Gang of Eight tries to make chicken salad

Supporters of the Schumer-Rubio comprehensive immigration reform legislation are arguing that enacting this bill into law will make America safer. Dick Durbin made the argument on Meet The Press today, and it seems to be emerging as a Gang of Eight talking point.

Durbin cited four aspects of the Schumer-Rubio bill that, he claims, will maker us safer: (1) securing the border (allegedly), (2) allowing 11 million people to come “out of the shadows” and identify themselves, (3) verifying employment, and (4) tracking visa holders who overstay their visits.

Only the second aspect, which I’ll get to in a moment, has anything to do with amnesty. The other three provisions could all be adopted without granting amnesty, or a path to citizenship, to any illegal alien.

And this fact raises an interesting question. If these three provisions actually would make Americans safer, why are Durbin, Schumer, Rubio and the others making their adoption contingent on amnesty and a path to citizenship? Why shouldn’t these provisions be rushed through separately in order to protect the safety of the American people? Why didn’t Durbin, Schumer, et al. push for it years ago?

I see only two possible answers. First, protecting our safety isn’t a high priority for these Senators — or at least not as high a priority as conferring benefits on illegal aliens. Second, these provisions wouldn’t really make us safer.

As for Durbin’s second point, it would be foolish to suppose that those who intend to engage in terrorism are going to come out the shadows to identify themselves to the government. Moreover, the Boston bombers, who presumably did not always intend to commit terrorism, were not in the shadows. Both were known to the government — one was known as a result of committing assault and because the Russian government apparently warned us he might be a follower of radical Islam; the other was known because he applied successfully for citizenship.

The logical takeaway from the government’s dealings with these two terrorists is that we should not increase the government’s discretion to make decisions about citizenship, etc. But the Schumer-Rubio bill would do just that.

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