ROBINSON: A big problem that Washington might solve
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 3:25 p.m.
The November election answered that question. Mitt Romney said the magic word
Some Republicans, but not all. Given the extensive overlap between the
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., called Rubio
National Review editor Rich Lowry called the Senate plan a
The central task of immigration reform is the most controversial: designing some sort of legal status for the 11 million.
Critics on the right complain that this is unfair to would-be immigrants who are
Truly comprehensive reform would include designing a viable legal pathway for those who want to come here and contribute their ambition, determination and skills. No such pathway exists now — and none existed for the millions who decided to enter the country without papers or overstay their visas.
Far as I can tell, there is little meaningful difference between the Gang of Eight's plan and Obama's plan. You will hear lots of noise about border security and enforcement. Feel free to pay no attention.
Pro- and anti-reform Republicans will both agree that the Obama administration is somehow weak on enforcement. This is a laughable fiction; border security is much tougher under Obama than under his predecessors, and deportations have soared. But perhaps a loud fight over enforcement will satisfy the Republican base and make agreement on real issues possible.
Republicans are eager to talk about some kind of temporary-worker program to accommodate those who come here — mostly from Mexico and Central America — with the intention of working for a time and then return to their home countries. Obama's framework for reform does not include a guest-worker provision, but the White House has indicated a willingness to look at the possibility.
Obama could have taken a different tack. He could have written detailed proposed legislation rather than lay out broad principles, and in that bill he could have specified a short, direct path to full citizenship for the undocumented — something Republicans could not conceivably accept.
This would have further damaged the GOP, since Democrats would be able to tell Latino voters,
Eugene Robinson is a columnist for the Washington Post.