Mark Krikorian shows how the Schumer-Rubio immigration reform bill falls short of what Sen. Rubio promised when he touted it in advance on conservative Talk Radio. Here are some of the particulars Krikorian presents:
1. Rubio emphasized that to gain legal status, immigrants would have to pay their back taxes. But the bill Rubio helped write requires only that applicants “satisfy any applicable federal tax liability” that has previously been “assessed” by the IRS. Krikorian points out that a tax is “assessed” only after a tax return has been submitted or after the IRS has conducted an audit. Since neither of these things happens with illegal immigrants working off the books, there aren’t any back taxes to be paid.
2. Rubio spoke often about requiring immigrants seeking legalization to learn English. Under his bill, however, illegal aliens can earn legal status without learning English. The language requirement comes into play only after illegal immigrants receive amnesty and seek to upgrade to full green-card status. And even then, the bill requires only that they enroll in a class, not that they demonstrate actual proficiency.
3. Rubio touted, and continues to tout, an exit tracking system designed to help the government figure out who has overstayed their visa. But, says Krikorian, the system provided for in the legislation would have to be in place only in airports and seaports, even though most foreign visitors cross land borders.
Moreover, Congress has already mandated an entry-and exit-tracking system at all border points. So the Schumer-Rubio legislation offers only a watered-down version of something the law already calls for.
4. “Securing the border with Mexico” is at the heart of Rubio’s pitch to conservatives. His bill purports to achieve border security by setting up benchmarks of surveillance of 100 percent of the border and apprehension of 90 percent of attempted infiltrators.
But the 90 percent apprehension figure is a joke. As we have discussed and Ted Cruz forced Janet Napolitano to admit, the government has no idea how many people are crossing the border without being apprehended. Therefore, it is impossible to determine whether we are apprehending 90 percent of those who attempt to infiltrate.
In addition, the 90 percent standard applies to just three of the nine sectors along the Mexican border. They are the so-called “high risk” sectors. The Schumer-Rubio legislation likely will lead to a shifting of enforcement resources to these sectors, at which point some of the other six sectors will become “high risk.”
5. Rubio claimed that if border security isn’t achieved for the three “high risk” sectors in five years, “it goes to a border commission made up of people that live and have to deal with the border and they will take care of that problem.” As we have noted, this isn’t true. The border commission is made up mostly of Washington-appointed members and has only the power to make recommendations.
Rubio purports to be the conservative ambassador to the Gang of Eight. But, as Krikorian concludes, he clearly has become the Gang of Eight’s ambassador to conservatives. And, in my view, an untrustworthy ambassador, at that.