Matt Mackowiak, 1/29/2013 [Archive]

Immigration Offers Republicans an Opportunity

Immigration Offers Republicans an Opportunity

By Matt Mackowiak

For too long, the only Republican plan to deal with immigration reform was to tighten border security.This tact was a helpful dodge, not requiring a politician to detail what we would do with the 11-12 million illegal immigrants already here.

But in winning about 30 percent of Hispanic votes in 2012, the Republican Party has been forced to move to the middle with a more sensible, forward looking plan that addresses the many complicated factors involved in immigration reform.

Swift passage, while sought, is not assured.The Senate appears likely to go first, and I suspect, after a full debate, comprehensive reform will garner more than 70 votes.This will push House Republicans to first allow the bill to come to the floor, without the guarantee of a majority of Republicans supporting it and threatening yet another violation of the Hastert Rule.

Once the House takes up immigration reform, the real fight begins.

The central questions facing this legislative effort are two:

1) Will there be enforcement triggers that must first be met before the path to citizenship begins for those already here?

2) Can conservative supporters like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) convince conservative critics that the bill does not equal amnesty?

One the first question, there appears to be a difference of opinion on the enforcement trigger between the White House (opposed) and the bipartisan group of eight Senators who support it.Without an enforcement trigger, the deal will fall apart and it will never pass the House.

The ultimate resolution of the second question will determine the bill's fate.The most reasonable criticism of the bipartisan plan is that even by requiring those already here illegally to pass a background check, register for a visa (with a requirement that they learn English) and pay back taxes, and then wait for everyone else in line legally to be processed first, the reform would still advantage the lawbreakers. How?

Because anyone here illegally, while not yet a citizen, would have legal status and be allowed to live in America in the intervening period, which could last as long as 15 years.Those waiting in line now are not yet allowed to live in America, thereby reducing the disincentive of coming to American illegally.

I don't see an easy fix to the central question.

Absolutists say deport everyone here illegally.Conservatives like Charles Krauthammer and Sean Hannity have said that is impossible.It would wreck the economy.It would cost an enormous amount.And could the federal government even carry this out if it wanted to?

If Republicans want to benefit from strengthening border security, reforming our highly skilled immigrant visa program and opening Hispanic voters up to listen to our ideas, then we must be willing to accept the unfortunate reality that we cannot deport 12 million people.

Pejorative terms like amnesty will still be used.Courageous conservatives will need to stand up, be willing to defend the effort, and most importantly, engage to improve the bill, rather than fight it or outright oppose it from the start.

This is something of a close call for conservatives, but the benefits of this approach outweigh the disadvantages of doing nothing and keeping this intractable policy problem as a useful political issue.

-----

©Copyright 2013 Matt Mackowiak, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Matt Mackowiak is a Washington- and Austin-based Republican consultant and president of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC. Matt can be reached at matt@potomacstrategygroup.com.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.




Download Matt Mackowiak's color photo - Download Matt Mackowiak's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Matt Mackowiak's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

 Lib  GOP Guest Worker
By: Adam Zyglis

January 29, 2013

 Lib  GOP Guest Worker COLOR
By: Adam Zyglis

January 29, 2013

 Lib  What pinata
By: David Fitzsimmons

November 13, 2012

 Lib  What pinata
By: David Fitzsimmons

November 13, 2012

Immigration Overhaul COLOR
By: Christopher Weyant

January 29, 2013

Immigration Overhaul
By: Christopher Weyant

January 29, 2013

Language Barrier
By: Jeff Parker
Florida Today
June 8, 2011

Language Barrier
By: Jeff Parker
Florida Today
June 8, 2011

Immigration policy COLOR
By: Eric Allie

June 26, 2012

Immigration policy
By: Eric Allie

June 26, 2012

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829 sales@cagle.com
Billing Information: (805) 969-2829billing@cagle.com
Technical Support: support@cagle.com

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. [Privacy Policy]