In an op-ed for the Deseret News, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), who is my favorite member of the Senate (though I also have very high regard for several others such as Rubio, Paul, Cruz and Toomey), suggests that we should learn from the disaster of Obamacare, namely that it was a massive bill that nobody understood (or yet understands), and that it hides as much as it reveals.
He applies this lesson to immigration and says that “Immigration reform needs to happen step-by-step, not all at once.”
From Sen. Lee’s op-ed:
Much like the current bill, the comprehensive immigration reform I envision includes: real border security, visa modernization, employment verification, robust guest worker programs for both high- and low-skilled workers, and a compassionate approach to dealing with those currently in the country illegally. But history teaches that each of these vital components must be addressed incrementally and sequentially in order to ensure meaningful results.
I am inclined to agree with this view, though as I suggested in a brief note to the Senator’s office in response, maybe there is a workable path that is neither “all at once” nor “one thing at a time” but rather two or three things at a time, in order to make sure that each side trusts that they’ll get what they need/want in the discussion.
For example, I think the most important part of immigration reform is a robust guest worker program. Unions hate guest workers and do everything they can to damage this part of the plan, whether with ridiculously low quotas or economically insane wage provisions. If a guest worker bill comes up by itself, Chuck Schumer and other wholly-owned subsidiaries of big labor might torpedo it. I would rather tie it to something the Dems want (even if not something that I love) to make sure the key things really get done.
Senator Lee’s fundamental premise that we should avoid gigantic bills that try to do everything at once is absolutely right, not least because those bills make it far too easy for lobbyists and activists and politicians to sneak items in which end up biting taxpayers later.