The immigration “Gang of Eight” — which was only five today — just finished their presser introducing ((((the broad contours of) an outline of) a framework for) a plan) that may eventually become legislation. It will feature some kind of status for the ~11 million people here illegally (by the way, Senator Rubio used the word “undocumented” — that linguistic war is all but over) that will be “contingent” on securing the border. This amnesty-by-another name will require things like background checks and the payment of fines and back taxes. It will also include something like the DREAM Act, something like a beefed-up E-Verify, and something like a restructuring of the current legal immigration system to bring in more high-skilled workers.
The theme of the affair might have been “This Time It’ll Be Different, We Swear.” with old-timers Schumer, McCain, Durbin, and Menendez all at pains to offer assurances that we won’t repeat the mistakes of past efforts at comprehensive reform. Maybe that’s true. But it probably isn’t. As Mark Krikorian frequently points out, most recently at the NRI Summit, immigration policy isn’t something you “do” and “get out of the way”; it’s something you manage for as long as you’re a sovereign country. And so even if the Gang of Eight’s plan manages to pass by huge bipartisan margins, we’ll be back again in five years, ten tops, talking about some new constellation of problems.