Rubio Continues to Not Get It on Immigration

by Mark Krikorian

As those following the Schumer-Rubio medicine show have heard, amnesty for the illegal population would require only that Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security submit a plan to control the border (technically, two plans — a “Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy” and a “Southern Border Fencing Strategy”). The idea that such parchment barriers, as Madison might have called them, are sufficient to ensure that amnesty isn’t followed by continued illegal immigration has occasioned much derision. It’s just another way that Rubio and the rest of Chuck Schumer’s Republicans are saying, through their support of this travesty, that “We Trust Barack Obama.”

So, ahead of the debate over the bill on the Senate floor next week, this development:

Rubio, a key member of the Gang of Eight, is shopping around a proposal to have Congress — not the Department of Homeland Security — write the border control strategy that would be a prerequisite for most of the other elements of reform. Rubio hasn’t yet landed on specific parameters, but, arguing that Americans don’t trust their government to get it right, Rubio wants lawmakers to craft the plan at the outset, rather than leave the details up to the Obama administration.

In other words, instead of Napolitano writing the “parchment barrier” that’s supposed to prevent new illegal immigration, Chuck Schumer’s staff will prepare it. This is presented as an improvement. As Jonathan Strong quotes Mike Lee on today’s home page with regard to the budget debate, “Trust us. We’re Congress!”

Congress has already tried this approach of specifying the details of a border-control strategy, to little effect. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 (pdf here, but don’t worry — remarkably, it’s only three pages long) lays out in extraordinary detail where “at least 2 layers of reinforced fencing” are supposed to be built along the Mexican border:

‘‘(i) extending from 10 miles west of the Tecate, California, port of entry to 10 miles east of the Tecate, California, port of entry;
‘‘(ii) extending from 10 miles west of the Calexico, California, port of entry to 5 miles east of the Douglas, Arizona, port of entry;
‘‘(iii) extending from 5 miles west of the Columbus, New Mexico, port of entry to 10 miles east of El Paso, Texas;
‘‘(iv) extending from 5 miles northwest of the Del Rio, Texas, port of entry to 5 miles southeast of the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry; and
‘‘(v) extending 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry.

In other words, Congress crafted the border plan at the outset, specifying where some 650 miles of fencing was to be placed, rather than leave the details up to the Obama Bush administration. How’d that work out?

There are only about 40 miles of such double fencing, with no plans for any more.

Even if Jeff Sessions wrote the enforcement plans, this latest gambit by Rubio to bamboozle conservatives retains the bill’s fundamental, and flawed, structure — the amnesty comes first, complete and irrevokable, with enforcement promised for sometime in the future, and dependent on the executive branch’s continued commitment to enforcement. But once the administration has legalized the illegal population, everyone knows that it will not honor its end of the bargain by vigorously and unapologetically preventing any new illegal immigration and deporting all those who didn’t qualify for the amnesty. No one who has been awake for the past four years can honestly believe otherwise.

So long as that structure remains, the bill cannot work as promised — and anyone who votes for it is saying, clearly and unequivocally, that America’s security and sovereignty just isn’t that important to him.