Sen. Marco Rubio has effectively endorsed President Obama's approach to immigration, and that endorsement was in turn endorsed by Rep. Paul Ryan. Or, as Julia Preston put it in the New York Times yesterday, "Strikingly, Mr. Rubio's principles did not sound that different from proposals for an immigration overhaul by Mr. Obama, Democratic leaders and a handful of other Republicans."
So, in considering what can now accurately be referred to as the Obama-Rubio-Ryan amnesty plan of 2013, there's one central question that Rubio and Ryan need to be asked: Do they trust President Obama to enforce the immigration laws in the future, after today's illegals have been legalized?
If they answer "yes", then they need to explain why they think he'd suddenly become committed to enforcement after four years of downgrading immigration law enforcement, and more generally acting as though the U.S. Code were a body of suggestions rather than laws. The most outrageous recent example of the administration's cavalier attitude toward law enforcement was highlighted just yesterday by the Associated Press:
Federal immigration agents were prepared to arrest an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender days before the November elections but were ordered by Washington to hold off after officials warned of "significant interest" from Congress and news organizations because the suspect was a volunteer intern for Sen. Robert Menendez, according to internal agency documents provided to Congress.
If this crowd will, for political reasons, hold off arresting someone who repeatedly molested an eight-year-old boy, how can they be expected to arrest the many ordinary illegal aliens who will inevitably fail to qualify under whatever criteria are included in the Obama-Rubio-Ryan amnesty?
And if the answer is "no", i.e., that Rubio and Ryan don't trust Obama to enforce whatever deal they manage to push through Congress, then why won't we just end up with another 11 million illegal aliens a few years down the road?
This isn't some nit I'm picking — it's central to the whole concept of "comprehensive immigration reform". If you trust Obama to do the right thing, then, by all means, endorse his plan for amnesty, as Rubio and Ryan have done. But if you don't trust him to keep his word, if you think all his statements come with an expiration date, then there's no honest way you can back his approach.