A new coalition in D.C. thinks they have finally cracked the immigration problem. This “diverse group of leaders from the faith, business, agriculture, education, and national security communities” promises to stake a new path toward fixing one of American politics’ third rail issues – immigration.
Has this new group, the Alliance for a New Immigration Consensus, finally figured it out?
In short, no. They offer the same failed “consensus” that Congress has struck down countless times. Amnesty now, enforcement later.
President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in 1986, promising a final and sweeping conclusion to the immigration debate. President Reagan remarked that “[IRCA] will remove the incentive for illegal immigration by eliminating the job opportunities which draw illegal aliens here” and concluded that “future generations of Americans will be thankful for our efforts to humanely regain control of our borders.”
Thirty-six years later, we are right where we started – only the estimated illegal alien population is about five times larger than it was back then. Today, most legislative proposals claiming to address immigration follow the IRCA blueprint. They call for an immediate amnesty of the illegal aliens living in the United States in exchange for some border security window-dressing. This formula was true of the Gang of Eight proposal (S.744) in 2013, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018, and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar’s recent Dignity Act. The proposal is always the same: Amnesty now, enforcement later – if ever.
The Alliance for a New Immigration Consensus proposal does not deviate whatsoever from these proposals. Its organizers include some of the fiercest opponents of immigration enforcement, including the National Immigration Forum, the George W. Bush Institute, the LIBRE Initiative, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and a whole host of agriculture and big-business interests.
Their proposal is simple. First, provide permanent legal protections (amnesty) to so-called Dreamers, agricultural workers, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. Second, the Consensus calls on Congress to “adopt a modern approach to securing the border by investing in smart border security and improving infrastructure at ports of entry.”
The priority is clear. Amnesty first, border-security efforts second (and, most likely, never). None of these groups support building a wall on the southern border. None of these groups support increasing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention space. None of these groups support eliminating the asylum loopholes in our immigration laws that incentivize illegal immigration. None of these groups support mandatory E-Verify for all workers.
There is nothing new about the Alliance for a New Immigration Consensus. It is merely the latest of the “comprehensive immigration proposals” that failed over the past 36 years.