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    Harry Reid’s Birthright Non-Apology Apology

    Harry Reid’s Birthright Non-Apology Apology

    Greg Sargent at The Washington Post posts a partial transcript provided by the Reid campaign of a speech Reid gave on the floor of the Senate in 2006 allegedly apologizing for Reid’s 1993 proposal to exclude the children of illegal aliens from birthright citizenship.

    Sargent treats this transcript as conclusive proof that Reid long ago apologized, but the transcript says nothing about the birthright proposal. Indeed, it is unclear what legislation Reid is talking about, when he described the legislation as follows:

    A group of people came and talked to us and convinced us that the thing to do would be to close the borders between Mexico and the United States; in effect, stop people from coming across our borders to the United States. This period of time for which I am so apologetic-to my family, mostly-lasted about a week or two. I introduced legislation.

    Nowhere in the transcript provided does Reid specifically mention the 1993 legislation, which would not have closed the border.

    Assuming that Reid was referring to that 1993 legislation, Reid appears to be apologizing for not including a pathway to citizenship for illegals (what he calls “comprehensive” reform), but still says nothing about the birthright proposal:

    But I do want to tell him and the rest of my friends in the Senate, that is a low point of my legislative career, the low point of my governmental career. That is why I believe we need comprehensive immigration reform today. People in America are counting on us to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform. They recognize that this country’s national security depends on securing our borders and fixing our immigration system.

    Again, nothing in the transcript provided by the Reid campaign and published by Sargent references Reid apologizing for his birthright proposal. Nothing.

    It is unfortunate that others, including Ben Smith, also have taken the Reid campaign’s bait. Read the transcript, please, and point me to where Reid apologized for his birthright proposal.

    It’s not there.

    Update: The Nevada Republican Party quotes from a 1999 Las Vegas Review-Journal article in which Reid apologized for the legislation which would have cut legal immigration from 800,000 to 300,000 people. This is to what Reid appears to be referring in his 2006 speech when he apologized for legislation that would “close the borders” and “in effect, stop people from coming across our borders.” Neither the 2006 transcript nor the excerpt from the 1999 article references Reid apologizing for the birthright aspect of the legislation.

    And, a helpful article in The New York Times, with links to the congressional record, proves that I am right and that Harry Reid never specifically apologized for the birthright provision. Reid’s comments of apology in 2006 referenced prior comments by Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) about how in 1993 Reid had called 1986 immigration reform “amnesty,” and Reid was apologizing generally for his harsh immigration proposal (discussed above), but not specifically for the birthright provision.

    I’m sure Harry Reid now is sorry he proposed a birthright limitation since it makes him look like the worst type of hypocrite, but that is not what the Reid campaign through Sargent and others is claiming.

    The Reid campaign is claiming that Reid is on record apologizing for the birthright provision, and that assertion is not true based upon the evidence.

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    At this point, all I can say to fellow Mormon Brother Harry is to remind him of one of the temple recommend questions he answers to himself and to God before his Bishop: Are you honest in your dealings with your fellow man?

    Does anyone else notice that in Reid's comment from 1993, it is only 7 years after the passage of the 1986 Amnesty? And in those intervening years, there was "…a strong sentiment in Congress that the United States had lost control of its borders…"?

    1. If someone calls Sargent a liar (or similar) in an echo chamber, does anyone hear it? Where's the plan to, for instance, get some sort of a clarification out of Sargent? (I'm not too sure it's necessary in this case; presumably apologizing for the whole bill includes all parts of the bill).

    2. If you do a find at the WaPo post, you'll see a comment from me suggesting how to deal with this whole issue in the right way and suggesting something people can do (if they actually want to do something of course).

    Ambrose | August 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    I am tired of this "pathway to citizenship" malarkey. We've always had one. It does, however, require that one obey the rules.

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