Over the weekend, the White House leaked parts of a proposed amnesty bill to USA Today’s Alan Gomez. Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, described the proposed bill as a backup plan in case the Senate doesn’t act. Unlike the Schumer/Rubio amnesty plan, the administration bill contains no enforcement “triggers” that would have to be met before the amnestied illegals could move from green card lite to full green-card status. Rubio said the bill would be “dead on arrival” if it were to be introduced, while Paul Ryan said it would take things “in the wrong direction.”
The “backup plan” stuff is nonsense — the point of leaking the bill is to enable Rubio to say that his amnesty plan is waaay different from the dastardly Obama plan, even though they’re identical in the only respect that matters: amnesty immediately for all illegal aliens, with work cards, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, the right to travel abroad and return, etc. The president has repeatedly said he wants to stand back and let Congress come up with a bill because if he were to send one to Congress it would be toxic for Republicans — i.e., those Republicans who desperately want to sell out their constituents by backing amnesty but are afraid of the voter backlash. The Rubio and Ryan criticisms of the proposed bill sound almost as though they were scripted by Schumer and White House to make the Senate Gang of Eight scheme seem more palatable to such Republicans.
Reinforcing this impression is the fact that the leaked proposal carefully omits any reference to guest-worker programs, since that’s still being worked out by the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; any White House details on that subject could upset the apple cart. What’s more, the Obama proposal has this provision, as described in the USA Today story, designed to make the Schumer/Rubio proposal seem less extreme:
If approved, they [the amnestied illegals] could then apply for the same provisional legal status for their spouse or children living outside the country, according to the draft.
This whole gambit is so transparent even Talking Points Memo is commenting on it. Immigration hawks would do well not to get sucked into this phony controversy. Obama’s bill is Rubio’s bill.