Also on Levin’s show, Senator Rubio clarified his “path to citizenship.” The illegals would all get amnesty immediately, of course, but they would only have a renewable work visa. After a time, they’d be able to apply for green cards (that could lead to citizenship) only through the existing immigration system by, say, marrying a citizen or what have you. Practically speaking, that would mean millions of the amnestied illegal aliens would remain in that work-visa status for the rest of their lives, creating a strong issue for Democrats: “Vote for us and we’ll end the Jim Crow immigration status the evil Republicans have imposed on you!” We’d lose Hispanic market share with that kind of approach.
Finally Rubio seems to be calling for gigantic increases in legal immigration. He’s been stressing the need to increase share of legal immigrants who are selected based on their skills; currently, the employment-based categories account for only 13 percent of the 1 million-plus immigrants we take each year, and half of those are spouses and children of the immigrants selected for their skills, which is why he’s been saying only 6.5 percent of legal immigration is skill-based. But Rubio is also saying, as in this Spanish-language op-ed that’s being widely published, that “None of this should lead us to abandon or weaken immigration based on family.” Well, to get that 6.5 percent skilled figure up to just 25 percent of the total immigration flow, without reducing family immigration (or the visa lottery or refugee resettlement) would require an annual legal immigration level of 1.9 million a year, almost double what we have now. If Rubio wants to double legal immigration, he needs to make that clear now.