Senator Marco Rubio and the vocal Republican leadership have nothing to say about the most important fact about today’s immigration crisis: that Congress passed a law that the executive branch refuses to enforce. If government by consent of the governed means anything, it means that the president must, as the Constitution says, “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Otherwise we do not live in a constitutional government.
Some politicians seem to think that it would be imprudent to demand that the president follow the Constitution because they will be accused of racism and of being anti-Hispanic. And that will supposedly lead to election losses.
But Mark Krikorian's Center for Immigration Studies has released a new poll very relevant to this question. The most important point is that 52% of Americans wish to see illegal immigrants return to their countries of origin. Only 33% of Americans support legalizing illegal immigrants.
It turns out that 53% of those polled would be more likely to support a political party that advocated the enforcement of existing immigration laws. Only 32% would be more likely to support a political party that advocated legalization of illegal immigrants. Amazing: enforcing the laws on the books is actually popular. But our political class averts its eyes.
Senator Rubio should address these realities. He should also remember that Hispanic voters are not much concerned about immigration and agree with Democrats on almost all the issues. Mr. Rubio needs to take into account the preferences of American citizens and the reality that Hispanic voters heavily prefer the welfare state and all its works (see here, here, and here).
On a related note, this piece in the New York Times questions the idea that America has a shortage of qualified workers in STEM fields. In 2010, there were more than 100,000 unemployed American engineers and another 244,000 who had given up looking up for work. There were 25,000 with graduate degrees among these unemployed and 68,000 with graduate degrees no longer in the labor market. Another 489,000 trained engineers were working, but not as engineers.
Perhaps we don't need to loosen the floodgates further on H-1B visas after all.
Senator Rubio must be aware of the fact that he won only 40% of the non-Cuban Hispanic vote in his 2010 Florida race. Of course, at the time he said he opposed amnesty and wanted current immigration laws enforced. One wonders how his campaign would have turned out had he run on his current platform. Charlie Crist supported the McCain amnesty that Rubio opposed in 2010 and embraces now.
My guess is that Rubio would have gained no or very few Hispanic votes and would have lost a lot of votes from the Tea Party types who supported him enthusiastically. After all, the Republicans lost Hispanic votes in 1988 after signing on to the 1986 amnesty.
I have a hard time seeing how Senator Rubio is any different from John McCain. Perhaps Richochet readers will instruct me.