On immigration reform, there’s not much distance between Rubio and Ryan

I just watched Paul Ryan on Sean Hannity’s program (the replay) and there seems to be even less difference than I had supposed between Ryan’s approach to illegal immigration and that of Marco Rubio. Like Rubio, Ryan rejects the idea, pressed on him several times by Hannity, that we should fix the border first before making any adjustments to the status of illegal immigrants.

As I understand what he told Hannity, Ryan proposes that we grant illegal immigrants a “five-year probationary status” essentially immediately, before anything new and concrete is done to secure the border. If after five years, Congress isn’t satisfied that the border has been secured, the probationary status supposedly will be revoked. Otherwise, the formerly illegal immigrants can proceed towards full citizenship.

Hannity had a tough time keeping a straight face. It’s almost unimaginable that the status of former illegal immigrants would ever be revoked. Do you see Republican politicians mustering the courage to pull that trigger? I didn’t think so. At most they might add more years to the probationary period, but I don’t see that happening either.

Ryan — I wish I could say this nicely — is conning us.

And his con act looks like it will be a long-running show. It’s pretty clear that he’s going to trot nearly non-stop from conservative talk show to conservative talk show, just as Rubio did.

The good news is that conservative talk show hosts aren’t likely to be receptive. Tonight, for example, Hannity clearly wasn’t buying Ryan’s line; the agnosticism he displayed during the early Rubio appearances was a thing of the past.

But Ryan figures to be a tough adversary in the House. Conservatives who disagree with his Rubio-like approach should express themselves early and often to Republican members.


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