There He Goes Again

By Mark Krikorian on February 7, 2011

Only one month into the new Congress, and Lindsey Graham has already started scheming with Chuck Schumer on how to pass an illegal-alien amnesty. I'm surprised he waited that long. McCain won't be far behind.

A few excerpts from the story in today's Politico:

And Schumer and his staff have quietly begun reaching out to some unlikely players in the Senate, including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who has professed a newfound freedom since winning reelection last year without the Republican Party's help.

Thanks, Alaska!

House Republican leaders blocked Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a foe of illegal immigration with a penchant for harsh rhetoric, from taking over the immigration subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee — signaling that they are sensitive to the political pitfalls of alienating Latinos. Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has also shied away, at least for now, from pursuing the most divisive proposals, such as revoking birthright citizenship.

It's true that Boehner and Cantor have said that immigration policy has to focus, like most everything else, on jobs and spending. But Lamar Smith told me himself that Steve King was not passed over as chairman of the immigration subcommittee for ideological reasons, but rather because of seniority — Elton Gallegly asked for and got the chairmanship because he's been in the House 16 years longer than King, who's now vice-chairman.

And in one closely watched comment, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) let it slip recently that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) "seems to think that there's a shot at this." It led to a round of speculation that the McCain of the past, the senator who ushered a comprehensive bill through the chamber in 2006, might be ready to come back.

Told you! And I hope Paul Ryan sticks to what he knows about and is good at — spending cuts — because wading into immigration without knowing how to swim certainly didn't do Pence any good.

"Conservatives are hacked off with Schumer for so many reasons," said the Rev. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who supports comprehensive immigration reform. "Both carry baggage. There need to be some new faces that carry" the issue, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Richard Land is a member of a one-man club — Southern Baptists for Open Borders. And Rubio has a bright future ahead of him — why would anyone think he'd jump onto this hopeless cause? Especially having told National Review: "We've got to secure the borders in our existing system first before we can even begin to have a conversation about the other elements of immigration."

McCain said he won't rejoin the talks until Congress approves a 10-point border security plan, which he and Kyl introduced last year, and the governors of the states adjoining Mexico certify their borders as secure. "The smart move for the country and the administration would be, take McCain-Kyl and make it law," Graham said. "Let everybody know we are putting resources in the border and we're going to fix it. And then move on to the other parts." "It would be a real enhancement of border security that will make it easier for those who want comprehensive reform to talk about it," Graham added.

You know what would really "make it easier for those who want comprehensive reform to talk about it"? Passing mandatory E-Verify for all new hires, now, as a stand-alone measure. The president and everyone in Congress, on both sides, have said they're for mandatory E-Verify, but the reason it's not going anywhere is that the pro-amnesty folks think it's their only bargaining chip for amnesty. So they're blocking something that would enhance enforcement but at the same time make their own push for amnesty easier, by demonstrating their seriousness about enforcement. It seems kind of ironic unless the primary goal is to ensure that unfettered immigration continues, even if it's illegal, with amnesty as a kind of luxury that would be nice to have but is less important than keeping the borders open.