A few days ago, Gov. Scott Walker was widely reported as changing his position on amnesty, or “comprehensive immigration reform” as it is known in Chamber of Commerce circles. He issued a “clarifying” statement saying he supports a path to legal status but not citizenship.
That Gov. Walker is again changing his position is indeed disappointing news. But the really bad news is that Walker evidently believes that granting illegal aliens legal status is not the same thing as amnesty.
At best, Gov. Walker is confused on the issue of illegal immigration. At worst, he is without a moral compass and risks being ridiculed with the tagline, “He was against it before he was for it before he renamed it.”
This is a serious problem that plagues not only Walker but nearly all of the Republican candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. We are not picking on Gov. Walker when we suggest he go back to the drawing boards and try once more to get it right.
The desire by politicians to avoid the “amnesty label” by avoiding the citizenship question is at bottom a desire to escape responsibility for the real-world effects of legislation. Eligibility for eventual citizenship is built into every single proposal for legal status for illegal aliens now in the country.
Now, that may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your views on open borders, but it is undeniably a certain consequence of granting legal status, which is open-ended and has no expiration date.
We all know where Jeb Bush and Chris Christie stand on amnesty; they are all for it. We also know where Ted Cruz stands on amnesty; he is against it. Marco Rubio has repudiated the “Gang of Eight” Senate amnesty bill but has not yet repudiated other versions of amnesty such as legalization without citizenship. Sadly, we now know where Scott Walker stands on amnesty: He is all for it as long as it can be sold under a false label of “citizenship not included.”
It may sound strange to many of my friends, but in fact I have more respect for the honest proponents of open borders and full amnesty than I do for the politicians like Walker who try to hide from the logical and certain consequences of their sugar-coated proposals.
This is not rocket science, and it does not take a genius to understand the meaning of words. It is easy to see – unless you are willfully blind– that proposals for a legal status that is renewable indefinitely and allows for eventual application for a green card is in fact a pathway to citizenship.
For the record, I have never been opposed to a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens if that pathway meets certain reasonable standards. For example, if an illegal alien returns home and applies for an immigrant visa, new legislation could allow forgiveness for the earlier illegal entry and waive the 10-year waiting period in current law. That would be an acceptable compromise if that applicant waits in line behind persons already in line and meets all other requirements for legal entry.
But the proponents of “legal status now and citizenship later” packages do not propose such things. All of the current proposals allow illegal aliens to jump the line and gain a special status including work permits, with the newly acquired “temporary legal status” being renewable indefinitely. That, my friends, is amnesty, and neither Scott Walker’s smile nor Rand Paul’s passion can change that.
So, regrettably, we now face 20 months of flip-flopping obfuscation by candidates who do not have the courage to face the real issues and the real consequences of open borders.
And make no mistake: under both George Bush and Barack Obama, we already have open borders. The only question worth debating is this: Is there going to be a Republican presidential nominee who will do something about it? If not, millions of conservative voters will walk away from the Republican Party in November of 2016.
It is now clear that the Republican-controlled Congress will not secure the border or mandate true immigration enforcement. Which Republican presidential candidates will reverse our nation’s suicidal course?
Well, the jury is out on some of the candidates, but judging from this week’s storyline, Scott Walker is heading the other direction. That’s sad news and bad news, but frankly, it is not surprising news.
Tom Tancredo is the founder of the Rocky Mountain Foundation and founder and co-chairman of Team America PAC. He represented Colorado’s sixth congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1999 to 2009, and he is a former presidential candidate.
He is the author of In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America’s Border and Security, and he can be heard every Monday on Grassroots Radio Colorado with Kris Cook (KLZ 560 AM).