On Hugh Hewitt’s Friday radio show, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer argued that any immigration proposal accepted by congressional Republicans should depend upon what border enforcement mechanisms are in place, but said he was concerned that time may be running out to get that agreement.
“Look, I think the country’s sort of reached a consensus on legalization as a decent thing to do,” Krauthammer said. “The real problem is enforcement, and what are the triggers. My feeling is that Democrats give lip service to enforcement, because all they care about is legalization.”
“And then they’ll get lax, and they won’t care about it, and we’ll have a replay of ’86,” Krauthammer warned. “On the other hand, Republicans, I think, have a quite — have a position that is both, serves the national interest and is very humane, which is — for God’s sake, of course we’d be willing to legalize these people. But you’ve got to tell us, you’ve got to prove to us, you’ve got to show us, this will be the last cohort. Yes, we’ll do this 11 million, but we don’t want to do another. And I think the country, a vast majority of the country would say ‘fine.’”
“So what we’re talking about now are the triggers for legalization, and how serious this administration will be in carrying them out,” Krauthammer said. “And I think that’s now a matter of sort of detail in legislation. I think in principle, we’ve gotten some ways on that — not as far as I would like.”
“I do think there’s a basic flaw that you get a kind of instant legalization. The trigger for, that in enforcement allows to happen, is the application for a green card. That’s a much weaker trigger, I’m afraid. The problem is we’re not going to get anything stronger than that. The tide will run against us on this issue over time. So I’d like to strike a deal now where we get the strongest enforcement possible,” Krauthammer suggested. “And that’s where, I think, everything hinges now. I don’t know if I’ll support the final bill.”
Krauthammer said that Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who has led the Republican charge for the “Gang of Eight” bill, should seek enforcement measures including a border fence.
“I think he’ll proactively seek real measures — universal e-verify, the tracking system for the visa violations, which as you know, accounts for 40 percent of illegals in the country, and I’m with you, a fence from left to right, from east to west, except obviously the mountainous areas. We know that fences work.”
“If the president tells you fences don’t work, ask him why he’s got one around the White House.”