It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

One of the greatest baseball players of all time, Yogi Berra, came up with lots of great expressions. One of my favorites is his phrase “it’s déjà vu all over again”. Recent events in congress is proving that Yogi Berra was right with his expression. I am writing about the recent refusal by congress to pass a strong bipartisan bill on immigration. This bill was worked out in the Senate by both political parties and had the support of President Biden, who indicated that he would sign it into law after it passed the House of Representatives. But this immigration bill died in the House because a group of extremist Republicans prevented this bipartisan bill from ever coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

Former President and presumptive nominee for President Donald Trump wanted this immigration bill to be defeated or to die so he could use the issue of immigration as a campaign issue in the election this year. His minions in the House became the tail that wagged the dog and prevented this bill from coming up for a vote in the House despite a majority of Representatives indicating that they would vote for the bill.

Back in 2014, ten years ago, a similar bipartisan immigration bill passed the Senate and had the support of then President Obama who indicated that if passed, he would sign it into law. The bill that passed the Senate this year was similar and somewhat stronger than the bill that passed the Senate in 2014.

But the bipartisan immigration bill in 2014 also died in the House of Representatives for the same reason why the immigration bill died this year. It never came up for a vote of the entire House of Representatives. This was largely because the House “Freedom Caucus” didn’t like this immigration bill and refused to support it. Then House Speaker John Boehner never allowed the immigration bill to come to a vote in the entire House of Representatives despite a majority of the members of the House supporting the bill. Thus, this immigration bill died.

The issue of immigration has been a political hot button for a long time. Both political parties believe that this issue is critical and should be solved, but there has been too much demagoguery on the issue that it seems nothing could be done. The last major immigration act to pass congress was another bipartisan bill that was signed by then President Reagan in 1986. What has happened since 1986 that both parties in congress cannot work together to enact legislation that both parties can agree upon.

Part of this problem is that the extremists have become the tail that is now wagging the dog. The result is that nothing gets done and the problem festers and gets larger. Donald Trump proposed building a wall on the Mexican border and he said that Mexico would pay for it. Of course, Mexico wasn’t about to pay for a border wall. Then congress didn’t want to spend the money necessary to pay for building the wall. Then property owners on the border didn’t want an ugly wall on their property and a large part of the border sits in the Big Bend National Park and building the wall in a national park was not practical or legal. What segments of Trump’s border wall have proven to be easily scaled using ladders or even burrowing under the wall.

As long as employers in the United States will hire illegal immigrants, people in Latin America will try to get into the United States. Why would someone who is poor and living in Honduras or Guatemala spend thousands of pesos and walk over 1500 miles through jungles and deserts to reach the United States border?

There was a case back in 2015 where Trillium Farms, a large poultry farm and processing company in Marion Ohio 1600 miles from the Mexican border, was raided by ICE for hiring underage illegal immigrants from Honduras to work under slave like conditions who were as young as 13 and 14 years old. These children were housed in horrible conditions and made to work as many as 12 hours a day six days a week and paid less than the minimum wage. The company hired a labor contractor to locate these workers because they couldn’t find people locally who wanted to work there. The executives and managers said that they had no idea that those workers were underage and illegal.

When the smoke cleared, the only people who went to jail were the labor contractors. None of the executives of Trillium Farms were prosecuted and the company paid a fine and went back to “business as usual”. Until the leaders in congress grow a backbone and refuse to allow extremists to be the tail that wags the dog, and we actually prosecute the executives and managers of companies that hire illegal immigrants, it will be déjà vu all over again at a later date.

A common definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. Using that definition, our congress is one big insane asylum, and the inmates are running the asylum.

Lee Kamps

Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.

Read More on Opinion
Volume 16, Issue 5, Posted 12:20 AM, 05.01.2024