It's time for Republicans to wake up, and take a look at the political landscape. The Establishment (or "Party Leaders" or "Insiders" or whatever you want to call them) are whistling past the graveyard on an issue which has already bitten them more than once. You'd think they'd learn.
On Friday, June 15, Barack Obama announced that he was providing de facto amnesty for illegals under the age of 30 who had come here as minors. He used the talking point, little questioned, that these were all precious little angels who had come here as small children and didn't know their country of origin as home. Republicans quickly bought into these talking points, indeed, I'm not immune to them, and started talking about how the goal was good, but the method was wrong.
For some reason, no Republican was willing to dig into the actual directive issued by the President, but Mickey Kaus was. It turns out this isn't about precious snowflakes brought over as wee tykes. No, the only requirement here is "continuous residence for the last 5 years." Now, let's do some math. If you can be upto 30 years old, and you've only been here five years, that would mean you could have been 25 when you came across. That's hardly a minor, but with the definition of "dependent child" continually being revised upward- as it is with Obamacare- that may not matter.
Let's assume, though, that you were a minor when you came over. All that means is that you were 16. A sixteen year old knows his or her country of origin. Indeed, he or she probably still has friends there. Deportation may be a lifestyle setback, but it's hardly casting them out of the only home they've ever known.
And it gets worse from there. You see, "continuous residence" actually only means living in America for 6 months out of every year, by current precedent. So that kid who came over at 16 could have spent only a total of 2.5 years out of the last 5 here and still be granted this de facto amnesty.
And where are Republican Insiders on this? Well, Marco Rubio is talking up the DREAM act itself, while complaining about the "way it was accomplished." His complaint is not that it was done, but that he worries that the extra-constitutional nature of the President's move will make the effects only temporary. Mitt Romney seems to back him on this issue. Indeed, in the State of Texas, according to the Texas Tribune, only 1% of GOP Insiders -in Texas!- view Immigration as the most important problem government is facing. That's opposed to 12% of the general public, and 18% of self-identified GOP voters.
I'll have more on the disconnect between the party and the voters in a future post, but this is an important issue. The Party Insiders must figure out that the voters oppose this move on multiple levels. Yes, the extra-constitutional move is a problem. It should be addressed (frankly, Obama should be impeached for myriad offenses). But the policy itself is also bad. Even if passed legislatively, the current policy is bad policy. It does not just protect those who were brought here as small children. Even about that I'm ambivalent. It also protects those who came as near adults. Indeed, many of those came here on their own, without their parents. Why should they receive any special treatment?
Immigration law is a matter of National Sovereignty, of National Security, and it impacts the economy. Illegal immigration hurts all three of those things. Anything that rewards illegal behavior should be avoided; it should be anathematic to Republicans.
Moreover, the Federal Government has been told, in no uncertain terms, that the American People do not want amnesty of any variety, and we especially don't want it before real border enforcement is in place. Twice the Congress under George W Bush tried for some version of amnesty; twice President Bush and Congress were swamped with phone calls and letters saying, "No."
Republicans, take this warning to heart. You were not elected because we think you are special. You were not elected because we believe you know better than we do what needs to be done. You were elected because you made specific promises about upholding the Constitution and looking after the country's legal residents. If you push this issue you will be opposed again. If you do not learn from the past and support true immigration enforcement, you will squander the public trust as surely as if you return to your ways of profligate spending. We have no patience for you any more.