In an weak attempt to preempt the President’s proposal on immigration tomorrow, Washington’s “Gang of 8” held a press conference to unveil their bipartisan proposal for immigration reform. The “Gang of 8″ includes Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Robert Flake (R-AZ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Michel Bennet (D-CO).

As Jon Walker outlines, the framework includes four key principles:

  • create of “tough but fair” pathway to legalization, that is contingent upon securing the border; children brought to the United States at a young age and agricultural workers would go through a separate and expedited process
  • implement an employment verification system that will prove potential employees are indeed eligible to work in the United States
  • reform the immigration system to encourage the retention of highly skilled workers
  • streamline the process to allow low skilled workers to come in order to meet critical labor demands

Upon closer examination, this enforcement heavy framework provides little -if any- relief for undocumented immigrants. If this is the initial starting point for immigration reform that then we are in serious trouble. The Daily Caller is applauding this framework for its conservatism.

Like its predecessor, Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIA) the latest blueprint for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) will ultimately expand detentions, deportations and the usage of drones along the U.S -Mexico border. That’s right. Drones.

Additionally, our legislation will increase the number of unmanned aerial vehicles and surveillance equipment, improve radio interoperability and increase the number of agents at and between ports of entry. The purpose is to substantially lower the number of successful illegal border crossings while continuing to facilitate commerce.

That’s just the enforcement piece. The actual “pathway to citizenship” is rife with multiple stipulations that are punitive and will put millions of people in limbo for a number of years. The most abhorrent piece is the creation of “border  commission” that will decide the right time to grant permanent residency for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the country. In other words, governors from border states (read: Governor Jan Brewer) will get to decide when the border has been sufficiently secured and thus decide the best time to issue green cards. And even at that point, permanent residency will not be granted until every person that is currently “in line” has received his or her green cards. Right now, the longest wait for a family sponsored visa is for a brother or sister of U.S citizen. Suppose that individual is from the Philippines. The wait would be twenty three years. Twenty three years. It will be a quarter of a century before anyone gets a green card.

Members of Congress made it very clear that an attempt by the President to introduce his own legislation will “poison the well.” Well, it is obvious that is exactly what Obama will have to do to counter this asinine proposal from the Senate. However, if this press conference is any indication, this proposal has the full backing of the White House. Again, we are in serious trouble and we will have to seriously re-think our strategies for the upcoming debate on immigration reform.