Of all the arguments advanced in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens, perhaps the most outrageous came from Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) during a radio interview on Tuesday with Preston Scott on WFLA out of Tallahassee, Florida. Outrage should not be exclusively directed at Rubio, because what he said is very possibly true. And outrage should not be limited to the immigration issue, because what Rubio said will prove true of many other issues as well. This is call-to-arms, fife-and-drum stuff. The question is whether there are enough American patriots left to hear the music, and answer.
Rubio warned that if a comprehensive immigration bill is not passed by Republicans, he believes "this President will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress, he will be tempted to issue an executive order like he did for the DREAM Act kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen. Now, we won’t get an E-Verify, we won’t get any border security. But he’ll legalize them."
As related by Politico, Rubio went on to describe a terrible checkmate in which the American people are left with no choice but to start passing citizenship papers around, pronto:
He called the current policy of “de facto amnesty” both “crazy” and “terrible” because the government knows little of undocumented immigrants’ criminal history and whether or not they are paying taxes. He said the legal immigration system is rooted in the past century, failing to track visitors and requiring skilled immigrants to jump through hoops more onerous than those moving to the United States because of family ties.
But most of all, Rubio emphasized Tuesday that he fears doing nothing at all will force President Obama’s hand — because without action from Congress, the country’s immigration problems will “only get worse as time goes on.”
“Unless we’re going to try to round up and deport 11 million people — something that not even the most vociferous opponent of the [Senate] bill proposed — then we are going to have to at some point address this issue,” Rubio said. “We can’t leave, in my mind, the way it is. Because I think a year from now we could find ourselves with all 11 million people here legally under an executive order from the president, but no E-Verify, no more border security, no more border agents, none of the other reforms that we desperately need.”
Well, that's just peachy. The ruling class caused this massive immigration problem to develop. They allowed the accumulation of 11 or 12 million people who cannot be tracked at all - not even by the great All-Seeing Eye of Mordor that buries the rest of us under gigantic amounts of paperwork, and harvests gigabytes of meta-data on our every move. And now that we've dispensed with the last vestiges of the American constitutional order - separation of powers, the rule of law - we've got no choice but to cut a deal with the despotic executive, before he gets tired of waiting and imports the 12 million new voters his Party wants by fiat. We might hope for a crumb or two from the table, but there is no further question about who sits at that table, and who scrabbles around beneath it. The ruling class has very little to say to Americans who still imagine that the government must fulfill duties to its citizens, or insist the government must be bound by the laws it passes.
Of course, as Larry Elder devastatingly asked Rubio via Twitter, "What's stopping Obama from using executive orders after you do a deal?" Why would the all-powerful despot who ignores his own signature legislative achievement, ObamaCare, feel obliged to fulfill any inconvenient terms of a grand immigration bargain? The Gang of Eight bill Rubio championed in the Senate gives the Administration a variety of relatively polite ways to weasel out of border security commitments, such as by choking off funding, or having the Homeland Security secretary declare that border security is fine and dandy the way it is. But any sort of "amnesty today for border security later" deal will surely end with Obama using his new dictatorial powers to rewrite the law later. Why not? What's anyone going to do about it?
Why is Congress discussing anything else when this state of affairs exists? Restoring the proper separation of powers is more important than anything on the Beltway agenda. Declaring Affordable Care Act null and void because the President refuses to obey it would be a great start. ObamaCare for all, or ObamaCare for none. Enforce the law as written, or submit it to the legislature for review. No American should be required to obey a law that politicians ignore. That's what the "rule of law" looks like, for the benefit of readers too young to remember it.
Once upon a time, there was a notion that even the President's own party would be jealous of congressional prerogatives, and unite to halt executive overreach. Those days are obviously over, if they were ever more than wishful thinking. Now the opposition party is supine as the Constitutional order is restructured. One of the most popular leaders of the opposition, much-touted as a leading presidential candidate for 2016, goes on the air to inform his constituents that we'd better capitulate to the President, or he'll just do what he wants anyway. There is no serious discussion of strenuously objecting to this, much less stopping him.
How do you get base voters energized for midterms in 2014 with that kind of message? "Send more Republicans to Congress so we can politely resist for a bit longer before we cave to the Democrats!" And good luck trying to run on a 2016 platform of installing a Republican president to use those dictatorial powers to do some good. That won't be permitted; the game is about the institutionalized power of the Left, and allies who believe they can profit from going along, like the business interests that love mass illegal migrations because they provide cheap labor. If a Republican somehow wins in 2016, those "Obama powers" will instantaneously be stripped from the presidency. Any Republican chief executive who thinks he can rewrite ObamaCare on the fly is in for a big surprise. We should know better than to try using a system designed to increase and centralize power for the ends of liberty. It's just not good enough to put the "right person" behind the wheel for a few years.
Republicans are playing a rigged game that requires them to talk themselves halfway to capitulation before the negotiations with Democrats even begin. It's like a boxing match where the GOP gives itself a black eye before the first bell is rung. Republicans accept leftist rules of engagement without quarrel, obediently sidelining the narratives that would change the terms of debate and energize Americans. The resulting passion gap is enormous. When only one side gets to employ populist rhetoric, emotional appeals, or moral arguments, you know it's going to be a short, bloody fight that ends in a knockout.
And notice that only Republicans are required to stay down after the ten-count. On issue after issue, legislative or electoral defeat is the end of the fight for Republicans, but only the beginning for the Left.
That's how immigration reform will work, too. Republicans are cordially invited to try stopping the amnesty process because some trigger or other has not been met. They won't do it; they'll stop themselves long before the Democrats have to issue any formal response; and then the Democrats will portray them as heartless xenophobes in the next election anyway.
Likewise, anyone who really thinks the new "provisional citizens" won't be voting or collecting welfare benefits for ten or twelve years is living on a different planet. The "civil-rights" marches for provisional citizen "voting rights" will begin promptly, and they'll be spectacular. The pleas to feed those starving New American families with food stamps will be heartrending. And in the unlikely event all that drama doesn't make timid Republicans pin themselves to the mat, why wouldn't the Super-President just wave his Magic Pen and make it all happen, declaring that his conscience won't let him keep provisional citizens from the benefits they deserve?
The American system has been restructured so that citizens are forever on the defensive against the ruling class. They declare each new objective. We are then asked if we're willing to go to the ends of the Earth to stop them. The answer from our representatives is always "no." The law is a minor obstacle to power, not a barrier against it. If we're not going to take the Magic Pen away, what's the point of investing time, money, and cultural energy in political opposition?