The House’s Foolhardy Principles
Republicans shouldn’t act on immigration now — and never act according to these ideas.


Mark Krikorian

The Republican “Standards for Immigration Reform,” released today by the party at its congressional retreat, are pretty much what we’d been led to expect. They call for more enforcement, increasing legal immigration but orienting it away from family ties, and amnesty.

They’re really not that different from the Senate Gang of Eight’s original “Bipartisan Framework for Immigration Reform.” And look how that turned out.

This document was prepared by Becky Tallent, Gang of Eight member John McCain’s former chief of staff and manager of his earlier amnesty push with Ted Kennedy. John Boehner recently hired her as an immigration liaison, and her career-long commitment to pushing amnesty and increased immigration must inform the interpretation of any ambiguous language. If it looks like a weasel word, it probably is.

With or without that context, Boehner’s standards present cause for concern:

The serious problems in our immigration system must be solved, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve them. That would be pabulum except that the Gang of Eight also made a big deal of how bipartisan they were. Bipartisanship isn’t any good if it means Democratic amnesty supporters teaming up with Republican amnesty supporters to screw the public.

We will not go to a conference with the Senate’s immigration bill. This doesn’t mean much. The pro-amnesty folks have conceded that the House will pass a number of separate bills, and they’re okay with that so long as everything from the Senate bill is included and all the bills are “consolidated,” in the words of American Conservative Union head Al Cardenas. Then the Senate can take them up one by one, or put them together and pass that — no conference needed.

We must ensure now that when immigration reform is enacted, there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future. Why “in the future”? The long, sorry history of gutting immigration enforcement — not to mention this particular administration’s brazen contempt for law — means we need zero tolerance now, not “when immigration reform is enacted.” All new border-crossers should be criminally prosecuted now, and Congress should pass a measure criminalizing new visa overstayers, and then the feds should prosecute the violators. Packing this into an amnesty grand bargain ensures that, as in the past, it won’t happen.

We must enact reform that ensures that a President cannot unilaterally stop immigration enforcement. How’s that going to happen? The House of Representatives waited an entire year before expressing a mild squeak of disapproval at Obama’s unilateral DREAM Act amnesty. If the legislature isn’t going to use its considerable power now to ensure faithful execution of the laws, what are a few more paper provisions going to do?

It is past time for this country to fully implement a workable electronic employment verification system. True, but we have one already, called E-Verify. Why not mention it by name? Is it because, like Chuck Schumer, they want to scrap it and start over, all after the illegals get legal status?

Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers. Actually they need to reflect the needs of the American people, including the 20 million–plus looking for full-time work.