No Amnesty for Marco

Don’t Mourn, Cantorize! RIch Lowry notes that nobody running for the GOP nomination has a perfect record on controlling immigration:

But pushing pols into the right policies before an election is only part, and maybe not the most important part, of actually getting those policies in place. On immigration, especially, tough campaign position papers are likely to be pulped once the election’s over and the predictable process of caving to corporate and ethnic interest group pressure (technically known as “selling out”) begins.

The best way to ensure against a post-election sellout is to deter it through fearspecifically, by brutally punishing those who have reneged on their promises in the past. What finally put an end to the 2013-2014 amnesty push? Answer: The humiliating defeat of Eric Cantor, which terrified GOP Congressmen who might otherwise have been tempted to slip one by their constitutents.

That means a top priority for immigration-controllers in 2016 — maybe the top priority — has to be  the defeat of Marco Rubio. Rubio got elected by opposing amnesty. But once in office he became chief salesman for a thinly-veiled amnesty bill and tried to sell it to Republicans, in part by lying about it. If he‘s not punished, who will be? Other GOP pols will see that there are no lasting consequences for moving over to join Ryan and Rove on immigration, and they’ll start making that journey as surely as impoverished peasants in Latin America journey north when they see there are no consequences to entering the U.S. illegally.

Even if Rubio abandons his current fudge attempts on the issue** and eventually arrives at a precisely correct, Jeff-Sessions-approved immigration position in the primaries, it’s still more important that he be punished, or else all the exquisitely crafted policy promises and flip-flops in the direction of border control — Rubio’s, but also Cruz’s and maybe even Trump’s — will be as worthless as the promises of “secure borders” made by the Gang of 8.


**–On “Meet the Press” Sunday Rubio continued his attempt to suggest he has an “Enforcement First” position, without actually quite saying it: “[W]e are not going to be able to do anything on people that are illegally until we first prove to people that illegal immigration is under control and America is safe.” Key fudge: Does “proving to people” that illegal immigration is under control mean actually putting measures (a border wall, E-Verify, visa overstay prevention) in place, or just convincing enough people that these measures are in the process of being put in place  at some point in the future– i.e., that the bills theoretically requiring them “have been passed”? If it’s the latter, Rubio’s still embracing the Gang of 8’s “Amnesty First” approach (and the enforcement measures are likely to be blocked once the amnesty happens). But again, even if Rubio eventually stops fudging and happily lands on the right spot, it’s more important to punish him. We don’t let bank robbers off if they return the money the week before their trial.