The Arizona Republic hosted a forum on immigration earlier today with two of Chuck Schumer’s Republicans, Senators McCain and Flake. I missed the beginning, but a lot of it was the usual stuff, which at this point sounds to me like the adults talking in a Charlie Brown cartoon. But a couple of things got my attention.
First, they made pretty basic — and repeatedly debunked — misrepresentations about what’s in the Schumer-Rubio bill they co-sponsored. McCain said that the bill requires payment of back taxes by the amnestied illegal aliens before they could qualify for the upgrade to full green-card status. There is no such provision. Flake said that the amnestied illegals would have to learn English to qualify for the upgrade. Wrong again. The most charitable interpretation is that they have no idea what’s in “their” bill, and just rely on talking points provided by their pal Chuck. The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body, indeed.
The two senators were also asked about Rubio’s fear that Obama will unilaterally amnesty the illegals if Congress doesn’t pass an amnesty. Flake’s answer was even more frivolous than his “Oh, whatever” comment elsewhere on defunding Obamacare. When asked about administrative amnesty by Obama, he said “I don’t think that could happen . . . I can’t see that happening.” That’s it. With a legislature this supine and pusillanimous, the president has no need of sycophants.
Finally, McCain and Flake were asked about the bill’s incentive for employers to hire amnestied illegal aliens over Americans or regular legal immigrants. That’s because the employer mandate doesn’t apply to amnesty beneficiaries until they upgrade to green-card status, so employers can hire them without health insurance and avoid the resulting $3,000 fine. Both senators basically shrugged, acknowledging it was a problem, and that’s it. Flake complained that if they had made the amnestied illegals eligible for Obamacare subsidies, then people would have complained about that, too. So, instead of forthrightly owning up to the huge taxpayer cost of legalizing less-educated workers, these guys accepted a set-up that puts Americans at a (further) disadvantage in the labor market.