Paul Ryan: Under our plan, illegals will have probationary legal status while the border is being secured

We’re still waiting for Boehner and the House leadership to release their new “principles” on immigration, but I think this tells us most of what we need to know.

Pay close attention at around 1:40 of the clip. Lefty Greg Sargent thinks it’s significant. I agree.

Ryan confirms GOP “principles” will include legal status for the 11 million, but he also says this will be a ”probationary status” to make sure the 11 million will not be “preferenced over people who did follow the laws.” It’s important to have confirmation that there will be a way out of the shadows. But the probationary period idea is problematic. Details will matter, but it would probably allow for people to get the right to work up front, but they could be kicked off of probationary status if certain security benchmarks aren’t met.

Advocates see this as bad policy: Why would undocumenteds step forward, if they know they can lose work status and get deported later because of nothing that they did, but only because Washington failed to decide certain metrics had been fulfilled?

However, Ryan also says the undocumented will be allowed to work as part of “probationary” status before security benchmarks are met. “You can be on probation,” Ryan says, “while the border is being secured.”

Solution: No one comes out of the shadows until the border’s secured. The status quo on legalization holds in the meantime. There’s no rational reason why a country needs to make concessions to illegals before, or concurrent with, strengthening its borders, just as there’s no rational reason to think the GOP would use the security trigger to delay legalization ad infinitum. Everyone understands the demographic realities of the last election. Everyone knows how eager the Republican establishment is to attract Latino voters. And everyone knows how gleefully Democrats will demagogue them for dragging their feet on legalization while the border saga is playing out. Left to their own devices, Republicans would legalize illegals sooner rather than later. There’s no similar reason to believe that Democrats, left to their own devices, would eventually get around to tackling the border once legalization happened.

But I digress. “Probationary” legalization while security improvements are being made is the same nonsense in the Gang of Eight proposal, and it’s unacceptable for the same reason. Namely, in reality, there’ll be nothing probationary about it. Once “probation” is granted and illegals gain a temporary right to stay in the U.S., Congress will never muster the will to rescind that right even if the new border security efforts fall apart (or, more likely, if Obama simply refuses to carry them out). It’ll be like any other entitlement — once it’s in effect, congressional cowardice at upsetting people’s expectations will ensure that it’s with us forever. If you think the left’s immigration demagoguery is bad now, imagine what it’d be like in the summer of 2016, with border enforcement going nowhere and some Republicans in Congress whispering about canceling the conditional “probation” that was granted to illegals as a result. It’ll never happen. “Probationary” legalization is permanent legalization, period, which is why it can’t be granted until after the border’s been measurably improved. And the left will never agree to that because they don’t want the border improved; how will there be another new influx of Democratic voters over the next 20 years if the border becomes too solid to breach? They want the people here now legalized without any hard conditions and they also want to make sure that there’s not so much pressure on DHS to upgrade security that the 2045 amnesty will have to be canceled. Sounds like Boehner and Paul Ryan are going to make their dream come true.

Sargent’s also right about the path to citizenship here. Ryan mentions that there won’t be a “special” path, but near the end he imagines legalized illegals being able to apply for green cards eventually through currently existing channels, the penultimate step to citizenship. You already knew the leadership was leaning this way, but now here’s the proof. Everyone excited?