It works every time.
For the entire 21st Century, the GOP Establishment Brain Trust has figured they could successfully finesse the immigration issue, winding up with
amnesty immigration reform and indentured servitude guest workers, without letting Democrats have more Democratic voters a pathway to citizenship.
But this Bushian strategy concedes the rhetorical high ground of “citizenship” to the Democrats.
Most Americans still naively look upon “citizenship” less the way the rest of the world thinks of American citizenship — as a gift bag of freebies — but instead, as you were taught in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, as a set of responsibilities and rights.
Citizenship in the Nation merit badge
So when the Republican Establishment cynically pushes amnesty, demonizing its own immigration patriots as racists, yet without offering illegals a path to citizenship, they’re just sharpening the Democrats’ rhetorical sword.From CNN:
Clinton calls for ‘path to full and equal citizenship’ By Eric Bradner and Dan Merica, CNN Updated 9:01 PM ET, Tue May 5, 2015I’ve been explaining for a long time how the Republicans can’t cave on the principle of not rewarding law-breaking without giving the Democrats the rhetorical high ground. In a 2004 VDARE article, I summed my even earlier iterations of this crucial piece of political psychology:
Las Vegas (CNN) Hillary Clinton is inviting — and practically baiting — Republican presidential contenders into a battle over immigration.
She promised to go further than President Barack Obama, whose unilateral moves to keep more undocumented immigrants in the United States have infuriated conservatives.
“I’m ready to have this discussion with anyone, anywhere, anytime,” she said.
Issuing her strongest call yet for “a path to full and equal citizenship,” Clinton hit her GOP opponents, House and Senate leaders and every other target she could find for stymying previous pushes for a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.
“This is where I differ with everybody on the Republican side,” she said. “Make no mistake, not a single Republican candidate, announced or potential, is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship. When they talk about legal status, that is code for second class status.”
The signal Clinton’s Las Vegas event sent was direct and simple: She’s willing to go all-in on pushing immigration reform, banking on it being a huge winner for Democrats in 2016.
And she’s fine with moving as far to the left as she needs in order to lure Republicans into attacking her for it. …
For the first time, Clinton laid out reform proposals. Among them: Allow the parents of “Dreamers,” or undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children, to stay in the country just like their children can under Obama’s 2012 executive action. The undocumented parents of children who are already U.S. citizens gained that right under Obama’s follow-up 2014 action. She also said reunifying splintered families should be a core goal of immigration policy.
If Congress won’t act, she pledged “as President I would do everything possible under the law to go even further” than Obama has gone already to expand undocumented immigrants’ rights.
Clinton said she wants to see a streamlined process for undocumented immigrants to make their case to avoid deportation.“We should put in place a simple, straightforward and accessible way for parents of Dreamers and others with a history of service and contributions to their community to make their case and to be eligible for the same deferred action as their children,” she said. …
“We are in a global competition and I intend for us to win it. And I’m not about to let anybody who can make a contribution to our economy and our society get thrown away,” Clinton said.
Way back on July 20, 2001, in the first VDARE.com article I ever wrote about the Bush Administration’s immigration obsession, I predicted:
“Even in the short run, however, opening the floodgates ever wider is likely to be a losing strategy because the Democrats can always out-pander the Republicans. They’re experts at it. Republicans are amateurs.
“The sheer shamelessness of Bush’s sucking up to the Fox-Castaneda administration and their plans to dump more of their poor people on us may have temporarily caught the Democrats flat-footed. But the Democratic Party has not yet begun to pander!”
Now, right on cue, the Democrats have begun to pander. The Congressional party, led by Ted Kennedy, celebrated Cinco de Mayo by unveiling its rejoinder to George W. Bush’s open borders proposal, known here at VDARE.COM as “The Bush Betrayal”—the SOLVE Act (“Safe, Orderly, Legal Visas and Enforcement “).
I wish I were as accurate at prophesying stock prices and winning lottery numbers as I am at foretelling the inevitable foul-ups of this Bush bugaboo!
As I explained on August 14, 2001:
“My prediction: rather than a political masterstroke, [Bush's immigration trial balloon] will be a disaster. It will fall apart in Congress because the Democrats want to put more immigrants on the road to being voters, confident that the majority will vote Democratic. The more intelligent Republicans understand that and don’t want it.”
By early September of 2001, Bush’s amnesty had indeed fallen apart in Congress. But by making amnesty for illegal aliens look so absurd that Bush had to shelve his plans for years, the immigrant terrorists of 9/11 paradoxically saved him from an embarrassing and decisive defeat.
So, like the Bourbons in the French Revolution, Bush learned nothing and forgot nothing. He dusted amnesty off again in January of this year.
Well, maybe the President did learn one thing: that Congressional Republicans hated the idea of millions of illegal aliens becoming voters. So, in his politically disastrous January 7th  proposal, he took the absurd course of making clear that these immigrants were to be disenfranchised helots—and then (supposedly) kicked out of the country after some unspecified number of years.
As I commented on Feb. 1 of 2004:
“But Bush’s new Machiavellianism automatically cedes the rhetorical high ground to the Democrats, who are already pushing for ‘earned legalization’ (i.e., giving illegals the vote). Bush is left contradictorily sputtering about how wonderful immigrants are and how we don’t want them to become our fellow citizens.”
And, as I forecast, the Democrats have duly offered to not only give all illegal aliens amnesty, but also to put them on the road to citizenship…and, thus, to being good little Democrats.
The whole thing offers the Dems some slam-dunk soundbites. For example, Rep. Bob Menendez, one of the bill’s sponsors, said Bush’s proposal “is a pathway to deportation. This is a pathway to the American dream.”