Sen. Orrin Hatch, dick.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has listed his immigration bill demands
One of these is aimed at blocking the Obama administration's attempts to create waivers for various U.S. laws, including the 1996 welfare reform bill [...]
Another of Hatch's proposals would require Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) applicants to show that they have paid all unpaid taxes, and that they stay current on their taxes [...]
Hatch's third amendment would ban people with RPI status from accessing ObamaCare subsidies for five years [...]
And finally, Hatch has proposed language that would prevent unauthorized work by immigrants from counting toward eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance payments.
The first one would prevent Obama from giving welfare benefits to these immigrants, the second requires immigrants to do what everyone else already has to do, the third prevents these tax-paying immigrants (see demand #2) from getting the benefits their taxes are paying for, and the fourth denies these immigrants a benefit of the work they've provided.
I'd have to see the language of the second requirement to be sure, but the summary seems inoffensive enough. Everyone has to pay taxes. Many of these undocumented immigrants already are anyway. But the other three are outright dickishness. They are punitive for the sake of being punitive.
But here's the thing—Republicans aren't engaging on immigration reform out of the goodness of their hearts. The only reason this is even on the agenda is because the GOP knows how to read demographic projections and exit polling. Unless they can make headway into the Latino vote, it will be impossible for Republicans to win national elections (plus many state ones) for generations. The math simply doesn't work in their favor as long as they're losing those Latinos (and Asians!) by 70 percent or more.
So the hope is that by taking immigration off the table, Republicans will be able to compete for immigrant votes on more favorable terrain—appeals to their supposed social conservatism, religiosity, and entrepreneurship. As I've oft written, Latinos are more favorable toward socialism than Occupy Protesters and more pro-choice and pro-marriage equality than any other racial or ethnic group (a function of their young age—the median Latino is 18 years old). But Republicans really have no choice, they need to eat into the Democrats Latino base or render themselves irrelevant.
So with that in mind, how does Hatch's amendments help them? If Republicans are genuinely trying to present a less hateful face to Latinos, continuing to punish these immigrants throughout their normalization process doesn't exactly get that done. Instead, it only increases the kind of resentment and hostility that the GOP is supposedly trying to combat.
They need to decide: Are they actually going to compete for Latino votes, or will they doom themselves to permanent minority status by catering to their nativists?