WSJ Buys the Astroturf on Immigration

WSJ Buys the Astroturf on Immigration

The Wall Street Journal editorial page Wednesday urged Republicans, once again, to pass an immigration reform bill. The Journal has backed off its initial demand that Republicans “improve” the bill, and now asks only that they “pass the parts that are pro-growth.” 

Yet it includes among those parts the “Dream Act” that President Barack Obama imposed last year without congressional approval, and gives credence to the false, Astroturf efforts to pretend that “millions” of conservatives, evangelicals and others support the Senate bill.

The Journal editorial page well understands what is wrong with ratifying Obama’s “Dream Act,” at least from a constitutional point of view. Just days ago, it attacked President Obama’s habit of abusing executive power to enforce only those laws he wishes to, including the Obamacare employer mandate and what it called, quite correctly, the “Dream Act by fiat,” in which he decided that federal agencies should simply stop enforcing the law. Today, “Dreamers” are treated as a special priority–for political, not policy, reasons.

There is no reason that Congress should ratify what amounts to “an end-run around Congress“–what then-Senator Obama denounced in 2008, when the issue was mere “signing statements” expressing the presidential point of view, not wholesale refusal to execute the law. No doubt attracting young, skilled, ambitious immigrants would help grow our economy and build our prosperity. But doing so at the expense of the rule of law and the Constitution would have the opposite effect. Obama’s rules must first be undone, not rubber-stamped.

In addition, the Journal editorial cites “millions of evangelical Christians, Catholic conservatives, business owners and free-marketers” who allegedly oppose border security as the top priority. That is not even true of Hispanic voters, 60% of whom support an “enforcement first” approach to immigration reform, according to poll data released this week. And as Michael Patrick Leahy of Breitbart News has ably documented, many of the groups claiming to speak for “millions of evangelical Christians” are nothing more than false fronts.

Recently, Leahy reported that one such group, the Evangelical Immigration Table does not exist as a legal entity, and is claiming credit for advertising that has in fact been paid for by the George Soros-funded National Immigration Forum, as well as apparently falsely claiming support for its advertising campaign from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Obama’s allies used similar tactics in the push for Obamacare, with “Health Care for America Now” and other fronts, which attempted to block public opposition to the bill.

The one redeeming feature of the Journal editorial is that it seems to accept the approach, long touted by House conservatives, of passing those elements of immigration reform that enjoy near-universal support, such as measures that would attract skilled immigrants and new entrepreneurs. Yet it is clear Democrats will not vote for those unless they are guaranteed their “path to citizenship”–i.e. their path to the polls–as part of any bill. The Journal‘s pressure is therefore misplaced: it is, once again, targeting the wrong party.