Republicans who support granting amnesty to foreign nationals residing in the United States illegally better answer some questions first.
I have previously argued that warm and fuzzy feelings toward the GOP will not grow in minority communities simply because some Republicans accept as lawful what was once lawless. The racial interest groups such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and LULAC have such a stranglehold in these communities that no GOP compromise will break it.
Racially polarized voting patterns among blacks and Hispanics are the fruits of their labors over decades.
Republicans who think these groups will allow goodwill toward the GOP to blossom once immigration reform passes are naïve. After any concessions, they will be back to job number one: ensuring continued racially polarized voting that will eventually lead to the demise of the Republican Party, especially with millions of new voters.
If you don’t think that’s happening, then you aren’t listening to them boast about “demographic changes.”
Even if you don’t accept the premise that racially polarized voting patterns are permanent and even if you don’t think immigration concessions are a suicide pact for Republicans, still senators like Marco Rubio had better answer a few substantive questions.
First, will you support a bill if it allows an alien convicted of a felony criminal offense or multiple misdemeanors to benefit from the legalization program? Currently, any alien who commits one felony or two misdemeanors cannot participate in immigration benefit programs such as Temporary Protected Status. Any legalization program should not be more generous.
Are you going to support a bill if it allows aliens to participate in the legalization program who have been through legal proceedings and already ordered removed from the United States, but who have ignored the removal order? We call those people fugitives. Will you support them being included in amnesty?
Will you require illegal aliens who have applications denied under any legalization program to be placed in immigration proceedings to be removed from the United States once they are denied? Currently, many who apply for immigration benefits now through DHS-USCIS, such as spouse petitions, are never placed in removal proceedings — even after their applications are denied, which is in part based on changes implemented in the last couple of years.
Are you going to support the bill if it includes provisions that weaken parts of existing immigration law that promote immigration enforcement and limit fraud, such as asylum fraud?
Are you going to require in the bill real fraud protections to limit the massive fraud from the 1987 amnesty? What will you require that this bill do to prevent fraud that the last amnesty bill did not do? For example, are you going to support the bill if it prohibits DHS from sharing information aliens put on their legalization applications with DHS immigration enforcement officers, like the last amnesty did?
The argument is that 11 million aliens could benefit from the legalization program. Those numbers are probably conservative. The real number of illegal aliens currently in the United States is probably higher. Are you going to allow those who benefit from legalization to sponsor people to come here from their home country, such as parents or siblings?
If so, is the program really limited to 11 million? Would you cap those who can participate in legalization at some specific number — such as 11 million total including dependents?
What provisions will any bill you support have to prevent the massive and extremely costly litigation that resulted from the 1987 amnesty? Do you support federal court jurisdiction over decisions of whether to permit an alien to benefit from the legalization program. Do you support that?
The Schumer-McCain framework does not say when someone had to first arrive in the United States to qualify for legalization. Does it mean they can be here up until the day of enactment to qualify?
It would seem someone should have to be in the United States for years to qualify, such as five or ten years. The less time they have to be here the more the bill promotes more illegal immigration and the easier it is to create fraudulent documents for an immigrant to say he was here when the program started. Also, the less time someone is here, the less sympathetic their situation is and the more realistic it is to expect them to return to their home country.
The Framework talks about requiring illegal immigrants to “wait in line.” But what about immigrants who already waited in line and are now in the United States legally on a temporary visa (here legally but not on a “path to citizenship”). Is it fair to exclude them from the legalization program? If they cannot apply, and the Framework does not say that they can, why are those who came to the United States in a legal manner being treated worse than those who came illegally?
And finally, you have said the Senate committee and floor process must be followed on the legislation to allow amendments from all sides. Will you support a bill if the Judiciary Committee ranking member or the Senate minority leader says that Democrats did not permit Republicans to propose a reasonable number of amendments to the legislation?
Any Republican who will gamble the future of the country on the goodwill of the left and racial interest groups better answer a few questions first. If they don’t, perhaps giving the treasured gift of citizenship to those who have broken immigration laws really isn’t such a great idea.