Joe Barton’s Profoundly Dumb Amnesty Proposal

Texas Rep. Joe Barton must have been reading the new polling data this week that shows Republicans are headed for victory in November. Like any good establishment Republican, Barton could not let our prospective victory go unanswered and is seeking a way to stifle Republican turnout. What better way to accomplish “victory” than by introducing comprehensive amnesty legislation?

Joe Barton plans to file his bill this week, but he refuses to call it amnesty. After all, he claims, there is no pathway to citizenship.

But there are two fundamental problems with his assertion. His bill incorporates the so-called Dream Act, which grants full amnesty plus citizenship to a large swath of the illegal population. As we’ve noted before, these people are largely poor and low-skilled. They would be eligible for the entire smorgasbord of welfare programs. They certainly would not pay taxes on net, as some have suggested. They would actually enjoy a net negative tax liability.

Moreover, once you have amnesty for “Dreamers” it is de facto amnesty for everyone else because: A) they can bring in family members, and B) anyone can potentially be eligible, so ICE would have to suspend all deportations to allow illegals a reasonable opportunity to present their case. Sans a proposal to change birthright citizenship first, the Dream Act would expand our anchor baby magnet to an “anchor teenager” phenomenon.

This bill would be bad enough if it only contained the Dream Act. But it grants immediate legal status to everyone else. That is amnesty. People who violated our sovereignty are rewarded with the outcome they desired by breaking the law. Citizenship is merely the icing on the cake – Amnesty-PLUS. Furthermore, the notion that you can create a permanent legal status that will not morph into citizenship in short order – both from a political perspective and from a policy-standpoint – is absurd.

As Barton notes, he is pushing this in order to keep Texas Republican. Let’s put aside the fact that he has the electoral angle exactly backwards, his bill is counterintuitive even from his convoluted standpoint. The minute Schumer and the Dems sign his bill into law, they would decry the permanent second-class status bestowed on the newly-amnestied immigrants and campaign for voting rights. Will Barton be willing to stand up and deny these people that right?

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