President Obama said there is one thing he absolutely won’t compromise on in immigration reform: a pathway to citizenship. But as for what he would be willing to give up, he won’t say…
The president praised the bill produced by the Gang of Eight as a “good piece of work” that doesn’t include everything Obama would have wanted but stiil meets his “core requirements,” which include provisions to crack down on companies who hire illegal immigrants, streamline legal immigration, and strengthen border security as well as to create the pathway.
“If those components are there, then I would expect that not only would I be supportive, but also I think we can get it through the House,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”
Since my colleagues and I introduced immigration legislation, intense public scrutiny has helped identify shortcomings and unintended consequences that need to be addressed. Many concerned citizens have gone a step further and offered specific ideas to improve it. This kind of constructive criticism is a positive force that should always be welcomed in the political process…
For those who have suggested that the border security triggers outlined in the Senate bill aren’t strong enough, we now have a chance to strengthen them. For those who expressed concerns about giving the federal government too much discretionary power through waivers and exceptions in applying different aspects of the law, we have a chance to make clear exactly how the executive branch must enforce this immigration law and what the consequences are if it doesn’t. For those concerned about the cost of immigration to American taxpayers, we have a chance to make sure the bill lives up to its promise that today’s illegal immigrants are not eligible for federal benefits.
And for those who believe the road ahead for illegal immigrants is too generous or lenient, Congress will have a chance to make it tougher, yet still realistic. No one has a right to violate the immigration laws and remain here with impunity. Finding a sensible way to resolve our illegal-immigration problem must include penalties that show the rest of the world that it really is cheaper, easier and faster to immigrate to the U.S. the right way…
The immigration-reform bill in the Senate is a solid starting point for solving this problem, and I believe it can be made even better as Congress begins to actively work on it in committee next week. But defeating it without offering an alternative cannot be the conservative position on immigration reform. That would leave the issue entirely in the hands of President Obama and leave in place the disastrous status quo.
The irony in all this, of course, is that most of the top Republicans favor a Gang of 8 plan, and it is warmly embraced by fiscal, social and national security conservatives. That’s because there is little conservative virtue in opposing a plan that is good for the economy, embodies religious values and helps secure the border, in contrast to the current de facto amnesty situation.
Legitimate opponents of the legislation would be wise to denounce the kooks on their side but also to recognize that a good deal of the conservative movement disagrees with them. Their opposition is not all that ”conservative,” although it does bespeak a lack of confidence in the ability of conservatives to appeal (as George W. Bush did) to Hispanic voters.
After failing to con conservatives into thinking the “Gang of 8″ bill had “tough multiple enforcement triggers,”** Sen. Marco Rubio is vowing to support changes in the legislation he allegedly negotiated and repeatedly defended. (“Sen. Rubio Says Immigration Bill Needs Stronger Border Provisions to Pass Senate.”) This is not a sign Rubio has had success in his role as Ambassador of Amnesty.
Will Democrats (or even the three other GOP members of the “Gang”) go along with rewriting the bill’s carefully constructed framework of deception, in which the border security ‘triggers,” as amnesty lobbyist Frank Sharry admitted, “are based on developing plans and spending money, not on reaching [the target level of] effectiveness, which is really quite clever”? Will they modify the “path to citizenship,” the core of the bill, as Rubio also suggests? I suspect not…
When Democrats fail to significantly toughen the bill, will Sen. Rubio go along with it anyway? That one’s easy: Yes.
Ambassador of Amnesty Marco Rubio argues on Powerline–or rather, “Marco Rubio” argues, since the words are attributed only to his “office”**–that critics overstate the number of new immigrants who would be added by his legalization bill:
“There are approximately 11 million illegals currently in the US, and many of them won’t be eligible for legalization (because they haven’t been here long enough, don’t pass background checks, can’t afford the fines, etc.) and will have to be deported. [E.A]”
Really? We’re going to deport a significant chunk of the 11 million–and not just because they’ve arrived since 2011 (the cutoff), but because they don’t scratch together enough money (initially, $1,000) for fines? Would Sen. Schumer and Cecilia Munoz go along with this characterization of the legislation? Answer: no. It’s not going to happen. Rubio–and his “office”–are cementing his new national reputation as a dissembler…
And how are these mass deportations going to help Republicans woo Latino voters?
So any rational immigration reform that respected the interests of the American people would attempt to reorient present policy. Instead, the Gang of Eight’s bill will cement it, and accelerate it. According to Numbers USA, if the immigration bill passed, it would increase the legal population of the United States by 33 million in its first decade. That figure includes 11.7 million amnestied illegals and their children, plus 17 million family members imported through chain migration, with a few software designers on business visas to round out the numbers.
Thirty-three million is like importing the entire population of Canada . . . oh, wait, we did that shtick three paragraphs ago. Okay, if you’re black, look at it this way: The demographic clout it took you guys four centuries to amass can now be accomplished overnight at a stroke of Chuck Schumer’s and Lindsey Graham’s pens. And, if you belong to the 40 percent of Americans who’ll be encountering many of these “chain migrants” in the application line for low-skilled service jobs, isn’t it great to know that in this gangbusters economy you’re going to have to pedal even faster just to go nowhere?
Speaking of demographic clout, the main reason for not importing 33 million Canadians is that they’re supposedly a bunch of liberal pantywaists and the Republican party would never be elected to anything ever again. But fortunately 33 million Latin Americans are, as we’ve been assured time and again by Charles Krauthammer and other eminent voices, “a natural conservative constituency” — which I think translates into Spanish as “una parte del electorado conservador natural.” I Googled this phrase and it got no hits, so perhaps Dr. Krauthammer got lost in translation. But I’ll take his word for it that, once America assumes the demographics of California, the Republican party will be unstoppable.
[W]hat if Romney had been able to reach a mind-blowing 70 percent of the Hispanic vote? Surely that would have meant victory, right? No, it wouldn’t. Romney still would have lost, although by the narrowest of electoral margins, 270 to 268. (Under that scenario, Romney would have won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College; he could have racked up huge numbers of Hispanic votes in California, New York and Texas, for example, and not changed the results in those states.)…
Everyone knows the Hispanic vote will grow in the future. But if 2012 voting patterns remain the same — whites voting in lower numbers but about 60 percent for Republicans, blacks and Asians turning out in large numbers and voting 90-plus percent and 70-plus percent, respectively, for Democrats — Republicans will have to win an astonishingly high percentage of the Hispanic vote to capture the White House.
It is simply not reasonable to believe there is something the GOP can do — pass immigration reform, juice up voter-outreach efforts — that will create that result.
No doubt, the status quo makes it easier for Democrats to portray Republicans as anti-Hispanic and is a barrier to Republicans winning over this fast-growing demographic. On the other hand, Democrats will portray Republicans as anti-Hispanic no matter what, and the immigration bill, should it become law, would almost certainly create more Democratic voters than Republican ones. A Pew poll published last year found that while Hispanics are more pro-life than the national average, they’re more likely to identify as liberal than the general public. Also, when asked for a preference between a bigger government with more services or a smaller government with fewer services, 41 percent of the country as a whole favored bigger government, but 75 percent of Hispanics did. Among first generation Hispanics, 81 percent favored bigger government — or roughly double the national average, compared with just 12 percent who favored smaller government.
When it comes to the politics of immigration, Republicans are screwed either way. So they may as well ignore the politics and vote for their preferred policy outcomes.
In Mexico, I also talked about immigration reform, because that’s an important issue that affects both our countries.
The truth is, right now, our border with Mexico is more secure than it’s been in years. We’ve put more boots on that border than at any time in our history, and illegal crossings are down by nearly 80 percent from their peak in 2000. But we’ve got more to do – not just to secure the border but to fix an immigration system that is badly broken.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen a commonsense immigration reform bill introduced in the Senate. This bill is a compromise, which means that nobody got everything they wanted – including me. But it’s largely consistent with the principles I’ve laid out from the beginning.