Lowry: House Should Kill Immigration Bill, Start Over in 2014

National Review editor Rich Lowry again urged House Republicans to kill the immigration reform bill Tuesday on Fox News, saying he was skeptical of any conference committees with the Senate and that it would make more sense for Republicans to start over on the issue after the 2014 elections, when they could conceivably control the Senate as well.

Lowry also said it was foolish to think passing immigration reform as it is now would eliminate the sensitive issue, pointing out the Congressional Budget Office's report that the bill would essentially place a temporary band-aid on illegal immigration:

JON SCOTT: You argue for going slowly?

LOWRY: Going slowly. Do things that make sense, and I think a lot of Republicans in the Senate voted for this out of a sense of political panic and the idea that they could vote for this, I think misbegotten law, and put the immigration issue entirely behind them. I think that's a fantasy. There are various measures in this law, even if this passed, where Democrats would come back to them and say, 'Why is the path to citizenship so long? Why are you barring these immigrants from receiving various government subsidies that other people get?' So the immigration issue, there's no putting it behind you in that definitive sense.

SCOTT: What about the argument, and you can see TV commercials about it, that the system we have now is de facto amnesty for the 11 or so million illegals already here?

LOWRY: What you want to do is come up with a system where you don't have this problem again. According to CBO, the current bill, the "Gang of Eight" bill would reduce illegal immigration by as little as a third, which means you could have seven, eight million illegal immigrants 10 years from now. We don't want to be in the situation as a country where every 10 or 15 years we have to pass another amnesty.

The bill backed by the "Gang of Eight" passed in the U.S. Senate by a 68-32 vote, with unanimous support from the chamber's Democrats and 14 Republican votes. House leadership said it would not take up the bill and would instead focus on legislation that did not involve amnesty for the country's 11 million illegal immigrants.

Lowry and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, who have differed previously on immigration reform, penned an editorial together in which they urged House Republicans to "Kill the Bill" for its numerous deficiencies:

There is no case for the bill, and certainly no urgency to pass it. During the debate over immigration in 2006–07, Republican rhetoric at times had a flavor that communicated a hostility to immigrants as such. That was a mistake, and it did political damage. This time has been different. The case against the bill has been as responsible as it has been damning.

It’s become clear that you can be pro-immigrant and pro-immigration, and even favor legalization of the 11 million illegal immigrants who are here and increases in some categories of legal immigration—and vigorously oppose this bill.

The bill’s first fatal deficiency is that it doesn’t solve the illegal-immigration problem. The enforcement provisions are riddled with exceptions, loopholes, and waivers. Every indication is that they are for show and will be disregarded, just as prior notional requirements to build a fence or an entry/exit visa system have been—and just as President Obama has recently announced he’s ignoring aspects of Obamacare that are inconvenient to enforce on schedule. Why won’t he waive a requirement for the use of E-Verify just as he’s unilaterally delayed the employer mandate? The fact that the legalization of illegal immigrants comes first makes it all the more likely that enforcement provisions will be ignored the same way they were after passage of the 1986 amnesty.