Enforcement first became legalization first or, as Rubio explained in his now infamous Univision interview: “First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border. And then comes the process of permanent residence.”
Despite their desire (whether based on principle or politics) for an enforcement-first approach, Republicans appear willing to embrace Rubio’s framework.
But they’d be advised to look before they leap. One of Rubio’s negotiating partners, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), sees the Gang of Eight’s bill a bit differently. Durbin said:
“We have de-linked the pathway to citizenship and border enforcement. You could be on a path to a million people reaching citizenship and have one bad week on the border, at which point you stop, and that’s just unacceptable.”
Even though Jeb Bush no longer believes it, his line “that those who violated the laws can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship” comes to mind. Clearly Durbin’s intent is different: absolutely nothing will stand in the way of 11+ million illegal immigrants being granted amnesty and receiving citizenship.
That should raise alarm bells for self-proclaimed conservatives flirting with the bill by drafting and offering tough sounding amendments. As one unnamed Senate aide said, many of these amendments are simply about “dialing down conservative blowback” back home.
For us conservatives, it is time to dial up the pressure.