RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee calls upon the President and Congress to create a new work permit program that will allow foreign nationals who are currently in the country and have not violated any other laws of the U.S. to come forward and register and be allowed to remain and work in the U.S. The work permit will not result in application for citizenship nor any family members in the U.S. and will require renewal every two years upon proof of continuous employment with no more than two (2) months per two (2) year period unemployed or convicted of a crime.
Rich is being kind in saying that it’s not “crisply drafted.” First point: Is “foreign nationals who are currently in the country” the new euphemism for “illegal alien”? Jeez, they can’t even bring themselves to say “without legal authorization” or even “undocumented”? Incredible.
Second, what does “have not violated any other laws of the U.S.” mean? Illegal aliens daily violate a whole slew of laws on identity theft, tax fraud, perjury, etc., aside from entry without inspection (border jumping), assuming they came in that way. In fact, “come forward and register” is already required by law for all noncitizens regardless of status, and has been for generations, as my colleague Jon Feere has noted. It’s not clear how all these violations — one or more of which have been committed by virtually all illegal aliens — fit into “have not violated any other laws of the U.S.”
The most important problem with the resolution is the idea that we’d legalize illegal aliens but keep them in a permanent subordinate status — a helot class that’s incompatible with small-r republicanism. What’s more, the bar to citizenship (or to a green card, actually) will immediately be attacked as evience of the GOP’s hatred of Hispanics (“Juan Cuervo” immigration policy is what they call it, in the Spanish sort-of equivalent of Jim Crow). Then, the same Republican brain trust that’s telling us now we need amnesty will say we need to give them green cards — the Hispanic vote, don’t you know. (My colleague Ron Mortensen did a great post on future headlines if amnesty passes, including “July 2016. DREAMers Accuse Republicans of Making Their Parents Second-Class Citizens,” though I think it’s optimistic to think they’ll wait til 2016.) So it’s both bad policy and bad politics, which is about what you’d expect from the incompetents who’ve brought the party and the country to our current distress.