What's Really Inside the Immigration Reform Bill? We've Got to Pass it to Find Out

Gee…where have we heard that before?

It is the nature of comprehensive reform of any kind that so much is slipped in, or reinterpreted by the bureaucrats who write the rules, or otherwise disguised or hidden, that, like Obamacare, we really won’t know what’s in the bill until it is passed and implemented.


Yuval Levin at NRO:

The Hoeven-Corker amendment to the Gang of Eight bill is essentially a new bill. It is almost 1,200 pages long. Some parts of it are identical to some of the provisions of the original Gang of Eight bill, some parts are very different, and some parts are slightly different in ways that could prove very important but difficult to understand in a hurry. But it has to be understood in a hurry. Given the length and complexity of this proposal, I think it is fair to say that not more than a handful of the senators voting on it on Monday—which is apparently when the vote is scheduled—will really understand it in any detail. There is almost no way any of the senators voting on it could have read it all, and it’s unlikely even their staff members could do so in a thorough and responsible way in that time. Only the people who wrote it will know what it says, and I imagine it was written in parts by numerous people from several Senate offices. That means there is probably no one who really knows what it says. It also seems likely that, if the amendment is adopted on Monday, the vote on the final bill would come too soon thereafter to allow CBO to re-score the much-amended bill, and so to offer some sense of how things have changed in terms of costs, economic effects, future immigration flows (legal and illegal) and other key issues.

Is this any way to make such an important set of decisions about the country’s future?


At one time, the United States Senate was known as “The world’s most deliberative body.” What can you say about them now? We can start by calling them irresponsible reprobates, but that doesn’t begin to cover the entire scope of their crimes against republican rule. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are held in thrall to their own gigantic egos and the ridiculous notion that making history is more important than making good law. In the end, as with Obamacare and other “comprehensive reform” measures, the only way history will remember them is with disgust.

As Levin points out, we now have absolutely zero idea of how much this “reform” is going to cost the American taxpayer. We have little notion of the consequences to the economy, to future generations, even to those who will become legal themselves.

And what should scare the socks off all of us is that they don’t care. The consequences of their laziness and stupidity are irrelevant. What matters is how it looks to voters who get most of their political news from John Stewart or late night comic monologues. Or those who may be too busy living life, raising families, making a living to read more than a headline or two before rushing off to work in the morning.

We should refuse to accept the excuse that this is the best that can be accomplished under the circumstances. That’s nonsense — a non-excuse from non-entities who can’t be trusted to do anything in the people’s name because they’re not listening. Nor should we heed those who dismiss this kind of imprudent lawmaking by talking about “sausage making” when it comes to the confused manner in which legislation is passed. at least with sausage making, you have a plan. There is no plan, no rhyme nor reason to “comprehensive reform” of anything.


President Obama will probably get his immigration reform bill. And by the time we finally find out what’s in it and how it works, what the consequences of passing this monstrosity truly are, he will be safely ensconced in some prestigious position as all former presidents end their careers. But history is a cruel mistress and will no doubt have very little good to say about this president, this Congress — or much good to say about us who allowed it to happen.


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