An excellent question from Conn Carroll, especially in light of the news from CBO this morning that the Corker/Hoeven “border surge” will supposedly reduce illegal immigration by one-third to one-half. (The original Gang of Eight bill would have reduced it by just one-quarter.) That conclusion depends on a lot of assumptions, but the core assumption is that Obama will in fact enforce the new law as it’s written. Will he? He now refuses to enforce a key provision of his own signature legislation because it’s politically inconvenient for his party to do so. Come 2016, if Democrats are in trouble and desperate for Latino turnout, why wouldn’t he “delay” some of the Gang of Eight’s border provisions? Don’t forget, he’s taken unilateral action on immigration in the name of winning elections before.
Your call, Democrats. Either Obama rescinds the delay on the ObamaCare mandate in the interest of proving that border hawks can trust him to enforce the Gang of Eight bill, or he sticks with it and the Gang of Eight’s vaunted border-security measures effectively mean nothing, which leaves Republicans with zero reason to vote for the bill.
The exact same playbook is being deployed by liberals, and pro-amnesty Republicans, to pass amnesty. Just like the employer mandate was essential to getting a CBO score that said Obamacare would not add to the debt, E-Verify is now essential for convincing Americans that the Schumer-Rubio bill will, in Sen. Chuck Schumer’s, D-N.Y., words make illegal immigration “a thing of the past.”
But, like Obamacare and the employer mandate, once the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country get amnesty, E-Verify will have outlived its usefulness. Businesses already complain at the existing voluntary E-Verify system, and those complaints will only get louder as a new E-Verify system becomes mandatory.
Does anyone, anywhere, believe Obama would not delay implementation of E-Verify too?
Conservatives who do not trust Obama to enforce perfectly good law – whether it is No Child Left Behind, the War Powers Act, our current immigration laws, etc. – should not trust him to enforce whatever security measures are part of any immigration deal. There is no reason to believe that amnesty would not be every bit the train wreck that Obamacare already is.
Two further tidbits about today’s CBO report. One: They estimate that the $38 billion that Corker/Hoeven will cost will reduce the net population of illegals in the U.S. over the next 10 years from 10.4 million under the previous version of the Gang of Eight bill to 9.6 million. That’s a difference of 800,000 illegals, which, per the security pricetag, comes out to $47,500 for each one. Which prompts another good question from Carroll, via Twitter: At that expense, wouldn’t it be cheaper to just pay them to go home? This is what happens, I guess, when you follow the Senate’s plan of throwing money at a political problem rather than focusing on more efficient ways to solve the underlying policy problem. Two: CBO finds that, due to the added security expense, the new version of the Gang of Eight bill will reduce the deficit by $135 billion over 10 years versus $197 billion prior to Corker/Hoeven being added. But that’s myopic: Byron York noted a few days ago that the vaunted savings to entitlement programs like Social Security from adding millions of new taxpayers to the rolls will barely dent our Social Security difficulties long-term. Today’s newly legalized taxpayer is tomorrow’s retired citizen. Run the numbers and you’ll find that, instead of Social Security going bust in 2033 under current projections, a post-amnesty America would get a reprieve until … 2035. And that’s assuming, as noted above, that nothing in the enacted law changes before then either because the president decides unilaterally that he doesn’t want to enforce it or the GOP caves and accelerates benefits for illegals under pressure from Democrats and Latino voters.
By the way, Dave Weigel notes that influential House Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte is hinting that some form of a DREAM amnesty, which would legalize only illegals who were brought here by their parents when they were young, might be in the offing in lieu of broader comprehensive reform. That’s not a bad play if House Republicans can get some sort of border improvements in exchange. It doesn’t solve our “what if Obama doesn’t enforce it?” issue, but it limits the damage if he doesn’t while earning some goodwill with amnesty supporters. If Harry Reid wants to kill that bill because it doesn’t go far enough for his liking, that’s on him.