Since the 2012 re-election of Democrats to the Senate and White House, comprehensive immigration reform (or any other governmental "reform" acceptable to conservatives) is probably an impossible dream. But that doesn't mean Republicans shouldn't support any and all legislation that is not "comprehensive" and craved by the Schumers of the world:
RUSH (Limbaugh): ...I must tell you: I just don't understand this, Senator (Rubio). I don't understand why we're doing something that the Democrats are salivating over. I've never agreed with Senator Schumer about anything and I'm being told that I should on this. I'm just having a tough time. I look at what happened in California after the last amnesty. We lost that state to the Democrats. I'm having trouble seeing how this benefits Republicans.
(Sen. Marco) RUBIO (R-FL): Well, a couple things. First of all, as far as Senator Schumer and others who are on the bill are concerned, I think the way to understand it is they've agreed to things that we believe in because they want our support...
One aspect of the as yet unwritten "bill" being pushed by the latest bi-partisan Gang of Eight actually does, in our opinion, override all other negative aspects of the proposal to make it a huge net benefit to Republicans as opposed to the status quo:
It locks all illegals out of a quick path to citizenship and its automatic conference of voting rights for at least 15 years and possibly much longer.
Since the Perry-Romney GOP presidential primary debates over in-state tuition for the children of Texas illegals, we changed our position on coupling border security improvement (a fence, etc) and our policy towards long-term illegals, primarily on moral grounds. We consider there to have been a de facto open border rule of law policy since the early 1990s through at least as late as 9/11/2001 and, therefore, do not consider treating them as illegals for non-voting purposes after so many years as members of our communities to be either just or wise from many national security, domestic law enforcement and other aspects of our national life.
That said, we continue to respect those conservatives still concerned about "amnesty" issues, new laws that would "encourage" future illegal immigration and, of course, border security. We just think that the level of unjust treatment of long-term residents overrides the other issues so much that we would not insist upon a comprehensive bill that "solves" all immigration problems.
So why should Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives, skeptical of Rubio's approach, support his efforts? Primarily because the Gang of Eight proposal would lock in all current illegals from even applying for a green card for ten years, and from possibly becoming a citizen for at least 15 years given all the fine, work, non-welfare dependency and other requirements. Rush has often expressed his willingness to test the Democrats by agreeing to amnesty after 25 years. Well, this conservative would support a lifetime ban on full citizenship if we could get it in exchange for legalizing the 11+ million for non-voting purposes. But Rubio's minimum 10-15+ year "path", especially given the ban on receiving federal benefits, is too good to pass up in our considered opinion, given the likely alternatives including the de facto status quo amnesty.
President George W. Bush had to be dragged kicking and screaming to start building a border fence. One of President Obama's first official acts as Chief Executive was to halt the construction. Only a fence can be trusted to deter and prevent illegal immigration, and even if we had e-verify, comprehensive reform and zero amnesty, the U.S. will always remain a magnet for our poorer southern neighbors. The black market will always exist. Measures necessary to kill the cash under the table market would require a totalitarian state. And the day America ceases to be a magnet for immigrants is the day America won't be the exceptional, prosperous America we remember. The marginal "magnet" effect of another "amnesty" is quite puny as compared to the main magnet effect of our greatness and Mexican proximity.
To hold the lives of millions hostage that we essentially let in with a wink and a nod only to decide they were "criminals" on par with murderers and thieves after 9/11 is not just, not worthy of America. Maintaining the status quo is not advancing the cause of the Rule of Law given that the actual written rules were ignored for decades with no public clamor for correction. Why? Because we were all fat and happy to have Mexicans make the babies we aborted or otherwise chose not to have so we could better make the BMW payments and not have to budget in Pampers.
So we let in the construction, landscape, babysitting and cleaning services. Allowed them to form churches and become our neighbors. To hold their lives hostage based upon a fictional history of the rule of laws that were not enforced, is not just.
But even if one disagrees with that analysis, as George Will stated last week, "the first rule of conservatism is to admit reality." The 11 million are here to stay. To allow them to go home and re-apply in ten years is also amnesty. The Rubio plan would be another form of amnesty, but people, amnesty is not always a dirty word. In the real world we face choices, and for 20 years before 9/11 we chose to have a de facto open border. Now we have choices made necessary by our prior choices.
There is a possibility, however sleight, that we could lock out 11 million likely Democrat voters from voting or getting federal welfare benefits for 15+ years. Before the Ted Kennedy immigration as socialism law passed in 1965, a major requirement for immigrants was that they not be a charge upon the state. What's not to like, fellow conservatives? Rubio restores that standard, in his "amnesty."
Furthermore, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is pushing for passage of the legal immigration reform contained in Rubio's plan that would allow the U.S. to again return to a pre-1960s regime that allows thousands of science and engineering immigrants in , even if they happen to be, egad!, white Europeans! China's push for global dominance won't wait for us to build a fence and get Democrats to reform their liberal minds.
If we can lock out 11 million undocumented Democrats from automatic voting-rights citizenship for nearly two decades and/or open up legal immigration for the skills we need to remain the most powerful nation on Earth, we should do it. Whether we can mandate the building of a border fence or not. And whether the solution can be characterized as some form of amnesty or not.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
Editor of Hillbilly Politics
Atlanta Law & Politics columnist at Examiner.com
Front page columnist for Liberty Unyielding and Western Free