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Two Rubios in One


Two recent comments by Senator Rubio illustrate his schizophrenic approach to immigration. The first is implausibly hawkish; the second suggests he’s internalized the Left’s entitlement approach to immigration.

1. In a reponse to a post by John Hinderaker at Powerline, Rubio’s staff sent written comments that included this line (my emphasis):

There are approximately 11 million illegals currently in the US, and many of them won’t be eligible for legalization (because they haven’t been here long enough, don’t pass background checks, can’t afford the fines, etc.) and will have to be deported.

That’s absurd. There is no chance that the Obama administration is going to deport people who don’t qualify for the amnesty. When Schumer’s staff wrote the bill, they included this proviso into section 2101 about the grounds for ineligibility for the Registered Provisional Immigrant status that constitutes the amnesty:

Nothing in this paragraph may be construed to require the Secretary to commence removal proceedings against an alien.

In other words, illegal aliens who are ineligible for amnesty don’t have to be deported. As far as we know, the 0.5 percent of the DREAM Act applicants who were rejected haven’t been deported. And rejected applicants from the 1986 amnesty were also allowed to stay – including Mohammed Salameh, whose continued illegal residence enabled him to assist in the 1993 World Trade Center attack.

And to ensure that non-amnestied illegals will be able to support themselves, the bill’s employment-verification mandate for new hires does not require the verification of the existing workforce once the phase-in period is complete. Since all eligible illegal aliens will have been legalized by then, the only point of omitting a retroactive verification requirement is to ensure that ineligible, non-amnestied illegals who are still here are not exposed, so they can stay in their jobs until the next amnesty and hope for different terms.

Mickey Kaus calls Rubio’s comment about deporting ineligible illegals “fake mean,” saying it adds to his record of comments that are “cementing his new national reputation as a dissembler.” That’s possible, though not proven; whether Rubio was duped, or is lying, or was duped at first and now is lying to cover his posterior (my preferred explanation), is the topic for another post.

2. In response to a Daily Caller story on Senator Sessions’s estimate that in its first ten years the bill would issue 33 million green cards and 25 million “temporary” work visas, Rubio’s staff said this as part of a justification for the immigration surge:

Under our proposal, those living here illegally will be allowed to apply for permanent residence in 10 years once we clear out the current backlog for about 5 million foreigners waiting to legally immigrate to the United States – a long-delayed process this legislation will finally correct.

The Congressional Research Service estimate is actually 4.5 million, but more important than the number is the way it’s characterized. This is not a “backlog” of people with a “long-delayed” right to immigrate. Rather, it’s a waiting list of family members in the numerically limited chain-migration categories whose petitions to move here have been tentatively approved, but who are waiting for their number to come up. They’ve been waiting because the demand in all the family categories outstrips any conceivable level of supply. The reason the Schumer-Rubio bill admits everyone on the waiting list is that the Left sees them as analogous to concert-goers holding tickets they’ve paid for, but who are backed up at the door because of inept ticket-takers. In other words, they have a right to come but have been unjustly forced to wait.

In reality, they have received no guarantee of admisstion and have no right, explicit or implicit, to settle in the United States. When their numbers come up, they will be interviewed by our consular staff abroad, at which point they can, and not infrequently are, rejected. The fact that Rubio seems to have bought into this entitlement-like, rights-based view of immigration is disturbing. As in the discussion above, he’s either so unfamiliar with the subject that he just takes Chuck’s Schumer’s word for it, or he has a libertarian sense that national boundraies are, at best, necessary evils that infringe on people’s rights. I suspect it’s the first, but neither is encouraging.


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