House GOP leaders' principles are excellent, terrible and full of possibilities for either

By Roy Beck

Keep in mind that the immigration "standards" promoted by House GOP leaders today at a retreat for House Republicans are not legislation and are missing most of the details necessary for a bill. But the leaders hope Republicans will let them bring bills to the floor that would accomplish these standards.

What might that look like?

Let me take a quick run through key phrases that grab my attention. (Read the whole text of the principles at: House GOP Leaders Announce Immigration Principles with Legalization for ALL Illegal Aliens*).

Also keep in mind that reports thus far indicate that reaction expressed by Republicans at the retreat is being reported as at least 3-1 and 4-1 AGAINST the leaders' efforts with the standards.*


Wonderful start by expressing what should be obvious but is highly controversial among the globalists on the left and right:

"(The) overriding purpose of our immigration system is to promote and further America's national interests."

The problem here is that the rest of the "standards" seem to tie the national interest primarily to what the Republican leaders' corporate donors want rather than proecting the ability of unemployed Americans to gain jobs and of working Americans to obtain raises for their productivity.


This section starts out right by not primarily focusing on the borders and in recognizing interior enforcement is the most important factor, given that close to half of illegal aliens first arrive legally. What is meant by "come first" is ambiguously addressed later.

And then this powerful idea:

". . . we must ensure now that when immigration reform is enacted, there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future." 
 I'll believe it when I see it, but a bill reflecting this standard would basically pledge immediate and assured deportation for nearly every illegal alien who comes in contact with any of our governments in the future.
But why should we trust that could happen, since it has been the result of presidents of both parties refusing to enforce laws for 20 years that created the big illegal population that now demands amnesty?  The authors anticipated the concern,noting all the bad president precedence and promised:

" . . .we must enact reform that ensures that a President cannot unilaterally stop immigration enforcement." 

Eager to see the concrete ways they'll guarantee it, or if they really try. 

And notice that despite all the talk about "first," the zero tolerance seems to be promised only AFTER "immigration reform is enacted."  Since the pro-amnesty folks all use "immigration reform" as the euphemism for when people are legalized and given work permits, it looks like this "standard" asks us to give the amnesty to all the illegal aliens before we ever see an example of what  "zero tolerance" would look like in practice.  This seems to set up a bigger bait and switch than the 1986 amnesty. 


Great to see them seeming aware of the fact that tens of millions foreigners legally enter the U.S. each year and we have no chance of getting ahead of illegal immigration if we don't keep track of when they fail to leave.


Most corporations have given up on stopping mandatory verification for all employees.  But what is the word "workable?"

". . .fully implement a workable electronic employment verification system." 

They don't mention E-Verify. If they are implying that E-Verify isn't workable, that means they are anticipating creating a whole new system that could delay the full implementation by at least a decade. 


This section starts off wonderfully:

"For far too long, the United States has emphasized extended family members and pure luck . . ."

Getting rid of chain migration and lottery categories have long been a top priority for us at NumbersUSA.

But instead of explaining that the problem with bringing in so many people in these categories includes their job competition for American workers, the GOP leaders make the case for substituting large numbers of higher educated and skilled immigrants to compete with higher educated and skilled Americans.

"Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers . . ". 

That seems to be the guiding principle behind all the GOP leaders' standards.   Would it be too much to ask that the allocations always protect the interests of American workers and their families? 

The "standards" move on to temporary worker programs.  We know from comments by various of the GOP leaders over the last weeks that they want greatly expanded guest worker programs. A country can't have giant guest worker programs without having a lot of babies being born to those workers (unless foreign women are banned from the programs).  Thus, an expansion of guest workers without an elimination of our birthright citizenship system would mean millions more future illegal aliens would be able to use their  "citizen children" as an argument for yet another amnesty -- just as they are doing today.

Perhaps the most frightening section of all the standards is this one: 

"The goal of any temporary worker program should be . . .  to strengthen our national security by allowing for realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States." 

This is basically what the former foreign minister of Mexico told me in the Univision/Focus studio last month. He said the only way to stop illegal immigration is to allow every foreigner who wants a U.S. job into the country.

And I'm sure from the standpoint of the corporations who promoted that wording, their idea is to let every employer who wants to fill a job with a foreign citizen have the ability to do so. 

On the other hand, this section ends with the one sign of concern for American workers:

"It is imperative that these temporary workers are able to meet the economic needs of the country and do not displace or disadvantage American workers." 

If GOP leaders come up with strong, credible protections that meet that goal, then I will review my assessment of what they are seeking with their expanded guest worker programs. 


The "standards" propose citizenship for the so-called "Dreamer" illegal aliens, if they meet certain conditions.

Part of the justification is this exceedingly strange comment:

"One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents.

I'm waiting for further explanation.  This comes almost directly from the speeches that Majority Leader Eric Cantor has been giving in his advocacy for amnesty. 

But it rather misses the point that the DREAM amnesty REWARDS children for the mistakes of their parents -- and then rewards the parents, as well.


The biggest stretch of all, not surprisingly, comes at the very end:

"Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law.

Talk about a stretch.  Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte, Majority Whip McCarthy, Budget Chairman Ryan and other leaders want us to believe that the only way our country can have economic and physical security is if people who overstayed their visas after visiting Disney World and people who paid drug cartels to be smuggled into this country are allowed to live here permanently and compete directly with Americans for U.S. jobs!

As Sen. Jeff Sessions pointed out almost immediately upon release of the "standards" this afternoon, the phrasing and arguments for much of this sound very much like the way the Senate comprehensive immigration bill was sold a year ago. Although these House Republican standards claim they are opposed to the Senate bill, they seem to have been written very much in the same spirit as the way the amnesty champion Sen. John McCain tried to sell them last year. Not surprisingly, his long-time amnesty aide is now Speaker Boehner's chief immigration advisor.

These standards differ from McCain's in that they promise no "special path to citizenship.  But they do promise a special path to work permits and legalization.

The House GOP leaders make clear that what they want for millions of illegal aliens is that:

". . .these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S. . . ."

 There is no acknowledgement that when "these persons" broke our immigration laws they inflicted suffering on millions of American families, or that making them part of the legal labor force would increase that suffering.  And there is no pledge to at least minimize the damage that an amnesty would inflict on America's most vulnerable. 

House GOP leaders finish their proposal with this:

"Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented . . . "

It sounds good, but it sort of depends on the definition of "none."  Paul Ryan has been saying that the idea of the leaders is to immediately give illegal aliens provisional work permits.  He hasn't indicated any enforcement triggers that would have to happen before that part of the amnesty.
Perhaps it tells us something that pro-amnesty journalists seem to be pretty excited about House Republican leaders' plan.
-- ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA

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* The principles go against the will of Republican voters, according to a recent poll from Judicial Watch and Breitbart. The poll was conducted in December and found that 71% of Republican voters support enforcing existing immigration laws, while only 21% of voters are in favor of changing them.