The GOP has finally intentionally spoken on immigration reform.
The “Congress of Tomorrow” House Republican Conference is taking place (January 29 through January 31) at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina in Cambridge [MD], to contemplate and strategize for the upcoming 2014 elections. Part of that task is seen as developing a set of guidelines on various issues, trying to engender a common theme for Republican voices during the campaign season, augmenting Senators Hatch, Cobern and Burr’s “Alternative to ObamaCare,” introduced the day before President Obama was to deliver his State of the Union Address. The first missive from that conference, “Standards for Immigration Reform,” is a framework from which to hang a formal proposal.
The first aspect discussed is the obvious beginning of any serious discussion of immigration policy: secure borders. Obvious as it may be, it must be stated first, and it must be stated out loud, because border security is seen by the Right as a defining feature of national sovereignty, while the Left sees it as an obstacle in currying favor with potential constituents. “It is the fundamental duty of any government to secure its borders …” the document begins. It’s a recognition that, for example, Mexico (which employs a very Old Testament manner of handling illegal immigration) has better control over its southern border than we do over any of our borders and shores. That’s inexcusable for a prime target of transnational terrorism. This shouldn’t need to be explained, but apparently it does.
It is functionally necessary to stop the hemorrhaging before addressing the results – the borders must be “verified” to be secure (my choice would be by DoD, but the consensus seems to be DHS) before amnesty/citizenship pathways/legitimization/granting of entitlements is granted to those already here illegally. A relaxation of current policy without secure borders only amplifies the problem. See Ronald Reagan’s deal with Democrats to grant effectual amnesty if the Congress would then secure the borders – he did, they didn’t, and Reagan’s nine million illegals have become our twenty million.
“[W]e 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 …“ the statement continues. Yes, border security isn’t a one-time-only occurrence to “pass inspection,” it’s to be the normative state of the border – it contains an effective method of treating breaches.
The document goes on to discuss Entry-Exit Visa Tracking, Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement, Reforms to Legal Immigration, Youth, and Existing Illegals, but I thought this would be a good place to start.
 I’d rather have SEAL, Force Recon or Delta Team planners contemplate border security than the bureaucrats responsible for its current state, but politics will permit the fiction of “thorough internal investigation” to win the day.