Five Major Problems with GOP's 'Immigration Principles'
After the House Republican leadership unveiled its "immigration principles" on Thursday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who has staunchly and relentlessly defended American workers against amnesty, weighed in once again.
Sessions said it looked like the consultant-driven and "recycled talking points" offer a lot of promises that will not be matched by "legislation that, at bottom, ensures only the amnesty and not the enforcement."
Here are five major problems with the immigration principles:
1. Legalization Before Enforcement
The GOP leadership's "Standards for Immigration Reform" states that there "will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws – that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law."
But there are no specifics about how illegal immigrants will be legalized or allowed to work. Instead, the document concludes by merely saying, "Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced."
The principles do not mention, however, whether enforcement triggers need to be "met." Instead, the principles state that "enforcement triggers" only need to be "implemented," which means there will be legalization and amnesty before actual enforcement occurs.
As Breitbart News reported, in a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) told host Chuck Todd that illegal immigrants will be able to get probationary work permits "while the border is getting secured." After various metrics are met, those workers could qualify for a "regular work permit," Ryan said. Then, they would be able to apply for a green card after more measures are met, which would then allow them to apply for citizenship. When pressed twice about whether citizenship will be available to all or most of the country's illegal immigrants, Ryan offered no denial. He simply asserted that the GOP leadership was not in favor of a "special pathway to citizenship."
Breitbart News reported that an overwhelming majority of Republicans who spoke up on Thursday were against moving forward on immigration reform. Aware that many Republicans will be opposed to immigration reform, the GOP leadership may want legalization before enforcement to entice House Democrats to get on board in order to get immigration reform passed.
2. Perpetual Amnesty for Children
The principles state that there "will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future," but also declares:
One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. 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.
In addition, the principles support a temporary worker program that will inevitably allow a situation in which guest workers have children in the country who become U.S. citizens or overstay their visas after their children, like today's DREAMers, start to integrate into American society.
If one of the "great founding principles" of the country, according to House GOP leadership, is that "children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents," then how will there be a "zero tolerance" policy for those who come to the country illegally or overstay their visas? That is exactly the point that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) National Council President Kenneth Palinkas made this week in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
In fact, if these "principles" are implemented, more parents may be willing to bring their children illegally into the country or get work visas, hoping that another round of DREAM Acts will be passed. Liberal politicians will inevitably try to push to legalize the parents of future DREAMers, as well. During the debate over the Senate's immigration bill last year, Sessions mentioned that such provisions will not solve the illegal immigration problem. They will simply create a situation where there will be more clamor for amnesty legislation in a decade.
3. Betrays American Workers
The high-tech lobby and the big-business community have spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying for comprehensive immigration reform, and they are reportedly gearing up to spend millions more this spring. Even though the shortage of American workers in high-tech fields is considered to be a myth, according to studies, the GOP leadership's principles state, "Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers," and that it is "imperative that these temporary workers are able to meet the economic needs of the country and do not displace or disadvantage American workers."
But even the Congressional Budget Office determined that such an influx of new workers, because of the simple law of supply and demand, would lower the wages of American workers across the board. That has been the primary argument against the various forms of amnesty and the increases in different types of work permits and visas, even though liberal Republicans, Democrats, and the mainstream press have tried to falsely depict the opposition to "immigration reform" as solely about race.
Sixteen House Republicans recently declared that an influx of more workers in a stagnant economy may be the "final economic blow" for American workers, especially those in minority communities that have been hit particularly hard in Obama's economy.
4. Obamacare Makes It Tougher for Americans to Buy What GOP Leadership Is Selling
The "immigration principles" declare that Republicans "must enact reform that ensures that a President cannot unilaterally stop immigration enforcement" while touting various "employment verification and workplace enforcement" mechanisms and an "electronic employment verification system" that may have to be tweaked or created anew.
In addition to Obama's selective enforcement of immigration law and his executive action implementing the "deferred action" program, Obama's unilateral actions in ignoring parts of his signature legislation to grant Obamacare exemptions and delays will not inspire confidence that presidents will honor immigration laws.
Furthermore, the federal government's failure to create a functional website will make it difficult to sell the public on the various technological metrics that will likely be linchpins of bills that Republican leaders will propose. Even Politico and Democrats like former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have said Obamacare's initial failures may doom immigration reform legislation.
5. Legislation Will Be Less Conservative than 'Principles'
Since President Barack Obama has said that he would not sign a bill that does not have a pathway to citizenship provision for all of the country's illegal immigrants, and Sen. John McCain emphasized that a "pathway to citizenship" provision had to be a "fundamental principle" of any immigration agreement, any bill--or bills--will only become less conservative.
To Sen. Jeff Sessions, the emerging immigration proposal in the House already "appears to resemble the Senate plan: it provides the initial grant of amnesty before enforcement; it would surge the already unprecedented level of legal lesser-skilled immigration to the U.S. that is reducing wages and increasing unemployment; and it would offer eventual citizenship to a large number of illegal immigrants and visa overstays."
"House leaders should support--not ignore--the immigration officers pleading for help," Sessions said. "They should stand with--not against--unemployed American workers. And they should expose--not join--the President’s campaign to pass an immigration plan that will hollow out our shrinking middle class.”