The political motives behind Republicans joining a bipartisan effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform are clear. Mitt Romney won less of the Latino vote than John McCain, who won less than George W. Bush. And if this trend continues, at some point Republicans will lose Texas and basically end their hopes of ever winning the White House again.
This isn’t a ploy to win more more Latino votes. It’s a ploy to stop losing so many.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) pushed the so-called “Gang of 8″ to include a border commission in its plan. It will be made up of elected officials from the border region who have to certify that the border is secure before immigrants can proceed down the “tough but fair” path to citizenship. This means people like Arizona governor Jan Brewer could stop the whole process cold.
The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent reports that sources in the Senate tell him that this board is only “advisory.” But Rubio and his chief of staff Cesar Conda spent Monday assuring Fox News’ Sean Hannity and the real bigwigs in the Republican world that enforcement would be the first element of immigration reform, meaning that the border commission will be far more than just advisory.
The fact that Rubio has to assure Republicans that he will secure the border first brings us to the essential problem with the right’s mindset on immigration, and why they will likely commit electoral suicide and kill this bill. In reality, the border is more secure than it has been in decades — some say safer than ever.
Undocumented immigration from Mexico is at net zero or below zero, meaning more undocumented workers could be leaving this country. The economy drives immigration, and since 2005, border crossings are falling dramatically. But the Obama administration has also stepped up enforcement, deporting more undocumented workers than the Bush administration each year since taking office. As a result, violent crime continues to drop in border cities