So, it’s a “good sign” that Rubio’s demand for a detailed public examination of the bill through a series of hearings is met with the mere possibility of a single kabuki hearing? If he embraces every Democratic affront this way, he’s going to start getting real pushback from the right.
Such pushback has already begun, albeit gently so far. Phyllis Schlafly wrote to Rubio last month as “one of your enthusiastic supporters since the very beginning of your campaign for the Senate.” Referring to Reagan’s bitter experience with “comprehensive immigration reform,” she urged him not to “get caught in that same mistake” and to resign from the Gang of Eight.
Once the secretly drafted bill is actually made available to the public (which I believe is still required), the pushback will become less gentle. Republican voters are already stronglyopposed to amnesty and don’t trust the Obama administration to enforce the law after granting one — they know that amnesty without enforcement guarantees the emergence of another large illegal population.
What’s more, the bill will be loaded with outrageous provisions inserted by sophisticated Democratic staffers running rings around hapless Senate GOP staff who know little about the nuts and bolts of immigration policy. These provisions — whether special immigration rights for gay couples or the designation of no-go areas for immigration officers or something I haven’t imagined yet — will spark significant opposition, and not just from conservatives.
It’s worth noting that there’s also a bipartisan gang in the House that’s cooking up its own amnesty proposal, but passage of something by the Senate is a necessary precondition for further action.
And such passage hinges on whether Rubio will “grow” in office, as have so many of his predecessors, succumbing to the preferences and worldview of the bipartisan Washington establishment. Or will he remain true to the conservative voters who helped him upset RINO (now Democrat) Charlie Crist and sent him to the Senate? Soon enough, Rubio will have to choose the Tea Party or the cocktail party. The decision will tell us a lot about the man.
— Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.