Senator Rubio's Immigration Enforcement Fantasy
The silly season is upon us again, which is to say: Washington finds itself in yet another debate over "comprehensive immigration reform."
The core silliness could be heard in the arguments of Marco Rubio, one of four Republicans in the Senate "Gang of Eight" urging a deal that purports to ensure real immigration enforcement in exchange for legalization of status and an ultimate "path to citizenship" for millions of illegal immigrants. Earlier this afternoon, Sen. Rubio was interviewed by Rush Limbaugh.
Sen. Rubio admirably insisted, "We need border security. We need workplace enforcement. We need a visa tracking system." But, as Rush pointed out, President Obama is outlining his own vision of immigration reform in Las Vegas today, and it promises to diverge in a fundamental way from the Gang of Eight proposal: The president has no interest in immigration enforcement. He wants only the legalization goodies for current illegals and the incentives they'll inevitably create for more illegal immigration. He is not interested in the protections for the American people that Sen. Rubio touts.
Sen. Rubio confidently responded that if the president makes such a pitch, he will have a huge problem with his own party -- in particular, with Sen. Chuck Schumer and the other Gang of Eight Democrats who've supposedly committed their party to meaningful enforcement measures. This contention is absurd. It suggests that Sen. Rubio either does not understand how the federal government works (highly unlikely for a man of Rubio's obvious intelligence), or is making a monumental miscalculation -- elevating over the certain-to-be-damaging consequences of his proposal the futile hope that Republicans will win lasting accolades from the pro-illegal immigration Obamedia.
The executive branch is in charge of law enforcement, period. Congress cannot enforce the law and cannot compel the president to do so. And we already know there will be no meaningful immigration enforcement as long as President Obama is running the executive branch. As usual in Washington's progressive crusades, we are expected to forget all relevant history -- in this instance, not only the sorry history of the 1986 amnesty (in which Washington predictably provided all the legalization goodies but reneged on the enforcement promises) but also the Obama administration's more recent, more virulent anti-enforcement record.
Can Sen. Rubio have missed the Obama Justice Department's lawsuit against the citizens of Arizona? The state enacted a law that simply reaffirmed the Congress's own immigration statutes and enabled state police to enforce those federal standards. The Obama administration not only sued the state for enforcing federal law, it did so by positing a radical new understanding of the "pre-emption" doctrine. Formerly, that doctrine stood for the proposition that the states could not enact laws that contradicted properly enacted federal statutes. Under Obama's interpretation, the states were precluded from enacting laws that contradicted U.S. executive branch enforcement policy even if they were completely consistent U.S. congressional law.