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What “comprehensive” immigration reform has always meant in practice is amnesty upfront and a promise to control the border later — promises that have never been kept.

The new Republican proposal is to have some border-control criteria whose fulfillment will automatically serve as a “trigger” to let the legalizing of illegal immigrants proceed.

Why set up some automatic triggering device to signal that the borders are secure when the Obama administration is virtually guaranteed to game the system so that amnesty can proceed?

What in the world is wrong with Congress taking up border security first, as a separate issue, and later taking responsibility in a congressional vote on whether the border has become secure? Congress at least should come out of the shadows.

The Republican plan for granting legalization upfront, while withholding citizenship, is too clever by half. It is like saying that you can slide halfway down a slippery slope.

Republicans may yet rescue the Democrats, while demoralizing their own supporters and utterly failing the country.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.