No intending illegal alien is going to be deterred from trying to enter by learning that the only thing that stands between him and legal status is paying a fine and taxes. Kaus’s point here is critical: Far from making illegal aliens go to the “back of the line,” this proposal gives them the immeasurable advantage of legal presence in the U.S. while waiting for their green card, unlike aliens obeying the law and waiting in their own country for permission to enter.

The outline is silent on what would cause the revocation of probationary status. Perhaps the commission of “serious crimes,” but the statement of principles is impenetrably ambiguous on this point. If the commission of “serious crime” is indeed the trigger for potentially (emphasis on the “potential” part) losing probationary status, it means that a whole host of “unserious crimes” may still be committed with impunity by “probationary” illegals without jeopardizing their safe haven from the law. The distinction between “serious” and “unserious” crime should have in any case been long since retired; New York City’s triumph over all crime through the enforcement of low-level misdemeanor statutes shows that enforcement of misdemeanor laws is as critical to public safety as felony arrests (and even more important to a community’s sense of order and safety)…

At the press conference, Senators Menendez and Rubio delivered their remarks in Spanish as well as English, sometimes embroidering on their English version, as when Menendez said to his non-English-speaking listeners that their “voices have been heard.” No one spoke in Chinese or German. I am a big advocate of learning foreign languages to better understand other cultures and human thought itself, but doing so should not be necessary to communicate with one’s fellow citizens. It is remarkable therefore that the growing Spanish-language imperative trumped any fears that a bilingual press conference does not exactly establish that assimilation is keeping pace with the growth of a parallel Hispanophone culture.