The Gang of Eight yesterday:

Individuals who are present without lawful status – not including people within the two categories identified below – will only receive a green card after every individual who is already waiting in line for a green card, at the time this legislation is enacted, has received their green card. Our purpose is to ensure that no one who has violated America’s immigration laws will receive preferential treatment as they relate to those individuals who have complied with the law.

Obama today:

We gotta — we gotta lay out a path, a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning English, and then going to the back of the line behind all the folks who are trying to come here legally. That’s only fair. All right.

Where is this back of the line?

Aren’t we dealing with a finite number of Green Cards, so if we put people here in line immediately behind those who have applied, we’re simply putting people who broke the law ahead of future applicants who did not break the law.  And, many of those future applicants are not present applicants only because the limits currently imposed prevented them from applying.

I guess we simply could say we keep the same number of Green Cards for future applicants who did not break our laws, but create additional numbers for those here illegally.  But that still is a preference as applied to people living here illegally by creating new slots for them but not others.

I don’t see the “back of the line” argument as achieving its stated goals of making sure that people who broke the law don’t profit from it.  Maybe that’s okay politically, but then don’t make the argument.

Am I right about this?