Kill the Bill: Senate ‘Gang of Eight’s ‘Grand Bargain’ on Immigration a Terrible Deal
June 24, 2013
The National Review editors have a new piece out today against the amnesty currently being contemplated in the Senate.
The fundamental problem with this bill, both in its earlier form and in the new Hoeven-Corker form, is that it confers an immediate amnesty on illegals already present in the country in exchange for promises of tightened border security at some point in the future. Not very tight, mind you: The bill’s own supporters do not contest forecasts that over the next 20 years we would once again find ourselves with 11 million or more illegal immigrants, just as we have now. Stronger security provisions, such as requiring that the border fence be completed before amnesty is handed down, were rejected.
When Marco Rubio first started talking about this “grand bargain” a few months ago, I came to it with an open mind. For me, he had a lot of credibility as a new Tea Party-ish conservative senator, and his argument seemed reasonable: In exchange for a little amnesty (what Senate Democrats want), we can finally enforce the immigration laws again (what conservatives want but seemingly can’t get without this compromise).
But upon closer inspection, it’s no bargain at all: The bill would give real amnesty immediately (“First comes the legalization.” “The legalization is not conditional.”), and only later, maybe, some token effort at getting serious about enforcement. Read more about it from Mark Krikorian, who has been reporting on it for months.
Part of the problem is that this has all been done before. Notably the amnesty of 1986 was sold with just such promises—yes, some amnesty for illegal immigrants, but in exchange, we can finally enforce the immigration laws! The amnesty materialized, but the enforcement never did, with the result that we have some four times as many illegal immigrants in the country now as we did then, and we’re debating yet another amnesty to deal with them, as if no one had ever heard this one before. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
In this context, the ads I hear constantly on the radio these days—quoting Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul praising the immigration bill, calling it a “conservative solution”, and calling doing nothing “the real amnesty”—seem very dishonest, and honestly lower my opinion of all three men. Sure, doing nothing is an amnesty. So is this bill. Why can’t we just actually enforce the laws for a change?
And of course the bill is over a thousand pages long, no one will have time to read it before voting on it, and it contains various pork-barrel kickbacks to bribe senators into supporting it. (We see how well that worked out with Obamacare.)