Mickey Kaus ruminates on House Democrats’ plans to try to pass an amnesty this year. The Roll Call story (here, but for subscribers only) refers to it as “stopgap” legislation because the plan would provide only five-year visas to employed illegals who pay a fine and pass a background check (which, as I noted yesterday, doesn’t mean much). But, in reality, there’s nothing stopgap about it; once we legalize the illegals, they’re legalized and get to stay, the “path to citizenship” being a mere detail to be settled later. The draft bill also includes “an expansion of visas for technical, temporary and agricultural workers.” So, when Zoe Lofgren, chairwoman of the House immigration subcommittee, says in the story that “It’s not comprehensive immigration reform,” she’s right — it’s worse, because it amnesties the illegals, increases immigration, but has no enforcement measures. But if, as Mickey speculates, this proposal is “just an attempt to sweeten the [enforcement-only] Shuler bill to the satisfaction of the Democrats’ Latino caucus,” then the resulting package would just be the same “comprehensive” deal that failed the past two years. As to why this is happening now, I think Mickey is correct — Democratic panic over the fact that the modest enforcement increases we’ve seen to date seem to actually be slowing illegal immigration and starting to persuade some illegals already here to leave. Can’t have that!
Given his new commitment to enforcement first, I eagerly await Sen. McCain’s endorsement of the Shuler bill and rejection of this new Democratic amnesty proposal.