Reports: Bipartisan Senate immigration proposal will grant citizenship to illegals in 13 years

So say the NYT and WaPo. Obama’s own immigration proposal, by contrast, imagines citizenship for illegals in, er … 13 years. So that’s what having four Republicans in the “Gang of Eight” gets you — the same basic scheme as our very liberal president.

Cory Booker should be ready to run by 2028, so there you go. You’re welcome, Cory.

The arrangement would shrink the amount of time it takes to become a naturalized citizen, to three years from five years. But in an appeal to Republicans, it would also extend to 10 years, from 8, the amount of time that illegal immigrants must wait before receiving permission to work in the United States permanently…

Among those obstacles is a continuing concern among Republicans that a three-year naturalization process for illegal immigrants could give them a faster path to citizenship than people who enter legally. One possible solution, officials said, would be to reduce the wait for citizenship to three years for everyone. But they said the agreement could still unravel.

“We can’t create a system where it’s faster for illegal immigrants than for legal immigrants,” said one Republican familiar with the internal debate who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Republicans are clear that they are not going to create a special pathway to citizenship.”…

And as a side benefit, waiting a decade would mean that the costs of the overhaul would not kick in until the second decade because illegal immigrants do not qualify for government benefits until after they earn green cards. That means the 10-year cost estimates by the Congressional Budget Office would not include the expense of those benefits.

The cost of ObamaCare was gamed in a similar way. With O-Care, Democrats needed a way in 2010 to push the 10-year cost of the bill under a trillion dollars so that it’d be easier for the public to swallow. Solution: Postpone the start of the program until 2014, thereby rendering the cost for 2011, 2012, and 2013 effectively zero. In this case they’re pushing the total costs of new entitlements for illegals entirely out of that 10-year window, with the full brunt to hit circa 2026 — right as America’s long-awaited entitlement-driven debt crisis is hitting full force.

As for the timeline, Obama’s immigration plan imagines a green card in eight years and citizenship in five. Senate Democrats agreed to make the green-card period for this bill 10 years so that Rubio and McCain could treat us like idiots in arguing that they’d won some big concession. In fact, here’s what Rubio wrote at Red State back in January:

First, those who have violated our immigration laws must come forward and undergo a background check. If they have committed a serious crime, they will be deported. If they have not, they will have two choices. They can avail themselves of the current law which requires them to return to their native country, wait ten years and then apply for a green card. Or if they decide to remain in the United States, they will do so under the equivalent of a non-immigrant work permit by paying a substantial fine and back taxes. If they choose the non-immigrant work visa, they will not qualify for any federal benefits, including ObamaCare.

Those who choose the non-immigrant work permit will not be allowed to apply for a green card for a substantial period of time. And they will not be allowed to apply until the enforcement mechanisms outlined above are in place. Thereafter, once these conditions are met, and if they have not violated any laws while holding the work permit, the only thing they will be allowed to do is apply for a green card using the same process everyone else uses. That is, they apply, they wait in line behind everyone who has applied before them and when their turn comes up, they have to qualify for one of the existing green card programs.

I reasoned the next day that “substantial period of time” must mean a period considerably longer than 10 years. Otherwise, what incentive is there to choose the first option Rubio offers? If you’re getting a green card in the same amount of time no matter whether you stay in America or you leave, then there’s no incentive to leave. And yet that’s where we are today. The “substantial period of time” is the same period as the normal green-card period. And unless Congress tweaks the law so that legal immigrants can apply for citizenship in three years instead of five — which Dems will be happy to spearhead, I assume — then illegals will actually reach citizenship faster than legal immigrants will.

The only hitch is that illegals might have to wait an extra year or two for the green-card process to begin if Rubio gets his way by insisting that border-enforcement improvements be put in place before anything related to citizenship starts happening. But that’s still an open question, and meanwhile Rubio’s continuing to work on the bill and to lend his conservative cred to the compromises they’re reaching. What if they hammer out a final deal on the remaining issues — guest-worker program, visas, E-verify — and then Democrats turn around and declare that there’s no way they’ll make the citizenship process contingent upon border security as a trigger? Rubio might walk away at that point, but so what? They’ll have a bill that’ll have his support on every major plank except that one, and there are probably seven or eight Republican squishes in the Senate who’ll vote for it regardless. McCain, Graham, Collins, Murkowski — you know the names by now. In fact, the RNC’s new “autopsy” released today fully endorses comprehensive immigration reform as a partial solution to the party’s woes. Pro-amnesty Republicans have plenty of cover on this from the top. The only question is whether there are enough of them who think they can survive primary challenges to join Reid and Schumer on passing the bill.

In case you missed the previous 800 iterations of this argument, here’s Matthew Cooper at National Journal once again reminding Republicans that Latinos are solidly liberal on the issues and not likely to switch to the GOP anytime soon.