Kurt  Schlichter

We’ve only scraped the surface of this current immigration reform bill and what we’ve scraped off is pure muck. The promises to secure the border are a joke. The “long and hard” pathway to citizenship – which there shouldn’t be anyway – is bypassed with shortcuts. Promises that the zillions of people who weren’t invited here in the first place will pay their “back taxes” fall apart when you actually read the language. Assurances that they won’t be able to cash in on the welfare state and all its goodies are dubious at best. Even those who want desperately to support wise immigration reform, like Hugh Hewitt and Charles Krauthammer, have their doubts.

Marco, you are the key. The immigration reform cannot pass in any form without you – you are conservative cover, though your ability to provide it is shrinking by the day. You have the power to decide whether or not we make a mistake that could profoundly effect the future of this country.

Use it.

First, stop this train wreck in its tracks. A reform bill need not pass tomorrow, or next week, or next month or even next year. It’s never too late not to pass a bad bill, and this one stinks.

Honor your promise to us that you will refuse to support any bill that is not fully debated through regular order. No "deals." No up or down votes on some unread Obamacare-like monstrosity concocted by special interests in a senator’s office that’s rushed to the floor for the express purpose of being jammed through before anyone knows what’s in it. Use your pal Lindsay “We Need To Vote On It Before They Can Pick It Apart” Graham as an example – watch what he does, then do the exact opposite.

We want a bill that’s been posted online and painstakingly reviewed by senate staffers and, yes, by us out here in that oft-forgotten place called America. We want it debated, reviewed, amended, fixed and, when it’s the best it can be, and everyone knows everything about what is in it and what it will do, finally voted on.

That you are considering a step-by-step approach is terrific. Step One is securing the border. Do that and then we can talk.

Next, you need to take our concerns seriously. The way you go on radio and television shows with folks who are notably hostile to the bill is encouraging. We also appreciate that you avoid the kind of sanctimonious, WaPo-pleasing posturing so many “conservatives” adopt when they find themselves going against their supporters. Call it “Toomeying” – being unable to respectfully disagree with conservatives and to instead paint yourself as courageously resisting those short-sighted, knuckle-dragging buffoons who elected you.

You don’t do that, which is why you (unlike Toomey) have a political future even though we disagree here. But you do need to reassure us, and a head on a pike would help. Remember your minion who asserted that illegals are treated like slaves? You should have fired him and sent the message that you will not tolerate immigration skeptics being disrespected with that kind of nonsense. That would have shown unequivocally us that you stand with us.

Now, I know why you didn’t fire him. You’re a nice guy. That’s a problem. Nice guys are only popular in prison and in the Senate and for similar reasons.

Finally, if you really want to convince us to support immigration reform, you need to explain to us what’s in it for us. We hear a whole lot about people “living in the shadows,” but isn’t that how someone who is here illegally should live? They are here illegally – and if that doesn’t mean anything to the reformers now why should we believe it will suddenly start meaning something to them when this bill passes and it’s time for all that get-tough enforcement stuff to actually happen?

Why is it to our benefit for these illegals to be allowed to stay – much less be given the sacred gift of American citizenship? Sure, I got mine because I was born here, but I earned it wearing camo in a couple of wars – and no one’s prouder to watch fellow vets swear in than me. But for everyone else?

Marco, why should they get this amazing privilege as a reward for ignoring our laws – for disrespecting our sovereignty – in the first place? And don’t tell me again about living in shadows. I don’t care. That’s a consequence of their choices. It bothers me not a bit.

And another thing – why again do we want to add 11 million Democrat voters? Who is the immigrant who’s aching to join the Republican Party? Where is this guy? What’s his name? Explain to me how this isn’t going to generate eight figures worth of future electoral cheerleaders for an expanded welfare state. If you can’t, maybe we Republicans ought not to be for it.

Marco, you’re awesome and you have a great future as a conservative leader. I respect your passion even if I don’t like this policy. But to keep my trust – and that of millions of others – we need you to stop cheerleading and start leading.

Tell the Gang of 8 that it’s now the Gang of 1 – you – and that they can either walk your way or you can walk out. They have nothing without you – not a chance. Make them work for it. Make them present it through regular order. Allow it to be improved with amendments. Answer your fans’ concerns – and if you can’t do so, then pull out entirely.

You have the power to run this process, Marco. This is your audition for 2016. Run it, or run away.

Kurt Schlichter

Kurt Schlichter (Twitter: @KurtSchlichter) was personally recruited to write conservative commentary by Andrew Breitbart. He is a successful Los Angeles trial lawyer, a veteran with a masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and a former stand-up comic.