In response to tea party critics of “comprehensive” immigration reform, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has offered up an alternative proposal. Unlike the Senate version, which passed last June, Boehner says his plan would uphold the rule of law while also providing some accommodation for illegal aliens.
So, to be clear, Boehner does favor a “path to citizenship” but only for those illegal aliens who have not committed serious crimes on top of their immigration violation. Moreover, these individuals must meet a rigorous set of standards to qualify, according to press statements released through the speaker’s office.
The House leadership’s “Standards for Immigration Reform,” released in February, preclude legalization from occurring before any enforcement mechanisms are put in place. Boehner has released a side-by-side comparison of the competing approaches to immigration reform as he sees it.
US Border Patrol agent Jerry Conlin looks out over Tijuana, Mexico, behind, along the old border wall along the US - Mexico border Thursday, June 13, 2013, where it ends at the base of a hill in San Diego. Illegal immigration into the United States would decrease by only 25 percent under a far-reaching Senate immigration bill, according to a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.Credit: AP
Conservative policy analysts at the Heritage Foundation are skeptical. Instead of addressing the fundamental flaws of the Senate bill, Boehner, and other House leaders, have simply “repackaged” all the same proposals, Heritage claims. But, there is a strong pro-immigration lobby within the conservative movement that is sympathetic toward Boehner’s overarching approach.
The editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, for instance, are keen on a path to citizenship for illegal aliens who are willing to work and ambitious to become part of American society. This view is shared by The Chamber of Commerce, which has published a letter from over 600 businesses that want Congress to act on new immigration legislation.
Here’s the problem.
Even if the House “Standards” have real teeth where enforcement is concerned, there’s no guarantee that Team Obama will “faithfully execute” any of the key provisions set up to secure the border and discourage additional flows of illegal immigrants. Instead it’s likely the administration, will pick and choose which laws it wants to enforce and which laws it does not.
Consider voter fraud.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder makes a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act at the Justice Department on June 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which aimed at protecting minority voters, is unconstitutional. Credit: Getty Images
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) into law after reaching a bipartisan compromise with Republican leaders. Section 7 of the law includes the “motor voter” provision, which calls for social service departments to provide clients with voter registration. But the NVRA also includes Section 8, which makes it a requirement for state officials to keep voter rolls up to date and free of ineligible voters. Guess which section the Obama Department of Justice has been enforcing, and which one it has been neglecting.
Christopher Coates, former chief of the Voting Section within DOJ’s civil rights division has offered testimony explaining how the Section 8 provisions are ignored by the people who are suppose to be enforcing them. Since administration has a certain penchant for selective enforcement of existing law, this should give the proponents of immigration reform good reason to pause and reconsider. Obama has not exactly helped his cause with the constant modifications he has been making to the “Affordable Care Act.”
Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler is very familiar with how the DOJ practices what he terms "selective enforcement."
Schedler is currently named in a suit the DOJ filed against Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration in July 2011 that claims state officials failed to provide constituents with sufficient opportunity to register as new voters under the terms of "motor voter." Schedler denies the allegations. He has told members of the press that the state workers in the agencies he oversees are actually very "proactive" in terms of the motor voter requirements. Meanwhlile U.S. Census data shows that in some states there are more people registered to vote than there are people living in those areas.
A fence along the Otay Mesa border near San Diego, California. (AFP/Getty Images)
While Boehner continues to push for his preferred version of a new bill, he acknowledges that most Republicans are not willing to put faith into President Obama. A little leadership from the White House on the border security side of the equation could have reverberations across party lines.
Unfortunately, that’s the part that’s missing. Just ask Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona. When she tried to enforce the immigration laws already on the books, the administration took her to court.
This is sad and unfortunate on many levels. But in the end this development is most insulting to new immigrants who left their homeland because the U.S., up until recently, has done more to uphold the rule of law than any other modern state.
By elevating amnesty above his constitutional oath, Obama has moved America closer in character and spirit to the countries immigrants have decided to leave. That's where we are right now. That's what Republican deal makers on Capitol Hill seem to be missing.
Kevin Mooney can be reached at Kevin.MooneyJ@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @KevinMooneyDC. Please visit KevinMooney.Net for additional information and previous reports.
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