Does this Thursday statement from the House leadership make you nervous?
"While we applaud the progress made by our Senate colleagues, there are numerous ways in which the House will approach the issue differently. The House remains committed to fixing our broken immigration system, but we will not simply take up and accept the bill that is emerging in the Senate if it passes. Rather, through regular order, the House will work its will and produce its own legislation."
Excuse me if I'm not bowled over by the wishy-washy language. Here are a few thoughts for our GOP Republicans trying to decide how to handle the immigration issue:
1. It doesn't really matter what the House will do on its own--what matters is what comes out of any House/Senate conference. Will you promise, for example, that you will never bring a bill to the floor that includes a path to citizenship? Will you promise that you will never bring a bill to the floor that allows illegals to get state and local welfare? One that doesn't provide for biometric entry-exit tracking of visa-holders? One that doesn't allow for the consideration of "country of origin" in determining admissibility? Will they promise not to bring up any bill at all in a lame-duck session after the 2014 elections? (This would guard against a bunch of folks who have already lost their seats voting to change our immigration system.)
If the House/Senate conference is likely to produce a bill we don't like, then we don't want any bill to pass the House at all. We don't want hearings. We don't want discussion. We would rather have them drop the issue altogether and worry about issues that are actually important to the overwhelming majority of Americans.
2. We distrust any language about how the border system is "broken." That's straight out of the Rubio-Schumer-McCain-Durbin talking points, and we flatly reject their approach. The system is "broken" only because George W. Bush and Obama refused to enforce the law. It seems nuts to reward that type of bad behavior by giving Obama a law that he wants.
3. We are very skeptical of the notion that our economy is hurting because we don't have enough immigrants. In the first place, we already have at least 11 million immigrants who shouldn't be here. In the second place, we don't have nearly enough jobs for the people who are already here. When there is a shortage of labor, we will see wages increase significantly. Until we see that happen, it is ludicrous to act as though we don't have enough workers.
4. No immigration reform will "restore faith in our immigration system." After years and years of lies and efforts to undermine border enforcement, we do not believe that either the Democrats or the GOP Establishment ever intends to enforce the borders. There is nothing Congress can do to change our minds on this point -- we have been burned too many times by laws that were never enforced. The only way we will be satisfied is when we see that every single law currently on the books is being enforced as written.
5. We will not be distracted. No matter how often John McCain and Eric Cantor criticize the Obama Administration over the IRS scandal or Benghazi, or how many times Paul Ryan calls for serious entitlement reform, or how many filibusters are led by Mitch McConnell. If they want our support in 2014, then they have to come through for us on immigration -- period. Immigration is the Obama Administration's top priority, and if handled badly by Republicans, it will give the Democrats a permanent working majority. If the Republicans can't get this right, then there is little reason for conservatives to keep voting Republican.