Paul Ryan tells a Washington audience assembled by the National Association of Manufacturers that “earned legalization is an issue I think the House can and will deal with.” In other words, as CNBC’s John Harwood tweeted, “Paul Ryan tells me House will pass immigration ‘path to citizenship.’ Despite flak on right, ‘House can/will deal with earned legalization.’”
Earlier this year, when comments by Ryan caused me to suggest that amnesty legislation will pass the House, I was told by a good source that, although Ryan is greatly respected by House Republicans on fiscal issues, his views on immigration don’t carry much weight.
However, the Democrats probably need fewer than two dozen House Republican votes to pass amnesty. And Ryan isn’t among the squishiest two dozen Republican House members. If he’s on board for amnesty and a path to citizenship, then it seems extremely likely that the requisite number of Republican votes can be had.
Ryan will also provide a bit of cover for Republicans who may be inclined to back amnesty. This is part of the role Marco Rubio is playing in the Senate.
It’s no accident, by the way, that Ryan made his pro-amnesty remarks at a National Association of Manufacturers event. Business — both big and small — desperately wants the Schumer-Rubio legislation, or something along the same lines, passed. Unfortunately, Republicans can’t be expected to deprive business of that which it devoutly desires — this just isn’t in the Republican DNA.
Finally, I should note that the term “earned legalization,” as applied to Schumer-Rubio, is a misnomer. Under that bill, illegal immigrants become legal without doing anything to earn that status — unless you count violating U.S. law. What they then must “earn” — by jumping through a few bogus or largely meaningless hoops — is enhanced status including citizenship.
Thus, Ryan is employing the disingenuous language of Team Amnesty. It’s just about time for me to cross him off my list of acceptable Republican presidential candidates.