So what’s the purpose of this hollow threat? The only explanation I come up with is that it’s a Double Kabuki play: 1) The President gets to posture as the tough guy demanding a deal (or else he’ll unleash his draft!). Meanwhile the Hispanic caucus and the amnesty lobby can gnaw on all the pro-illegal statutory tweaks they would like to see in the “path to citizenship,” etc. But more important 2) Republicans like Rubio and Paul Ryan get to posture by denouncing the President’s draft (Rubio: “Dead on Arrival” Ryan: “the wrong direction”) thereby earning themselves seeming-tough-on-illegals street cred that might serve them well when they sell out by endorsing an instant-legalization compromise (as, in fact, Rubio has already done).

That would not only explain why the plan exists but why it was leaked by “an Obama administration official” to USA Today. Obama wants to give Rubio and Ryan the opportunity to look like they are fighting him. But it’s a fake fight.