The Gang of Eight immigration bill shares several unlovely characteristics of the Obamacare legislation. Its supporters haven’t yet claimed that we might have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it (or what’s not in it), but that seems to be the case. The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro reports:
The Senate’s complex immigration bill would instantly gut the popular E-Verify system that is widely used to exclude illegal immigrants from jobs, and then create an enforcement gap for several years before the arrival of a replacement system.
“There’s no doubt that the bill eliminates E-Verify immediately upon signing,” said Kris Kobach, secretary of state of Kansas, told The Daily Caller.
“If there’s no statutory authority for E-Verify, there’s no E-Verify,” said Kobach, a lawyer trained at Harvard, Oxford and Yale universities, and a prominent advocate for reduced immigration.
The claim is vehemently disputed by the bills’ advocates, including staffers working for Sen. Marco Rubio.
However, Rubio staffers were unable to show TheDC any text in the legislation that gives the current E-Verify system legal backing until the new system is mandated in several years.
Munro discusses the related politics and quotes Senator Rubio’s assurances about the bills requirements, but then returns to the question of fact regarding the content of the bill:
In several emails to TheDC, Rubio’s spokesman repeatedly denounced Kobach’s analysis. But the spokesman declined to supply bill language that shows how E-Verify is enforced once it is canceled, and before a replacement is developed by contractors, deployed by agencies and approved by the courts. A PDF of the entire bill is available here.
“The existing system will continue and will be enhanced along the way,” Alex Conant said in an April 23 email to TheDC.
However, despite repeated requests, Conant did not identify a paragraph in the bill showing how enforcement of E-Verify would continue uninterrupted once the program is canceled immediately after the bill becomes law.
“We create a transition from a temporary program to the permanent program,” he said next.
“That whole section of the bill is about creating a permanent E-Verify system,” he said in his next email.
Page “503 & 504 make clear that the transition & construction will not give people an opportunity in the system to stop using the system. This is clear to the business groups, the unions, and everybody else that has reviewed the legislation,” he said in an April 24 response.
The headline on Munro’s story reads “Immigration bill guts E-Verify for years,” and it appears to be more accurate than Senator Rubio’s assurances to the contrary. If so, one lesson is the importance of the kind of serious deliberation over the bill that the powers that be in the Senate, in another echo of Obamacare, have maneuvered to avoid.