then listen to this hearing from last fall.
Want more perspective still? Read this account from TIME magazine – 1984.
The signs are all there, just like they were in the 1980s, just like they are here in Ohio with that damn SB16 adult entertainment bill: you can legislate anything all you want but if you don’t work to change the underlying reasons why people do – or don’t do – what they are doing or not doing, ain’t no law going to make a damn bit of difference in the end.
If nothing else, the immigration debacle shows us how, ultimately and fatefully, the process and the politics were the focus with the 1980s immigration reform effort, and not the results.