An effort by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to push DREAM Act-like border security and legalization for children of illegal immigrants appears to be gaining momentum:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is the driving force behind the strategy to focus on legalizing undocumented youths. According to Republican aides, passing such a bill would equip Republicans with a reasonable answer to the question of what to do with the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. It would also force Democrats into a political lose-lose: Either endorse a GOP proposal that legalizes so-called “Dreamers” or oppose this longtime policy goal and hold out for blanket legalization for the entire undocumented community.

As one House leadership aide framed it, “How can they say no to the kids?”

Cantor’s push, which has the blessing of Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is also endorsed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and several influential conservatives such as Reps. Raul Labrador of Idaho and Jim Jordan of Ohio. It’s still early—Cantor and company have yet to release any legislative language—but lawmakers predict that such a measure will garner majority support in the oft-fractured House Republican Conference.

“I think a majority would support this, yes,” Labrador told National Journal on Wednesday. “But there must be border security first.”

If Republicans want to know why the GOP image is so damaged among fiscal conservatives, this is an excellent example. Copying proposals from big government spenders can only make them look more fiscally irresponsible. In using sound financial principles to define proposals, the GOP could unite their base, not abandon what were once sure votes to Democrat-Lite pandering. The GOP failed to adhere to principles over politics in the 2012 campaigns, costing them the mobilization of their base.

When Senator Reid unsuccessfully pushed for the DREAM Act in 2010, Republicans were staunchly against it, despite the ranking status of original co-author Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Now, three years later the GOP leadership has adopted the expensive legislation as a strategy to rehabilitate the Republican image. Political plastic surgery has not and will never rally a base to your cause. It’s also not an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars, especially when it adds to the deficit.

The move doesn’t appear to be working out for Leader Cantor. Democrats have already out-bid him, insisting that any immigration proposal includes amnesty for the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally.

As a side note, banking on Democrat’s inability to “say no to the kids” is at best, folly. Via a $16 Trillion debt, Democrats have repeatedly said no to a sustainable government for American children. Obamacare is a dysfunctional law that will reduce – and eventually deny – children’s access to healthcare. Democrats have also campaigned hard against school choice, leaving millions of children without access to flexible education. If Republicans think Democrats won’t turn down children, they are mistaken.

Concerning Representative Raul Labrador’s “security first” statement, Ed Morrisey has questions on what security would look like in practice:

The Corker-Hoeven amendment turned out to be Swiss cheese in practice, and the White House made the issue all but moot by declaring that it could ignore statutes in ObamaCare that specifically had to do with mandates and triggers.  Unless the House comes up with a tougher border security package and a way to ensure that the Obama administration has no choice but to fund it — perhaps by holding up the DREAMer funding until specific metrics are met, especially on a border fence — then this is probably all academic anyway.

Tea Party Patriots has long maintained that real immigration reform begins with border security. Effective border security is not a proposal, a plan, or even funding for a bill. It is the capability to keep potentially dangerous people and materials from entering our country.

If the GOP doesn’t want their base thinking they’re closet Democrats, they need to stop supporting Harry Reid’s bills, and stop acting like closet Democrats.