Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nobody's Serious About "Immigration Reform" ...


Barack Obama's circulating draft proposal is such weak tea that calling it "reform" at all comes off as a bit of a joke, but its biggest weakness is that it doesn't require the Republicans claiming it goes too far to reveal what planet they're from. Because it sure as hell isn't Earth.

Like most Republican proposals, Obama's would conscript every business owner in the United States as an unpaid Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent (using the "E-Verify" system, which would be Orwellian if it was actually functional in any meaningful sense).

Like most Republican proposals, Obama's includes a raft of pork-barrel funding for "securing the border" nonsense (Rand Paul says he'll be adding an amendment requiring the GAO to periodically lie its ass off by certifying that US borders are "secure").

Obama's proposal does offer a "path to citizenship," but it's not a soft and fuzzy one. "Illegal immigrants" (a category of persons which, per the US Constitution, cannot possibly exist in federal law) would have to apply for visas, undergo criminal background checks, submit biometric information and pay fees to get on to that path in the first place. Eight years later, those who qualified for the visa could apply for permanent resident "green cards," and later for US citizenship.

If it was a Republican  offering this plan, I might call it a good start (as I did when George W. Bush offered a "reform" proposal way back when). But Obama really needs to go the extra mile. Supporters of dramatically expanded immigration freedom probably provided his margin of victory for re-election on the one hand, and on the other he's been far more draconian in office than his Republican predecessors (he deported more immigrants in 3 1/2 years than Bush did in 8).

To get "serious," Obama should go at least as pro-immigration-freedom as, say, Ronald Reagan or Bush 41.

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