A good day for the amnesty-first crowd

Today was another newsy day on the immigration legislation front. First, Byron York reported that on Sunday, Marco Rubio made his strongest statement yet that legalization of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants must happen before any new border security or internal enforcement measures are in place, and will in no way be conditional on any security requirements.

Not surprisingly, Rubio made this statement in a Spanish-language interview with the network Univision. Perhaps the next time he appears on conservative talk radio Rubio will defend his insistence that “first comes the legalization; then come the measures to secure the border; and then comes the process of permanent residence.”

As Byron notes, “in most of his public appeals for the Gang of Eight bill, Rubio has stressed its enforcement provisions, saying that border security must come before immigrants are granted legal permanent resident status.” I guess Rubio’s message is different depending on the audience.

Does Rubio’s statement on Univision mean the end of his chances of being nominated for president in 2016? One would hope so, and I’d probably bet on this happy outcome.

But remember, the Republicans nominated John McCain in 2008 notwithstanding his prior support for amnesty. They then nominated Mitt Romney in 2012 notwithstanding Romneycare. Although Republicans often are portrayed by the MSM as hopeless ideologues, we don’t behave that way when it comes to nominating presidential candidates.

The second piece of immigration news consists of an exchange between John Cornyn and Mickey Kaus on Twitter. Cornyn (or someone using his account) tweeted this:

@kausmickey Harry Reid and the D majority control the Senate agenda, not the R minority, so we have to play the hand we’ve been dealt.

Kaus responded:

@JohnCornyn Thanks. But do you have to support a (modified) legalization-1st bill? Why not oppose? Put trigger before legalization?

Here was Cornyn’s dispiriting reply:

@kausmickey conference with House is endgame. Otherwise we are stuck on status quo. Know of no one who thinks that is a good outcome.

I have thought for some time that the fix is in on immigration reform, and Cornyn’s statements are consistent with my fear. He appears to have adopted the Rubio line that an amnesty-first bill is better than no bill. And like Rubio, Cornyn is passing the buck to the House of Representatives to formulate enforcement-first legislation and impose it in conference.

I might very well be missing something, but I don’t see Harry Reid’s Senate yielding to the House on the question of amnesty-first. And under these circumstances, Cornyn should want House Republicans to yield to Senate Dems because if they don’t, we end up “stuck on the status quo,” which Cornyn claims is unacceptable. Thus, Cornyn seems disingenuous in purporting to hope that the House will save the day.

We see here why the amnesty-first forces are probably going to have their way. They prefer (or convincingly act like they prefer) no bill to a bill that doesn’t put amnesty first. Meanwhile, anti-amnesty first legislators like Cornyn announce that they prefer an amnesty-first bill to no bill. As usual, the avowed squishes are predominantly on the Republican side.

It’s pretty clear who prevails in this scenario.

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