The Daily Caller's Mickey Kaus, who headlined a tea party event in August to stoke fears of how comprehensive immigration reform “would change America irrevocably, and for the worse,” has a piece out detailing how Republicans can filibuster immigration reform and show that "[a]mnesty as we know it can go away." What Kaus is advocating of course is the same level of GOP obstructionism conservative media have been calling for to kill immigration reform.
In his September 4 piece, Kaus lamented the fact that immigration reform supporters, with help from “La Raza and Mark Zuckerberg, big business lobbyists, the Catholic Church and the Media-Amnesty Complex,” will continue to advocate for a path to citizenship until an immigration bill becomes law. He then went on to describe his “tentative simple, four step plan,” which began with exhorting Republicans to block all immigration bills that don't first enforce the border.
Kaus is giving preference here to the “enforcement-first” approach that immigration restrictionists have long favored, which seeks to militarize the border and take other extreme steps to cut off illegal immigration. As Kaus pointed out, this approach has been rejected by supporters and Democrats who will accept nothing less than “an inclusive, immediate path to legal status for the 11 million, and an achievable and clear path to eventual citizenship,” in the words of America's Voice executive director Frank Sharry.
This approach would create an impasse designed to effectively kill reform efforts. A number of conservative media figures have similarly agitated for such outright obstruction.
However, this seems to be going against the grain, as more and more congressional Republicans express support for reform that includes a pathway to citizenship. As the Miami Herald reported, tea party Rep. Steve Southerland is the most recent Republican to do so:
[W]hen asked Friday in Miami, Southerland sounded more open to the idea of a general pathway to citizenship, Still, he drew a distinction between young people brought as children and those who came when they were older and knew they were breaking the law.
Southerland said he wasn't sure about whether they should be granted a special path to citizenship or legal residency.
“If there's going to be a chance to create a legal path, there has to be a recognition of the wrong done,” Southerland said, indicating they would need to pay fines and express contrition. “But I believe in reconciliation.”
The Herald went on to note that “during the August recess, Orlando Republican Rep. Dan Webster announced limited support for a citizenship path as has Illinois Republican Aaron Schock. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy has expressed some support for an earned path to legal residency -- but not citizenship -- for illegal immigrants.”
In an MSNBC.com article on the GOP's pro-immigration reform camp, Benjy Sarlin noted that 24 Republicans have expressed support for a path to citizenship, but added that “it doesn't include the various members who are still working out their position.” He continued: “A number of House members have said they're against a 'special path to citizenship,' for example, but haven't ruled out people attaining citizenship through means available to legal immigrants.”
In his post, Kaus went on to echo the Republican idea of granting legal status to DREAMers, undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children, but not their parents, as a way to “split the amnesty lobby.” He also proposed buying off big business with increased visas and guest workers to further mollify supporters:
The so-called “Dreamers” -- illegals brought into the country “through no fault of their own” when they were young -- provide the emotional engine of the amnesty movement. Businessmen who've soured on American workers provide the financial muscle. Take away these two forces and the coalition lobbying to legalize all illegals loses much of its juice. Yes, the Dreamers will then turn around (as they're already doing) and raise the specter that their parents (the ones who were at fault) will be deported. But it's not the same.
In fact, as the Christian Science Monitor reported when House Republicans first proposed the idea, the intended result would further split up immigrant families -- and those families would not escape the specter of deportation. This result has been supported by an anti-immigration Fox News host.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 16.6 million people already live in families with at least one undocumented member. As undocumented activist César Vargas stated of the idea, “It pits Dreamers against our families.”