Opinion: Morning Examiner

Morning Examiner: Marco Rubio’s latest border security farce

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Morning Examiner,Immigration,Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., knows that the biggest challenge in selling citizenship for illegal immigrants to conservatives is convincing them that this will be the last batch of immigrants that will ever be granted citizenship after entering the United States illegally. To that end, Rubio has made the border security aspects of his bill the centerpiece of his sales pitch. Problem is, his bill has no real border security guarantees in it, so Rubio has been forced to keep changing his story.

Border commission bust
When the bill first came out, Rubio did a comprehensive tour of conservative radio shows selling a border commission made up of federal and state officials as the linchpin security measure of his plan. For example, here is what he told Mark Levin:

It requires if the Department of Homeland Security does not achieve 100 percent operational awareness and 90 percent apprehensions on the border, they lose control of the issue, to a commission, not a Washington commission, to a local commission, made up of the governors of the four border states, talking about Texas and Arizona, where they will then finish the job of securing the border, including the fencing plan.

But the border commission would do no such thing. Far from taking “control of the issue” and “finishing the job,” under Rubio’s bill, all the commission does is issue a report and give it to the Department of Homeland Security. That’s it. DHS can then throw it directly in the trash.

After the border commission fraud was exposed, Rubio dropped the talking point and instead started discussing how the bill needed to become stronger. “The bill that’s in place right now probably can’t pass the House,” Rubio said at the end of April.

A plan to plan
Unfortunately for Rubio, the Senate Judiciary Committee made his immigration bill weaker, not stronger, on border security. Now, as it moves to the Senate floor, Rubio has hatched another gimmick to make his bill sound tougher: He’ll write his own border security plan. “It’s very simple. If we can come up with a plan that people have confidence in for the border, I believe we’ll have immigration reform,” Rubio recently told Fox News. “If we cannot, we will not, and we should not. I don’t think it will pass without those measures in there. I just don’t.”

But this solution is just as worthless as Rubio’s border commission was. Once Congress writes a plan, there is nothing in the bill that guarantees President Obama’s DHS will actually implement it. Conservatives, like Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced amendments that would make the legalization of illegal immigrants contingent on the actual implementation of border security. But the pro-amnesty Republicans and their Democratic allies on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted down all of those amendments. Democrats simply will not allow any changes to the bill that alter its fundamental amnesty-now-for-enforcement-later framework.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said he is confident of getting the 60 votes he needs to pass Rubio’s immigration bill in the Senate. And he’s probably right. The real target of Rubio’s new security sales job is the House. And it is unclear how much, if any, headway he is making.

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Politico, GOP immigration supporters face back-tax dilemma: Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has threatened to vote against the legislation if the gang doesn’t satisfy a number of his concerns, one being the back tax provision.
The Hill, Senate plans student loan test votes: Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Friday that the Senate will vote during the first week of June on legislation to avert the scheduled doubling of student loan rates.
CNN, Cincinnati IRS employees say direction came from Washington: On CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said interviews with workers in the Cincinnati IRS office show targeting of conservative groups was “a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters — and we’re getting to proving it.”

Lefty Playbook
Paul Krugman says the new Medicare and Social Security trustees report shows there is nothing to worry about.
Think Progress notes that Issa still does not have a direct link between Washington and the Cincinnati IRS office.
Ezra Klein on why Californians should be happy they are paying more for health insurance.

Righty Playbook
Ross Douthat on reform conservatism
Peter Suderman on what reform conservatives can learn from libertarians.
Michael Cannon says California officials deliberately mislead public on Obamacare rate shock.

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