While Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the White House's leaked immigration plan was an attempt to politicize the immigration debate and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said it would be "dead on arrival", the actual details of the two plans are essentially the same - they both grant instant amnesty to the nation's 11 million illegal aliens and neither bill does anything to stop future illegal immigration or protect America's unemployed.
The biggest magnet for illegal immigration is the ability to work in the United States, but both the White House plan and the Gang of Eight grant the 11 million illegal aliens already in the U.S. work permits before addressing workplace verification, repeating a mistake of the failed 1986 amnesty. The White House says it would mandate E-Verify within four years, but it also includes a study to determine its effectiveness, offering the Administration an easy way to scuttle the program in the future. The Gang of Eight proposal offers support for workplace verification, but no specifics are given, and like the White House plan, it wouldn't kick in until after the amnesty is given.
Both plans fail to substantively address the root cause of 40% of all illegal immigration - visa overstays. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that, "[T]he Senate legislation under discussion wouldn't create any additional enforcement program to track down people who overstayed visas, Senate aides in both parties said." The White House plan also doesn't include any plan to complete the entry/exit system, and the Senate plan would exclude all land crossings from the system. Both plans would continue to allow any temporary, non-immigrant visa holders, including student visas, tourist visas, or work-related visas, to overstay their visit to the United States without detection.
Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation has said that an amnesty for the nation's 11 million illegal aliens would cost at least $2.5 trillion in Social Security and medicare costs alone. That doesn't take into account the new healthcare law or welfare costs. Most illegal aliens currently hold low-skilled, low-paying jobs in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and service. Amnestied illegal aliens are more likely to be a net cost to American taxpayers. Neither plan address the huge fiscal costs an amnesty would have on our current entitlement system.
Sen. Rubio has made border security the focal point of the Gang of Eight's proposal, however, any border security measures put forth in either proposal, again, come after 11 million illegal aliens receive legal status and work permits. The White House plan calls for increases in border patrol agents, immigration judges, and resources, but there are no details or timetable. The Gang of Eight's plan simply states that the border must be declared "secure" before a "path to citizenship" can begin for amnestied illegal aliens, but there's no definition of what a secured border looks like, and DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano testified last week before a Senate Committee that the border is already secure.
Finally, there are still 20 million Americans who can't find full-time work. Offering immediate work permits to 11 million illegal aliens adds more competition into the labor market for America's unemployed who tend to be lower-skilled and lesser-educated and would therefore suffer the most from an amnesty.
While Gang of Eight Members Sen. Rubio and Sen. McCain try to distance themselves from the White House plan, the fact is, in principle, both plans are the same. They instantly offer 11 million illegal aliens amnesty in the form of legal status and work permits, and, like the failed 1986 amnesty, neither plan does anything to stop the next wave of illegal immigration or show compassion for America's unemployed before handing out an amnesty.
Updated: Tue, Feb 19th 2013 @ 11:37am EST