Immigration “reform” bill losing remaining luster
With the Senate now debating the Amnesty bill on the floor of the chamber, what little “reform” the legislation had going for it has been completely shed:
- Only a couple of days after promising a mostly open debate process, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) totally and completely abandoned that position. This means a real debate on the merits of policies won’t take place.
- On Tuesday, Politico reported there is a split in the Democratic caucus in the Senate on immigration “reform” – two party leaders want to get a bill through with as few GOP votes as possible, in order to keep with their principles of unsecured borders and lack of real immigration reform. Meanwhile, Senator Schumer (D-NY) said he wants as many Republican votes as possible, in order to put more pressure on the House to pass a similar bill – even if it makes the bill “worse,” from his party’s perspective.
In other words, this bill can either be absolutely awful, or merely very bad, and a majority of Democrats and enough Republicans will vote for it either way. All without a real debate on what merits consideration and passage.
- On Wednesday, Hot Air’s Allahpundit smelled a rat when it came to the “poison bill” amendment Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) offered to increase the border security requirements for the legislation. I encourage reading the entirety of the post, but here are the key points:
You know how Rubio likes to say that we have “de facto amnesty” now? Well, the first stage of legalization is a de facto green card. Citizenship will inevitably follow later, border security or not, because Republicans will fear the wrath of Latino voters if they oppose it. Obviously the Dems want the second stage to begin as soon as possible, but if there’s no way to get this bill through the House without caving on Cornyn’s amendment, they’ll suck it up and do it. By making a stink now, they’re trying to get Cornyn to soften his requirements a bit. Once he does, they’ll accept the amendment as a “tough but fair” compromise or whatever to make conservative border hawks think they’ve won some huge concession.
- However, the amendment by Senator Cornyn isn’t even all that good. From a Byron York post:
If Cornyn’s amendment were adopted as part of the legislation, the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants who will be made legal shortly after passage of the bill would not be able to apply for green cards a decade later until new border security measures were actually in place.
As Allahpundit pointed out, many talk about “de facto amnesty.” While the Cornyn Amendment would move border security closer to a top priority in “immigration reform,” the reality is that de facto amnesty would still be taking place.
- Senator Rubio said this week he basically wants “de facto amnesty” to become law. Again, from a York piece:
Rubio made the comments in an interview Wednesday afternoon with radio host Sean Hannity. In the conversation, Hannity referred to earlier Rubio appearances in which the two discussed the role of border security in the Gang of Eight bill. “I remember when I first interviewed you about this,” Hannity said to Rubio, “and I asked you very specifically, do you support border security first, and your answer was yes.”
“Right, but it is border security before the green card,” Rubio responded. “The problem is in the interim you have to do something with the people who are here illegally so we know who they are.”
It appears Senator Rubio’s promise about a secure border was like most promises in Washington – extremely flexible.
- Speaking of flexibility, back to Allahpundit and his blistering takedown of the Senate totally ignoring Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) legitimate “border security first” amendment:
[Senator Rubio’s] last pander was to demand stricter English-language requirements for illegals; today’s pander is to threaten Democrats that he’ll walk away from the bill if Pat Leahy’s amendment granting rights to the spouses of gay illegals passes. The fact that he’s willing to make a lame, boutique issue like that a dealbreaker but not the fact that Democrats refuse to secure the border before granting illegals probationary legalization tells you exactly how seriously he’s taking this bill from a policy standpoint. It’s an insult to serious border hawks, but as DrewM says, it’ll help Rubio with social cons in Iowa in 2016. And that’s what really matters, Rubio’s endless pronouncements that he’s only doing this because it’s the “right thing to do” notwithstanding.
The short version of all this is the Senate is going to pass a bad bill. One surprise vote for cloture on Monday was Senator Cornyn, who voted against the Gang of Eight’s bill in committee. According to spokesman Drew Brandewie in an e-mail, the Senator “voted against the Gang bill in committee after voting to make it much stronger (beefing up border security, stripping path to citizenship, etc.). He voted to proceed to the bill on the floor so that he could again try to make it stronger and fix the bad stuff in there.”
Brandewie said the Senator will not vote for a “final bill [that] does not guarantee border security with real triggers. Right now it’s a long ways off from that. His RESULTS amendment would require a real – not phony – border security trigger required before full citizenship.”
The place to stop this bill may be the House, though many think Speaker Boehner won’t stop amnesty. The Speaker responded to these concerns yesterday:
“My goal is always to bring bills to the floor that have a strong Republican majority,” Boehner said. “Immigration reform — it’s a very difficult issue, but I don’t intend to bring an immigration reform bill to the floor that violates what I and what members of my party — what our principles are.”
Furthermore, according to a GOP aide in the House, the simple answer to whether the Speaker is working to pass an amnesty bill is “No.”
Of course, the House has proven unreliable in many ways in the past (debt ceiling, continuing resolutions, etc.), so we can’t take the Speaker at his word. You can help next week’s rally informs our elected representatives the American people are tired of the games, and want real solutions to our broken immigration system – starting with border security