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Obama Blows Up Immigration Reform

Obama gave his immigration speech today. If you were in the Senate in 2006 and 2007, you know it’s a (as Rove put it) ‘complex’ issue – a  loaded issue that can melt the Senate switchboard. One where a bill will have to be bipartisan or it will fail. It would have to balance enforcement, legal immigration provisions and handling of illegal immigrants among us. The Gang of 8 can be criticized for failing to come up with anything better than the failed 1986 amnesty framework, but at least they are aware of the need for enforcement as part of the equation. Well, here is Obama putting a turd in the Gang of 8′s punchbowl – NO border security trigger:

Under the Senate plan, the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants would not earn green cards until the border is deemed secure. Administration officials said Obama does not favor linking legal status to border security, arguing that undocumented immigrants should not be kept in a state of limbo.

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/01/29/obama-to-oppose-senate-bills-border-enforcement-requirement-in-immigration-speech-today/

Never mind the fact that such a trigger would be a fig-leaf or a joke (because it would be ‘verified’ by an administration that would treat is as such), the President’s opposition tells us point blank that any immigration amnesty bill will NOT have the borders secured.  While Senator McCain, unable to contain his inner RINO, praised the speech, Senator Flake and Senator Rubio pointed out:

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was less enthusiastic, saying Obama’s plan is fundamentally flawed because it does not include a guest worker program or make citizenship for undocumented immigrants dependent on border security.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/01/29/mccain-offers-general-praise-for-obamas-immigration-speech/

Mr. Rubio said that without such triggers in place, enforcement might fail and “we will be back in just a few years dealing with millions of new undocumented people in our country.” …. “The president’s speech left the impression that he believes reforming immigration quickly is more important than reforming immigration right,” Mr. Rubio said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/us/politics/obama-in-speech-leaves-room-for-a-tough-fallback.html

Now, President Obama did stick to broad outlines rather than specific legislation. This is similar to how President Bush tried and failed on immigration reform and social security reform.  He may not insist on this position in a final bill. But since the President has already staked out a position that is contrary to those principles, and since it requires trusting his administration to live up to enforcing provisions in laws his administration already flouted last years with their amnesty-by-fiat, that  tells us right now that border security will not happen, we know RIGHT NOW any final big bill will not meet the minimum requirements of the Republicans in the Gang of Eight – even if there is a figleaf to pretend otherwise.

So why go down that primrose path?  The ‘border is secure’ stamp of approval is a joke. The ‘Guest Worker’ is something the Democrats, eager to create voters not workers, will subvert. Obama wants Republicans to pass a liberal Democrat bill. This is what HIS base is demanding:

Hector E. Sanchez, the chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 30 of the country’s largest Hispanic groups, called the meeting “a beautiful celebration.” But he said Latinos would be demonstrating in the streets and watching the debate closely. “For us, the priority is citizenship,” he said. “We don’t want a path that is extremely long and painful. Our community has already suffered enough.”

The Republicans really have two choices, if they dont want to cave to liberal special interests and divide and destroy the party: Do nothing(*) or do a SMALL bill, perhaps even a series of small bills. There are areas where bipartisan work can be done, such as the Startup Visa, making more employment-based immigration, and a Guest Worker Visa that will reduce the incentives for illegal immigration.   The “do a bill that will do it all” is a path to blowing up immigration reform, especially with the grenade of amnesty for 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants in the mix. It would be folly to try to negotiate on any big bill, any promises made on the border will be broken, just as enforcement promises were broken in 1986.

One-step-at-a-time might be to implement all the enforcement and border security aspects along with modernizing legal immigration and might forge a compromise by giving a limited DREAM Act, and wait 2 years to see the results before any broader program is done.  While Senator McCain will sellout on this issue to anyone, Senator Rubio has kept some shred of common sense, and might be persuaded to jump into the ‘One Step At a Time’ and “Enforcement first or no bill” camp.

The do-nothing path may be simply to have Republicans insist on enforcement first or no bill and have Obama take it or leave it. Let the House mark up and vote on a Republican bill, with no intention to bring it up in the House if there is nothing for Republicans in the conference committee.  Obama’s speech and approach indicates that – just as Obama has done nothing in 4 years to get a bill done – he’d rather have nothing done legislatively unless and until he gets a liberal bill.

Should immigration reform fail, we can look back on Obama’s  deliberately pushing the envelope as the trigger. What he wants is too extreme, and while he calls for ‘common-sense’ his opposition to border security triggers lacks in common sense.

Now, pro-amnesty and anti-amnesty activists are gearing up. A comment:

I just got back from Cruz’s Houston office with a few other NumbersUSA people and the phone was ringing off the hook. We could barely talk to the staffer because he was putting people on hold and having to get back to them. You could even hear some people yelling through the phone. I told him that the grassroots in Texas has his (Cruz) back and to draw a line in the sand. I also heard Laura Ingraham say that opposition is starting to mount. This whole “enforcement” sham is being exposed for what it is.

Do NOT assume immigration reform is a ‘done deal’ or Republicans will roll over on this. Democrats are demanding things that are far difference and anathema to Republicans. It’s time to insist on limited, thoughtful solutions that dont repeat the errors of the 1986 amnesty or no bill at all.

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