SOWELL: Gullible GOP rides to the rescue of Democrats on immigration

Beneficiaries of “reform” won’t be Republicans

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Some supporters of President Obama may be worried about how he and the Democrats are going to fare politically as the problems of Obamacare continue to escalate, and as it looks like the Republicans have a chance to win a majority in the Senate.

Democrats may not need to worry so much, though. Republicans may once again come to the rescue of the Democrats, by discrediting themselves and snatching defeat from the very jaws of victory.

The latest bright idea among Republicans inside the Beltway is a new version of amnesty that is virtually certain to lose votes among the Republican base and is unlikely to gain many votes among the Hispanics that the Republican leadership is courting.

One of the enduring political mysteries is how the GOP can be so successful in winning governorships and control of state legislatures, while failing to make much headway in Washington. Maybe there are just too many “clever” Republican consultants inside the Beltway.

When it comes to national elections, just what principles do the Republicans stand for? It is hard to think of any, other than their hoping to win elections by converting themselves into Democrat-lite.

Voters who want what the Democrats offer can vote for the real thing, though, rather than Johnny-come-lately imitations.

Listening to discussions of immigration laws and proposals to reform them is like listening to something out of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them. One of the big problems that those who are pushing “comprehensive immigration reform” want solved is how to help people who came here illegally and are now “living in the shadows” as a result.

What about embezzlers or burglars who are “living in the shadows” for fear that someone will discover their crimes? Why not “reform” the laws against embezzlement or burglary, so that such people can also come out of the shadows?

Almost everyone seems to think that we need to solve the problem of the children of illegal immigrants because these children are here “through no fault of their own.”

Do people who say that have any idea how many millions of children are living in dire poverty in India, Africa or other places “through no fault of their own,” and would be better off living in the United States?

Do all children have some inherent right to live in America if they have done nothing wrong? If not, then why should the children of illegal immigrants have such a right?

More fundamentally, why don’t the American people have a right to the protection that immigration laws provide people in other countries around the world — including Mexico, where illegal immigrants from other countries get no such special treatment as Mexico and its American supporters are demanding for illegal immigrants in the United States?

The very phrase “comprehensive” immigration reform is part of the bad faith that has surrounded immigration issues for decades. What “comprehensive” reform means is that border control and amnesty should be voted on together in Congress.

Why? Because that would be politically convenient for members of Congress, who like to be on both sides of issues, so as to minimize the backlash from the voting public.

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.

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