Congressman Steve King from my home state isn't bashful about saying the “gang of 8” immigration plan unveiled in the U.S. Senate this week amounts to "rewarding lawbreakers." Perhaps that's only fitting, because lawbreaking has traditionally been associated with gangs.
I spent about 30 minutes this week doing an interview with NPR's "All Things Considered” wanting to know why so many conservatives like King are skeptical of Marco Rubio and his cohorts’ plan. I told NPR this isn't about amnesty as much as it’s about trust.
I am convinced after writing numerous columns on the subject for various national publications, and after all the shows and interviews we've done on illegal immigration as well, that there isn't a consensus definition for "amnesty" on the Right. Some believe any eventual path to citizenship regardless of whatever penalties must come first is amnesty, and therefore believe anything other than mass deportations won't suffice.
However, a few weeks ago we did a show outlining some of the known aspects of the "gang of 8" plan and asked callers around the country if they would describe that as "amnesty." All but one of them said no, and the only one that said yes said so because he was in favor of amnesty. Everyone else didn’t like the plan, but they also didn’t think it was amnesty. Given that confusion, I have come to the conclusion that the reason almost the entire conservative movement opposes Rubio on this issue has more to do with an overall distrust of the system than it does amnesty.
In fact, I think there are plenty of conservatives who would be willing to listen to reasonable and humane proposals for what to do with those here illegally who really want to be citizens and contribute to society, provided real reform for those waiting in line legally in an antiquated system and enforcement measures at the border were proven to be implemented first.
But given how they're trying to ram this down our throats, promoting what's good about it for the lawbreakers and not for those already obeying the law and paying the freight for the welfare state, have no specific answers about how much of an additional burden their plan will put on those taxpayers, and with the exception of Rubio it's all the same people that have lied to us before, our collective skepticism is really because we don’t trust these people nor the system.