Tags: Immigration Reform

T.W. Shannon Hits James Lankford on Young Illegal Immigrant Influx


Tulsa, Okla. – President Obama designated Fort Sill, Okla., as one of the military installations that would house the surge of young illegal immigrants coming to the United States, and the decision could be a factor in the homestretch of another Republican primary, just two weeks after immigration helped sink House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, (R., Va.).

Former House Speaker T.W. Shannon has primarily faulted Representative James Lankford for voting to raise the debt-ceiling, but the recent spate of border crossings by minors has given him another weapon to use against his campaign to replace retiring Senator Tom Coburn.

“[Lankford] said that he supports a pathway to citizenship; he said it for juveniles,” Shannon told National Review Online after talking to patrons of Steak Stuffs, a local sandwich shop. “Well, when you compare the crisis that’s happening five miles from my house in Lawton at Fort Sill with the illegals that have come across our border and are now being housed there, I think part of the reason is is because we’ve sent a message from Washington D.C. is that we welcome illegal immigrants who are children when you talk about a  pathway to citizenship. So, I think that’s a distinction between us.”

For his part, Shannon supported a bill that made it a felony for someone to transport illegal immigrants in the state while knowing of their immigration status, according to Vote SmartThe bill also had provisions to discourage businesses from hiring illegal immigrants, among other things. Shannon made the comment after an appearance at the Broken Arrow Rotary Club, where a man took the opportunity to remind an aide to Representative Jim Bridenstine that he opposes amnesty.

“Immigration is definitely an issue [in Tulsa] because we’re sitting at the crossroads of I-35 and I-40,” Jenni White, an activist with ties among conservatives around the state due to her time leading the successful fight to repeal Common Core in the state, explained to NRO. “We have human trafficking here badly [and] drug smuggling and immigrants coming through all the time.”

Lankford criticized Obama when the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to send some of the young illegal immigrants to Fort Sill. “The recent, single-year influx of unaccompanied minors from foreign countries into the United States is a direct result of President Obama’s policies of encouraging amnesty and failing to enforce existing immigration laws,” the congressman said.

Shannon argues that Lankford’s willingness to consider citizenship for young people – ”I separate a 2-year-old who was brought over with a parent from a parent who violated the law,” Lankford said a year ago — also creates the problem.

“Particularly as this deal has heated up in Lawton, people are saying ‘how did we get here? Why has Washington D.C. failed us once again?’” he said. ”And it’s clear that because we have not secured our border, and because we have not reformed our welfare system in Washington D.C., it’s clear that we created an atmosphere that encourages this type of behavior from many governments that are encouraging their citizens to come into our country illegally.”

Although his immigration stance might endear him to the kinds of Tea Party voters who helped Dave Brat defeat Cantor, Shannon also emphasized that he has the support of several recent state Chamber of Commerce presidents because they understand that he was a “pro-business” House speaker.

“Most of us in Oklahoma were Tea Party long before it became cool, and will continue to be. And so, this idea that there are two Republican parties — I reject that notion,” Shannon said. “For me, as a conservative, I don’t think that that means being anti-business, which I think is usually what boils down when you talk about what has been created as kind of this rift between the conservative party, grassroots versus kind of business interests. I don’t accept that. I’ve never been comfortable with the title that you have to be one or the other.”

Brat struck a different note during his campaign. “Big business gets the cheap labor and the American people pay the tab,” he said of current immigration overhauls. The national Chamber of Commerce supports the immigration bill championed by Senator Lindsay Graham and others.

Shannon said there’s no tension between his pro-business views and opposition to amnesty. “Most businesspeople I know still respect the rule of law,” he told NRO. ”I think most people I know still believe that having a secure border is a national security issue. And so, I don’t buy into this idea that we have to somehow disregard the rule of law to keep business happy. That’s not what I hear from the business community.”

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Immigration Reform , Oklahoma

David Brat, Right on Free-Market Economics


Listening to David Brat on election night, following his upset win over Eric Cantor in Virginia’s seventh congressional district, I heard a principled, free-market, pro-growth individual who is going to make an excellent Republican House member.

Mr. Brat, the Randolph-Macon economics professor, talked about pro-growth tax reform, spending limits, and entitlement reform. He wants to end the congressional bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and return them to the private sector. He opposes corporate cronyism in Washington. He’ll have no more special favors for the K Street crowd. He emphasizes the importance of the rule of law and property rights, which are so essential to our free-market system.

In other words, Brat seems to be saying that free-market capitalism is the best path to prosperity. My kinda guy.

However, during the late stages of his primary campaign, Brat railed against immigration reform and hammered Cantor on the issue. On this subject, he’s not my kinda guy. He is violating his free-market economic principles.

Read my full column here.

Tags: 2014 , Immigration Reform

Immigration Reform Is Pro-Growth and Pro-GOP


If the GOP is to recapture the Senate come November, and move on to retake the presidency in 2016, it must have a strong pro-growth message. Jobs and the economy are going to be key issues. Tax reform, regulatory rollbacks, and a rewriting of Obamacare that ends the mandates and provides real health-care freedom to choose are vital points.

But so is the immigration issue. Not only because it is pro-growth, but because the Republican party must return to its Big Tent roots.

Read my full column here.

Tags: Immigration Reform

Wrong Time for Boehner to Ask Anti-Amnesty GOP Donors for Cash


A recent NRCC fundraising e-mail begins:

[Name], this can’t be right.

Chairman Walden just emailed me a list of NRCC members for 2013, and I don’t see your name.

You’ve been one of the NRCC’s most loyal supporters in the past so I know this must be a mistake.

It’s not too late to join our efforts to create jobs, stop reckless Washington spending, and repeal the President’s train wreck of a health care law . . . 

Please don’t wait another moment. Renew your 2013 NRCC membership today with a gift of $45.

One reader of Campaign Spot noted he would be much more responsive to a Boehner fundraising pitch if Boehner’s SuperPAC wasn’t lobbying House Republicans to pass the Gang of Eight immigration bill.

UPDATE: A reader contends it’s unfair to label the Congressional Leadership Fund “Boehner’s SuperPAC,” arguing that it is an independent organization focused on keeping and growing the GOP House majority. In other words, Boehner shares their goals and helps but does not lead or direct it. Here’s how our Jonathan Strong characterized the relationship between Boehner and CLF, and the group touting the benefits of passing the Senate bill:

AAN is housed in the same office as the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC associated with Boehner, and the two organizations share senior aides, including Brian O. Walsh, the president of both organizations, and Dan Conston, the spokesman for both.

Boehner spoke at a fundraiser for CLN earlier this summer and also headlined the organization’s inaugural event. The group’s website has posted links to numerous news stories that refer to the group as “Boehner’s” super PAC.

The AAN’s e-mail, sent to GOP offices, touts the number of jobs the group estimates the Senate bill would create for the congressional district and state of that office. The group also released an embeddable “widget” that allows users to find out how many jobs the Senate bill would create in the district of their representative.

Conston, the spokesman for both AAN and CLN, said the analysis, based on the Senate bill, is “simply about broadly showing the local economic benefits of reforming a broken visa system — a problem House Republicans want fixed.”

Tags: John Boehner , NRCC , Immigration Reform

Backers of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Suddenly Quite Nervous


From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Backers Suddenly Quite Nervous

Hey, remember when passage of immigration reform was a certainty, and lawmakers skeptical of the whole legislative contraption could either get on the fast-moving train or get run over by it? Apparently not anymore:

The White House and its immigration reform allies are banking on the August recess as their next — and possibly last — major opportunity to compel House Republicans to act.

With the issue stalled in the House, the monthlong congressional break is the linchpin of a campaign that President Barack Obama, Senate immigration leaders and a broad coalition of groups now expect they’ll have to wage through the end of the year. They realize they must make progress in the next month to stand any chance of keeping the issue alive into the fall.

“We’re not winning this fight,” Sen. John McCain, a Gang of Eight leader, told POLITICO Wednesday. “They are mounting a better campaign than we are — the opposition is.”

The problem with launching a public pressure campaign on lawmakers during the August recess is that the country as a whole is generally off on vacation.

The Washington Post offers a new poll on the topic this morning, and while there’s majority support for a path to citizenship . . . 

2013-07-17 Immig graphic

 . . . when you consider how the issue is covered — how a path to citizenship is usually treated as humane and natural and just and with few or no drawbacks, and opponents are usually described as xenophobic or racist, and how even the term “illegal immigrant” has been declared too controversial for the AP — doesn’t a 55–41 split actually seem a bit low?

On those last two questions . . . did 11 percent think that 20,000 border agents and 700 miles of fence along the border with Mexico would be cheap?

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Immigration Reform , John McCain

Washington Post Takes a Long Look at Our Mark Krikorian


National Review contributor Mark Krikorian gets a long and largely favorable profile in today’s Washington Post. Yes, one of the Center for Immigration Studies’ founders gets lengthy scrutiny for allegedly consorting with racists and white supremacists, but the profile begins with Krikorian’s childhood in an Armenian-American household (he couldn’t speak English when he began kindergarten) and concludes with:

It’s a muggy Tuesday night, and Krikorian is steering his Toyota Prius into the parking lot of a dreary office building in Falls Church. The man behind the wheel of the hybrid vehicle is a “crunchy conservative” who says he sometimes pops into Edible Arrangements to collect bags of melon rinds or Starbucks for loads of coffee grounds to replenish his compost pile.

In the building’s hallway, a group of middle-aged men and women — all immigrants — file toward the elevator. They’ve just finished a citizenship class sponsored by Catholic Charities for green-card holders who want to prepare for the civics test they must take to become citizens. Krikorian will be the instructor for the class that starts in a few minutes. This has been his Tuesday night routine for about 1½ years, he says.

On the subject of immigration, Krikorian frets about almost everything, but little seems to animate him as much as his concerns about multiculturalism and his contention that “Spanish-speaking people” have “the potential to create an alternative mainstream” in the United States. “A lot of the immigration pushers don’t like America the way it is,” he says. “They want to change it.”

In a spare conference room, four men settle into plastic chairs before Krikorian. They’re Latinos — Bolivians and Salvadorans. “No, no, no,” he says with a smile when two of the men start speaking Spanish to each other. No Spanish allowed in class.

“Why do people come to America?” he asks the class.

There’s silence.

“Come on, why do people come to America? You know it,” he urges.

“Freedom?” a Bolivian construction worker suggests.

“That’s right!”

When the men answer tough questions, Krikorian hands them little American flags.

Krikorian, whose birthday is Flag Day, once said the purpose of immigration was to Americanize people. On this night, in this conference room with scuff marks on the walls, he seems content in the belief that he is doing just that: making new Americans.

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Mark has become one of the most influential and consequential voices in the immigration debate.

Tags: Immigration Reform

The Immigration Bill: Obamacare All Over Again?


The Heritage Foundation offers a comparison that articulates why so many Republicans are so wary about the Gang of Eight immigration bill:

After Obamacare, I don’t think you’ll see the conservative grassroots feeling confident about any 800-page bill for a long time.

As noted on Twitter, most Democrats’ view on immigration reform begins and ends with, “yeah, yeah, yeah, enough with the boring stuff about respect for the rule of law, economic impact on unskilled workers, assimilation, or border security, tell me how soon my party can get 11 million new voters.”

Most folks on the Right don’t trust the motives of the congressional Democrats pushing it or trust the Obama administration to enforce the law; we see immigration laws currently on the books ignored and ineffectively enforced all the time (hello, Boston bomber friends); we’re not convinced of any significant political benefit; we believe that any aspect of the law that proves inconvenient for the Democratic party’s allies will face immediate pressure to be repealed or altered;  and we believe it rewards those who have broken the law. But other than that, it looks great.

Tags: Obamacare , Immigration Reform

Obama: Defender of the Status Quo


After a tough three-day weekend of golfing with the boys away from Michelle and the girls, President Obama returns to work today with a press statement standing beside “a group of emergency responders who might have to absorb some of the sequestration cuts.”

Of course, as Bob Woodward reported, Obama is denouncing his own idea: “First, it was the White House. It was Obama and Jack Lew and Rob Nabors who went to the Democratic Leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, and said, ‘this is the solution.’ But everyone has their fingerprints on this.”

Sequestration was put together as part of the budget deal in 2011. The administration had more than a year to work out an alternative; you’ll recall that the day after the 2012 election, House Speaker John Boehner declared, “we’re willing to accept new revenue, under the right conditions.”

On February 5, President Obama urged Congress to “pass a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms that would delay the economically damaging effects of the sequester for a few more months,” roughly three weeks before the deadline.

There’s a similar dynamic to all of the fights between Obama and Republican leaders in Congress. He claims to be adamantly opposed to the status quo, but his actions suggest otherwise. He wants a long-term budget deal, but won’t pressure the Senate to pass its own budget and only offers broad guidelines. He says he wants to ensure the long-term viability of entitlements, but won’t propose any bold reforms of his own.

He did propose – well, leak – his own immigration reform plan, but that appears more likely to blow up the delicate balance of support for the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” bill. After all, he’s basically telling Democrats that if they don’t like the Rubio-Schumer deal, they can hold out and push the president’s.

His rallying cry on guns is that the proposals… “deserve a vote”, not that they must pass.

What has Obama spent much of the past years campaigning against? The horror of budget cuts, the heartless cruelty of entitlement reform, the failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform, and the callousness of the “gun lobby.” Getting a bill passed in any of these areas would take away his ability to campaign on these issues as he aims to help Congressional Democrats in the 2014 midterms.

Tags: Barack Obama , Entitlements , Immigration Reform , John Boehner , Campaign Advertising

Senator Rubio Makes His Immigration-Reform Sales Pitch


Senator Marco Rubio’s press office is distributing this video of him discussing the bipartisan immigration-reform proposal on Sean Hannity’s program last night:

By Rubio’s description, it all sounds pretty appealing, and there’s no doubt he genuinely believes this would improve the situation. But there are a few hitches. For starters, Rubio describes the process:

When you’re undocumented, you have to come forward and you have to identify yourself. You’re going to be fingerprinted. You’re going to have a background check done. You’re going to have to pay taxes and fines. And what you get is a non-immigrant visa. That is not a green card. A non-immigrant visa means you have a work permit to stay in the country.

First, does the illegal immigrant pay taxes and fines before the non-immigrant visa is issued? How big are those taxes and fines? And how many illegal immigrants will be able to pay those taxes and fines? If they can’t, are they deported? Or do they have a portion of their future wages garnished?

Whatever system is implemented, how long will it be before that system of taxes and fines is declared a draconian and cruel hardship by the pro-rapid-legalization crowd, and there’s pressure to reduce it or waive it entirely? Remember, in the effort to pass immigration reform last time, a Bush White House spokesman said “Determining the past tax liability [for illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship] would have been very difficult and costly and extremely time consuming” . . . so the requirement was dropped during negotiations. As Mickey Kaus said, “Try that ‘difficult and time consuming’ excuse out on the IRS if you’re a U.S. citizen and see how far it gets you.”

How many illegal immigrants come to the U.S. looking for work but aren’t interested in U.S. citizenship? For those folks, would they even bother getting anything beyond the “non-immigrant visa”? Once they can work and send back money to their family, and not fear being arrested . . . isn’t that all that a certain portion of the 11 million want?

Because I thought a big reason people are wary of a “path to citizenship”/”path to legalization”/”path to green cards”/what have you is the fear of illegal immigrants as economic competitors for low-skilled work, driving down wages. Once you allow those currently in the country illegally to work legally . . . you’re expanding the labor pool, aren’t you? There are currently 22 million Americans who are unemployed or under-employed (working part-time, can’t find full-time work). Is putting 11 million people on the path to becoming legal going to help those folks, or hurt them by creating more competition for available jobs?

If Marco Rubio were in charge of implementing and enforcing this whole system, it would be easier to believe that the enforcement parts of this legislation would live up to their billing, and that those who weren’t willing to “play by the rules” would be deported. But he isn’t, so there’s a lot of wariness out there that this legislation will have to overcome.

Transcript below the fold . . .


Senator Marco Rubio: “First of all, thanks for having me on to talk about this important topic. I think it is a good moment to remind people and the country that the vast majority of conservatives favor legal immigration, and we don’t have a legal immigration system that works right now. And our problem with illegal immigration is that it undermines legal immigration.

“So, we have 11 million people that are undocumented. We understand that we have to deal with this issue because we have 11 million people that, by all accounts, are going to be here the rest of their lives with or without documents. Our objection has been in the past that we can’t do anything to deal with 11 million people that number one, is unfair to the people who have done it the right way. Or number two, that would encourage illegal immigration in the future. And that’s why your point is so important.

“One of the things that I’ve made a key part of my own personal principles, and am glad they found their way into these principles, and must be a part of any final bill, and that is this: that before we can move toward a path for green cards — because citizenship comes after that — before we move to a path toward green cards, there have to be enforcement mechanisms that are verified and in place. And it’s not just the border, Sean. It’s workplace enforcement because that’s the magnet for illegal immigration. And it’s tracking the entry and exit visas. Forty percent of our illegal immigration, of our undocumented people in this country, entered legally and they overstayed their visas. We don’t track when people leave, so we don’t even know who they are or where they are.

“All of these things must happen before there is a path to a green card. I think that is a critical part of any component that we do here.”

FOX News’ Sean Hannity: “I read the framework that was put out today. Senator, it said simultaneously, so I wondered if people were playing games. Already playing politics?”

Rubio: “No, let me explain that. Here’s what happens. When you’re undocumented, you have to come forward and you have to identify yourself. You’re going to be fingerprinted. You’re going to have a background check done. You’re going to have to pay taxes and fines. And what you get is a non-immigrant visa. That is not a green card. A non-immigrant visa means you have a work permit to stay in the country. You don’t qualify for any federal benefits under that. You don’t get federal benefits. During the same time — and they’re going to have to stay in this process for a significant period of time — and while they’re in that process, is when all of this security stuff needs to happen.

“And after a number of years have gone by and the security enforcement stuff is in place, then the second phase begins, which is that we give people the opportunity to apply for a green card, the same way everybody else does. Not a special way. The same way. Which means that you have to stand in line. You have to wait your turn behind everyone who applied before you legally. And when your turn comes up, you have to qualify for the visa that you’re applying for.

“In essence, we are giving people the opportunity to earn the chance to do this the way they should have done it to begin with. That’s why it said simultaneous, because while you’re in that probationary period, that’s when the enforcement stuff is happening.”

Hannity: “So how long will this process ultimately take? For example, you said no federal benefits, you have to prove that you have a job, you have to go through a background check. I mean, is it really going to be that stringent for people?”

Rubio: “That’s why the details are so important of how you write it. You’re absolutely right. This is a town where they write things that are called something, but that’s not what it is. So it has to be important. Look, you said something in your outline that is very important. I don’t want to ever have to do this again. But that’s what is going to happen if all we do is the legalization part and we don’t do the enforcement part. And the only way that I know to incentivize the enforcement part is to say that the green-card stuff doesn’t even begin to happen until the enforcement happens first. That trigger is critically important, otherwise it will never happen. That’s why we are where we are today. Because when they did this in 1986, they did not do the enforcement, and that led to 11 million people. We will be right back here again in ten years or less if we don’t do the enforcement.”

Hannity: “Can I characterize that, if you don’t get enforcement first, or securing the borders first, is that a deal killer for you?”

Rubio: “Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Because we will be right back here again. I want to deal with this permanently. And by the way, I think the vast majority of people in both parties would agree with me on that point. No one ever wants to have to do this again. I mean, no one is happy about the fact that we have 11 million people here who are undocumented. This is something that should never ever happen again. But the decisions that were made that led to this happened when I was in ninth grade. That was a long time ago. And now we have to deal with it so that it never happens again.”

Hannity: “How do you respond to those people? I read the framework and when you first explained it to me last week, and I spoke to you, I said that this was the most interesting proposal that I had ever heard. Because it seemed like you were really sincere in putting this to bed once and for all. And also it seemed like a very, very difficult process with a lot of penalties involved for people who did not respect out laws and sovereignty. What do you say to people who say, ‘Well, ultimately in the end if people can get a green card, they can stay. That it’s a back door form of amnesty.’ What’s your response to that?”

Rubio: “Well, first of all, the bottom line is that it would have been cheaper and easier for them to have done it the legal way than the way they are going to get it now. In essence, we are not creating an incentive and we are not rewarding it. Because, quite frankly, for many of these people, they would have been better off doing it the right way. This is going to cost them penalties. This is going to cost them taxes. This is going to cost them a significant wait. And then, after they do all of that, the only thing they are going to have access to is the opportunity to apply for a green card. You still have to qualify for the visa you are applying for. So, they would have been better off doing it the right way from the beginning.

“Amnesty. [It's] different from the proposal in 2007 that created a brand new thing called a Z visa, which basically was a blanket and you had to do very little to qualify for it. So, we are not trying to punish anybody here. This is not that we are angry at immigrants. This is about the fact that we don’t want this to ever happen again. And we don’t want to be unfair to the people that have done it the right way. Sean, I have hundreds of people a month come to our offices to talk about the fact that they have family members that are waiting in line to come here the right way. Our message to them cannot be, ‘Come illegally because it’s cheaper and quicker.’

“On the other hand, this is the reality. We have 11 million human beings in this country that are going to be here for the rest of their lives. We have to solve that problem in a way that takes care of it forever.”

Hannity: “And they go to the back of the line, that will be part of the legislation. Correct?”

Rubio: “Yes. And not only do they go to the back of the line and wait behind everybody who applied before them, the right way. But when their turn comes up, they have to qualify for the visa they are applying for. Not a special pathway.”

Hannity: “And there is going to be a lot of penalties and security checks and a lot of other. I will say this, Senator.”

Rubio: “At the front end. Yeah.”

Hannity: “It’s the most thoughtful proposal that I have heard and you’ve explained it better than anybody. But the devil will be in the details.”

Rubio: “Always is.”

Hannity: “And to me I agree with you that, if they don’t secure the border first, there is no point because we are going to be back to debating it in five years.”

Rubio: “That’s right. That’s correct.”

Hannity: “All right, Senator, thanks so much for clarification. I appreciate it. I wish you best of luck on this process as you move forward.”

Rubio: “Thank you, Sean.”

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Immigration Reform , Marco Rubio

Bloggers Eager to Deport Immigration-Reform Proposal


From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Righty Bloggers Wish to Deport Latest Bipartisan Immigration Reform Proposal

So, what are the early reviews for that immigration-reform package introduced by eight senators?

Mark Krikorian:

I can at least respect the Democrat members of this cabal — Schumer, Durbin, Menendez, and Bennet — because the Left has never hidden its disdain for America’s sovereignty. But the Republicans — McCain, Graham, Flake, and Rubio — want to achieve the Left’s objectives while appearing tough.

His debating partner from the weekend, Hugh Hewitt, wants to see details:

Unfortunately the “framework” isn’t legislative language and it was the language about “Z Visas” that sank the last attempt to deal with the issue. At first glance is there up-to-date-information about the border fence or its proposed extensions, no specifics on how many years — 10, 15, 20? — a regularized resident would have to wait until becoming eligible for benefits and voting and whether that regularized resident would have to return home to wait for citizenship in line with other would-be immigrants as opposed to staying here as a permanent resident but without voting rights, and no details on how the broken visa system or the not-yet-mandatory E-Verify programs would work.

It is a speech outline, and a not very good one at that. What is needed is a bill. An actual honest-to-goodness bill that free people can read and debate. Will the sharpies inside the Beltway ever figure out that those of us who can read don’t have the highest opinions of their drafting ability or a great deal of trust that that which they say they will do they will do.

Thoroughly opposed, Michelle Malkin:

Hey, did someone set the clock back six years in Washington? Because today looks a hell of a lot like the dawn of the Bush-Kennedy-McCain 2007 illegal alien amnesty. Deja vu all over again.

Starring in the role of John McCain this time around? Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio . . .

Don’t believe the hype from Rubio supporters that this warmed-over shamnesty proposal — another recipe for more illegal immigration, a bigger welfare state, and undermined sovereignty — is somehow new, improved and more enlightened.

Neo-Neocon expresses what will be the core of the opposition to the path to citizenship:

There’s a principle here, among other things, which is that coming here illegally should not be further rewarded. I write “further” because it already is rewarded.

Rick Moran also wonders how much of what’s written in the law would ultimately get enforced:

It also remains to be seen what kind of enhanced border security measures would be passed. We have seen immigration bureaucrats undermine or even ignore measures that have passed Congress (like the virtual fence).

It remains to be seen whether any immigration reform proposal can get through the GOP House. It might come down to how many Republican House members tie immigration reform to the improvement in relations with Hispanics.

For the pro-open borders perspective, there’s Nick Gillespie over at Reason:

The government doesn’t want to admit it, but except in totalitarian countries, they don’t run the border. People come and go based on large-scale dynamics that simply overwhelm most nations’ ability to control in-flows and out-flows of people. E-verify systems are a nightmare filled either with error rates that will harass thousands of innocent people and businesses or else be so porous all they will do is add a drag on hiring legally. If the senators start really working the Sunday shows and their constituents about how immigration benefits our economy and is the right thing to do from a historical and moral perspective, that will be the sign that they’re meaning to take this across the finish line.

The thing is, I don’t think a bunch of senators going on Sunday shows talking about the joys of immigration will actually change people’s minds about this issue.

The discussion about illegal immigrants is allegedly talking about the same 11 million people, but the two sides describe them in diametrically opposite terms. On one side, we have a bunch of lawbreakers, who have come here and taken our jobs, driven down our wages, and worsened the crime problem, sucking away at our public benefits, being treated in our emergency rooms, driving recklessly and traveling ten to a van and facilitating the creation of a permanent underclass and black-market economy; gangs and the drug trade have flourished in their impoverished, lawless shadow communities. The other side says we’re dealing with aspiring Americans just like the ancestors of most of us, hardworking dreamers who are valedictorians and volunteers and folks who would come to epitomize the greatness of America, just like the Ellis Island-era immigrants, if we would just give them the chance; they point out that they’re around us without us noticing, as we enjoy the services of the busboys, waiters, cooks, construction workers and nannies around us.

In our guts, most of us know that some of the 11 million are as bad as the critics say, and some are as good as their defenders say . . . and that our government has proven an absolute failure at sorting out the good ones from the bad ones.

By the way, what does it say about Obama’s well-proven ability to louse up bipartisan negotiations that this occurs?

Some senior Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus used a private White House meeting Friday to urge President Obama not to unveil his own immigration legislation, for fear of blowing up delicate bipartisan talks, Democratic sources tell CNN…

Sources familiar with the bipartisan Senate framework announced Monday tell CNN one of the main reasons they chose to unveil their framework one day before the president’s planned Tuesday speech on the subject, was to start the national dialogue on their bipartisan terrain. Politically, CNN is told the senators felt it was crucial for it to be known that there has been a real bipartisan process ongoing that is independent from the president.

“It would be a sabotage of the process,” said one immigration reform advocate familiar with internal discussions but not able to speak freely on the record.

“Everybody is fine with him announcing principles, using bully pulpit, etc. But what nobody who actually wants to see this passed wants, is an ‘Obama White House’ branded bill getting introduced,” said the source.

Well, there’s the secret words there — “nobody who actually wants to see this passed” wants to see Obama grabbing the glory and having his staff determine the details of the legislation . . . but it’s not so clear that the president actually wants to see this passed, when he thinks he could get another bite at the apple after the 2014 midterms. Demagoguing the Republicans as racist, xenophobic and viscerally anti-immigrant has been a key part of their messaging . . . why would they want a bipartisan immigration reform bill to louse up that convenient narrative?

Tags: Barack Obama , Illegal Immigration , Immigration Reform , Marco Rubio , Senate

Rubio: New Policy Ignores Constitution, Goes Around Congress


Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, often-mentioned Romney running-mate possibility, and sponsor of immigration legislation. just issued this statement regarding today’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security regarding its immigration enforcement policies:

There is broad support for the idea that we should figure out a way to help kids who are undocumented through no fault of their own, but there is also broad consensus that it should be done in a way that does not encourage illegal immigration in the future. This is a difficult balance to strike, one that this new policy, imposed by executive order, will make harder to achieve in the long run.

Today’s announcement will be welcome news for many of these kids desperate for an answer, but it is a short term answer to a long term problem. And by once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long term one.

Tags: Barack Obama , Immigration Reform , Marco Rubio

Obama Meeting With ‘Influential Hispanics’ on Immigration


CBS News’ Mark Knoller, examining Obama’s schedule for the day: “Also: Pres. Obama will renew his commitment to ‘immigration reform’ in meeting with those the WH calls ‘influential Hispanics.’”

1) He had two years with a heavily Democratic House and Senate, and didn’t do it. Even Markos Moulitsas is looking back at Obama’s explicit pledges from 2008 taking shots at Obama for “campaign promises were blatantly broken as Obama focused on other things, like the botched health care debate, cap and trade, and endless negotiations with Republicans who were engaged in a blatant and malicious campaign to stymie” blah blah blah, you get the idea.

2) So in the White House’s perspective, only “influential Hispanics” have an interest in immigration reform? Isn’t this an issue that effects just about every American and just about every immigrant/aspiring American from every corner of the world?

Looking at the available numbers for the legal immigration process, the “Hispanic” world is only a fraction of the immigration picture. According to DHS data, in 2010, the country with the most persons naturalized to become U.S. citizens was indeed Mexico, with 10.8 percent. But the next four countries were in Asia: India with 9.9 percent, the Philippines with 5.7 percent, China with 5.5 percent, and Vietnam with 3.1 percent. Collectively, Asia represented 40.6 percent, while South America was only 9.4 percent, Central America was 4.1 percent, and “Other North America” – which excludes Central America and the Caribbean – was 12.2 percent. (Keep in mind, that figure also includes Canadians.) There is some fluxuation from year to year – in 2008, Mexicans made up 22.2 percent of U.S. naturalizations – but Asia and Africa are becoming proportionally larger share of our legal immigrant population

Obviously, our southern border with Mexico means that a disproportionate share of illegal immigration issues deal with that country. But Obama’s never been big on a border fence, and the current administration approach is… unclear. Texas Democrats are complaining that their state doesn’t have enough unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) for the job and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, obviously, finds Obama’s efforts almost laughable:


I wonder if those “Travel Not Recommended” signs will come up in today’s meeting.

Tags: Barack Obama , Immigration Reform

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