Predictions of Washington insiders were fulfilled yesterday when Harry Reid introduced a substitute amendment that includes the Corker-Hoeven amendment and the rest of the Gang of Eight’s bill, refused to allow any other amendments, and announced that the Senate will move straight to final passage of the bill, with debate cut off on Monday and final passage probably on Wednesday or Thursday. The actual text of the Corker-Hoeven Amendment wasn’t made public until yesterday, and the senators themselves were still hand-writing edits to the amendment at the last minute.
We explained here why Corker-Hoeven does nothing to address the fatal defects in the Gang’s bill, but the amendment’s real purpose was political: its supposedly draconian enforcement provisions, most notably a doubling of the border patrol, are intended to give Republicans cover in voting for the bill. Once the text of the bill became public, however, it turned out that Corker-Hoeven is even worse than originally understood. For instance, the government doesn’t even have to begin hiring those famous border agents until 2017, and the deadline for completion of the supposedly required (and entirely futile) fence is 2021. And, intentionally or not, Corker-Hoeven provides that future immigrants in the “merit-based, non-immigrant” category who illegally overstay their visas will automatically be legalized. Nice work, guys.
The immigration battle has come to closely resemble what we went through a few months ago with respect to firearms. There has been enormous public attention fixed on the Senate, but why? As it turned out, the administration’s gun bill couldn’t even get through the Senate, but it would have been dead on arrival in the House in any event. The whole thing was a charade intended to fire up the Democrats’ base for 2014.
On paper, that should be true here too. Why on Earth would the Republican House pass an immigration bill that provides for thirty to sixty million new immigrants over the next ten years, 90% of them low-skill, low-wage, likely welfare-dependent at least in part, and overwhelmingly likely to vote Democratic? I don’t suppose they will. But the difference between guns and immigration is that the anti-gun forces are well-organized and powerful, while the special interests are pretty much unanimously lined up behind the Gang of Eight’s bill. Still, the polls show that the more voters know about the Gang’s bill, the more they oppose it. And the Republican rank and file is overwhelmingly opposed to Gang-style immigration “reform.”
So there is no reason why House Republicans should panic. If they pass anything, it should be a revamp of our legal immigration system, which was designed largely by Ted Kennedy and is badly in need of a pro-America overhaul. Photocopying Canada’s immigration laws would be a good place to start. Then, as with guns and other issues, the battle will be fought in 2014. Everything the Democrats are doing–they make this clear in their emails to the party’s faithful–is geared to taking back the House next year, so that the last two years of Obama’s term can be “productive,” that is to say, disastrous for America. It is up to us to stop them.