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Marco Rubio's chief of staff bloviates about immigration 'enforcement triggers'


Cesar Conda, Sen. Marco Rubio’s chief of staff, talks a good game.

E-Verify, an Entry-Exit system, border fence, border security. Wow!

Alas, according to Mickey Kaus, the much-ballyhooed “triggers” don’t  come into play until after illegal immigrants are given the ability to obtain legal status to live and work in the United States.

If you read closely, you learn that illegal immigrants will actually be legalized immediately–given “probationary legal status,” allowing them to “live and work legally in the United States” (according to Politico). The only thing that’s delayed, pending “stricter border enforcement,” is the opening of a “path to citizenship.” As if, once legalized, the 11 million are going to be unlegalized if  enforcement measures are implemented with less than 100% efficacy.

The penalty for failing to meet the enforcement “trigger,” in other words, is both insufficient and fake. Insufficient because the undocumented will already have gotten the most important thing–the ability to live and work here legally (permanently, if we’re being realistic about it). Fake because it’s silly to think these 11M will be held indefinitely in non-citizen limbo if the implementation of enforcement fails, as it did in the last big immigration reform in 1986.

But don’t worry–it looks like there’s very little chance the “enforcement” effort will be found wanting– the “trigger” itself seems as phony as the penalty it avoids. [Ed. note: Yep.]


Kaus wrote that back in January. In the latest iteration of Rubio’s bill, illegal immigrants reportedly will be able to apply for legal status six months after Rubio’s bill is signed into law. When ABC’s Jonathan Karl made that point this morning, Sen. Rubio appeared to confirm it. (Start at 1:06 in the video below.)

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