You heard it here first. On June 5, I grumbled about conservatives’ misguided focus on border security in debating the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. The major problem with the bill is its overhaul of the legal immigration system; it authorizes somewhere between 30 million and 60 million new immigrants over the next ten years, 90% of them low-skill and low-wage, the overwhelming majority from Mexico. If this bill passes, illegal immigration will be a moot point. Legal immigration will devastate America’s working class, driving down wages, raising unemployment, and putting an unprecedented burden on local, state and federal welfare systems. So I raised the possibility of an 11th-hour “compromise” on border security:
A friend who is deeply connected in Washington and involved in the immigration battle writes:
Regarding reports that Rubio is working with Sen. Cornyn on this border security amendment, a usually good source tells me:
It’s a trap. They are going to Toomey-Manchin this thing: Announce a big compromise right before the vote, give no one any time to read it, and scare GOP moderates into voting for it.
Same with the rumor out there that Rubio may leave the Gang of Eight. In other words, Rubio protests, but then makes a big deal about how the amendment fixes the border security weakness in the bill so he can support it now. Big media blitz right before vote claiming the bill is fixed.
I think that prediction is coming true, only with the Hoeven-Corker amendment, which was widely heralded today but is even weaker than the Cornyn version. When Chuck Schumer views an amendment as a constructive solution, you know the fix is in. The most highly-touted feature of Hoeven-Corker is its doubling of the border patrol. That may well be a good idea, but it should be considered on its own merits, not traded for amnesty for 11 million illegal residents and a favored path to immigration for 40 or 50 million more.
The point, obviously, is that if the Gang of Eight’s bill passes with the Hoeven-Corker amendment, all of those border patrol agents will stand idly by as millions of illegals are regularized, and tens of millions more follow, legally. Even if the Gang of Eight’s bill could magically end illegal immigration–completely, forever, starting tomorrow–it would be terrible legislation because of the legal immigration it authorizes, which barely begins with the 11 million who are now here illegally.
Among other things, the Gang’s bill allows many illegals who were deported for criminal activity, including gang members, to return to the U.S. This seems almost unbelievably stupid, but it is true. Today Maria Espinoza, Director of the Remembrance Project, gave a press conference at which she decried the bill’s irrational invitation to criminals to return to the U.S., and called on legislators to remember the forgotten Americans who have been killed by illegal aliens. Here is her moving presentation:
Among the bill’s many perversities is the fact that in many respects, it treats current illegal aliens more favorably than citizens and legal residents. This chart, from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, makes the point:
Once again, border agents are irrelevant. Fences are irrelevant. Border security is irrelevant. The real evil of the Gang’s bill lies in what it legalizes, not in its failure to restrain what little will remain illegal once it passes. Hoeven-Corker does nothing at all about the bill’s most baleful effects.