If you have heard the expression, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak,” then you are already familiar with the Republican plan to sell conservatives on the Gang of Ocho immigration bill. There still is no legislative text available, but that is not stopping Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and company from executing an all-out marketing blitz this week. The Washington Examiner‘s Byron York reports:
Starting this week, with the release of the bill, the Gang will launch an extensive public information campaign — lots of press releases, frequently asked questions, and fact sheets specifically addressing the concerns about reform that conservatives have raised in recent months.
None of the”facts” in the Gang of Ocho fact sheets will be verifiable until any legislation is produced, but that is irrelevant. Just as the Democrats sought to make Obamacare seem inevitable from the beginning, the Gang of Ocho wants win some Republican support for the bill before a single sentence of legislative text is made available to the public.
The details of the Gang of Ocho sales plan should be familiar to anyone who is familiar with the history of immigration amnesties in this country: instant legalization coupled with promises of future border security enforcement and toothless triggers that are either paper thin or unconstitutional. But, York reports, the Republican members of the Gang of Ocho have come up with one final wrinkle to their marketing plan: President Obama. York writes:
GOP gang members will have one final argument, one they will most likely use privately with fellow Republicans. If the Gang plan goes down in defeat, the argument goes, Barack Obama will be a lame-duck president who has promised key Democratic constituencies that he will take action on immigration reform. He has already used his executive power to unilaterally enact a version of the Dream Act. If Congress denies him immigration reform, according to the argument, he will essentially do for the entire illegal immigrant population what the Dream Act did for young illegal immigrants: legalize them by declining to enforce current law. With the stroke of Obama’s pen, millions of illegal immigrants will become legal.
And it could all happen, the Gang members will argue, without any of the strict enforcement measures — E-Verify, entry-exit, border security and more — that are in the Gang bill. And Obama’s unilateral legalization would be virtually impossible for a future president, Republican or Democrat, to reverse.
In other words, after all the provisions and requirements and triggers, the ultimate Gang argument to conservatives and Republicans will be: Pass our bill, or face utter disaster.
How a unilateral Obama amnesty would be any worse than the Gang of Ocho plan is a complete mystery. For starters, at least an Obama amnesty would be honest. We could skip all the border enforcement and trigger farces. We wouldn’t have to create a brand new government agency to control the labor supply and set immigrant wages. And if Obama isn’t enforcing current law now, why would he, or any other future Democratic president, enforce the law later?
The Gang of Ocho’s new Obama amnesty threat is too cute by half. It reminds conservatives exactly why they can’t trust Democrats on immigration to begin with. Putting a Republican seal of approval on an inevitable Obama amnesty would only demoralize conservative voters more.
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