Charles Krauthammer Flogging Mass Amnesty Again

imageThere’s something about the immigration issue that inspires all kinds of bad craziness. Perhaps it’s the false comparison of law enforcement vs. humanitarian concerns, as if a compassionate society could exist with a squishy legal system. Whatever the cause, even normally reasonable conservatives can go strangely nutty with odd fantasies, particularly the enduring delusion about Mexicans being conservatives at heart.

Charles Krauthammer is a clever fellow who went over to the dark side of anti-sovereignty anarchy after the re-election of Obama which frightened many establishment conservatives.

Krauthammer’s recent column is a curiosity. He still favors the mega amnesty, but without much enthusiasm. He at least mentions the ugly truth in paragraph #4, that the big enchilada of job permits plus no deportation occurs immediately:

They doth protest quite a lot. Especially because on the single most important issue — instant amnesty — there is no real difference between the proposals.

Rubio calls it “probationary legal status.” Obama uses the term “lawful prospective immigrant.” But both would instantly legalize the 11 million illegal immigrants living here today. The moment either bill is signed, the 11 million become eligible for legal residence, the right to work and relief from the prospect of deportation.

That’s right. Don’t be distracted by beltway propaganda:

The work permit IS the amnesty.

Illegals don’t care about a so-called “path to citizenship” — they come for the money, period. One indication of that fact is that only 36 percent of legal Mexicans eligible for US citizenship have become naturalized, about half the rate of all other groups combined. There’s no reason to think the millions of illegal Mexicans feel any different or will want to become Americans.

The rest of Krauthammer’s piece is capitulation. He understands that a disastrous repeat of 1986 is in the offing, but he can’t energize himself to a passionate defense of law and sovereignty. It’s only the country’s survival at stake, after all.

He seems to accept the idea that House Republicans must submit to amnesty or lose in 2014 from Obama ceaselessly beating them up. It’s more likely that a Republican surrender will cause traditional Americans to make other choices in the next election, either stay home or choose a Tea Party challenger in a primary.

Immigration — the lesser of two evils, Washington Post, By Charles Krauthammer, February 21, 2013

The president suggested he would hold off introducing his own immigration bill as long as bipartisan Senate negotiations were proceeding apace — until his own immigration bill mysteriously leaked precisely as bipartisan Senate negotiations were proceeding apace.

A naked political maneuver and a blunt warning to Republicans: Finish that immigration deal in Congress, or I’ll propose something I know you can’t accept — and flog the issue mercilessly next year to win back the House.

John McCain responded (correctly) that President Obama was creating a “cudgel” to gain “political advantage in the next election.” Marco Rubio, a chief architect of the Senate bill, called Obama’s alternative dead on arrival.

They doth protest quite a lot. Especially because on the single most important issue — instant amnesty — there is no real difference between the proposals.

Rubio calls it “probationary legal status.” Obama uses the term “lawful prospective immigrant.” But both would instantly legalize the 11 million illegal immigrants living here today. The moment either bill is signed, the 11 million become eligible for legal residence, the right to work and relief from the prospect of deportation.

Their life in the shadows is over, which is what matters to them above all. Call the status probationary or prospective but, in reality, it is permanent. There is no conceivable circumstance (short of criminality) under which the instant legalization would be revoked.

This is bad policy. It repeats the 1986 immigration reform that legalized (the then) 3 million while promising border enforcement — which was never carried out. Which opened the door to today’s 11 million. And to the next 11 million as soon as the ink is dry on this reform. 

The better policy would be enforcement first, followed by amnesty. Yes, amnesty. But only when we have ensured that these 11 million constitute the last cohort.

How to ensure that? With three obvious enforcement measures: (a) a universal E-Verify system by which employers must check the legal status of all their hires; (b) an effective system for tracking those who have overstayed their visas; and (c) closure of the southern border, mainly with the kind of triple fence that has proved so successful near San Diego.

If legalization would go into effect only when these conditions are met, there would be overwhelming bipartisan pressure to get enforcement done as quickly as possible.

Regrettably, there appears to be zero political will to undertake this kind of definitive solution. Democrats have little real interest in border enforcement. They see a rising Hispanic population as the key to a permanent Democratic majority. And Republicans are so panicked by last year’s loss of the Hispanic vote by 44 points that they have conceded instant legalization. As in the Rubio proposal.

Hence Rubio’s fallback. He at least makes enforcement the trigger for any normalization beyond legalization. Specifically, enforcement is required before the 11 million can apply for a green card.

A green card is surely a much weaker enforcement incentive than is legalization. But it still is something. Obama’s proposal, on the other hand, obliterates any incentive for enforcement.

Obama makes virtually automatic the eventual acquisition of a green card and citizenship by today’s 11 million. The clock starts on the day the bill is signed: eight years for a green card, five more for citizenship. It doesn’t matter if the border is flooded with millions of new illegal immigrants (anticipating yet the next amnesty). The path to citizenship is irreversible, rendering enforcement irrelevant.

As for Obama’s enforcement measures themselves, they are largely mere gestures: increased funding for border control, more deportation judges, more indeterminate stretching of a system that has already demonstrably failed. (Hence today’s 11 million.) Except for the promise of an eventual universal E-Verify system, it is nothing but the appearance of motion.

And remember: Non-implementation of any of this has no effect on the path to full citizenship anyway. The Rubio proposal at least creates some pressure for real enforcement because green-card acquisition does not take place until the country finally verifies that its borders are under its control. True, a far weaker incentive than requiring enforcement before legalization. But that fight appears to be totally lost.

In the end, the only remaining vessel for enforcement is the Rubio proposal. It is deeply flawed and highly imperfect. But given that the Obama alternative effectively signs away America’s right to decide who enters the country, the choice between the two proposals on the table today is straightforward.