Friday, April 07, 2006
Immigration Bill - Its Dead, Jim
After much fanfare, pomp, and manufactured circumstance yesterday in the Senate in which Senators Frist, Specter, and Dusty Harry claimed victory, Immigration Reform - Senate Style - came to a dead end today.
Efforts to revive the bill resulted in a ghostly voice reminiscent of Star Trek's Dr. McCoy whispering "It's dead, Jim."
The cause of this bill's demise seem to center on the inability of the Senate to protect the bill from amendments which would weaken, change, or possibly strengthen the measure.
For some odd reason, I can't even manage to conjure up crocodile tears to shed. After doing some research on the Senate bill, I've come to the conclusion no bill is better than a bad bill. Over the past 20 years, some 7 different "Immigration Reform" (read "Amnesty") laws have been passed, implemented, extended, and re-extended. From Michelle:
Â·The 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act blanket amnesty for an estimated 2.7 million illegal aliens[Author's note - Michelle has good sources to cite, but her tone on this issue is a little shrill, even for me]
Â·1994: The "Section 245(i)" temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens
Â·1997: Extension of the Section 245(i) amnesty
Â·1997: The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act for nearly one million illegal aliens from Central America
Â·1998: The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti
Â·2000: Extension of amnesty for some 400,000 illegal aliens who claimed eligibility under the 1986 act
Â·2000: The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act, which included a restoration of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty for 900,000 illegal aliens]
These laws, and the various extensions and modifications thereof, have broken new ground in the areas of ineffective and unenforced border security and immigration policy. The message sent to illegal immigrants is "if you can get across the border and stay here long enough, you'll be legal."
Having read the various positions floating around the MSM and the Blogosphere, I think the best reasoned position is that taken by The Blogfather, Charles Krauthammer, Hedgehog, and various others. Blogfather Hugh call it the "Fences and Carrots Coalition". It's a solution I can live with.
I'm somewhat familiar with legislation, policies, and proclamations which in the end are - to paraphrase the Bard - full of sound and fury but in the end signify a little less than nothing at all. This is fine if its a resolution recognizing the contribution of Hawaii's sugar plantations to the tooth decay of this nation. Its not fine when it has to do with issues concerning border security and illegal immigration.
I hate to shock my readers, but I actually agree with Senate Minority Leader Dusty Harry (D-Luxor Casino). Ok, full disclosure, I agree with the Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993 proposed by then Congressman Dusty Harry. What a difference a decade plus three years makes.
So now its back to the drawing board in the Senate. I hope the second act will be more effective than the first.
Here endeth the lesson.