Romney has said that he won’t revoke the two-year amnesty the Obama administration is illegally dispensing through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. I called this a month ago, not because I have secret sources in the Romney campaign but because there was no chance whatsoever of any other outcome.
The key, though, is this sentence by Romney: “Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed.” The shape of that “reform plan” is not preordained; he’s suggested that he wants to simplify the whole process, eliminate the visa lottery, speed family-based immigration, staple green cards to the diplomas of foreign students getting advanced degrees in STEM fields, and encourage self-deportation of illegals through mandatory E-Verify.
Some of that’s good, some isn’t, and some requires more elaboration. But I’d suggest a more modest approach. Rather than attempting “comprehensive” reform, whatever shape it would take, try instead a few bites at a time. As a first step, try green cards for those aliens who have benefited from Obama’s illegal DACA amnesty in exchange for Representative Lamar Smith’s mandatory E-Verify bill. A second step could be Smith’s STEM bill, to reallocate the 55,000 visas for the Visa Lottery to foreign STEM grads. These would be significant but discrete measures that don’t try to construct 2,000-page comprehensive schemes to rewrite our vast immigration system. A little modesty is called for in policymaking, as hilariously naive as that may sound.