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Ordered Liberty

Senator Rubio’s Immigration Enforcement Fantasy

January 29th, 2013 - 1:26 pm

Thus, according to Obama, if the president’s policy is to refrain from enforcing Congress’s statutes, sovereign states may not enforce them either, even if such non-feasance renders the states defenseless against the tide of illegal immigration overrunning their borders and budgets. It matters not, in this radical view, that self-defense is a basic aspect of sovereignty or that, if the Obama preemption theory had been evident in the Constitution, there would be no United States because the states would never have ratified it.

That is how committed Pres. Obama is to non-enforcement. Consequently, it is the height of foolishness for Sen. Rubio to talk about fissures between the administration and Congressional Democrats on enforcement measures. Chuck Schumer has nothing to do with enforcing the immigration laws. Even if he and his colleagues were serious about enforcement — and, as Mark Krikorian and Mickey Kaus explain, the enforcement promises in the Gang of Eight proposal are patently fraudulent — their earnestness would be irrelevant. Obama has not only posited but argued in the Supreme Court that federal statutes are trivial; the only thing that matters is raw executive power: his unfettered discretion in choosing to enforce or not enforce the law.

That being the case, what is the point of the Gang of Eight exercise? The Republicans pushing the deal tout its illusory enforcement measures, but even if these were real lawmakers are not in a position to compel the president to execute them. And think about it: it is precisely because the law is not being enforced in the first place that the senators perceive the need to promise law enforcement as a premise for the windfall illegal aliens would get from the Gang of Eight proposal. If the laws already on the books are not being enforced, why on earth would anyone think a new law would make a bit of difference — particularly when it would be equally impotent in the matter of forcing Obama’s hand?

In the end, that really is the point. It makes no sense to write a legislative proposal that confers unwarranted benefits on the condition of stepped up law enforcement. If the Republican senators are serious, they should just call for enforcement of already enacted laws. They should tell Democrats, “Show us over the next few years that enforcement is effective and that the government’s commitment to it is permanent; then we can talk about legislation to legalize the presence of the remaining illegal immigrant population.” The way you prioritize enforcement is … to prioritize enforcement, not to talk about enforcement you can’t deliver in a wayward deal that concretely rewards lawlessness. And in the meantime, if it would help our economy to allow more immigration of workers to fill needs that aren’t being met, by all means increase the availability of visas for those categories of workers — as dramatically as necessary. This will illustrate that Republicans are not anti-immigrant — the “false argument” that animates Sen. Rubio, as he told Rush. It is a slander that sticks because of the GOP’s inadequate response to the Left’s demagoguery, not because of bad policies.

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