The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sometimes "No" is the Right Answer -

Now it’s true that sometimes the answer to one round of backroom deals is another round, and another, until a compromise is reached. But the combination that conservatives object to in Rubio-Schumer — amnesty before enforcement today, and a major expansion of low-skilled immigration in the long run — is not some incidental feature of the bill, some emanation or penumbra, some amendment tacked on to appease a wavering senator. It’s the core purpose of the legislation, the “far-reaching change” that the bill is trying to achieve — and the reason (along with, of course, G.O.P. anxiety about losing the Hispanic vote permanently) that there was a strong Senate coalition in its favor. Take away the legalization-first provisions, and you lose the bill’s unanimous Democratic support; take away its promise of cheap labor, and you lose its key right-of-center constituency (the Chamber of Commerce and business in general); take away both, and the bill starts to look like the kind of much more modest legislation that the House has already passed. And if you prefer that kind of modest, “let’s have more high-skilled workers” reform to what the Senate bill sets out to do, it’s hard to see how an amendment or a conference is going to close the gulf between the two approaches, and simply ridiculous to say that opponents should vote yes now and save their objections till the next debate or “the next generation.” On the contrary: Opposing the central features of a major piece of legislation is pretty much the definition of a good reason to cut bait and just vote “no.”


It will be a relief to get this bill kilt and move on to football season. --ts

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