Hillary Clinton, immigration extremist

Hillary Clinton now says that she’s willing to go even further than Obama in refusing to enforce immigration laws — even further, that is, than an administration that has already pushed the limits of presidential power as far as they possibly could. White House spokesman Josh Earnest responded to the obvious question — has the administration failed to do everything possible for unauthorized immigrants, or is Clinton wrong? — by babbling in a highly professional manner.

Clinton is adopting this assertive stance, it seems fairly clear, because she thinks it will be politically advantageous and solidify Hispanic support for her presidential campaign. She is, for the same reason, denouncing Republican proposals to compromise on immigration reform. Some Republicans want to offer a path to legal status for unauthorized immigrants. Clinton insists on nothing less than a path to full citizenship for them. She also says that she wants to welcome back people who have already been deported.

Republican presidential candidates should respond by saying that they’re open to legal status or citizenship — but that these things have to be accomplished through Congress, and should occur only after it’s clear that existing immigration laws will be credibly enforced at the border and in the workplace. If Obama’s amnesty is eventually cleared by the courts, Republicans should say that they’ll respect it for the three years that it protects those eligible from deportation, but that they expect to reach a legislative solution when that protected status comes up for renewal.