Defining Immigration Deviancy Down

By Mark Krikorian on January 2, 2014

The ruling that an unlawful immigrant can be admitted to the practice of law in California is the kind of thing that will light up talk-show switchboards, and rightly so. But beyond the Bizarro World nature of the decision is a broader issue.

This is only the latest in a series of measures by some jurisdictions to normalize illegal immigration — giving illegal immigrants driver's licenses; issuing them ersatz Social Security numbers (called Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers or ITINs) by the IRS to enable them to file tax returns and open bank accounts; barring police departments from cooperating with immigration authorities when they arrest illegal aliens. The question to ask supporters of such measures is this: Will you support prohibiting illegal aliens from being admitted to the bar after an amnesty? Will you be in favor of barring driver's licenses for illegals after an amnesty? Will you support deporting illegal aliens after an amnesty?

The answer, of course, is "no". Some sense of the anti-enforcement crowd's thinking can be seen in the Schumer-Rubio bill's worker-verification requirement (the new, improved version of E-Verify that it mandates). The mandate to check new hires would be phased in over five years, starting with the largest employers (though, of course, Obama or his successor might just delay that mandate, too). But at the end of that process, when all eligible illegals would have already received provisional legal status, and thus the right to work, the bill does not require verification of existing workers who were hired before the mandate. This is not an accident; such a retroactive verification mandate at the end of a phase-in period has been included in earlier E-Verify bills. The reason for the omission is to ensure that even after the amnesty, the remaining illegals who didn't qualify avoid exposure, queuing them up for the next amnesty.

This anti-enforcement perspective (even in a bill's enforcement section!) is important because there will be many current illegals who won't qualify for even the most generous amnesty likely to be enacted, and there will be new illegal aliens in the future. (In fact, the CBO report that supporters of the Schumer-Rubio amnesty touted concludes that the illegal population would be 7 million a decade after passage, both because of ineligible illegals still here and because of new illegals attracted by the bill's huge increase in "temporary" worker programs.)

In other words, moves like California's admitting an illegal alien to the bar are not just about a specific individual nor simply an expedient brought on by the presence of so many illegal aliens. Rather, this is part of a broader effort to erase the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants permanently. Nancy Pelosi didn't say last month that illegals shouldn't be deported for now because Congress might pass an amnesty soon; she said that "if somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation."

It's this radicalism of the amnesty-pushers that's so scary. I'm actually open to discussing amnesty at some point; but I don't trust anyone in a position of leadership in Washington to enforce future immigration laws. And neither does the public; we asked likely voters last year how confident they were that immigration laws would be enforced after amnesty and the margin was 27–70 confident/not confident. (The difference in intensity was notable too; only 6 percent said they were "very confident" laws would be enforced, while 35 percent were "not at all confident".)

For all of Mark Zuckerberg's money, for all of Haley Barbour's lobbying, for all the leftist street theater, this is the amnesty-pushers' insurmountable weakness: Everyone knows they're lying. And the illegal-alien lawyer just reinforces that perception.