The GOP’s Immigration Pretzel

by evanmcmurry

The immigration news of the day: a majority of Americans support a pathway to citizenship as part of immigration reform, but that number tanks among Republicans, putting GOP leaders in a bind: they know they need to support some form of immigration reform or forfeit Latino voters for the next few election cycles, but they have a base that finds the idea of citizenship (AMNESTY!) anathema.

The solution being passed around sounds a lot like what Marco Rubio essayed last April, when he was but a spring chicken. As a thought experiment, imagine what would happen if Democrats were proposing the following:

Rubio’s proposal doesn’t put immigrants on the path to citizenship but creates a third level of legal residency, greater than alien but less than citizen.

The howls about bureaucracy and the extra folds of government—to say nothing of the inherent treason of revising standards of citizenship—would be heard from Breitbart Jr. to George will’s column and everywhere in between.

As I said at the time, in no world is creating an extra sub-tier of citizenship conservative, which emphasizes just what a tight spot the GOP finds itself in on this issue.