It’s been six years since the last attempt at comprehensive immigration reform died. Even the very limited DREAM Act failed in 2010. So now, with the GOP determined to do better among Hispanic voters, here we go again…
Eight senators have presented what Chuck Schumer calls a “bipartisan blueprint” for immigration reform. The document is just a few pages, is very short on details, and is a long way from becoming a piece of legislation. But the White House welcomed it, saying, “It’s a set of principles that mirror the president’s principles.” Many in the more conservative House have already panned the thing as amnesty, but the House is currently working on its own proposals, so they too will have a plan soon.
Under the Senate plan, the border would have to be more secure before anyone got a more permanent status.
Illegals would be required to register, pay a fine and back taxes, and have a criminal background check, and then would be allowed to stay and work legally. There would be an ultimate path to citizenship for those already here, but it would be a long and slow path.
For the GOP, just changing the rhetoric isn’t going to be enough. It’s not the wrapping, it’s what in the package. But changing their policies risks losing their base. They’ve decided that it’s less damaging to give some on immigration than on other issues, like abortion. They’ve decided it’s easier to go after Hispanic voters than African-Americans or women. But the thing is that Hispanics aren’t as conservative as the GOP likes to think. They don’t just flock to the GOP when you take immigration off the table. When polled on abortion rights, for example, they tend to come out the same as non-Hispanics.