That’s why most congressional Republicans were happy to back away from the issue — at least until after the midterm elections create a climate conducive to common sense legislation.
But now House Speaker John Boehner has inexplicably brought the issue back to the forefront, and his recent statements show he’s cocked, loaded and ready to pull the trigger once again.
He’s been crisscrossing the country pushing the issue, most recently at a gathering of business professionals in San Antonio on Monday.
But somehow the political realities of 2014 have escaped Boehner in the three months since he made this statement: “There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws.”
Boehner may think the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Senate has changed, but neither have shown they are committed to anything less than full amnesty for the 11 million immigrants illegally residing in the United States.
Given that new immigrants generally favor big government and are heavy consumers of social services, their citizenship papers may as well come with voter registration cards with the Democratic Party box pre-marked.
How can any self-respecting conservative serious about reining in government spending and entitlement programs go along with a scheme deputizing a new voting bloc to work against those interests?
There’s also that pesky issue of “rule of law” — or what’s left of it, given our president’s penchant for unilateral action.
What does it say about the rule of law — let alone the sanctity of U.S. borders and the prestige of being an American — when leaders capitulate to citizenship demands from foreigners here illegally?
What does it say about a nation whose immigration enforcement agencies released 68,000 criminal aliens without prosecution last year alone? Is that a nation that respects law and order?
No, that is a nation that says to the world it’s OK to violate our borders. It says that if you reside here illegally long enough — and in numbers large enough to form a special interest group — then you too can win the citizenship lottery.
The 750,000 people annually who navigate legal channels to become U.S. citizens must feel like chumps.
Boehner seems to be singing from the same hymnal book as fellow establishment Republican and presumptive presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who recently said illegal immigrants deserve forgiveness: “Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love; it’s an act of commitment to your family.”
Someone should remind the politicians of the 10.5 million unemployed American citizens — they have family commitments, too.
And there are felonies involved in illegal immigration, such as re-entering the United States after deportation, identity fraud, stealing Social Security numbers and forging documents.
Conservatives are right to be concerned about any comprehensive reform plan that doesn’t first secure U.S. borders. Previous amnesty deals too often have left borders porous enough for the illegal entry stream to continue flowing.
That suits Big Business’ appetite for low-wage workers and the Democratic Party’s appetite for new government-benefit recipients and voters, but does nothing to help taxpaying American workers.
We’re not the only ones wondering whose side Boehner is on.
“Unfortunately, (Boehner) is more interested in advancing the agenda of high-powered D.C. special interests than inspiring Americans with a policy vision that allows freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society to flourish,” said Michael A. Needham, chief executive of conservative group Heritage Action.
Yes, it’s important for conservatives to show their door is open to Latinos, who make up the largest percentage of legal and illegal immigrants, and are the country’s largest ethnic group. But passing flawed legislation that poisons conservative values in the long run is no way to do it.
If Boehner’s colleagues can’t wrest this gun from his hands, they should at least make him keep the bullets in his pocket.