Second, the House should pass a smaller bill that provides for (1) an impassable fence that covers all trafficked areas and cannot be undone by the Secretary of Homeland Security, (2) expanded visas for skilled immigrants, and (3) a guest worker program. Such a bill would likely pass because it would appeal to key constituencies such as the Chamber of Commerce, the tech industry, border conservatives and border state voters.
Third, the House should publicly tie any change in immigration status to fence completion, and thereby delay any vote on a path to legalization or citizenship until any legal hurdles to the fence have been cleared and the fence built. Practically speaking, this may kill any bill offering legalization or a path to citizenship because no one expects Janet Napolitano to build a border fence. But her intransigence will delay any meaningful steps on legalization. And it may force President Obama’s hand to make a real commitment to a secure border.
Fourth, Republicans should begin a massive voter outreach to Hispanics and Latinos coupled with a specific legislative agenda addressed to areas of concern to those groups (and all Americans), namely: education reform, crime reduction, healthcare modernization and prosperity. And, in light of this week’s Supreme Court rulings, the sanctity of man-woman marriage and the traditional family.
Republicans who think passing comprehensive amnesty will endear them to Hispanics and Latinos at the ballot box are kidding themselves. Agreeing to legislation co-sponsored by Democrats is never a good idea, in principle or in practice. Remember McCain-Feingold and Sarbanes-Oxley? The Senate immigration bill is equally bad policy and politics.
On immigration, the GOP will never out-pander the Democrats, and it shouldn’t start now. Our immigration challenges require serious solutions. The Senate bill provides none.