Legalization without citizenship: The false middle ground on amnesty

Paul’s reference to “immediate voting privileges,” fatuous as it was, does point to Republican fears that the Democrats are using immigration as a voter-recruitment program. Such fears aren’t unfounded; in fact, the Left boasts about it. Amnesty activist Eliseo Medina, former vice president of the SEIU and an honorary chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America, has said “[Immigrants] will solidify and expand the progressive coalition for the future. . . . We will create a governing coalition for the long term, not just for an election cycle.”

A non-citizenship amnesty will not, in the final analysis, prevent this. That’s because in the real world the amnesty beneficiaries will eventually get green cards, and every Republican lawmaker pushing the idea knows that. Permanent second-class citizenship is politically unsustainable in the United States, and that’s not a bad thing. If such a measure were to pass, the Democrats would attack the Republicans relentlessly for imposing a Jim Crow immigration regime, and Republicans (led by today’s amnesty-pushers) would quickly fold, possibly delivering green cards to the former illegals even sooner than planned by the Senate bill…

What’s more, illegal immigration isn’t the main recruitment tool for the Left. Most immigrants are legal immigrants and it’s immigration overall that’s shifting politics to the left. The new immigration system created by the Senate bill would result in more than 32 million potential voters by 2036, lopsidedly Democrats, and overwhelmingly due to legal immigration flows, not the amnesty. (Michael Barone’s claim that “the Hispanic vote is up for grabs” is an uncharacteristic instance of wishful thinking.) Any effort to preserve the viability of traditionalist, small-government conservatism must start with reducing legal immigration, not supercharging it, as Chuck Schumer’s bill would do.