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Some more reasons to hope the immigration bill is really dead
Posted by: Billy Hollis on Saturday, June 09, 2007

Following up on McQ's post earlier today on the immigration bill, here are a few other notes of interest. For those who are not sick of the whole thing, read on.
This post by Stanley Kurtz at the Corner makes a good point:
Why do some Republicans support this bill? Agribusiness interests in their state? Conviction? Desire to get a polarizing issue out of the way? I’ve heard all sorts of motives, and I’ve also heard claims that many of the key players on both sides have been just plain stupid. Is Kyl playing a crafty game, or was he simply snookered by Kennedy–and so now forced to go through the motions, while letting the bill down gradually? Is Reid a wily underground opponent of the bill, or did he rush a vote because he actually believed that would force Republicans to say yes?

I’m not convinced that anyone, other than the players themselves, understands the motivations here–and even the players own motives and calculations may be confused and shifting. The press is reduced to guess-work, and in any case an intense pro-immigration bias colors all their reports. In short, trying to game out what’s really going on is a confusing morass, and folks who think they know probably don’t.
Watching this drama unfold, I've also been confused about motivations. They seem to be all over the map, and some of them just don't make sense.

Bush seems to be working from gut-feel emotion on this one, so expecting rationality from him on this bill is probably pointless. No doubt some Democrats, and maybe some Republicans, are similarly emotionally driven to help those "people in the shadows" (every one of whom chose to be there, remember).

But that doesn't explain the morass of confusion around this bill and what it really means, or the petty villification of the bill's opponents by its backers.

All in all, this has been the weirdest political issue I've seen in a long time. The WSJ lines up with the NYT and Washington Post on it (though for different reasons), while the blogosphere and talk radio form the core of the opposition. There are attempts to get a vote on an 800 page bill before the final form is even printed and delivered. Obvious measures of law enforcement are tied to procedures to grant some form of amnesty, even though those two topics are not logically dependent on each other, and even though a version of the amnesty approach has already failed once.

The irrationality of the whole thing may be best summed up by Tom Coburn's proposed amendment (which was defeated):
(2) EXISTING LAW.—The following provisions of existing law shall be fully implemented, as previously directed by the Congress, prior to the certification set forth in paragraph (1):

(A) The Department has achieved and maintained operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States as required under the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-367)

(B) The total miles of fence required under such Act have been constructed.

(C) All databases maintained by the Department which contain information on aliens shall be fully integrated as required by section 202 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 (8 U.S.C. 1722).

(D) The Department shall have implemented a system to record the departure of every alien departing the United States and of matching records of departure with the records of arrivals in the United States through the US-VISIT program as required by section 110 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1221 note).

(E) The provision of law that prevents States and localities from adopting ``sanctuary'' policies or that prevents State and local employees from communicating with the Department are fully enforced as required by section 642 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1373).

(F) The Department employs fully operational equipment at each port of entry and uses such equipment in a manner that allows unique biometric identifiers to be compared and visas, travel documents, passports, and other documents authenticated in accordance with section 303 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 (8 U.S.C. 1732).

(G) An alien with a border crossing card is prevented from entering the United States until the biometric identifier on the border crossing card is matched against the alien as required by section 101(a)(6) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(6)).

(H) Any alien who is likely to become a public charge is denied entry into the United States pursuant to section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(4)).

When you (1) have to offer an amendment pointing out all the relevant laws that are already on the books and not being enforced, and (2) see that amendment defeated, then it's clear that any blather about enforcement provisions in the bill were somewhere between wishful thinking and cynical posturing. I also consider that another indicator of the emotional nature of the support for the bill.

If it's really dead, good riddance. But I suspect that it's not. The emotional attachment to the bill on the part of its supporters is too high.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I sincerely hope that readers don’t become "sick of the whole thing". More postings and articles that highlight the ridiculous contradictions and illogic of this bill and its proponents serve to equip challengers with a more formidible argument when debating the issue. Keep ’em coming!
Written By: JDubya
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Very good point about Coburn’s defeated amendment.
Written By: Bob Agard
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