At the heart of opposition to immigration reform is fear, I think. Fear that an influx of new immigrants will upset the political balance. Steal jobs. Undermine our culture. Specifically, conservatives see granting amnesty to illegal immigrants as minting whole new generations of Democrat voters.
Senator Marco Rubio addressed those concerns today in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor.
“While immigrants always impacted America, America changes immigrants even more,” he said. “Just a generation ago my parents lived in poverty in another country. America changed them. It gave them a chance to change their lives. It gave the opportunity to open doors for me that were closed to them. and the longer they lived here, the older their kids got, the more conservative they became.”
“I am a first-hand witness to the transformative powers of our country,” Senator Rubio said. “It doesn’t just change people’s pocketbooks. It changes their hearts and their minds.”
He also acknowledged that this issue has driven a wedge in the conservative movement. “I realize that many of my fellow conservatives will not be able to support this reform,” he said. “To my fellow conservatives, I will continue to fight along side you for real tax reform, for lowering our debt, for balancing our budget…but I will also continue to work for one day uniting behind a conservative plan for fixing our immigration problem.”
Frankly, I don’t think immigration policy should be based on the politics of the potential citizens. I don’t think it’s valid for conservatives to oppose immigration reform because the new immigrants might not be conservatives.
The valid argument for immigration reform is that what we have now is anarchy. The borders aren’t enforced. Immigration laws aren’t enforced. Agree with our current immigration laws or not, what we’ve done is an assault on the rule of law in general. We have got to get back to some sort of a footing where we have well-defined laws that are enforced consistently.
The argument against immigration reform, at least as proposed in the Senate, is that we would be opening up America to waves of new entitlement seekers that will flood our already expensive and overburdened programs. Senator Ted Cruz, rebutting Senator Rubio, makes just that point about Obamacare, pointing out that the immigration bill will potentially give employers a major incentive to hire non-citizen immigrants living in America: