February 5, 2013
In breaking news, the Senate recently announced that it had reached a bipartisan agreement on immigration. More specifically, the so called “Gang of Eight” that includes four liberal Democrats and four nominal Republicans issued a press release claiming that an immigration accord had been agreed upon that will grant amnesty to more than 11 million aliens residing illegally in the United States. The four Democrats are New York’s Chuck Schumer, Illinois’ Richard Durbin, New Jersey’s Robert Menendez and Colorado’s Michael Bennet joined with RINO Republicans Lindsey Graham, South Carolina, Marco Rubio, Florida and the two Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.
Following the announcement, McCain and Menendez hit the Sunday morning talk shows where the immigration half-truths flew fast and furiously. McCain said that Republicans need amnesty if they ever expect to regain the White House. McCain should know the folly of his words. In 2008, despite a 25 year congressional career that dated back to when President Obama was a Columbia University undergraduate, McCain advocated for every Hispanic cause including amnesty. Yet McCain could only capture 31 percent of the Latino vote. Furthermore, post-2012 election polling showed that in several key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania even if Mitt Romney had won twice as many Hispanic votes as his actual total, he still would have lost. The simple truth is that the Hispanic vote—like African American, Asian and female blocs predominantly vote Democratic. Last but not least, Republicans, no matter how they may try, cannot move left of Democrats on immigration for the most obvious reason—there’s no room to go further left.
Not to be outdone by McCain, Menendez offered up his disingenuous double talk. According to Menendez, “poll after poll” shows that Americans favor granting amnesty. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, immigration isn’t a major concern to Latinos. The Pew Hispanic Center in its research found that since 2008 immigration has ranked fifth in importance to Hispanics behind the economy, health care, education and the federal deficit.
Another frequently heard amnesty advocate voice is that of Republican Florida’s Marco Rubio who endorses the broad want list outlined by his Senate colleagues. Interestingly, the Rubio proposal compares almost identically to President Obama’s. The similarity of the president’s plan to Rubio’s is a major concern to the senator’s conservative base which helped elect him in 2010.
As the old saying goes, talk is cheap. With no legislation drafted yet—much less marked up—thousands of miles have to be walked before any bill reaches the reluctant House. Along the way, landmines await Democrats every step of the way.
The most prominent roadblock is that Democrats insist on a sweeping amnesty for all but are unwilling to trade for it. Republicans want to eliminate birthright citizenship, the Diversity Visa lottery and chain migration. But Democrats refuse to budge.
In the end, an immigration bill might not survive the Senate. The re-election bug a boo looms. Three Senate Democrats, all vulnerable, will run again in 2014: Arkansas’ Mark Pryor, Montana’s Max Baucus and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu. None of the three, who represent moderate states, can afford to gamble by voting for amnesty.
In 2014, Republicans will have 10 other senate seats to defend. Ironically, Graham from the “Gang of Eight” is in jeopardy. With a popularity rating around 40 percent, Graham can’t afford an immigration misstep.
Before immigration reform reaches the floor, the fiscal cliff and gun control debates will extend the timetable into the summer, at the earliest. In the meantime, take a deep breath and believe next to nothing from the Senate’s leadership about amnesty legislation’s progress.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at email@example.com