David Frum

01.29.13

What Immigration 'Compromise?'

Chuck Schumer (2nd L), a Democrat from New York, speaks alongside (L-R) Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) during a press conference on an agreement for principles on comprehensive immigration reform framework at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2013. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images ()

Byron York on why the "bipartisan compromise" on immigration is no compromise at all.

"On day one of our bill, the people without status who are not criminals or security risks will be able to live and work here legally."

With those words, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, who moments earlier had heaped effusive praise on Republican colleagues standing with him in the Senate press room, made it infinitely more difficult for many GOP lawmakers to sign on to the bipartisan immigration proposal put forward by the so-called Gang of Eight.

The problem is that giving instant legality -- it's now called "probationary legal status" -- clashes with the principle, deeply held among many conservatives and Republicans, that securing the border must come before creating a mechanism for legality and, ultimately, a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants already here.