The basic shape of “comprehensive immigration reform” has long been amnesty and huge increases in future immigration in exchange for tougher enforcement. This is the same package we got a generation ago, though the increases in immigration (which worked out to a one-third jump in the number of arrivals) was passed in 1990, a few years after the 1986 passage of the amnesty/enforcement part of the deal.
The fear, of course, is always that the pro-amnesty side’s commitment to enforcement is situational — once the amnesty is underway, their insincere commitment to ensuring full implementation of, say, E-Verify will evaporate, and we’ll just end up with another 11 million illegal aliens who would need to be amnestied.
A piece on the prospects for immigration legislation in the leftist site Colorlines confirms that fear. Most of the piece is based on comments from an unnamed Senate Democratic staffer, who presumably felt freer to talk to a writer from an ideologically sympathetic outfit. Here’s the interesting part:
“I think there’ll be some [more] border enforcement,” the Democratic aide told me. “I’m hopeful more interior enforcement will be limited.”
Does this sound like there’s a deep, abiding commitment to future enforcement of immigration law on the pro-amnesty side in Congress? Once 10 million illegal aliens are well along the pipeline for amnesty, do you think lawmakers who share this perspective would actually follow through on their promises? Me neither, which is why “Enforcement First” must still be the watchword. Full implementation of E-Verify (including overcoming the legal jihad that will be launched against it); full implementation of exit-tracking for foreign visitors (since close to half of illegals are visa overstayers); routine, systematic, and universal partnership between local police and federal immigration authorities — these are the yawning gaps in enforcement that have to be filled before any talk of amnesty is appropriate.