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Rubio offers a weak and evasive defense of the “path to citizenship”

Marco Rubio appeared on Mark Levin’s program yesterday to argue in favor of the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill. In my view, Levin asked good question and received, for the most part, weak or slippery answers.

You can listen to interview, which is well worth 17 minutes of your time, here.

Levin devoted most of the interview to border security. He got Rubio to admit that the efficacy of his proposal, on the enforcement side, depends on its faithful execution by politicians and public officials who may well be unwilling to meet their obligations. Certainly, their predecessors often have not met them.

Rubio tried to shrug off this problem by stating that, in a Republic there are consequences to electing the wrong people. This is true. But one of those consequences need not be amnesty and a path to citizenship for more than 11 million people in exchange for more promises about enforcement. Whether this happens will depend on how many of the wrong people we elected to the current Senate and House.

Levin’s last question was: why a path to citizenship? Rubio’s answer was weak and evasive. His first point was that “this issue was going to happen with or without us because the Democrats were going to raise it and push it” no matter what.

But this response begs the question. Sure, the Democrats were going to propose a path to citizenship. But Rubio didn’t need to agree to it. Without Rubio, the Democrats would have no chance of enacting comprehensive immigration reform.

His second point was that the current system hurts the economy. Why? Because illegal aliens, having no legal status, are forced to work for low wages. This, says Rubio, depresses everyone’s wages.

The economic consequences of Rubio’s measure will be the subject of considerable debate; Rubio’s economic “analysis” is simplistic and, on balance, probably not persuasive.

But even if we accept his analysis, it is still no argument for a path to citizenship for more than 11 million lawbreakers. At most, Rubio makes a case for giving illegal immigrants some sort of legalized status; not for making them citizens.

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