Rubio’s immigration plan — the lesser of two evils but not the best alternative

Charles Krauthammer demonstrates that Marco Rubio’s amnesty/path to citizenship plan is superior to the plan President Obama keeps threatening to propose. He also demonstrates that no other plan has any chance of being enacted. Krauthammer concludes that choice between Rubio’s plan — which he calls the lesser of two evils — and Obama’s is “straightforward.”

But Krauthammer does not undertake to show that Rubio’s plan is superior to the status quo. He says that the Rubio and Obama plans are “the only vessels for enforcement.” But we do not have open borders now; enforcement is occurring and illegal immigration seems to be diminishing. What Krauthammer means, I assume, is the two plans are the only vessels for increased enforcement for as long as Obama remains president.

But Krauthammer admits that even Rubio’s proposal provides only a weak incentive for increased enforcement. We know for certain that it will reward ten million illegal immigrants for breaking the law and provide an incentive for millions more to do so, if they can. We do not know whether the weak incentive for better enforcement will produce meaningful improvement in the short term. And we can be fairly confident that eventually, once millions of illegal immigrants are on the way to full status, enforcement will diminish.

I submit that the status quo is superior to the Rubio plan (which could as easily be called the Schumer plan). For Republicans, the tendency to believe otherwise stems from what Krauthammer calls panic over the way Hispanics voted in the 2012 election. But panic produces neither wise policy decisions nor sound political strategy.