As John noted, this morning on ABC’s This Week, Chuck Schumer relied on a non sequitur to support the Gang of 8′s approach to immigration reform. Schumer argued that there is no reason to criticize the amnesty in the Gang’s plan, because what we have now is de facto amnesty for 11 million illegals.
Meanwhile, on Fox News Sunday, Marco Rubio made exactly the same point at the end of an unconvincing denial that he’s concerned about how his advocacy of amnesty will affect his presidential chances. Said Rubio:
I haven’t really thought about it that way. I’ve been elected to do a job. My job in the Senate is not just to give speeches and do interviews, it’s to solve problems. And anyone who thinks that what we have right now on immigration is not a problem is fooling themselves. What we have right now is de facto amnesty.
Clearly, the Gang of 8 has fixed on “de facto amnesty” as its major talking point. But, as John explained, it does not follow from the existence of de facto amnesty that we should make the amnesty official. A better approach might be to start enforcing the law, especially against employers who hire illegals.
And there’s another problem with the Schumer-Rubio line. Even if the existence of de facto amnesty somehow justified making the amnesty official, it wouldn’t justify creating a path to citizenship for the amnestied illegals. After all, there is no de facto path to citizenship. And one might have thought that official amnesty would be a sufficient reward for those who have blatantly and systematically violated U.S. law.
Yet Schumer and Rubio propose to create a path to citizenship.
It’s clear why Schumer insists on such a path — there are millions of sure-fire Democratic voters to enfranchise. It’s less clear why Rubio is on board.
Thus, Rubio needs to explain himself. And the explanation cannot be the pretense that he merely wants to ratify the status quo.