National Review and Weekly Standard: Kill Immigration Bill

National Review and Weekly Standard: Kill Immigration Bill

On Tuesday, the editors of National Review and the Weekly Standard published a joint editorial with a simple message: Kill the immigration bill. 

Writing at National Review and the Weekly Standard, Messrs. Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol write simply that, “passing any version of the Gang of Eight’s bill would be worse public policy than passing nothing.”

“We are conservatives who have differed in the past on immigration reform, with Kristol favorably disposed toward it and Lowry skeptical,” they write. “But the Gang of Eight has brought us into full agreement: Their bill, passed out of the Senate, is a comprehensive mistake. House Republicans should kill it without reservation.”

They assert that the bill would depress the wages of working class Americans, not solve the illegal immigration problem, not make the country’s borders more secure, perpetuate Washington’s crony capitalism, and will not even help Republicans all that much at the ballot box.

Breitbart News, along with conservative stalwarts like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, and a host of others have vehemently opposed the immigration reform bill for these reasons. Both National Review and the Weekly Standard, in recent years, have been amenable to policies favored by establishment Republicans, but the immigration bill is so flawed that the “big money,” establishment Republicans Rush Limbaugh accused of wanting the bill passed could not convince either of the publications to even give the bill lukewarm support. 

Lowry and Krstol write that “House Republicans should make sure not to allow a conference with the Senate bill” because “House Republicans can’t find any true common ground with that legislation. House Republicans can do the country a service by putting a stake through its heart.”

“There is no case for the bill, and certainly no urgency to pass it,” they write, noting, “the case against the bill has been as responsible as it has been damning.”

They note that it has “become clear that you can be pro-immigrant and pro-immigration, and even favor legalization of the 11 million illegal immigrants who are here and increases in some categories of legal immigration–and vigorously oppose this bill.”

Kristol and Lowry also emphasize that the bill “doesn’t solve the illegal-immigration problem,” and the “enforcement provisions are riddled with exceptions, loopholes, and waivers.”

“Every indication is that they are for show and will be disregarded, just as prior notional requirements to build a fence or an entry/exit visa system have been–and just as President Obama has recently announced he’s ignoring aspects of Obamacare that are inconvenient to enforce on schedule,” they note. “The fact that the legalization of illegal immigrants comes first makes it all the more likely that enforcement provisions will be ignored the same way they were after passage of the 1986 amnesty.”

They also point out that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the bill would hardly solve the illegal immigration problem, reducing it by “little as a third or by half at most” while unleashing a flood of low-skilled immigrant workers to lower the wages of working class Americans and increase the unemployment rate. 

Lastly, they write that the “the sheer size of the bill and the hasty manner in which it was amended and passed” reflect “a mistaken belief in central planning and in practice become a stew of deals, payoffs, waivers, and special-interest breaks.”  

Republicans like Sens. John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) have asserted that the bill has to be passed for Republicans to be viable in future elections, and Kristol and Lowry write that this notion is “silly.”

“Are we supposed to believe that Republican Senate candidates running in states such as Arkansas, North Carolina, Iowa, Virginia, and Montana will be hurt if the party doesn’t embrace Chuck Schumer’s immigration bill?” they write. 

The editors note that at “the presidential level in 2016, it would be better if Republicans won more Hispanic voters than they have in the past–but it’s most important that the party perform better among working-class and younger voters concerned about economic opportunity and upward mobility. Passing this unworkable, ramshackle bill is counterproductive or irrelevant to that task.”   

The smart, fierce, and reasoned opposition to “comprehensive immigration reform” by conservatives, and news sites like Breitbart News, has worked, convincing two of the most prominent center-right publications in Washington to go all-in against the bill.