By John Hawkins
Charles Krauthammer gets a lot of things right, but he’s been inside the Washington bubble so long that ever so often, he gets things spectacularly wrong that just about any conservative outside of D.C. can pick up on.
For example, take a look at his latest amnesty proposal.
The only part of this that is even partially true regards Hispanics. They should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example).
The principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants. In securing the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney made the strategic error of (unnecessarily) going to the right of Rick Perry. Romney could never successfully tack back.
For the party in general, however, the problem is hardly structural. It requires but a single policy change: Border fence plus amnesty. Yes, amnesty. Use the word. Shock and awe — full legal normalization (just short of citizenship) in return for full border enforcement.
I’ve always been of the “enforcement first” school, with the subsequent promise of legalization. I still think it’s the better policy. But many Hispanics fear that there will be nothing beyond enforcement. So, promise amnesty right up front. Secure the border with guaranteed legalization to follow on the day the four border-state governors affirm that illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle.
Imagine Marco Rubio advancing such a policy on the road to 2016. It would transform the landscape. He’d win the Hispanic vote. Yes, win it. A problem fixable with a single policy initiative is not structural. It is solvable.
There are so many obvious problems with this proposal that it’s hard to even know where to start. Just to name a few…
1) A large number of illegal aliens enter the country by overstaying their VISAS. What about them?
2) As long as there are jobs to be had, illegals will be highly motivated to come here. Why is employer enforcement being left out?
3) The problem with punting to the governors of the border states is that some of them are liberal and will base their decision on politics, not on the actual security situation. Jerry Brown would probably be happy to declare that illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle now.
4) The moment this policy goes into effect, a massive number of illegals would head for the border to get in on the future “amnesty.” So, we’d add millions to the numbers that are already here.
5) This would cause a huge conservative voter revolt that would likely cost the GOP a significant number of Republican seats in Congress.
6) Republicans will never be able to “out amnesty” the Democrats. If we promise permanent legal status without citizenship, they’ll promise citizenship and say we’re not supporting it because we hate Hispanics. History suggests that tactic will work.
7) There is absolutely no objective evidence that suggests the GOP would win the Hispanic vote because of this proposal. None. In fact, if there were any, the Democrats would be the first ones to oppose it.
In other words, this is a politically suicidal proposal from the heart of the Beltway cocoon and Charles Krauthammer should know better.