Senator Rubio has an op-ed today claiming to offer “the truth about my plan for immigration reform.” Most of it’s the usual stuff, but this argument against a more modest, piecemeal approach was new to me:
For example, passing a law that only focuses on modernization and enforcement and leaves for another day the issue of those here illegally is not a good idea. Because as the enforcement measures kick in, millions of people living here illegally will be unable to work and provide for themselves and their families. The resulting humanitarian impact will then force us to scramble to address it. It is better to address it now as part of an orderly and measured process.
Who could be against heading off “humanitarian impact” through “an orderly and measured process”?
But if you’ve been following this issue, you won’t be surprised to learn that Rubio has no idea what’s in “his” plan. There are three main enforcement provisions in the Schumer/Rubio bill; even in the unlikely event they were fully implemented as promised, none of them would have the effect he’s describing. Improved border security and tracking the departures of foreigners are designed to prevent new illegal settlement, so obviously those are not germane.
The third enforcement element is the employment verification mandate, which would phase in over five years a requirement for most employers to use some new, improved (and enitrely hypothetical) version of the E-Verify system to check new hires’ information. His staff probably had this in mind when they wrote this paragraph, but that only shows they don’t know what’s in the bill either.
Unlike similar legislation, such as Lamar Smith’s Legal Workforce Act, which was approved in the House Judiciary Committee during the last Congress, the Schumer/Rubio bill does not require the verification of existing workers. (It’s in Title III, starting on p. 395, for those of you following along in the book.) That’s the only way that such an enforcement measure, in the absence of an amnesty, could render current illegal aliens “unable to work and provide for themselves and their families.” But under the proposal before the Senate, only new hires would be affected, as is the case in current law. It’s true that a verification system in the absence of amnesty would prevent current illegals from finding new jobs if they lost their old ones, but that would be a slow, piecemeal process that would not render millions of illegal aliens unable to work, leading to a humanitarian crisis forcing us to scramble to address it.
Why such a retroactive verification requirement is absent from the bill is hard to explain. Since all the illegals who’d qualify for the amnesty would already have been legalized, the only explanation for its absence is to protect the remaining illegal aliens from being identified. This is also why the bill, as I pointed out yesterday in my Senate testimony, contains sanctuary provisions prohibiting the use of information in amnesty applications from being provided to law enforcement and not mandating the removal of those who do not qualify for amnesty.
In any case, it’s clear Rubio neither knows nor cares about the details of this legislation. It amnesties the illegals and that appears to be all that matters to him. As Rich has written, it is Chuck Schumer’s triumph, and Rubio is his waterboy.