Not much time to blog much about this now, but people are talking compromise on immigration. Here are a couple of currently-percolating ideas.
The Pence Proposal
First, Rep. Mike Pence has a proposal that might gain some steam and provide a way out of the current immigration impasse. His idea is set forth in full here. John Fund provides the political analysis here, and summarizes the Pence solution this way:
Well, it might work, for now. Pence certainly deserves credit for actually leading, rather than simply shouting platitudes.
His proposal . . . would have the U.S. government contract with gold-standard private employment agencies such as Kelly Services to establish offices called Ellis Island Centers in countries that supply the most illegal alien labor today. The centers would provide an incentive for illegals to leave the country and apply for guest-worker visas in the U.S. that would be granted within a week by matching workers with jobs employers can't fill with American workers. They would also make criminal and other background checks. Guest workers would be able to apply for citizenship, but they would have to follow current rules with no favoritism over those now waiting legally in line.
"It would encourage illegal aliens to self-deport and come back legally as guest workers," says Mr. Pence. "They would benefit from no longer living in fear or in the shadows of life and they could return home for visits. And since employers who hired anyone without such a visa would face stiff fines, it would make it increasingly difficult over time for those who weren't legal guest workers to get jobs."
The "Enforcement Trigger" Proposal
No one has come up with such a proposal yet, but I've been meaning to blog about it, "when I get around to it." Some commentators have touched on the idea, as in John McIntire's Real Clear Politics piece today:
Republicans need to craft a compromise that puts in place a program to shut down the illegal flow, which upon the proven success of dramatically halting illegal immigration will trigger a process that provides a pathway to citizenship for the millions of illegals who have been here for years. This is the type of broad-based compromise that the majority of the American people can support and it will put the onus on the Democrats to put up or shut up about whether they are serious about halting illegal immigration. [Emphasis added.]In other words, pass an enforcement bill providing that once certain enforcement targets are met, a citizenship pathway opens up. That might just work.
McIntyre has this sage advice too:
Tactically, however, Congressional Republicans should change focus in how they attack the Senate bill, away from the "pathway to citizenship" or "amnesty" issue and instead concentrate on the commitment to halt illegal immigration. This is not a small point, but rather a critically important distinction in the public relations battle.I wish I had said that. I guess I've been trying to say it for months, however ineffectely. Which should be a reminder to me that I'm no pundit, just a lawyer with itchy typing fingers.
From the Republican standpoint, the core of the argument over the next few weeks (and in this fall's election) needs to be the seriousness of stopping the illegal flow over the border, not about a pathway to citizenship. If Republicans make a pathway to citizenship the primary issue, they are making a serious mistake because this comes across to the Hispanic community as mean-spirited and anti-immigrant.