The Corner

Amnesty Forces Stopped Before Moscow; Long Fight Remains

One positive outcome of the Obamacare fiasco is that it seems to have finally pushed Speaker Boehner to unequivocally reject any negotiations with the Senate over the Schumer–Rubio amnesty bill:

The idea that we’re going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House. And frankly, I’ll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.

This rules out the Trojan-horse scenario, which was the House leadership’s plan until now. It’s unfortunate that it took so long for the speaker to finally rule out the sneaky conference strategy. (Mike McCaul, whose “border security” bill was the designated vehicle for that strategy, finally came out against his bill’s being used that way a couple weeks ago.)

Better late than never, of course, and Obama’s help has been invaluable in countering the effects of a tsunami of corporate money pushing for amnesty and a doubling of legal immigration. This help has taken at least three forms. First, the administration’s incompetence in dealing with the massive health-care changes renders risible the claims that it would efficiently implement any comprehensive immigration bill’s massive changes. Second, the hilarious Obamacare mess has weakened the president, reducing his ability to cajole or threaten members of congress into going along with his agenda. And third, the president’s arrogance and lawlessness (regarding health care and pretty much everything else during the previous four years) has fostered such ill will in congress that even pro-amnesty Republicans repudiated him. As Texas representatives Sam Johnson and John Carter, members of the House’s own pro-amnesty gang, put it, ”it would be gravely irresponsible to further empower this administration by granting them additional authority or discretion with a new immigration system.”

The Hill published this week a detailed look at the past few years’ backroom negotiating in the House over immigration — in two parts, here and here — that’s well-worth reading. But the title of the series — “How immigration died” — is premature. The Schumer-Rubio bill remains alive until the 113th congress expires at the end of next year. The House’s approach of passing bills focused on specific topics like interior enforcement, farm workers, and so on, could still yield a broad amnesty; a bill to legalize all the illegals with work visas instead of green cards is reported to be one of these focused bills that the Judiciary Committee will consider at some point next year. George Will’s column today draws the analogy to the Compromise of 1850 to argue for bundling separate bills as a way to pass amnesty and other immigration measures.

And the Senate can just insert an amnesty into any kind of focused bill the House passes, at which point the avalanche of money from cheap-labor lobbyists could cause the House leadership to cave, with the excuse that it wasn’t the Gang of Eight bill they were considering, after all. It’s worth remembering that the 1986 amnesty bill was also generally regarded as dead until then-representative Chuck Schumer revived it. So eternal vigilance is the price of sovereignty.

All that having been said, the amnesty pushers have been turned back from Cemetery Ridge. Whether this represents a true turning point remains to be seen.


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