The Boston Marathon bombings highlighted, once again, the challenges of assimilating Muslim youth. And while the onus of accountability ought not rest exclusively on Muslim Americans, it understandably weighs most heavily on them. Indeed, any fair-minded assessment of recent events must underscore the inadequacies of Muslim-American leaders. Yet the usual criticisms are wide of the mark and fail to identify the institutional as well as intellectual weaknesses of these leaders.
Florida senator Marco Rubio, a key Republican backing the immigration bill in the Senate, said during a radio interview Tuesday night that he won't vote for the bill if it isn't amended to improve border security. "What we're trying to get to ideally is an amendment that dictates the number of fences and also where they're located," Rubio told radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Today, the Government Accountability Office issued a report of preliminary finding on the progress the Department of Homeland Security has made in its efforts to reduce the backlog of immigrant visas. Although almost 863,000 records were "closed" in the last two years, the backlog of potential overstays remains at more than one million [emphasis added]:
In 1986, three million illegal immigrants in the United States were given the right to become citizens. It was a full-scale amnesty, created by a bipartisan majority in Congress and signed into law by President Reagan. It had one big flaw.
The amnesty went into effect immediately. And strong measures to secure the border with Mexico and prosecute employers who hired illegals were to follow. The goal was to stop illegal immigration once and for all, while allowing those here illegally to stay.
Nothing unifies the American elite like immigration. From Barack Obama to Paul Ryan, from the editorial board of The New York Times to that of The Wall Street Journal, from the offices of Facebook to those of Goldman Sachs, everybody who counts more or less agrees.
Yuval Levin has an excellent piece at NRO, "Reforming Immigration Reform," on how the Gang of Eight's immigration bill could be improved. Levin notes "that, compared with some other conservative critics (including some of NR's editors), my starting point on this subject is significantly friendlier to the sort of approach Rubio seems to have in mind."
With an immigration bill finally on the table, Republicans would do well to stop and ponder how they have arrived at this juncture. Since the November election they have been preoccupied with how to approach Hispanics on this critical issue.
If immigration reform passes Congress, the law will almost certainly have a way to allow those in the country illegally to eventually become citizens. But the bill, as it is written, contains a number of enforcement and border security benchmarks that must be met before the path to citizenship is opened for the 11 million or so illegal immigrants currently in the United States.
Two senior senators in the so-called Gang of 8 told reporters Thursday morning that Americans should not worry that the promised enforcement measures will not be implemented.