This post also appears in the Kansas Republican Journal website opinion page, posted on 2/11/2014. Link: Kansas Republican Journal
In the last week of January, Republicans released a statement of principles on how they would reform immigration law. It’s a one page, entirely logical and fair set of ideas. I suspect it was principally constructed by Paul Ryan. You can locate it with keywords “Republican immigration principles”. Democrats immediately hailed it as “A good sign.” They were glad to believe Republicans might cave on immigration, although their massive bill passed by the Senate died in the House. But, notice the first sentence: “Our nation’s immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced.”
The principles call for dividing the reform bills into a step by step approach, in several bills rather than one big kludge of the sort Democrats always come up with. It would legalize aliens in the country, providing they come forward and identify themselves. But, it wouldn’t give them a faster path to citizenship. It would only begin to happen after the border is better enforced.
Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner burst whatever bubble of optimism Democrats had. He said he didn’t think it could pass the House, and said one reason was (I paraphrase) that they didn’t trust the President to administer whatever laws they might pass. Right on! Obama’s administration has used executive orders and regulation changes, often issued by Kathleen Sibelius or Eric Holder, to circumvent existing laws or in effect create new ones. Congress has become a useless appendage of government. Only yesterday, Eric Holder issued a directive to the effect that from now on, same sex couples will receive all federal marriage benefits. Congress wasn’t consulted. Obama, through Sibelius, has made numerous changes to the Affordable Care Act. On immigration reform, Congress failed to pass the Dream Act, but Obama effectively established it through executive order. Republicans will never trust Obama to enforce the laws as Congress intended, nor should they.
Illegal aliens, and their continued flow into our country, are a real problem. We don’t have enough jobs to take care of the people who are looking for work, as it is. The number coming in is said to be down, but that is no doubt due to the economy and the unemployment situation.
Democrats really want immigrants as citizens, because they vote Democratic. They support amnesty, not only as a way to identify the aliens and allow them freedom from fear of deportation, but also to fast-track them to voting status. In my opinion, it would be political suicide for our two-party system to allow that to happen.
I don’t believe Boehner’s comments mean that immigration reform is dead for this year. The House may pass the first of the bills later this year, which might address one or both of two things: tighter border control, and enforcement of the requirement for employers to check citizenship status through the E Verify system, with severe penalties for the employer if the check isn’t performed. Such laws would be dead in the Senate, because Harry Reid wants the big bill. In spite of what they say, Democrats don’t want immigration reform – they want fast track amnesty. If Republicans win the Senate, next year could be interesting: real reform bills could be passed and sent to the President. By then, reality might have penetrated his fog of narcissism, and he might realize that his legacy may be extremely skimpy unless he signs one or two Republican-favored bills. We can only hope.