Politico reports on the House Republican leadership’s approach to immigration reform for this year. As set forth by Paul Ryan, it will consist of four pieces of legislation to be voted on separately.
The first bill would provide amnesty but not path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The second would provide a path to citizenship for illegals who came as teenagers or younger. The third would require the tracking of foreign nationals. The fourth would increase the importation of low-wage foreign workers.
Other than the fourth bill, which caters to certain American businesses, it’s difficult to see the point of this package. Politico sniffs that the package is “a sign the party is coming to grips with a political reality,” i.e., the increasing Latino vote. But because it stops short of granting most illegal aliens a path to citizenship, Ryan’s package represents a weak bid for that vote. It does, however, put Ryan half a step to the right of Marco Rubio on immigration reform, which could prove helpful to him if both seek the Republican nomination for president.
On the merits, providing amnesty with no path to citizenship hardly changes to status quo. Illegal immigrants have something close to de facto amnesty already.
The Republican bill would call for teaching them English and civics and require them to pay taxes and a fine. That sounds good, though one shutters to imagine the civics lessons to be taught. But what this legislation would really do is help pave the way for the next logical step — a path to citizenship. As such, it should be opposed.
The second bill, a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came as teenagers or younger, rewards not just those who will obtain citizenship, but also those who ignored U.S. law by bringing their children into the U.S. illegally. I see no valid reason to thus reward their illegal conduct.
The fourth bill (if I can proceed out of order) — importing foreign workers — is, as I said, a gift to business interests, particularly agricultural ones. It is no gift to American workers although, depending on how the legislation is crafted, it may be that few Americans would compete for the jobs at issue.
The third bill — tracking foreign nationals — is a bad joke. As Mark Krikorian points out, Congress has passed eight such bills since 1996.
Politico gives away the farce when it states:
[The Republican] party is now crafting language that would seek to force President Barack Obama to enforce the totality of any law passed. Republicans say they don’t trust the president after he has unilaterally waved parts of the health care law.
Ryan said Republicans “have to find a way to write these laws that they are actually enforced.” “That’s very, very important to us,” said Ryan.
Yeah, and it’s very important for Charlie Brown to find way to have Lucy not pull away the football he’s getting ready to kick. Ryan is a bright guy, but he sometimes sounds like he just fell off the turnip truck.
The House Republican leadership’s new approach to immigration reform would be misguided even if we had a president who could be trusted faithfully to execute the law. With this president, the approach should not even be considered except perhaps for show.
Let’s hope that the majority of the Republican caucus sees it this way.