Rubio: If we can’t come up with a solid guest-worker program, we’ll have 10 million new illegals here in a decade

posted at 6:41 pm on March 21, 2013 by Allahpundit

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SEN. MARCO RUBIO, in an interview for “Behind the Curtain,” on the likelihood of immigration reform going to President Obama’s desk this year – the first time Rubio has said this: “A lot of it is going to hinge on the viability of a guest worker program. There are elements in organized labor that don’t want one. I think, really, that’s going to become the critical issue in this debate … whether we can create a viable guest worker program that protects American workers, but also ensures that in the future [if] we need foreign labor for limited periods of time, we’re able to access that in a legal way. Because if we don’t have a program like that in place, we’re going to have 10 million illegal immigrants here in a decade again.”

He’s not kidding that organized labor doesn’t want one. Rumors are swirling tonight that the unions are trying to kill the bill. But never mind that. Mickey Kaus spots a problem with Rubio’s logic:

Wait. Another 10 million illegal immigrants in a decade? But I thought the border was secure! And Latin Americans don’t want to come and work here anymore anyway! That’s why, we’re told, there’s no risk that amnesty itself will attract another wave of illegal immigration, despite the historic precedent (e.g. what happened after the 1986 amnesty).

Yeah, why do we need to worry about 10 million new illegals when Rubio’s hard at work with the Gang of Eight on improving border security so that nothing like that could ever happen again? Let’s say he gets everything he wants on border control and nothing on a guest-worker program. No need to worry about a new wave of illegals then, right? The border’s tight as a drum. Also, if it’s cruel and indicative of second-class status to deny a path to citizenship to illegals who’ve been here for years, explain to me why it wouldn’t also be cruel to deny that path to a guest-worker who came here and then decided he wanted to stay. One of the hallmarks of the Gang of Eight plan, I thought, is that illegals who are in the U.S. on a certain date will be eligible for probationary legal status but illegals who come after that date won’t be. Why not? If a guest-worker overstays his visa by five or 10 years, who’s going to muster the political will to make him go home when he’s “put down roots,” started a family, etc, like the illegals who are already here? The bigger your guest-worker program is, the more pertinent that question becomes.

Maybe the libertarians are right: Let’s simplify things by opening the borders instead. Offer to hand out voting ballots to anyone around the world who’s willing to pay U.S. taxes. (Imagine what fine libertarian electoral outcomes that would produce.) Then we could drop these nonsense pretensions to controlling the number of illegals who come here. And speaking of libertarians, what does Rand Paul mean below when he says we have “de facto amnesty” now? (Rubio’s been known to say that too, as I recall.) Granted, the feds aren’t doing much to remove the 11 million illegals who are here, but there’s more to “amnesty” in my mind that. A real amnesty means not only are you not punished for breaking U.S. immigration law, you’re made eligible to become a U.S. citizen and help shape the future of the laws you broke at the ballot box. We don’t have that now, but we will soon. Every prominent Republican in Congress that I can think of supports that idea.

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