Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus came out against encouraging illegal aliens to return home, signaling an apparent opposition to U.S. sovereignty and the rule of law. Speaking at a RNC meeting in Boston this week, Priebus explained his support for maintaining open-border policies to a reporter, saying:
Using the word "self-deportation", I mean, that's uh, it's a horrific comment to make. I don't think it has anything to do with our party. When a candidate makes those comments, obviously, it hurts us. And so, I think that's a big deal.
Audio of the statement is available on the Business Insider website.
When it comes to the question of what to do with illegal immigrants, there are really only three options. The first option — which no one is calling for — would involve mass round-ups, raids, and a heavy reliance on police power. It would be a controversial and costly effort that might justifiably be called "horrific".
The second option is a more moderate approach, where the United States commits itself to enforcing immigration law so that the country becomes a place less welcoming to those who refuse to play by the rules, thereby encouraging people to return home on their own. This would include a commitment to workplace enforcement and an end to sanctuary policies, for example. As it is, about 200,000 to 400,000 illegal immigrants leave the illegal immigrant population every year. But with porous borders, magnets for illegal immigration, and limited enforcement, the total population rises over time because more people enter illegally, responding to messaging that the United States is not serious about the rule of law, and not too concerned about mass violations of U.S. sovereignty. A better commitment to the rule of law would encourage people to return home in greater numbers than they already are and over a period of years the population would shrink. This is called the "self-deportation" option, or "attrition through enforcement". This humane, rational way of dealing with the problem can be accomplished while creating a warmer welcome for those immigrants who do play by the rules. Yet this basic support for the rule of law and U.S. sovereignty is considered "horrific" by the chairman of the RNC.
The third option — which is now apparently embraced by the RNC — is the policy of non-enforcement. It is amnesty. It is a decision to abandon the rule of law and U.S. sovereignty. It is the position where elected officials choose not to enforce laws on the books while making no effort to encourage law-breakers to abide by them. Such anarchy was embodied most recently in President Obama's lawless decree known as "Deferred Action", where the president promised to dismiss huge portions of immigration law for nearly two million illegal immigrants. The RNC said nothing, welcoming the assault on the rule of law and the constitutional aspect of separation of powers.
Preibus clearly has been listening to establishment advisers who tell Republican politicos that support for amnesty and mass immigration is a way into the hearts of Hispanics. Preibus apparently missed the recent Pew Hispanic Center survey that found that 81 percent of Hispanic immigrants support a larger government offering more services rather than a smaller government offering fewer services. According to Pew, the share that wants a bigger government falls to 72 percent among second-generation Hispanics and 58 percent among third-generation Hispanics. This is still much larger compared to the national average of only 41 percent who felt the same way.
But the immigration issue is about more than party politics. The way Congress handles immigration policymaking in the coming months will determine whether the United States remains a sovereign nation that cherishes the rule of law while offering the world's most generous immigration policy, or whether the country degrades into a lawless plot of land where citizenship is not valued and sovereignty is eroded.