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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.

Related Post:
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A "partial transcript" and not the whole deal? Isn't that how Andrew Breitbart got ripped a new one?

Although the tenor of his comments in 2006 make it clear what he is talking about, particularly when discussing his wife, perhaps if you read the update it would be clearer:

UPDATE, 7:30 p.m.: Looks like Reid apologized for this back in 1999. From the Las Vegas Review Journal at the time:

One lawmaker who has had a change of heart on immigration is Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Six years ago, Reid offered legislation that would have slashed the limit of immigrants from 800,000 to 300,000 a year. Reid recommended denying U.S. citizenship to babies born to illegal aliens.

'We've got too many immigrants, legal and illegal,' he said at the time.

Reid's measure did not become law, but it reflected a strong sentiment in Congress that the United States had lost control of its borders. As the economy continued to flourish, however, the call for a crackdown on immigration faded.

'I believe if I had to list the mistakes I have made, that legislation would be way up high,' Reid says now. 'It was short-sighted. I didn't understand the issue. I'm embarrassed that I made such a proposal.'


" I didn't understand the issue."

Has the man ever understood any issue? Letting people run over the US and claim they have some kind of a right to be called a US citizen because of where they happened to be born is pure anti American BS. It is simply another way to destroy the US and the leftists love it.

It's just proof positive that Reid is a pure morals-free ethically purchasable politician, with no rules, no principles, nothing that guides him in life except winning and prospering personally. Back then, that was a winning issue. Now he's fully sold out down the leftist road and hopes nobody will remember that he wasn't always that way. If they do, he just wriggles like this until the problem goes away.

Is Sargent the new DNC water carrier? I've been seeing his work referenced a lot lately for disingenuous spin of problematic statements by prominent Democrats.

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).

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