I understand what you are thinking. If you are watching the political process, you are probably thinking, as a sane person, that Republicans would completely ignore amnesty and focus on what's important. After all, the country is focused on other trivial news, summer vacations, and the scandals. After August, the main fights will be over funding Obamacare, the budget, and the debt ceiling.
So why on earth would Republicans push for amnesty, especially after the Senate bill has been ridiculed and repudiated? Why would they bail out Obama at his weakest moment? Why would they agree to the premise that we must have some form of amnesty now, thereby bleeding conservatives dry on the issue - drip by drip?
There is no good answer to these questions other than the fact that Republican leaders are looking for a new base. Unfortunately, their dictates are strong enough to percolate down to the committee chairmen. Trey Gowdy's subcommittee on immigration held a hearing today on the Dream Act - a mass amnesty bill that will grant citizenship and welfare rights to a large population of illegals. Basically, we control the House, but are using the committee hearings to promote Democrat policies.
Here is what the committee leaders had to say:
“I do not believe that parents who made the decision to illegally enter the U.S. while forcing their children to join them should be afforded the same treatment as these kids,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees immigration issues, said children are treated differently in nearly all facets of life and are seen as a “special protected class.” That was why the younger immigrants should have a separate solution than those of their parents, Gowdy argued.
“Attempts to group the entire 11 million into one homogenous group in an effort to secure a political remedy will only wind up hurting the most vulnerable,” Gowdy said in his opening comments.
The problem is that these people are not vulnerable and they are not in the shadows. They testify openly before Congress; they disrupt committee hearings; they harass members of Congress in their offices. There is no national emergency to deal with this issue now.
Moreover, there are a number of problems that are being overlooked in this process:
- Once you accept the argument that these people are entitled to citizenship, just be honest with the fact that it will metastasize into millions more. There is no way their immediate family members will ever be sent back. So yes, this is ostensibly amnesty for almost everyone. We are basically expanding our anchor baby policy to include anchor teenagers, essentially telegraphing the message that as long as you come here illegally with children, you're here to stay.
- Once they obtain green cards or citizenship, they will be eligible to bring in more family members and spawn more chain migration. Again, Republicans might start out with something blocking family members and chain migration, but that will never stand in the long run. Those provisions will either be inserted into conference, or inevitably revised down the road.
- Has anyone thought about the cost of legalizing such a young and poor demographic? The cost to education and welfare? If they get an expedited path to citizenship, they will all be eligible for the full array of programs.
I'm seeing too many good members getting conned by leadership. They are injecting their abstract sympathies, which may be appropriate in the right time, into a political process that will not end well. If we had a president who was willing to enforce the laws and work with Congress to cut off the magnet of future waves of illegal migration, then we could discuss such a proposal.
Any discussion of this now will only lend credence to the Democrat premise of inevitability, give Obama cover for his other failures, and immediately incentivize new waves of illegal immigration. Instead of the narrative revolving around how much up-front enforcement Democrats are willing to agree to, the storyline will be dominated by how much amnesty Republicans are willing to talk about as a precondition to negotiations.
So if you are putting your faith in the Republican House to stop this amnesty, remember not to use logic when crafting that assumption. Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell want this badly, and they are not giving up.
Cross-posted from The Madison Project