Give amnesty to illegal immigrants and then keep them from voting? It’ll never work

Article author: 
Mark Krikorian
Article publisher: 
National Review
Article date: 
9 January 2014
Article category: 
Our American Future
Article Body: 

Senator Rand Paul recently suggested the following as part of a possible immigration compromise: giving amnesty to the illegal population but not giving them "immediate voting privileges."

His phrasing about voting is the result of either hyperbole or ignorance, since there's never been any proposal that would give illegals the ability to vote immediately. But what he seemed to be suggesting is legalizing illegal aliens with the kind of provisional status provided for in the Schumer–Rubio amnesty, but without offering them a green card and the eventual chance at citizenship that entails. (A green card confers "permanent residency," and after five years of that status — in most cases — a green-card holder may apply for citizenship.)

Under such an amnesty, the formerly illegal immigrants [illegal aliens] would receive Employment Authorization Documents (EADs, or work cards), legitimate Social Security accounts, driver's licenses, expanded (though still limited) access to welfare, travel documents enabling them to leave and freely reenter the country, eligibility for affirmative-action preferences, and much more. The only thing they wouldn't have is a timetable to apply for citizenship, which means no prospect of eventually being able to vote.

This idea of a work-visa amnesty or non-citizenship amnesty has been around for a while; Senator Rubio's stillborn alternative to the DREAM Act envisioned just such an arrangement....

Legalizing illegals before we've completed our enforcement infrastructure is a recipe for yet more amnesties in the future, which is clearly what the amnesty-pushers have in mind...

If such a measure were to pass, the Democrats would attack the Republicans relentlessly for imposing a Jim Crow immigration regime, and Republicans (led by today's amnesty-pushers) would quickly fold, possibly delivering green cards to the former illegals even sooner than planned by the Senate bill...

The new immigration system created by the Senate bill would result in more than 32 million potential voters by 2036, lopsidedly Democrats, and overwhelmingly due to legal immigration flows, not the amnesty...

Contrary to Senator Paul's claim, a non-citizenship amnesty is no "halfway" solution. It's a gimmick dreamed up by Republican lawmakers who want to join with their Democratic colleagues in delivering the amnesty and immigration increases that corporate donors demand, while at the same time appearing responsive to the concerns of Republican (and independent and Reagan Democrat) voters.



The concept of legalizing illegal aliens without giving them citizenship has recently been floated by Mike Coffman (R-CO). Coffman has promoted legalization for illegal aliens while abandoning conservative principles. The GOP leadership ("Conservative, Inc.") must be quite proud of their convert.