Rubio's Catch-22 : Stay In Losing Gang Or Bail To Regain Credibility
As the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization bill, S. 744, heads to the Senate floor this month for full debate, opinions vary widely about its ultimate fate.
Eternal optimist Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, predicts that passage will be "pretty easy." As Reid sees the vote, he starts out with 55 Democrats, may lose "two or three" which means he'll need to pick up eight Republicans. According to Reid, he's already got four.
I wouldn't put much stock in Reid's analysis. An amnesty cheerleader for years, Reid has been notoriously wrong in his calculations. Since 2009, Reid boasted that an amnesty bill is right around the corner. But Reid hasn't even been able to deliver the DREAM Act as standalone legislation.
Other Beltway insiders including Reid's Senate colleagues disagree and foresee a rocky road ahead that may mean S. 744 will die a swift death.
Bob Menendez (D-NJ), one of the original Gang of Eight co-sponsors, said flat out that as of this week S. 744 doesn't have the votes to reach the filibuster-proof 60. Liberal amnesty proponent Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said S. 744 is nothing but a big business vehicle to import millions of cheap labor workers.
Republicans dissent, too. Former President George W. Bush, who tried and failed twice at amnesty, said S. 744 is wrong in its approach. Bush sees it as a craven vote-getting ploy. A spokesman for Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) agrees with Menendez as did his fellow Republicans Rand Paul and Tom Coburn who insist on tougher border security amendments.
To increase support, Rubio is frantically trying to sell his GOP peers an amendment that would include a specific border-enforcement plan rather than, as S. 744 is currently written, relying on the Department of Homeland Security to come up with an outline sometime in the unspecified future. However, outside of the four Republicans in the Gang of Eight, none have announced his intention to vote for the bill.
The amendments---or lack thereof---represent the quintessential Catch-22 for amnesty advocates. The pro-amnesty crowd wants a 70+ vote total to send the House the message that the nation is united behind comprehensive immigration reform. But supporters don't want what they call a watered-down bill that will help them get that super-majority. In other words, advocates won't tolerate rigorous enforcement amendments. Yet without them, S.744 is no better than 50-50 to pass.
Immigration lobbyists threaten wavering Republicans by deceptively insisting that a "nay" vote would convey anti-immigrant sentiment and cost the GOP precious votes in future elections. But John McCain, who failed to resonate with Hispanic voters in 2008 despite a career of endorsing amnesty and the DREAM Act, admits that this is utter nonsense.
Despite the false rhetoric that S. 744 has a national consensus and that immigration reform must pass to ensure economic security, the bill is, as the Senators know, playing poorly back home. Here are the three major reasons, the bill will fail.
First, the Senate Judiciary Committee shot down all the enforcement amendments. Few believe the Gang's 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act-type promises that security will follow amnesty.
Second, during the first decade after it becomes law, 33 million foreign-born workers---equal to Canada's population-- would become legally authorized to work. The United States has 20 million unemployed or under-employed Americans, 800,000 who have given up the job search. More than 50 percent of recent college graduates can't find a job that justifies the debt they've incurred to earn their diplomas.
Third, legalizing 11 million aliens and inviting millions more to live and work in the United States would eventually cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion.
Little wonder that mainstream Americans are opposed even if Beltway elites think S. 744 is a great idea.
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