A ‘Path to Citizenship’ for Illegals?

President Obama’s promise to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” continues apace. Despite the twin controversies surrounding the debt ceiling and gun control, senior administration officials and lawmakers have told the New York Times that Obama intends to push Congress to embrace comprehensive immigration reform that includes a “path to citizenship” for the nation’s illegal alien population.

The bill proposed by Senate Democrats and the president runs counter to Republican efforts to break reform down into smaller segments. Republicans believe that such an approach that addresses the issues of young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers, or highly skilled foreigners separately could make anything that smacks of de facto amnesty more palatable to party members. At the same time, the administration and Democrats will oppose any measures that do not offer subsequently legalized immigrants the chance to become American citizens.

Democrats are facing competition from Republican Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the likely 2016 presidential candidate laid out his own agenda, characterized as an effort to “triangulate” the differences between hard-left liberals who want open borders, and the hard-right’s effort, as the Journal puts it, to “close the door.” As Rubio himself puts it, “legal immigration has been, for our country, one of the things that makes us vibrant and exceptional,” even as he covers himself with commonsense notions that appeal to law-abiding Americans: “Every country in the world has immigration laws and expects to enforce them and we should be no different,” he says.

An integral part of Rubio’s plan, and one likely to resonate with most Americans, includes the “modernization” of legal immigration. “I’m a big believer in family-based immigration,” he says. “But I don’t think that in the 21st century we can continue to have an immigration system where only 6.5 percent of people who come here, come here based on labor and skill. We have to move toward merit and skill-based immigration.” Thus, his preference is for lifting the current hard cap on skilled immigrants, adjusting the number on the basis of demand.

With respect to the other end of the spectrum, Rubio proposes a sufficient number of guest visas for the largely Hispanic (and largely illegal) agricultural workers who pick America’s fruits and vegetables, in order to “give American agriculture a reliable work force and to give protection to these workers as well,” he contends, further noting that illegals are “vulnerable to being exploited.”

As part of his split-the-difference approach, Rubio has co-sponsored E-Verify legislation that would require employers to check the status of would-be hires against a federal database. E-Verfiy has been extended through September 30, 2015 after Congress approved the measure and the president signed the bill September 28. Yet on the state level, E-Verify requirements remain varied. Some require every employer to use the database, while others limit it to government agencies or, as in the case of Illinois, it is barred completely “until accuracy and timeliness issues are resolved.”

With respect to illegals, Rubio’s ideas sound almost exactly like what the president and Democrats are proposing. All of them would require the payment of fines, and back taxes, usage of the aforementioned verification system, an increase in the number of visas, and the creation of a guest worker program to accommodate low-skill workers.

The sticking points are both procedural and political. Rubio and other Republicans prefer a step-by-step approach rather than a catch-all bill, with Rubio warning that “comprehensive” reform, which he likens to the rancor surrounding Obamacare and the fiscal cliff deals, shows how bad policy “easily sneaks” into such legislation, even as it becomes an easier target for critics as a result. Democrats believe a comprehensive bill is necessary in order to address the more contentious issues. Rubio disagrees, but says it is not a make-or-break consideration with one exception: no bill should give illegals an edge over those who came here legally and applied for residency in the proper way.

Democrats insist that any bill must include eventual citizenship for illegals who meet certain conditions. “This is a bottom line,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) last Thursday. “The Democrats have made it clear we will not accept a bill without a direct path to earned citizenship.” Republican resisters counter that a “pathway to citizenship” is nothing more than amnesty by another name.

The president will outline his proposals soon, possibly during his State of the Union speech February 12. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney alluded to that reality last Wednesday. “I would say, broadly speaking, that State of the Union addresses tend to include at least a sample of a president’s agenda,” Carney said. “And immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reform, is a very high priority of the president’s. But I don’t want to get ahead of the speech.”

Rubio remains skeptical, noting that Obama has “not done a thing” regarding immigration reform, with the exception of his executive order allowing those who illegally entered the country as children to remain here and work for at least two years without fear of being deported. Rubio contends that move “may have even set back the cause a bit. (Obama) poisoned the well for people willing to take on this issue,” he said. Rubio further notes that Democratic inaction includes the two years when they had complete control of Congress following the 2008 election.

The reason for such calculated reticence, despite all promises to the contrary, is obvious: Hispanics are a rock-solid Democrat constituency, regardless of whether or not the president pursues reform. In the 2012 election, 70 percent voted to reelect Obama, and a Pew Poll revealed that the number of Hispanic voters is expected to double within a generation. Furthermore, as it is with so many other issues, the failure to achieve immigration reform can be easily blamed on Republicans–with the full backing of the media–irrespective of virtually anything that actually occurs. Rubio notes the success of that gambit. “I think it’s the rhetoric by a handful of voices in the minority, but loud nonetheless, that have allowed the left to create an unfair perception that conservatives and Republicans are anti-Hispanic and anti-immigration, and we do have to overcome that.”

Yet for many Americans, reality trumps perception. The 2010 Census reveals that illegal aliens exploit welfare programs used by their American-born anchor babies, and immigrants as a whole use welfare programs at a higher rate than native-born Americans. Such usage contributes to the mind-bending reality that more than 100 million people are now receiving some form of federal welfare, excluding those who benefit solely from Social Security and/or Medicare. “These figures include not only citizens, but non-citizens as well,” revealed the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.

As for whether illegal immigration is a net plus or minus for the American economy, the numbers are all over the place. In 2010, the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) contended illegals cost America $100 billion per year. The leftist Immigration Policy Center contends the economy comes out “slightly ahead.” There are other contentious statistics regarding crime and competition for jobs that also surround the debate.

Yet the least discussed statistic may present the biggest problem. For the past several years, the same mainstream media that 60 percent of Americans currently distrust have consistently spoken of the 11-12 million illegal aliens who currently reside in the United States. Thus, it stands to reason that all of the reforms currently being considered are based on that approximation. What if that approximation is wrong? What if there are 20 million, or perhaps 30 million, illegal aliens in the nation? What if reform includes the ability to bring one’s extended family into the country?

It is a testament to the level of corruption and/or calculated indifference on the part of both political parties, as well as the mainstream media, that one of the most essential elements of the debate is nowhere to be found. Even Americans who may be sympathetic to granting eventual citizenship to illegals might be alarmed if that legalization comprised ten percent–or more–of the nation’s entire population.

It remains to be seen if immigration reform will be part of this year’s agenda. The divide between the political parties that already exists will no doubt be exacerbated by negotiations on gun control and the fiscal cliff, to the point that another large and contentious issue may be a bridge too far. It may also be next to impossible to determine the precise number of illegals in the United States. But prior to enacting yet another round of immigration reform, much like the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act that granted more than 2.7 million illegals amnesty–even as the promises to tighten border security and crack down on employers hiring illegals were virtually ignored–it certainly behooves us to try. Irrespective of the political divide, the potential of completely altering the character of the nation should be impetus enough for such an undertaking.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.  

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Americans are dealing with a POTUS who intends to go for broke, regardless of the blow back. Whether granting illegals "legal" status; ripping apart the Second Amendment; eviscerating the First Amendment; or deconstructing the economy, the fact of the matter is that he INTENDS to transform America into a third world nation – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/10/20/what-are-the-

    So, either via gun control – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/01/03/leftists-go-p

    Or through destroying the economy – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/07/barack-hussei

    The end game is extending Obama's term for life – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/01/07/fiddling-with

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Fred

    With all that Barry has done so far not one representative has charged his with Treason. Also his Barrycare so called "health" plan will discriminate against older white people more than others he should be charged with Genocide.

    And Holder is not in jail for Fast and Furious and not charging the Black Panthers in the vote intimidation case is beyond belief. Apparently the enemy have taken over America.

    • Jim_C

      How does the ACA discriminate against older white people?

      You're still worked up over those two Black Panthers from 2008?

  • JacksonPearson

    Any executive order Obama writen on immigration is un Constitutional, because those are powers enumerated In Article I, to congress.

  • Elaine

    As with every other issue facing the future of this country, immigration is merely a political issue with its moral and economic ramifications as well as the breaking of the law in the case of illegals completely ignored.

    The U.S. is in a moral crisis and that moral crisis has caused all of our social, economic, educational, political and judicial problems. But of course no one admits this because the immorality and corruption of the majority in all of our institutions is so rampant, who really cares?

    • aspacia

      Illegal immigration is an economic, educational, and social issue, Everything is political. Our government is corrupt, and often when busted, a corrupt politician is reprimanded or removed from office.

      Frankly, we cannot economically take-care of illegals and should not be forced to educated their children.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    There is no shortage of criticism of our immigration laws from detractors who contend that they are unjust and immoral.

    I would LOVE it if we adopted & enforced Mexico’s Immigration Laws against America's illegals!

    QUESTION: ~ What do Barack Obama & Harry Reid call illegal aliens?

    ANSWER: – - Undocumented Democrats.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    Mexico's President Calderon has delivered a slap in the face to the United States, and provided what amounts to an endorsement for his citizens violating the laws of the United States.

    Mexico's President Calderon insults the United States http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2007/08/mexic

    • tagalog

      Mexico, it might be added, has strict laws that are strictly enforced, about people coming into Mexico who are not Mexican citizens.

      Strict laws strictly enforced while they publish pamphlets informing Mexicans who wish to enter the U.S. illegally how to accomplish that.

      • bluffcreek1967

        Ooooh no, the federal government can't be expected to enforce its own immigration because, well, that would be 'racist.' It would 'disenfranchise' an entire group of people, and we can't have that! Geez, if we actually prevented the Mexicans and other Hispanics from entering illegally, we wouldn't be able to racially displace all those evil white people who descended from slave owners!

  • BLJ

    Since Obama is an illegal himself this is no surprise. He can kiss my keester.

  • tagalog

    Back in President Reagan's time, the Immigration Reform and Control Act was sold to us as a final resolution of the illegal immigration issue. That was when there were about 6 million illegal immigrants in the USA. Now about 25 years have passed, and the illegal immigration problem has doubled.

    If we continue on a course of providing citizenship to anyone who gets inside our borders and remains here long enough, we'll be sorry. Many of us are already sorry.

  • Gabrielle

    Democrats see votes till the end of time, or the end of the US whichever comes first. Insteas of pushing for amnesty for those who have already broken the law, we should be examining anchor babies and border control.

    Are we the first civilization who has committed suicide?

  • Ghostwriter

    This sort of thing is an insult to LEGAL immigrants and American citizens. These people SHOULD NOT be here at all.

    • aspacia

      Yes, and my mother, a WWII warbride had to be sponsored by my grandparents and father. She is furious about this situation, but remains a Democrat.

  • JacksonPearson

    Where is the outrage from Congress? Why should a an undocumented community organizer, be allowed at the stroke of a pen, to reform American immigration law?…Because this type of legislation is enumerated in the Legislative Branch of Government in Article I, to the Constitution!

  • polnick

    Native born Chicagoan’ drug dealers are in a state of flux, there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Jive talkers and Cha-Cha dancing criminals refuse to share their territories with illegal Indians from Mexico. Gangbangers must learn from New York’s drug dealers how to get along.

  • Drakken

    Import the 3rd world, you become the 3rd world, I for one believe the preserving our 1st world status and lifestyle are worth preserving by any and all means neccessary. If Obummer succeeds in crashing our economy into the ground,and violate 2nd Amendment rights, you will see a Balkanization that the govt will not be able to stop. Not only no to amnesty, but hell no! Not now! Not ever!

  • bluffcreek1967

    If one wants to really see what mass Mexican, Salvadorian and Honduran immigration is going to look like, look no further than L.A. County and the surrounding counties. Graffiti, gang members, run down barrio neighborhoods filled with crime and poverty, severe drug usage and rampant alcoholism. Those of us who have to deal with Hispanics know the truth about these people – and it's not pretty.

    This is what the Hispanics really bring and if we give them mass amnesty, the rest of our country will also start to look like L.A. County! This IS our future if we don't stop this insane push from both Democrats and Republicans (but don't worry, whites in America don't have the will or unity to truly oppose). Whites are on their way to being racially displaced by Mexicans and every other third-worlder.

  • garyfouse

    Bluffcreek1967,

    It is not Hispanics per se. I am married to a legal Mexican immigrant. her family is now in the 4th generation and well assimilated. I oppose mass amnesty as well, and I think it is presumptuous to assume that all illegal aliens even want to become American citizens.

    First, we have to seal the border and stop the flow of illegals, drugs and gang killings. Second, we need to focus on the criminal element, eliminate sanctuary cities and get rid of the bad elements. That means feds and local police working together to ID the illegal/ criminals/gangs and remove them.

    Then we can figure out what to do humanely with the millions who have come here for economic survival We can give them a path to legalize their status, but citizenship should be way down the road. To think of path to citizenship indicates that the Dems are looking to add millions of new voters to the rolls.

    • bluffcreek1967

      I hear what you're saying and I agree in part with some of your points. Here's some of the problems though: (1) It IS Hispanics. They are the dominant majority who enter illegally. Their third-world culture and everything about them is contrary to the dominant, first-world white culture here in America. Whites are being racially displaced by these people, and it's only when our culture radically changes that whites will begin to see the real problem with the Mexican invasion. By then it will be too late. (2) A good many of the legal Mexicans here who have assimilated are blood-related to the illegal ones. Unfortunately, most of the legal ones have not boldly spoken out against the Mexican invasion because they themselves are Mexicans. Some do, admittedly, but most do not. (3)Yes, we need to seal the border, but we won't. The GOP and Democrats won't permit it. (4) Humanely? Yes, of course, but let's start with mass deportations. If Americans have the will (which we don't), we can humanely, yet gradually, return them to their countries of origin. (5) Whites must come to recognize that high crime rates, illiteracy, little interest in formal education and the gang culture is itself a reflection of who the Mexicans are. It's integral to them, and that's why all their communities (barrios) reflect these very patterns.

    • bluffcreek1967

      Also, yes it's true that not all illegal aliens want to become American citizens. Why should they? Everything they could ever want or need has been provided by them via government, legal family members, and cheap, do-gooder whites who want the services of the illegal alien but never bother to consider the consequences of their actions.

      Eliminate sanctuary cities?! Have local police and feds work together?! Of course! Respectfully sir, what world are you living in? The feds have done nothing to stop sanctuary cities, and the feds do NOT work with local police to specifically stop our local "Pedro" and "Javier" selling oranges along the road or the large group of illegals standing in front of Home Depot. They may work together at times to fight the cartels, but they have little interest in the hordes of Mexicans who loiter about looking for work or abusing the welfare system. Listen closely: There is NO concerted effort by either the feds or local agencies to specifically halt illegal immigration. Your ideas are good, but the federal government and the American people simply do NOT have the will to stop this. Many are not even alarmed! We are asleep.

      • garyfouse

        Bluffcreek1967,

        Respectively Sir, I am retired law enforcement so I think I am living in the real world. I was speaking of what SHOULD be done. I know as well as you that the current administration is not going to do it. The Republicans didn't do it either. It is great to talk of mass deportations, but how are we going to deport 12 million people?

        • bluffcreek1967

          I won't say what I do, but let's just say I deal with the Hispanics, specifically, Hispanic gang members in my line of work on a daily basis. I know exactly what the feds are doing and not doing with this entire problem. The people I work with actually encourage us NOT to do anything about it!

          I understand clearly you were referring to what SHOULD be done, and I agree with much of what you wrote. But in terms of practical reality, it's a moot point because our federal government (even before Obama took office) don't want to do anything about it. Concerned Americans are thus left only with wishes and what 'should' be done – but it will go nowhere. We've allowed this problem to run too deep.

          Mass deportations could occur by means of several things which would occur jointly through our employers, the feds working with local agencies, and on and on. Many would self-deport if only employers would stop hiring them and if the government would stop giving them welfare assistance and stop permitting the presence of anchor babies. It's really a combination of several things. But it won't happen. If the American people had the will, it could be done – but we don't. We have went beyond the point of no return. This isn't a doomsday mentality nor is it just being pessimistic about things. Rather, it's a recognition that nothing will be done, and it will only get worse. The old America we grew up in has died, never to return.

          • garyfouse

            I agree. When I was in DEA in LA, we had immigration officers in our task force. We actively went out and knocked on doors of identified illegal aliens (Thais) with drug connections. You can guess the intent, and it was pretty successful. If ICE should work with LAPD, SFPD and other sanctuary cities' cops to identify the illegal alien gang members, they could deport them. Nor would that be logistically impossible. Rounding up 12 million people would be logistically impossible. The public needs to demand that kind of action.

        • cognitionemission

          As a (supposed) law enforcement officer, you should be able to recognize their vastly disproportionate contribution to crime – as a whole, they have no value to our society, and are only a burden.

          A CBO report in 2010 estimated that it would cost $131 Bil to conduct a mass deportation of all illegal aliens. A 2005 report estimated that illegals cost the US $113 Bil per year – it would pay itself off in 1.16 years…that's a pretty good return-on-investment.

          Of course, it does nothing to stop them from coming over again, which is why ALL incentives must be revoked: no housing, no food stamps, no education, no employment, no healthcare, no path to citizenship – with harsh punishments for violations, including severing federal funding to cities who violate these laws. It won't stop until we eliminate their reason for coming here: the vast American welfare state.

          • garyfouse

            I don't disagree with your ideas at all. However, a mass roundup of 12 million people is not logistically possible and you know it.

          • cognitionemission

            not, it wouldn't be possible, now that we have allowed the problem to grow exponentially, like some malignant disease. But that has been a red herring argument used by people who advocate doing nothing, or providing amnesty.

            But by implementing the laws as stated above, I would wager that much (maybe most) of the problem would take care of itself automatically. By rights, most of them would be required to be deported, even under lenient liberal 'comprehensive immigration' plans, as millions are guilty of at least one felony.

        • Questions

          You don't have to deport them all. If every state made illegal immigrants ineligible for all manner of benefits (e.g., driver's licenses, bank accounts, food stamps, in-state tuition), many will simply go home voluntarily, in effect, self-deport.

    • Questions

      "A path" to anything is a nice term for amnesty. It's right up there with "comprehensive reform" and "normalization." Protecting the border is the bare minimum for a workable policy. We also must fully reauthorize the highly successful E-Verify program to weed out job applicants illegally here. And we need to abolish the preposterous interpretation of the 14th Amendment that allows persons born here to illegal immigrant parents to obtain automatic U.S. citizenship (thus making the parents virtually deportation-proof in the process).

      These steps ought to be non-negotiable.

  • Arthur Cohn

    Why are there so many illegal Latinos in the USA, when there are no stifling quotas limiting their legal immigration?
    My understanding is that bureaucratic logjams are what dissuades Latinos from becoming legal immigrants.. We should reform this bureaucracy to encourage legal immigration. Most Latinos/Latinas that I've met are hard working, honest people. If they come in with proper procedures, their obtaining of drivers licenses and insurance should make our roads safer. Less people will die sneaking through the southwestern deserts. Less, overall, sneaking in will make it easier to stop the really bad guys; the Islamist terrorists who have sneaked in within the mass Latino illegal flood.

    • cognitionemission

      according to the FBI and bureau of corrections, about 25% of the prison population (500,000 inmates) are illegal aliens and foreign nationals – 80% being from Mexico; 1 in 12 illegals are felons, 1 in 8 having committed rape. Illegals are responsible for the deaths of 25 Americans every day, 12 via murder. 1 in 5 illegals have at least 8 misdemeanors.

      This crime rate is 590% greater than the US general population.

      They have nothing of value to contribute to this society – period. Giving them a driver's license will do jack sh!t to change that.

  • Jim_C

    In other words, Mr. Rubio and Mr. Ryan want essentially the same thing as Mr. Obama, but they just want to roll it out more slowly in order to not upset their constituency.

    Got it!

    • Questions

      This is true. There is an excellent piece appearing in http://www.vdare.com today describing why the amnesty, er…comprehensive reform plan put forth by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is so bad that's it's worse than anything even Obama has come up with. And Paul Ryan, our would-be v.p., ever the good Jack Kemp acolyte, has endorsed it.

  • gsr

    Enforcement of immigration law, which includes deportation is the only real immigration "reform".

    But the DC political class do not and have not enforced immigration law for about 30 years.

    The DC Elite are creating a new population – Jose and Mohammed and other "immigrants".

  • Publicus

    Oh get real. Mexican women are hot and the Mexican men are only too happy to satisfy the urges of large American she-whales. Stop the racist drivel. You probably have a lawn or kid taken care of by a decent law-abiding illegal-immigrant. And you depend on their kids to ensure your Medicare is paid for by the next generation. How the hell can you expect to pay $60k on average into Medicare and take out $300K? Oh, exploit dumb poor immigrants who will never see such "benefits"….

    • Questions

      There isn't any lawn in America that can't be mowed by a native-born person. Indeed, if the wage and benefit package is decent, there isn't a single job of any kind that can't be done by an American. We don't need to import Mexicans to do jobs that Americans can do.