One aspect of my growing skepticism about the immigration reform proposals advanced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and his Gang of Eight partners is that our immigration system did not break by accident. It was mangled, deformed, defanged, and abused on purpose, by both government and private interests. Rubio's earnest enthusiasm would be appropriate for someone cleaning up after a natural disaster, but he's dealing with something closer to sabotage.
That's why all those promises about border security "triggers" ring so hollow. The elements of the Administration that would be responsible for enforcing those triggers are almost hilariously straightforward about saying they won't even seriously attempt to measure border security progress. Rubio is looking for good-faith assurances from people who have little good faith to offer. Between open-borders ideology and good old bureaucratic inertia, it's entirely predictable that the Administration will simply pronounce itself fully compliant with any standards laid out by the Gang of Eight legislation... and then savagely attack anyone who suggests otherwise. If skeptics in the years ahead actually try to delay the amnesty process because those triggers haven't been satisfied, they'll be denounced as xenophobes. The Democrats actually have incentives to force such a showdown, because it would be a political field day for them.
A U.S. District Court judge just chastised Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano around for her deliberate refusal to obey immigration law. Napolitano is getting sued by the union for immigration agents, because they don't want to be accomplices to her efforts to impose her own agenda on deportation proceedings. She greeted this suit with utter contempt, refusing to even meet with the agents' union. “I have never heard of a situation in which a group of law officers sued their supervisor, and you, for blocking them from following the law,” Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Napolitano on Tuesday. “They weren’t complaining about pay, benefits, working conditions - they were saying their very oath they took to enforce the law is being blocked by rules and regulations and policies established from on high, and that this is undermining their ability to do what they are sworn to do.”
Obama and Napolitano have been trying to impose the "DREAM Act by fiat," invoking extra-legal powers to defer deportation action against illegal aliens who meet the conditions laid out in the DREAM Act, such as entering the country before they turned 16 and avoiding serious criminal offenses. A District Court judge on Tuesday found that "DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings," and allowed the suit by ICE agents to move forward.
The ostensible reason for Napolitano's action was to "prioritize" her department's resources. "The executive cannot remove 11 million people," said a Justice Department lawyer. "The executive has authority to exercise its discretion." We're always hearing that tired old song. Immigration enforcement is too hard for the people who say they can manage our entire health-care system. We'll have tens of thousands of new IRS agents and helpful "navigators" to assist us with ObamaCare paperwork, but we can't possibly spare anyone to enforce our immigration laws.
And yet, this same exhausted, hapless Homeland Security department is going to process millions of new citizens, collecting back taxes and fines from them along way, while deporting those who fail to meet the exacting conditions laid out by the Gang of Eight bill? This spent, undermanned, threadbare bureaucracy is going to verify with total accuracy that everyone applying for amnesty was living in the United States before December 31, 2011?
The Administration has no reason to live up to its end of the Gang of Eight deal, and lots of reasons to violate it. They don't want to make themselves look bad by conceding that border-security triggers have not been met. They don't want to invest the effort required to carefully process 11 million potential applicants, who they currently insist they cannot keep tabs on. They don't want to take grief from "immigration advocates" for deporting those who don't make the cut. They want all those new Democrat voters rolling down the pathway to citizenship.
The Washington Times ran a story on Monday saying that 99.5 percent of the illegals who applied for legal status under Obama's non-deportation policy were approved. I've heard the methodology used to calculate this percentage called into question, but the approval percentage is clearly very high, and there's every reason to think it will be remarkably high under the Gang of Eight regime. The incentives to keep it that way are too powerful.
Many of those who willfully broke our immigration system can be found in the private sector. CNS News relates that the Inspector General found over 10 million "no match" W-2 forms in a 2008 study - forms in which the name and Social Security number don't match. An "elite group" of 1,650 employers filed 500 or more no-match W-2 forms apiece. One employer submitted 37,375 of them.
"For more than a decade, the federal government has suspected that employers who file large numbers of no-match W-2s may be knowingly hiring illegal aliens," Terence Jeffrey of CNS explained, pleading with the government to at least investigate the top offenders who filed thousands of bad forms.
Border security is only part of the total security picture. The integrity of the border will never be 100 percent perfect, so efforts to detect and deport those who cross it illegally must be ongoing. But even though reams of data on these illegals have always existed, the problem was deliberately allowed to fester until it reached critical mass, and amnesty became an irresistible political imperative. Even illegal immigrants themselves are treated like helpless victims of circumstance, when in truth they deliberately ignored clear legal requirements to cross the border. We're not supposed to refer to them as criminals or "illegal immigrants." That's a way of using language control to obscure their active decision to violate American law.
The immigration system was broken on purpose; it cannot be restored on the honor system. That's one of the reasons that border security and tough immigration law enforcement must come first, with verifiable standards that cannot be gamed or ignored, before any discussion of a "pathway to citizenship" begins. Let's try using the information we have to enforce existing laws for a change, then see how large the remaining illegal population is, and make reasonable plans to assimilate it.