Continuing from my two previous pieces called "Immigration Bill Dies: Try ENFORCEMENT" and "Illegal Immigration: ENFORCING OUR LAWS", I have been reading multiple arguments for and against this travesty of a bill that lost its cloture vote in the Senate.
I am going to start with Captain's Quarters because he shows what the normal procedural process is for a bill of this type and how the Senate tried to bypass everything to jam the bill through.
Here's what people have forgotten about legislation. Under normal circumstances, a bill comes to the House or Senate floor, and is sent immediately to a relevant committee. That committee assigns it to a subcommittee, which begins deliberation on the proposal. It gets hearings, readings, debate, and amendments at that level, after which it gets sent back to the committee (if it passes at all) and goes through the same process all over again. If the committee approves it, it then goes to the floor of the Senate for more debate and amendments.
And this is why this bill failed. The coalition members arrogated to themselves the role of both committee and subcommittee, bypassing members who serve on those panels. In the case of a bill this broad, it could have come to a number of different committees, all of whose members vyed for the right to deliberate on these very policies. They had their roles usurped by the coalition, and that made them antagonistic at the start.
There is much more there so go take a look (it will open into a new window).
I do agree that this bill should have gone through the normal procedures, but I do not believe that is the only reason it failed.
It is a flawed plan. Period.
I do understand nothing is perfect and we will not get a "perfect" plan, but there is more wrong with this plan when seen as a whole than there is right with it.
We must look at the whole.
Rasmussen nails it in one shot, the reason this failed is because, in a bipartisan fashion, Americans from both sides of the issues were opposed and even though we are a republic and once we have voted our representatives in we do not have the power to enact laws, we DO have the power to make it clear that those same representatives will not BE elected again if they pass something that so many are so clearly opposed to.
The reality is much simpler and has nothing to do with legislative tactics. The immigration bill failed because a broad cross-section of the American people are opposed to it. Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters are opposed. Men are opposed. So are women. The young don’t like it; neither do the no-longer-young. White Americans are opposed. Americans of color are opposed.
The last Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll found that just 23% of Americans supported the legislation. When a bill has less popular support than the War in Iraq, it deserves to be defeated.
There is no mystery to why the public opposed the bill. In the minds of most Americans, immigration means reducing illegal immigration and enforcing the border. Only 16% believed the Senate bill would accomplish that goal.
Basically the Senate is getting a vote of NO CONFIDENCE from the American people.
For Congress it is even worse, via Rasmussen:
After ignoring the main point that voters were hoping to address, Senators should not have been shocked at the public reaction. But they were.
With all the polling data in the world today, how could they have failed to see this coming? While Rasmussen Reports was the only public polling firm to directly ask about support or opposition to the Senate bill, other polling data such as a recent CBS News/New York Times survey provided plenty of warning signs. Besides, the nation’s politicians purchase plenty of private polling data that should have given them a hint.
We live in a world where most Americans believe that most Members of Congress will sell their vote for cash or a campaign contribution. Only 16% believe the legislators’ votes are not for sale. By a nearly 5-to-1 margin, voters believe that Members of Congress are more interested in their own careers and agenda rather than the public good.
In that environment, the only way for political leaders to prove they are serious about enforcing the border and reducing illegal immigration will be to do it. That’s the next logical step in the immigration debate.
When Congress can be bought and sold for a contribution, the American people see it and Congress loses the little trust they enjoyed to begin with.
The last paragraph of the Rasmussen piece says it all:
The United States is a nation of immigrants. It is also a nation of laws. Voters want to honor both aspects of the national heritage. And, like good parents trying to instill values in their children, voters want their elected representatives to do the same.
This brings me to my next point, enforcing the laws we already have on the books and the Senates inability to show the American people that they are serious about enforcing our nations laws.
Hat tip to QandO and Michelle Malkin, we see that an amendment asking for nothing BUT the enforcement of the laws already on the books before anything new, in this latest bill gets enacted, was defeated.
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)).
So, not only are they not willing to enforce our existing laws, but they actually voted AGAINST enforcing our laws, while at the same time, trying to shove this new "grand bargain" down our throats.
How stupid our politicians must be to think that we wouldn't notice something this obvious.
As QandO so elequently puts it:
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.
I couldn't have said it better myself.
Stanley Kurtz from NRO is going to make himself crazy trying to figure out the motivation of the politicians that are trying to get this travesty of a bill passed:
Trying to game out what’s going on with the immigration bill is a difficult and frustrating business. I’ve been asking some folks who might be in a position to know, and no-one seems to understand the inside motivations of the key players with any certainty. Harry Reid seems to want the bill to fail. Is that because he hopes to damage Bush? Bush is already pretty damaged. Why not take the electoral potential of a bill like this–all those new Hispanic voters? But are Hispanics actually so upset about the family reunification provisions that they’d rather wait for a better bill under a Democratic congress? Some Dems seem to oppose the bill as not liberal enough, and Reid may actually be one of them. Those Dems may want to run on immigration, and would like the bill to fail so they can.
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?
A good analogy here would be, how can you understand the mind of a murderer if you are not a murderer... well, the same applies to these politicians, you cannot understand their motivations unless you are fully privvy to their backroom deals that lead them to make such assinine decisions.
So, the Senate will try to kick start the bill again and they will end up with the same results until they acknowledge that they must enforce the laws we already have before anyone will trust them to create a new set of laws regarding immigration.
Which brings me to the question I have seen in my comments and a site that asks the same question....
WHERES THE FENCE?
Last year, Congress and the President promised 700 miles of fence. Now, with almost no progress on the fence, they are pushing ahead with amnesty. Let’s face it -- we’ve been conned and it’s time for Americans to shout: “Where’s The Fence?”™
Grassfire.org has developed a media and grassroots campaign around these three powerful words -- “Where’s The Fence?”™ Through breakthrough TV spots, radio, Internet and grassroots efforts we will reach millions and expose the Bush-Congress amnesty con game.
(Watch the video at that link)
Bottomline is this: If Senate and Congress want us to trust them to enforce the laws of our country, then they need to actually start ENFORCING THE DAMN LAWS ON THE BOOKS.
Then worry about creating new laws.
Hugh Hewitt has more thoughts about the fence:
This essential nexus between the border fence and immigration reform is so crucial that I find myself amazed by the proponents of immigration reform who don't seem to get it. The fence is the visibile expression of the invisible resolve --loudly proclaimed but hardly manifest anywhere-- to actually enforce the immigrations laws present and future. Because so little has been done in the past, even proponents of regularization of most of the illegals in the country are demanding the actual cosntruction of the fence as a down payment on the security guarantees being offered by the Administration and senators backing the big bill.
YUP.... so why are our politicians acting so surprised at the outrage the American people are showing?
My last point in this post is to show you how UNserious we are about enforcing our existing laws.
We have border patrol agents that do their job, enforce the laws and get thrown in jail for it, while drug smugglers coming and going across our borders ILLEGALLY are set free.
Agents Ramos and Compean have been sentenced to 11 and 12 years respectively for shooting in the buttocks a fleeing Mexican drug smuggler, who in the early afternoon on February 17, 2005 escaped running on foot into Mexico, after eluding hot pursuit by several Border Patrol agents and abandoning on a dirt road his van containing 743 pounds of marijuana.
Unbelievable as the case may seem, prosecutor U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton in El Paso decided to give the drug smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, immunity to testify, concluding that the “bad guys” in this case that he could convict were the Border Patrol, not the drug smuggler.
Remarkably, the drug smuggler has retained legal counsel in the United States and sued the Border Patrol for $5 million for violating his civil rights. Somehow, even illegal alien drug dealers have constitutional rights while they are in the United States. What will be Aldrete-Davila’s proof that his civil rights were violated? Incredibly, the backbone of his case will be that Ramos and Compean were convicted for shooting him and are today in federal prison.
Talk about moving backwards..... jeeeeez
Gateway Pundit has a few visually accurate pictures about how we feel about the news laws without enforcing the old ones.
More thoughts from an editorial at NRO called "Out of the shadows", speaking to the American people that came out of the shadows and made our voices heard, loud and clear.
Leaders of both parties had agreed on an immigration plan, and everyone they knew was on board. They seemed confident that they could marginalize their opponents, caricaturing them as bigots and silencing them in Congress. So what happened?
What happened is that the American people came out of the shadows. Their opposition to the Senate’s grand compromise, amplified and given voice by talk radio and other dissenting media voices, were enough to carry the day.
The result is not a failure of bipartisanship but a triumph of it. In a procedural vote last night, members of both parties objected to the backroom deal-making and dealt what we hope will be the fatal blow to “comprehensive immigration reform.”
This is what I said yesterday, this wasn't a failure of bipartisanship, this is a victory for it.
Dan Balz, in a Wapo piece seems to be whining that both sides of the aisle did not come together to pass this idiocy, well I disagree strongly, 11 democrats crossed the aisle to oppose cloture, I think they DID work in a bipartisan manner to defeat a bill that never should have been brought up for a vote to begin with.
We opposed, objected to and made our voices heard, in a bipartisan manner.
We will continue to do so until the administration, the senate and congress start realizing that what we want is for them to start ENFORCING THE LAWS we already have.