The divisions marked between Establishment leaders and the grassroots demanding a Republican Party in line with its principles does not split necessarily between liberal and conservative, as much as between Big Business and Limited Government, and no issue more distinguishes these two groups than immigration reform.
Already House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has outlined their immigration principles, printed in USA Today. House Speaker John Boehner maintains an ongoing intransigence on the issue, and now Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy has offered an offensive legal status/no citizenship compromise.
The House Republican leadership may find that voters on the ground and PACs packed with true conservatives will be in just as fighting a mood as they were in 2006 and 2007. Still, The House Republican leadership outlined immigration principles to present debate and prevent a debacle with their growing, vocal conservative base.
1. The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country’s borders, enforcing our laws, and implementing robust enforcement measures.
Fine. Yet this piecemeal approach has been broached before (Simpson-Mizzoli), with nothing to show for Reagan’s amnesty beyond enabling three million people to get away with breaking the law, and no border enforcement. For the record, border enforcement is a negligible issue in the grander design of proper immigration reform. With five thousand border patrol officers along the US-Mexico boundaries, and proper immigration enforcement stations strategically located, the United States military could defend our country, including border residents and their property, without the costly waste of a fence.
2. We must secure our borders now and verify that they are secure. In addition, we must ensure now that when immigration reform is enacted, there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future.
The inept Washington bureaucracy let slip nineteen terrorists into the United States, who overstayed their visa, then crashed hijacked planes into sensitive military and financial sectors of the country. President Obama does not enforce his own legislation. No one can trust him to secure the borders. Trusting Obama with more government is a dog chasing its tail into death by starvation: a cruel joke for those watching, but a tragedy for the dog owner, and a miserable demise for the dog.
3. A fully functioning entry-exit system has been mandated by eight separate statutes over the last 17 years. . . .We must implement this system.
“We must implement”. We the People have been waiting and wondering about wandering, meandering Washington. A complex exit-entry system is just as nebulous and complex as any discussion on immigration reform.
4. Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help to grow our economy.
The House of Representatives already passed the STEM Jobs Act (2012). Permit foreign graduate students in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics to receive citizenship. The Democratically-controlled US Senate sat on the legislation and killed it, even though US Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) pleaded with his colleagues to advance the bill to a vote.
5. The goal of any temporary worker program should be to address the economic needs of the country and to strengthen our national security by allowing for realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States.
The European Communion experimented with a guest-worker program, only to foster alienated enclaves of marginal populations, or nations within a nation, replete with crime and stagnation. Permanent second-class status is immoral as well as unworkable. Individuals who want to live and thrive in the United States deserve the gratifying and efficient opportunity to become naturalized citizens in full.
6. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, those who know no other place as home.
This problem is the thorniest. Of course the plight of illegal immigrants brought to this country as unaware babies or toddlers cannot be dismissed with “Too bad!” But there can be no discussion of assisting immigrants made illegal against their own will without first dealing with the core reason for illegal immigration: a generous welfare state which has entitled every American, according to the federal government, to a standard of living which everyone has to pay for.
7. There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws. … Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families.
Citizenship cannot be a pathway. To allow individuals to live here, and yet believe that they will never become citizens, is like Charlie Brown will finally kick Lucy’s football.
These unprincipled principles will get Congress nowhere towards proper immigration reform. House leaders should follow Congressman Paul Ryan’s indirect advice, and National Review’s overt exhortation, and put aside immigration reform to another year.