The Corner

Immigration Trouble

I’ve been open to a compromise on immigration, and I’ve disagreed with “restrictionists” on some specific issues, like foreign recruits to the military. But this strikes me as a bad bill and an ill-conceived compromise on the part of conservative senators. If this bill is rammed down our throats without time to thoroughly examine and debate its provisions, the result will be an ugly rent in our political fabric destined to last for years. America’s got enough of that sort of bitterness and division as it is.

I’ve been particularly interested in the family unification provisions, since chain migration through family unification has been the key to failed assimilation in Europe. The replacement of family unification by a merit-based point system is supposed to be one of the big prizes won by conservative senators in exchange for their support of the deal. But take a look at this account of the family unification deal in the left-leaning San Francisco Chronicle. It confirms what we’ve already heard from Mark Krikorian: family unification isn’t going to be decreased for eight years. During those eight years, the pace of family unification will actually increase. Even then, the final merit-based point system has not been revealed. Depending on how that point system actually works, the so-called reform could end up making make little or no difference to the pace of family unification at all.

I don’t see how conservative senators could trade their support for a deal like this. A change that isn’t scheduled to happen for eight years is unlikely to happen at all. Conservatives senators have provided political cover for a deal that will actually increase family unification, aggravating the very problem they are claiming to have solved. What we already know about this part of the deal is enough to condemn it. Yet it’s obvious that, as bad as things are, manipulation of the final point system could make it far worse, in effect neutralizing even the “concession” being promised eight years down the road. And we’re supposed to vote on the bill without having had time to study or debate the final point system?

This is a joke.