Buck Sexton will discuss this issue at the top ‘Real News’ Thursday, exclusively on TheBlaze TV 6pm EST Monday through Friday
Immigration reform is the next major legislative battle facing America. Republicans, still licking their wounds from Obama’s second term victory, seem willing to vote for a sweeping package that would effectively legalize 11 million illegal immigrants. This is a monumental policy decision that requires unvarnished truth.
While both Democrats and Republicans, in theory, share the desire for a better immigration system that benefits the economy and promotes opportunity and freedom, an honest assessment of the options currently in the discussion on Capitol Hill must point out enormous assumptions and outright falsehoods. Here are some key areas of concern:
1) The False Sense of Urgency
President Obama administration chooses to govern under successive barrage of hyped crises, and immigration reform is no different. The United States will not collapse if immigration reform is not achieved by this summer, as President Obama advocates. On the contrary, the risks to America from a poorly constructed immigration reform are much greater than the lost benefits of slamming through legislation quickly.
Of course, a cynic (or a realist) recognizes that the heightened, emotionalized response to “do something” allows for the Democrats to push this as a major issue for their benefit in the 2014 mid-terms. The GOP needs to slow down the process by addressing gaping holes in security, enforcement, and final status issues for illegal immigrants.
2) Securing the Border Must Come First
Conservatives say this is a precondition for any grand bargain on immigration. Democrats have already pushed back on this, stating that it is impossible to measure border security accurately while simultaneously claiming the Obama administration has made it more secure than ever. This illogical position illustrates the increasingly tenuous “trust us” position the Obama administration has taken on border security issues.
We can’t secure the border now, so it will require more than rhetoric and wishful thinking to secure it in the future. The ability to control who enters and exits a country is a core sovereignty issue, and any immigration reform plan that does not adequately solve this problem should be scrapped.
3) Reform Must be a Phased Process
Securing the border must come first, but enforcement inside the United States is a necessary second component of border security. A system similar to E-verify for employers is the only way to disincentivize illegal hiring and allow the U.S. to address employment needs and ensure a fair playing field for citizens.
Also, the issue of next-door immigration flows (Mexico, Central America) should be dealt with separately from specialty visas for those with exceptional skills from abroad. It is politically advantageous for democrats to pretend that seasonal farm workers and the next Google CEO from Mumbai are part of the same immigration issue, but it’s dishonest demagoguery. Expediting highly skilled immigrants should be a separate process, contained in a separate bill. There is no reason to conflate the two issues other than partisan politics.
4) Enforcement: The Devil is in the Details
A lot of obvious untruths are peddled in this immigration reform push that must be challenged. The idea that illegals, once allowed by law to stay as part of their “pathway,” are at “the back of the line” is nonsense. The ability to stay in America—work and live here, access benefits like schools and hospitals—is more than half the battle. This is front-loading the benefits, and hoping that some administrative body will enforce whatever “pathway” rules the Senate rolls out. It is absolutely wishful thinking at best.
Based on GOP leadership’s recent statement, large-scale deportation is already off the table. But if millions of illegal immigrants are legally entitled to a “pathway,” there is no reason to believe it will be anything other than a conveyer belt towards citizenship.
With that in mind, the GOP should seriously replacing a “path to citizenship” with a “path to permanent legal residence for those who quality.”
In short: no right to vote for illegal entrants.
5) Democrats Think This Will End the GOP
The political stakes of immigration reform could not be higher. Democrats will not make the case to the American public, but they want to lock in a permanent demographic advantage for their party through the legalization of 11 million Hispanic immigrants. Not only will this cycle be self-reinforcing— newly minted voters primarily from Mexico and Central America will vote for even more liberal immigration policies—but it will have the additional benefit for the progressive left of dramatically increasing the size and scope of the welfare state.
Republicans cannot abandon the rule of law and hope that when the dust settles, immigration reform will work out. They should slow down the legislative process on this, break reform into pieces, vote on each part, and build on success and lessons learned. Otherwise, the American people are likely to be stuck with an Obamacare-like mess that functions poorly, destroys prosperity for citizens and immigrants alike, and only serves to bolster Democrats’ electoral prospects.