The Corner

“Conservatives Must Band Together on Immigration Bill”

That’s what a bunch of conservative (and not-so-conservative) worthies say in the Dallas News today.

The op-ed would be a lot more persuasive if Linda Chavez were not one of the signatories. She considers people who object to the immigration bill to be a bunch of bigots–so why would she want to band together with us? And why should we want to band together with her? If pro-bill conservatives are sincere in wanting to reach out to conservative critics of the bill, they should start by disassociating themselves from Chavez.

The op-ed would also be more persuasive if it demonstrated any familiarity with the bill itself. “[T]he package is built around a set of enforcement benchmarks that must be met before a single guest worker is hired or illegal immigrant legalized.” This is simply untrue, and the White House has been careful to avoid making that claim in its own recent releases. The bill gives illegal immigrants legal status before any of these “enforcement benchmarks” are met. That is a central critique of this bill, and the op-ed not only doesn’t address it; it pretends the bill doesn’t have this feature.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.