By Rich Lowry
The Hendricks County Flyer
Fri Feb 08, 2013, 12:46 PM EST
In Washington, a new gang has been born. The Gang of Eight on immigration is here to tell us that we have succeeded in not enforcing the law so persistently and thoroughly that now we have to give up all pretense.
The Gang of Eight, headlined by conservative star Marco Rubio, wants to amnesty the 11 million immigrants who are already here as a product of past nonenforcement in exchange for a promise of future enforcement.
Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform resolutely refuse to say the word "amnesty." They contend that the proposed package is not an amnesty because illegal immigrants have to go to the back of the line for a green card. But before that happens, they get "probationary legal status." As a practical matter, this is the amnesty.
Sen. Chuck Schumer states it with admirable clarity: "On Day One of our bill, the people without status [i.e., illegal immigrants] who are not criminals or security risks will be able to live and work here legally." You can't get more direct than that.
Once an illegal immigrant gets "probationary legal status," he has jumped irrevocably ahead of all those poor saps back in their native countries who want to come to the U.S. but for whatever reason were unwilling or unable to break our immigration laws to do it.
All indications are that this kind of "probationary" legal status matters more to illegal immigrants than an eventual path to citizenship. In an essay in the journal National Affairs, immigration expert Peter Skerry points out that 20 years after the implementation of the 1986 amnesty, only 41 percent of the 2.7 million people who got legal status under the program had gone on to become citizens.
So the Gang of Eight can make the path to a green card and eventual citizenship as long and onerous as it wants. It can make applicants not only learn English but speak in an affected patrician accent. It can make them do handstands and cartwheels. All of that will be irrelevant to the lived reality of formerly illegal immigrants who can become legal once the Gang of Eight principles are written into law.
The Gang's enforcement "triggers" affect only the path to citizenship. In principle, the enforcement provisions - requiring use of the E-Verify system for employers and establishing a system to monitor entries and exits from the country - are worthwhile. But only a naif would have much confidence in their timely and effective implementation.
If we've established a bipartisan consensus on anything during the past 25 years, it is that immigration laws don't matter. As Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies points out, Congress has already required the completion of an entry-exit system six times. To no avail. It passed a law in 2006 calling for the completion of a double-layer border fence. Also, to no avail.
In general, the Obama administration picks and chooses which elements of the immigration laws it wants to enforce through "prosecutorial discretion." Does anyone believe it will be zealous in effecting new enforcement mechanisms that are opposed by its base and resisted by employers and civil-liberties groups?
We've been here before, with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Rubio calls the 1986 law a "blanket amnesty," even though, on his terms, it wasn't unconditional or immediate. To apply for legal status, illegal immigrants had to pay a fee and prove that they had good moral character. If approved - and not everyone was - they had to wait 18 months before applying for a green card.
All of this was coupled with fearsome-sounding enforcement provisions to beef up security at the border and crack down on employers hiring illegal workers. In other words, in broad brush, the "blanket amnesty" of 1986 is indistinguishable from the bipartisan principles of 2013. Since the enforcement never happened, the 1986 law stands as a monument to bad faith.
Washington may be about to build another one.
(c) 2013 by King Features Syndicate
I’ve not kept it a secret that I find people who dress their dogs in clothes to be, to put it nicely, somewhat more than just eccentric. And many friendly, helpful readers out there have not kept it a secret that they really wish I would not express my views about dogs dressed as humans.
May 17, 2013
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
The federal government recently announced new regulations for buying fast food.
It sounds like the plot from a dystopian libertarian novel. The word “patriot” and the phrase “educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights” triggered heightened scrutiny from the most intrusive agency in the federal government.
The action at the bird feeder has been spectacular lately: Cardinals, finches, songbirds in impressive variety crowding around all day long in search of sustenance. It is truly gratifying …
For my neighbor.
That’s what it’s like at his feeder.
May 14, 2013
On April 27, Dr. Jeff Butts demonstrated a rare form of servant leadership as he participated in the Go Love Indy westside service project.
May 13, 2013
Everyone presumes that Sen. Chuck Schumer, the media-hungry Democrat from New York, wants to be the next Senate majority leader. His performance in the negotiations over the Gang of Eight immigration plan should bolster his case for an eventual promotion.
Someone had to take the fall for President Barack Obama thoughtlessly drawing a “red line” threatening serious consequences if Syria used chemical weapons. It turns out that it is the president himself.
There were other issues that had potentially greater financial impact or will leave a more resolute imprint on people’s lives, such as Medicaid expansion and Common Core.
It happens every year at this time; I make a little dandelion whine. So here goes.
May 10, 2013
It’s a bleak scenario. A massive earthquake along the New Madrid fault kills or injures 60,000 people in Tennessee. A quarter of a million people are homeless.
May 19, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
Watch live at 10 a.m. EST as President Obama speaks on Monday's deadly Okla. tornado.
May 21, 2013
© 2013 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. ·
CNHI Classified Advertising Network ·
CNHI News Service
Associated Press content © 2013. All rights reserved. AP content may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Our site is powered by Zope. Some parts of our site may require
you to download the Flash Player Plugin.
Terms and Conditions
Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN
8109 Kingston St., Suite 500