A comedic essay making the rounds on the Internet observes that in America, “you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and remaining in the country illegally.”
It would be funnier if it weren’t so true.
Yet, rather than seek to enforce immigration laws already on the books – or to just finish securing the border – Democrats in Washington are hellbent on “reform” that is little more than amnesty.
Why not? That’s millions of new voters (assuming they’re not voting already)!
The tide has turned in their direction, too, since Americans beat back such notions in the mid-2000s. The media refer to those who merely want the laws enforced as “hardliners.” Hmm. Are the enthusiastic proponents of “reform” ever called hardliners?
Be that as it may, the war is over. Law and order has lost. Now it’s just a matter of negotiating the terms of surrender.
Enter the Senate’s immigration bill.
Conservatives this week appear to have won a small but important concession: that border security be included with green cards for illegals.
We say “appear” because we simply won’t believe it till we see it. Security-minded Americans have been hoodwinked as far back as the immigration bill of the 1980s, when President Reagan thought he won border security. Turns out, amnesty was the only thing that came out of that bill, and illegal immigration continued to explode unchecked.
We also remain skeptical of Democrat intentions with regard to benefits and elections. Will Democrats just use the bill to sign up millions more for federal benefits, hoping that translates into Democrat votes? The Obama administration has been utterly shameless in soliciting dependents on Food Stamps and more.
Moreover, is this part of a plan to flood the 2014 midterms with new Democrat-leaning voters?
Republicans are in a tight spot. If they defeat reform, they’ll be characterized in next year’s elections as anti-immigrant. But in every nook and corner of this bill, they need to be wary of a Trojan horse.
Despite all our above concerns, we believe it’s time to consider a path to legal status – not necessarily citizenship – for illegal immigrants who’ve lived here with our implicit permission for years. We just don’t trust Democrats on this issue, either on border security or electoral politics.
It will likely be up to House Republicans to determine whether they’re being had by Democrats. If so, they need to have the gumption to say no for now to reform – and hope voters understand their hesitancy next year.