The Week in Amnesty: Jennifer Rubin, who is to bandwagons what Thelma and Louise are to Thunderbird convertibles, recently gloated about the “bad … week ” opponents of immigration amnesty were having, what with Rand Paul on Monday
dramatically coming out for amnesty reiterating his February pro-amnesty position and RNC’s strategists declaring that– after an election in which they failed to make the case on jobs and education and health care and foreign policy and character– the one thing Republicans just had to change happened to be the thing RNC strategists haven’t liked all along.
The week’s now over, though. Here are some of the other highlights:
1) RNC chairman Reince Priebus denied the RNC strategists’ endorsement of immigration reform was an endorsement of any particular kind of reform: “The details of what immigration reform is are not up for me to make.” It could even be a “borders only plan,” wrote Rubin after intervieweing Priebus.
2) Rand Paul spent an entire morning trying to deny he was for a “path to citizenship.”
3) Politico reported that Chuck Schumer was “optimistic.” Schumer said the “Gang of 8” was “very close” to an agreement on legislation. “He expects the Senate Judiciary Committee to take up the bill in April before floor debate in the late spring or early summer.”
4) In a “sharply worded statement,” Senator Patrick Leahy, chair of that Judiciary Committee, said because there is not yet a bill his committee’s work “will be delayed at least a month.”
5) Homeland Security officials stunned a House hearing by admitting they have no measure of border security and no particular plans to come up with one. The New York Times then reported that Obama’s administration intentionally did not come up with such a measure because Obama worried that progress under the metric might be used as a precondition for amnesty.
6) An aide to the Republican House leadership suggested Speaker Boehner would not break the “Hastert Rule”–requiring majority support in the GOP caucus–as a way to bring an amnesty bill to the floor, because “[h]is entire leadership team would get thrown out.”
7) The union-oriented Economic Policy Institute released a study showing that competition through trade from low-wage workers abroad had significantly decreased the pay of “non-college-educated U.S. workers.” Left unexplained was why importing low-wage workers to perform similar low-skilled labor in the U.S. wouldn’t have a similar wage-depressing effect.
8) “Gang of 8” amnesty supporter Marco Rubio said that without a big guest worker program, “were going to have 10 million illegal immigrants here in a decade again,” which seemed to contradict the administration’s declarations that the border is secure against such illegal entries. Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO demanded elaborate measures to protect the wages of construction workers from immigrant competition, even though immigrants would supposedly be doing “jobs Americans won’t do.”
9) Details of negotiations leaked and the “Gang of 8” agricultural guest-worker provisions, at least, really did sound like a version of indentured servitude: “The Senate plan calls for a 13-year path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants, but farm workers could be expedited as long as they agree to remain in agriculture for a specified time.”
10). The Brookings Institution released a ludicrously biased poll that pretended mass deportation was the alternative to amnesty. Nevertheless, 43% supported the deportation option. Somehow, DLC-centrist William Galston lent his distinguished name to this sham.
11) The Gang of 8 failed to reach a deal before Congress recessed, leading the press to speculate that any day now an impatient President Obama might unleash his draft plan, which would … well, it’s not clear what it would do, except chase off Marco Rubio and sink amnesty.
Politico reported that Chuck Schumer was “optimistic.”
This was a good week for amnesty, remember.