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A deeper look at Senate’s border security legislation

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Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013 12:17 pm

When the Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, 68-32, the successful vote set off loud rounds of self-congratulatory backslapping among the Gang of 8, the various big business lobbies, the Chamber of Commerce and immigration lawyers. The White House, which had veto power over the bill’s language, chimed in too.

Look more deeply into the vote, however, and some interesting facts emerge that should take the wind out of the victors’ sails, especially as S. 744 heads to the staunchly opposed House.

Since 2006, the Senate has cast more or less 60 votes for amnesty in all the bills put before it. Last month’s  vote gave no indication that Senate enthusiasm for a wide reaching amnesty is greater than it traditionally is. Two of the Gang’s original goals failed: 1) to reach 70 total votes and 2) to get at least half of the Republicans to sign on. The first objective came up two short. As for the second, only 14 of 45 Republicans voted “yea,” a much lower share than in either 1986 during the disastrous Immigration Reform and Control Act or in 2006 for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act.

During the two months that the Gang wrote S.744 with plenty of help from immigration activists and the two additional months since the bill dropped in mid-April, a relative calm has settle over previously panicked Republicans. After the November presidential election, President Obama’s large Hispanic vote share paralyzed Republicans with fear and led them to irrationally conclude that they need greater Latino outreach. But reams of post-election analysis found that even if Mitt Romney had won 70 percent of the Hispanic vote, he still would have lost the election. Low white voter turnout coupled a record high number of black voters made Obama an easy winner.

Electoral college reality has set in. And since no one knows who the 2016 candidates will be, sanity has been restored among congressional Republicans about how far they should push their opposed-to-amnesty base to play for Democratic votes they’ll never get.

As for the Republicans who turned coat, their Senate careers may be end when their terms do. Gang Republicans Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake skipped the celebratory photo ops, realizing that front page images of them hugging Gang liberals Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin might kill their reelection chances.

Through the Internet’s power, previous staunch anti-amnesty campaign pledges “yea” voting Republican senators made will live on. Here’s a sampling. Flake: amnesty is “a dead end,”; Orrin Hatch: “We can no longer grant amnesty,”; Rubio: “I would vote against anything that has amnesty in it,” McCain: “I’ll build the dang fence,” Kelly Ayotte: “I don’t support amnesty; it’s wrong.” Little wonder Americans feel that Washington has abandoned them.

The next time they hit the stump, Hatch will be 86 and have served in the Senate for 40 years; McCain, 80 with a 30-year congressional career. Rubio’s polling has droppedprecipitously since he assumed spokesman status for the Gang’s Republicans. Breaking promises is bad business for duplicitous politicians, young or old.
The House watched the public take the Senate to the woodshed over the unpopular immigration bill. On July 10, we’ll have an idea how much attention the House has been paying to the outpouring of disgust. The House Republican Conference will meet in the Capitol basement to figure out what to do with the Senate-passed bill. Lawmakers will have just returned from a week in their districts, hearing constituents’ feedback. House leadership expects most members will want to do the right thing and stop S. 744 dead in its tracks.
Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. Contact him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com

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  • Joanne Bobin posted at 12:17 pm on Mon, Jul 8, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Joe Guzzardi wrote: "The House watched the public take the Senate to the woodshed over the unpopular immigration bill."

    According to a Pew poll:

    "The recent poll by Pew shows that Americans are fairly divided on when legalization should happen, which helps explain the partisan divide in Congress.

    You can see the split over the issue among Republican voters, too. Roughly two thirds of Tea Party Republicans think border security should come before legalization.

    Meanwhile, non-Tea Party Republicans are split on the idea, 47 percent to 47 percent."

    Hardly the majority of the "public taking the Senate to the woodshed," and more like a whole bunch of Republicans favoring legalization - even among TEA Partiers.

    The REAL reason Senate Republicans should be taken to the woodshed:

    "To gain conservative support, the "Gang of Eight" that drafted the bill made a deal with two Republican senators to add more security on the U.S.-Mexico border. The deal would double the size of Border Patrol, increasing its staff from 21,394 agents last year to 40,000."

    "The extra border agents alone would add $30 billion to the cost of the immigration bill. After that, the bill would mandate at least $12.5 billion to build a border fence and create a border security plan, with the possibility for more spending if certain benchmarks aren't met down the road."

    "We don't currently have a reliable way to measure unauthorized border crossings. But Pew research has shown that the flow of immigrants from Mexico fell to net zero in recent years. And the number of people caught at the border dropped to 40-year lows despite a dramatic increase in the number of Border Patrol agents.

    So there are strong indications that there's less illegal immigration now than a decade ago."

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 8:35 am on Sat, Jul 6, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    I find it interesting that, after decades of bitching and moaning about immigrants (legal or illegal), Joe Guzzardi has never offered one single solution to the problem of the existing 11 million or so illegals living in this country.

    Does he want them all deported? Under President Obama, 1.5 million illegals have already been deported, more than under any previous administration. But Joe Guzzardi has written multiple columns claiming that the president has done nothing, that he caters to illegals for votes, and that he has allowed criminal aliens to be released from prison.

    The current Senate bill does not allow for "amnesty" as Guzzardi claims - not amnesty a la Ronald Reagan's 1986 reform. Illegals will have to wait TEN YEARS in order to obtain a green card. Meanwhile, they will be required to pay all of their SS and Medicare taxes, but cannot use either of those services. They must wait an additional 3 years before they can apply for citizenship.

    As for "back-slapping," the loudest could be heard from the GOP who managed to have barrels of pork inserted into the bill for border security and demanded that certain manufacturers of helicopters and other military supplies be actually NAMED in the bill.

    Sound familiar? If you were paying attention at the beginning days of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush Administration was awarding "no-bid" contracts to military suppliers such as Halliburton for supplies, food service, security, etc. Much of that money somehow "disappeared" along the way and people like VP Dick Cheney and his cronies made a fortune.

    Those like Guzzardi who can only offer complaints and criticism are NOT part of the solution - they are part of the PROBLEM.


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