The key component of the Gang of 8 Senate immigration proposal is the provision requiring that our borders be deemed “secure” before those who are in the country illegally now can begin the process towards U.S. citizenship. This provision purports to address the concern that providing a path to citizenship will encourage more illegal immigration.
Even in theory, providing a path to citizenship that’s contingent on securing the border is bad policy. For one thing, those who violated our laws are still rewarded for their behavior, above and beyond the significant rewards they have already accrued. Moreover, a secure border at one moment in time — when so much is riding on a certification of security — hardly a guarantees a secure border in the future.
These concerns aside, the border certification process contemplated by the Gang of 8 appears to be phony. The Gang’s proposal calls, inevitably, for a commission to opine on border security. Frank Sharry, a leading liberal advocate of immigration reform, has told Greg Sargent of the Washington Post that Democratic Senators assure him the commission won’t be constructed in a way that will hold up the process for too long:
As Sharry put it, Democrats realize that they can’t “allow the commission to have a real veto” over setting in motion the path to citizenship. He noted that Dems see the commission as “something that gives the Republicans a talking point” to claim they are prioritizing tough enforcement, giving themselves cover to back a process that “won’t stop people from getting citizenship.”
No surprise here. This legislation is all about the Democrats bringing in new voters who will assure them of a permanent leftist majority. Does anyone believe that Sens. Schumer, Durbin, etc. will place the success of this project in the hands of a truly impartial commission?
Evidence that the commission is, in Mark Krikorian’s words, “a lie” comes from John McCain himself. As Ed Morrissey points out, McCain has said that the final decision will rest in the hands of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, a political appointee of the President.
Although Marco Rubio apparently disagrees, expect the gap between the two, if any, to be papered over. Do not expect any commission to provide a real obstacle to conferring citizenship on millions of illegal aliens who will eventually become millions of automatically Democratic voters.