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An unsecured path: Unworkable immigration 'reform'

Last week a group of eight U.S. senators led by Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., released an immigration reform plan, and the very next day President Obama announced one of his own. Both promised beefed up border security along with a "path to citizenship" that did not amount to amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants living in this country. If only the promises were true.

The Senate plan grants provisional legal status to illegals, who would have to pay back taxes and a penalty and pass a criminal background check. They could attain a green card only after certain enforcement provisions, such as implementing a tracking system for people who enter the country on temporary visas and requiring the use of E-Verify by employers, are complete.

President Obama offered similar carrots and sticks in a similar order. The senators and the President must take all of us for fools. There is no way that meaningful border enforcement will come from either of these proposals. That is because neither offers it. "It" is a border fence.

Last week an illegal immigrant was arrested in Raleigh, N.C., for DWI. He had been deported in 2008. And 2009. And 2011. Without a fence, deportation means nothing. Without the threat of meaningful deportation, the incentives to stay on the "path to citizenship" have no bite. Why bother completing the path once you have legal status? As columnist Charles Krauthammer has pointed out, once granted, "provisional" legal status will never be revoked.

Give us real border security first. Everything else comes afterward.

Eric Church
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