An article in the November 20 issue of Politico entitled The GOP argument for immigration reform (by Seung Min Kim) provides insights as to what some leading Republicans have in mind when they talk about reform. According to the article, the business wing of the party is now taking over the debate from the "enforcement only" (think anti-Latino) wing.
The question is: how much difference is there between the two different wings, if indeed any difference exists? According to the article, some Republicans, led by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, are emphasizing the social and economic benefits of legalizing unauthorized workers so they can earn higher wages and pay more taxes. Senator Lindsay Graham, the South Carolina Republican, says that without immigration reform, "You can't get the workers you need".
But how would this work in actual detail? Senator Rubio wants to do it step by step. First, deal with the children of unauthorized immigrants, then border security, workplace enforcement and a guest worker program, according to the above article. Only after that would work begin on legalizing the estimated 11 or 12 million unauthorized immigrants now in the US. If this is not "enforcement only", it looks quite a bit like "enforcement first", something we have all heard before.
Senator Graham has a similar idea, according to the same article. Nothing can happen until border security is strengthened. And what does "reform" mean, in Graham's view? The article states that he wants to end birthright citizenship and "chain migration". The first of these goals, of course, means cutting down on the number of Latino US citizens by denying 14th Amendment citizenship rights to the American-born children of unauthorized (or even legal, but temporary immigrant) parents.
A great idea. A major US political party loses a nationwide election because too many Latinos (and other non-whites) voted for the other side. Solution? Make sure that fewer Latinos and other minorities will be able to vote in future years because those born here in the future will no longer be entitled to birthright US citizenship .
But wasn't trying to stop Latinos from voting this year already tried, by a different method, namely voter ID laws and other voter suppression tactics? How well did that work out for the GOP? As for Lindsay Graham's idea of ending "chain migration" a well known code word for Latino immigration, and replacing it with a merit based point system, which would presumably favor skilled, highly educated European and Asian immigrants (who, of course, would also be of great benefit to America) this would clearly result in a smaller Latino voting population.
So much for what at least some Republicans who may have an important role in negotiations with the Democrats see as immigration "reform". Nor does this mean that the "kick 'em all out" wing of the Republican party has folded on immigration either. The article concludes by quoting Iowa Congressman Steve King: "You can't trust the president to enforce the law or to respect the Constitution."
In the upcoming negotiations, will at least some immigration "reform" proposals turn out to look a good deal like Yogi Berra's "deja vu all over again"? A very Happy Thanksgiving to all ID readers.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years