Illegal Immigration and the Pesky GOP Base
But there are two fundamental flaws with every proposal – form the House and Senate Gang of Ochos to the Rand Paul Gang of Uno.
First, enforcement is not a legislative problem; it is an administrative problem, and to some extent, a judicial problem. How can Republicans float a ‘legalization for enforcement’ deal while Obama is refusing to enforce any law, is letting criminal aliens out of jail, and is suing states for enforcing laws? Why are they agreeing to concessions without a parallel commitment from Obama to build the physical fence, pursuant to the law passed in 2006?
Hence, the entire premise of amnesty for enforcement in the current climate of lawlessness is as vacuous as the promise of spending cuts in exchange for tax hikes. You can only ‘trust but verify’ if there’s something or someone to trust. And what are you going to do if we all agree that the points of entry are not secure after the legalized status has been granted? Will anyone seriously invalidate the visas in the probationary status? Unless the amnesty component is passed after the enforcement has already been implemented, effective, and cleared with the courts, we will have another wave of illegal immigration to take advantage of the probationary status.
Second, how to we prevent any legalization, albeit with some limitations, from turning into a bidding war with Democrats, with those limitations becoming the next goal post and political football? Once they become legal, there is no practical way Republicans could prevent them from benefiting from the welfare state in short order. In 2007, Robert Rector estimated that the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill would cost roughly $2.6 trillion. Remember that was before the gutting of welfare reform and the massive eligibility expansions under Obama.
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