When it comes to immigration reform, I cannot emphasize this enough: Secure the borders first. How difficult is that to understand?
Now before we go any further, I want to make it clear that contrary to liberal media reports, I have not been lobbied by anybody to get on board with the Gang of Eight plan. Sometimes I will talk to politicians, but that is to arrange for them to come on the program and talk to you directly. I've had politicians on all sides of this issue on the program from Marco Rubio to Jeff Sessions to Rand Paul to Ted Cruz to Jeb Bush. I've had other guests like Ann Coulter, who is dead-set against this bill. We've put everybody on the program so that you can make an informed decision.
After the election I said – and this is very important – that if we secure the borders first, then conservatives may be willing to deal compassionately with the 11 million illegal immigrants who are here. I still believe that. I believe that the Grassley amendment had it right in that we should deal with the border first and then take on the issue of the illegals second.
A lot of conservatives are upset with Marco Rubio. I can understand that. I do believe that he had the best of intentions when he started working on this issue. But I also told him during interviews early on that I do not trust Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin. Democrats have a history of not being trustworthy. My prediction seems to have become a reality. Democrats are basically using this as a political issue, not for the sake of solving an important problem but to boost future election chances by making this a wedge issue for 2014. The way that this is all shaping up, Democrats will be able to go out there and say that Republicans don't like Hispanics, just like they squawk that Republicans want dirty air and water, they want to push granny off the cliff and they want poor and disabled children to fend for themselves. This is typical liberal politics at play.
Nearly every time you do business with liberals, they go back on their word. If you remember back in 1986, we were supposed to secure the borders. We have legislation on the books right now to do so, but in typical Washington fashion … they have little interest in abiding by the law. Or take a look at what happens every time the GOP tries to negotiate spending cuts in exchange for tax increases. Democrats end up getting their tax increases implemented but then we never really see any spending cuts.
Republicans like Lindsey Graham seem convinced that winning over Hispanic voters will be the key to the GOP's future success in elections. Winning over more voters of any type will be important for the GOP going forward, but the Hispanic vote alone will not help Republicans win elections. A few months ago, Byron York broke down the numbers from the 2012 presidential election. Here's what the GOP is really dealing with …
What if Romney had won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, the high-water mark for Republicans achieved by George W. Bush in 2004? As it turns out, if Romney had hit that Bush mark, he still would have lost, with 240 electoral votes to 298 for Obama.
But what if Romney had been able to make history and attract 50 percent of Hispanic voters? What then? He still would have been beaten, 283 electoral votes to 255 …
According to the Times' calculator, Romney would have had to win 73 percent of the Hispanic vote to prevail in 2012. Which suggests that Romney, and Republicans, had bigger problems than Hispanic voters.
So not only do I doubt the current legislation will solve the immigration problem, but it also won't help the GOP in future elections. If Republicans have learned anything from working with Democrats in the past, we can therefore expect to get people legalized but then the border will never be secured. We can't trust Democrats to come through on that and we can't trust the expansion of government that is required under the current legislation.
I am convinced that securing the border is absolutely within the realm of our capability. With all the resources we have available in this country, securing the border should be an achievable accomplishment within a relatively short period of time. But that's only if it is a priority of Washington which it is not, and that is the problem. After we achieve this goal, then we can re-visit the thoughtful debate of what we do with the 11 million people who are here illegally. Then we can work on getting these people background checks that they have to pay for, fines that they have to pay, make sure they can't receive federal subsidies while they are put at the back of the line, make them learn English … make the process rigorous and make it fair compared to all those who go through the legal means of coming to this country. Make them go through that process without us having to worry that we will have another wave to worry about in 5, 10 or 20 years from now. But Democrats don't mind continuing to have these waves and these debates every couple of years because they see it as a way for them to ultimately gain new voters. We do so many dumb things in this country, and I'm sick of Republicans continuously rolling over and being bamboozled by Democrats, failing to learn from mistakes in the past.
Yesterday we finally received an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office on the economic impacts of immigration reform legislation. While the CBO estimates that current immigration reform legislation will reduce the federal deficit by about $175 billion over the first ten years, there is already push-back that the CBO is using “fuzzy math” similar to what they used to obfuscate the true cost of ObamaCare. Other analysis like the one done by the Heritage Foundation came to the exact opposite conclusion that the bill would add $6.3 trillion to the deficit over the next 20 years. The CBO also apparently found that the immigration bill would expand ObamaCare. Great, more people dependent on big government. Other parts of the analysis found that it would lead to a drop in American wages and would lead to an influx of low-skill rather than high-skill workers. Then we have the fact that the legislation essentially allows the flow of new illegal immigrants to continue at a rate equal to 75% of the current rate of illegal immigration. In other words, it doesn't stop the very first problem which is the flow of illegal immigrants into this country. Before you fix a leaky faucet, you have to turn off the water supply. It's that simple.
Politicians in America are looking at the issue of illegal immigration in terms of what they can gain politically and what power they can maintain or achieve; Americans are look at the issue of illegal immigration in terms of economic impact and fairness.