Rubio: Let’s face it, my immigration bill probably can’t pass the House

posted at 8:41 pm on April 30, 2013 by Allahpundit

Raul Labrador’s been saying this for months, that any bill with a “special” path to citizenship for illegals is DOA in the House, but I’m still surprised to hear Rubio say it. You don’t think the GOP leadership can find 30 or so panicky Republican reps to vote with a unified Democratic caucus in the House to rubber-stamp the Gang of Eight bill, if only in the name of “getting immigration off the table” and preventing the media from writing any more pieces like this? If he’s pessimistic about its chances, he must have reason to believe that Boehner won’t violate the Hastert Rule to try to pass this thing. Finally, some good news for border hawks.

“The bill that’s in place right now probably can’t pass the House,” Rubio told Mike Gallagher, a nationally syndicated talk show host. “It will have to be adjusted, because people are very suspicious about the willingness of the government to enforce the laws now.”

He continued: “That is a very legitimate suspicion, it’s one that I share, and if there’s anything we can do to make [the bill] even tighter … that’s exactly what we should be working on.”

The Florida Republican called the Gang of Eight bill a “starting point” and urged opponents to proposes changes to the bill, not try to kill it altogether.

Matt Lewis also picked up on Rubio’s pleading to “fix” the bill, not abandon it altogether. The whole point of trying to rush the Gang of Eight bill through the Senate, though, is that it won’t be “fixed” if people start tinkering with it on the floor. It’ll fall apart, just as Lindsey Graham warned. That’s why Pat Leahy was willing to grant only two token hearings before letting the Judiciary Committee tackle it. The fact that Rubio’s now resorting to a “fix, don’t kill” talking point — and it’s not just Rubio — makes me think the bill’s suddenly in more trouble than we thought. (Thank Bob Goodlatte for that, I guess.) I wonder if headlines like this are starting to weigh on him. Mark Krikorian asks a good question too:

If you’re Mark Pryor or Mary Landrieu, why would you vote yes on an amnesty that’s going to annoy conservative voters if it won’t even end up becoming law?

As for the House plan:

The House immigration working group has tentatively settled on a plan that would require illegal immigrants to appear in federal court and plead guilty to breaking U.S. immigration law. Illegal immigrants would be required to complete this step before embarking on a conditional pathway to citizenship that would take at least a decade. In fact, illegal immigrants would essentially be granted legal status when a federal judge sentences them to “probation” for illegally crossing the border.

“The legal process in the House bill is stiffer to emphasize that the law was broken, and to [recognize] the need to uphold the rule of law,” said a Republican congressional aide familiar with the House immigration working group’s negotiations.

An undocumented immigrant’s probation sentence would likely come with certain conditions and run about five years, and then be renewed for another five years to cover the assumed 10-year path-to-citizenship timetable. The GOP congressional aide described the process as similar to how judges handle small drug crimes, in which offenders are sentenced to probation, rather than jail, because it forces them to acknowledge that they broke the law but saves taxpayers the expense of incarceration.

So the House plan adds an element of shame for people who broke the law but doesn’t add much to make the citizenship path longer? The Gang of Eight’s bill also requires a 10-year waiting period, then five years of permanent residency before being able to apply for citizenship. All you’re gaining here really is a show of criminality, which may placate some border hawks but is counterproductive if the big political goal is to win some Latinos over. (Imagine what the Democratic messaging machine will do with the requirement of pleading out in court.) Maybe I’ve misread Rubio, then. He’s not especially troubled, perhaps, that his bill won’t pass the House. They’ll get to the same basic result, they’ll just dress it up differently to make it more superficially draconian. In fact, it’s arguably in the interest of immigration reform for Rubio to talk up the House bill as being somehow tougher than his own, just as it was in the interest of immigration reform for Obama to float his own bill that’s superficially weaker than the Gang of Eight’s in order to make the GOE bill seem tougher by comparison. In both cases, you’re giving conservatives rhetorical cover to vote for a bill that’s much less conservative than it should be.

Exit question via Byron York: Are we sure there isn’t going to be another huge wave of illegal immigration in the future? According to Pew, more than one-third of Mexicans polled recently say they’d like to move to the U.S. Of that number, 15 percent say they’d do so if they were authorized to do it; the other 20 percent say they’re interested in doing it even without authorization. Go play with Nate Silver’s new electoral toy to see what that might mean for the presidential election of 2028.

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“Gay rights push threatens immigration deal…

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has told advocates that he will offer an amendment during the bill markup next week allowing gay Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners for green cards, just as heterosexual couples can. The measure is likely to pass because Democrats face pressure from gay rights advocates to deal with it in committee, rather than on the Senate floor, where the odds of passage are far less favorable.

The provision has the potential to immediately fracture the senators and a diverse alliance of backers that includes conservative evangelicals and liberal union chiefs. It’s the focus of an intense lobbying push this week by the United States Conference of the Catholic Bishops, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Human Rights Campaign and others as senators map out strategy ahead of the markup.

The amendment, known as the Uniting American Families Act, would address an inequity in immigration law by permitting “permanent” partners of U.S. citizens or legal residents to apply for a green card. The term “permanent partner” is defined as someone who is older than 18 and involved in a financially interdependent, committed relationship.

The legislation could help as many as 40,000 same-sex couples, including some who have left the country in order to stay with their partners who can no longer live here legally. But Republicans are skittish about dealing with too many controversial issues all at once…”

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workingclass artist on May 1, 2013 at 10:46 AM

As to the House plan, they should have to plead guilty to a felony. No voting and no guns.

cptacek on May 1, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Never heard anything so blatantly racist in my life.

Axe on April 30, 2013 at 9:05 PM

I don’t think that accusation is the conversation-stopper it once was…….

SailorMark on May 1, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Probably can’t pass? Maybe because the boarder isn’t closed and the laws that exist are not enforced. Add to that the fact that most in power or press will not even refer to illegals as just that, illegal. Clean up that mess and maybe then we can talk.

Pardonme on May 1, 2013 at 11:22 AM

VorDaj on April 30, 2013 at 10:19 PM

I quit listening to Limbaugh & Levin after the election last Nov. They both blow a lot of hot air (no pun intended) but no real solutions to all the problems we have. So why waste time listening to these guys on talk radio. They are a part of the problems almost as much as the idiot politicians.

We need a 3rd party with real conservatives. The demonrats and the repubs for the most part are all the same, lying, thieving crooks.

johnny reb on May 1, 2013 at 4:00 PM