June 10. 2013 4:42PM

Immigration 'reform': This bill is not it

Disappointingly, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte has announced her support for the Gang of Eight's so-called immigration reform bill, to be debated in the Senate this week. Her high hopes for the bill are not supported by its text.

There is no question that the nation's immigration system is dysfunctional. Ayotte outlines her support for the bill in a column in which she calls our immigration system "broken." However, it is not accurate to call "broken" a system that functions largely as it was intended to function.

The crazy system we have now allows waves of unskilled immigrants to flood into the country illegally. This is by design. Congress could have mandated better border defenses to enforce the law; it chose not to. Thus we have tight restrictions on the immigration of highly skilled, highly educated immigrants, but effectively none on low-skilled, uneducated ones.

The bill Ayotte supports would offer some improvements, particularly regarding high-skilled and entreprenurial immigrants. But it contains the same flaw so many previous immigration "reform" proposals have had: It provides a path to legal residency for millions of illegals first, with a promise that eventually the government will secure the border. Does anyone really believe the latter will ever happen?

The nation is in dire need of a comprehensive reform of our immigration laws. By frontloading forgiveness and backloading enforcement, this bill fails to meet that test.