In Which I Agree with Josh Marshall

by Mark Krikorian

Lefty blogger Josh Marshall chastises his fellow amnesty advocates to stop pretending a bill will pass this Congress. While I hope he’s right, I think he underestimates the GOP leadership’s pathological desire to save Obama’s presidency by passing an amnesty.

Nonetheless, his main point is that the mass-immigration crowd should instead start the campaign against Republicans for killing the amnesty/increased immigration bill:

In other words, stop pretending that the GOP House’s hardening resolve to kill the Senate bill is going to change and take this whole question back to the people looking forward to the 2014 election.

I agree! Any huge change in immigration policy is the kind of thing we should have an election about. And the discussion should be about the actual provisions in the noxious jumble passed by the Senate, not the usual “Do you favor legal status for law-abiding war-hero geniuses who rescue lost kittens?” nonsense.

But the amnesty-pushers in Congress are reluctant to do this. This reluctance is not due to the factors Marshall imagines:

There’s a curious elite belief that going into ‘campaign mode’ is somehow dirty or tawdry or that it makes it harder to come up with the compromises necessary for legislation.

Instead, the politicians — whose job, after all, is to get reelected — realize that despite all the push-polls, the public doesn’t like the Senate bill, which can only pass through the very “opaque backroom horse trading” that Marshall says “is suspect in democratic terms.” Marshall labels the Senate measure as “a popular bill,” but its actual sponsors in Congress know better.

The public is indeed open to the idea of amnestying a lot of the illegals under certain conditions — heck, I am too. But the conditions are what matter, two in particular. The Senate bill, as everyone knows by now, legalizes all the illegals before any of the promised enforcement takes place. The public may well be resigned to amnesty, but not to serial amnesties, which is what the Senate bill guarantees. Our elites have forfeited all credibility on enforcement, and until they earn back the public’s trust on the matter, they’re not going to put immigration to a November vote.

Secondly, the bill doubles legal immigration and admission of “temporary workers” on the premise that there’s a labor shortage. This is politically necessary to get the support of the corporate-welfare queens but doesn’t actually have anything to do with all those valedictorians rescuing kittens. Not to mention the 57 million working-age native-born Americans not working.

This explains Lindsey Graham’s March comment that “you don’t want to leave it hanging out for two weeks to get shot up” when it was suggested that the text of the legislation actually be released to the public before a congressional recess. Because, you know, we can’t have constituents confronting their elected officials about it. Likewise, Representative Xavier Becerra, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said the bill couldn’t pass during an election year. This is what he said last month:

“We’ve seen how in an election year it’s very difficult to get a lot done, and that’s unfortunate,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus, told reporters in the Capitol. 

“You hope that we can get things done next year, whether or not there’s an election at hand. We should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. 

“But there’s no doubt that the closer you get to elections, the more members of Congress attention turns to their reelection,” he added, “and this is just too important an issue to let go.”

That same story in The Hill quoted Becerra’s vice chairman, Representative Joe Crowley:

“Some have suggested we should leave [the issue] for the elections, for the electorate to decide, but I think they already have done that. And poll after poll has indicated that they want us to act . . . in a comprehensive way.”

In other words, tendentious opinion surveys say the public’s for this — so who needs elections?!

Anyway, bravo to Marshall for demanding the public be heard on immigration policy. Let’s ditch the pending legislation and let the campaign begin!

The Corner

The one and only.