“In 1986 Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million people,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told a Martin County Republican Women’s group in 2009, “You know what happened, in addition to becoming 11 million a decade later? There were people trying to enter the country legally, who had done the paperwork, who were here legally, who were going through the process, who claimed, all of a sudden, ‘No, no no no , I’m illegal.’ Because it was easier to do the amnesty program than it was to do the legal process.”
“I think he did it for the right reasons, but I think it ended up working the wrong way,” Rubio said of Reagan’s 1986 amnesty plan. Rubio is right: Ronald Reagan’s 1986 amnesty was a disaster for both the country and the party. Problem is, Rubio’s current amnesty plan looks to be heading down the exact same path.
One Rubio talking point has already been exposed as a complete fraud: the Southwest border security commission made up of state officials and activists. Rubio’s defenders had been citing the commission as a major concession by Democrats and a trigger for citizenship. But after The Washington Post reported that the commission would “only be advisory” and its recommendations “entirely nonbinding” Rubio has since moved on to emphasizing new employment verification and visa tracking systems.
But Congress has mandated a visa tracking system six times before, most recently in 1996. If the first six visa tracking mandates failed, why would the seventh succeed? Employer verification has an equally spotty history. E-Verify was first created in 1996 and has been fought by immigration advocates ever since. The ACLU is still promising to fight whatever new system is created in court today. There simply is no guarantee any of Rubio’s claimed immigration enforcement measures will work, and history suggests they all will fail. Rubio has given no reason why this time would be different.
And by granting illegal immigrants legal status, while also denying them federal benefits but still promising citizenship in the future, Rubio will have made the Republicans political situation worse, not better. Greg Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, notes that the Senate bill calls for border security to “apprehend every unauthorized entrant.” “If that’s going to be the standard, that’s essentially an unrealistic, impossible standard to meet,” says Chen.
So either those granted legalized status will eventually get citizenship without border security, or they will be stuck in eternal limbo. “Is this citizenship in name only? If so, there is going to be some pretty dramatic backlash,” Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, told The Washington Post.
Come 2016 Democrats will be more than happy to help immigrant communities direct that backlash directly at the Republican presidential candidate, whoever that may be.
From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Secure borders, then discuss immigration reform
Byron York: Bipartisan immigration plan faces deep skepticism
Gene Healy: Obama’s ‘second-term blues’ have begun
In Other News
The Washington Post, Obama to announce his immigration reform plan: The Obama administration has developed its own proposals for immigration reform that are more liberal than a separate bipartisan effort in the Senate, including a quicker path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, people with knowledge of the proposals said.
The Wall Street Journal, Toyota Again World’s Largest Auto Maker: Toyota Motor Corp. reclaimed the title of world’s largest auto maker in 2012 from General Motors Co., GM -0.83% rebounding from an earthquake that damaged its factories and embarrassing recalls that dinged its reputation.
The Los Angeles Times, SEIU local exec convicted of stealing from low-income members: A onetime rising star in national labor circles who headed California’s biggest union local was convicted Monday on federal charges that he stole tens of thousands of dollars from his low-income members.
The New York Times, In a Quick Shift, Scouts Rethink a Ban on Gays: The Boy Scouts of America, with its traditions of youth in uniform and the character-building virtues of honor, has always looked back to an older, more structured image of America, when gay and lesbian people were invisible and silent.
The Wall Street Journal, U.S. to Expand Role in Africa: The U.S. signed an agreement Monday with the West African country of Niger that clears the way for a stepped-up American military presence on the edges of the conflict in neighboring Mali.
The Week, Hillary super PAC readies launch: Long-time supporters of Hillary Clinton have opened a super PAC to lay the groundwork for a 2016 presidential campaign, even though Clinton, just finishing a four-year term as secretary of state, has said nothing about her future plans.
Businessweek, Obama’s Parting Gift to Hillary Clinton: Last week a team of top Obama donors thanked Hillary Clinton for her service to Obama by giving her $250,000 to retire her 2008 campaign debt.
Chris Geidner reports that Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., will not vote for immigration reform unless it grants marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Cass Sunstein on Obama, FDR and the Second Bill of Rights.
Adam Serwer says The Senate Immigration Plan Isn’t Terrible—It’s Just Unworkable.
David Dayen claims progressives have balanced California’s budget.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal asks to meet with Obama about reforming Medicaid.
Arnold Kling on Why History May Be Unkind to Tim Geithner.
Mickey Kaus on The Rubii Con.
Ross Douthat on why amnesty would be bad for Republicans.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on why he is against the Rubio amnesty plan.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, on why he is against the Rubio amnesty plan.