Before deciding what to do about immigration, Republicans should first decide what not to do. They should not buy in to the Obama/liberal Democrats’ plan to legalize every person who is in the country illegally.Well, it'd be nice if we did something just because of the inherent unfairness and, in many cases, cruelties of the current situation, but I guess doing it for the votes would be fine too.
Republicans do need to make progress with Hispanic voters. But immigration is exactly the wrong subject to use to attract Hispanic support.
Smith runs down the usual talking points (I swear, there's just one damn guy somewhere that writes all these op-eds, and every Republican member of the House just puts their name at the top and calls it done); America already admits tons of immigrants; Hispanics don't care about immigration, they care about the economy and better pay (which the Republicans are also catastrophically weak on, but never mind that); "amnesty" bad. But he also argues that it just doesn't matter anyway, so why bother:
[S]ome say a legalization program would enable Republicans to “put the immigration issue behind us.” But Republicans are never going to see it in the rear-view mirror. Does anyone really think Republicans are going to outbid Democrats on giving benefits to illegal immigrants?Yowza.
And then we get to the exact same Republican proposals that have been proposed by every other terribly new-thinking, our-party-is-totally-changed-now Republican. More guest workers, because we really do want them to work here, we just don't want to have to treat them decently when they do. A "new visa" for the children of undocumented immigrants, one that's watered down so that it's not "conducive" to something Republicans are apparently calling "chain migration," which apparently is the offensive practice of immigrants wanting to immigrate to be with other members of their families, or something.
Anyway, I'm not really sure who the target audience is supposed to be here. Is he arguing this with fellow Republicans? Is he trying to convince people outside the party faithful of the wisdom of a do-nothing approach? Is this a chain letter that every Republican has to sign their name to at least once, or some creepy girl will crawl out of a well and try to give them better health insurance? No clue. Again, though, anyone looking for a move to the center from the current Republican crop is apparently going to be waiting a very, very long time.