Just Darts Since 2009
Amendments to the immigration bill
June 28, 2007Posted by on
If you’d like to check out the proposed amendments, they’re here.
I can’t be bothered to read them closely, for the simple reason that I have no confidence that any proposal to tighten the borders will be enforced if it happens to pass.
Mark Krikorian at National Review’s the Corner feels the same way:
Some of the [White House’s] fact sheet’s claims are so disingenuous as to be amusing. It says that if the amnesty bill passes, the employer fines for hiring illegals will go up. Well, that’s great, except that this administration has all but stopped fining employers, so who cares what the size of the never-issued fines are? It also says that under the Senate bill, the punishment for illegals caught re-entering the country would be more severe; again, that’s just peachy, except that U.S. Attorney offices seldom prosecute people even for the felony of re-entry after deportation — what difference would stiffer penalties make when no one is prosecuted?
I actually feel sorry for the folks at the White House press office for having to put out this sort of drivel.
Stanley Kurtz (also at the Corner) has this to say:
Something about this immigration battle doesn’t sit well. For all the bitterness of our political battles, there’s at least the sense that the government responds to the drift of public opinion. The Republicans in Congress turned into big spenders and the war in Iraq went poorly. As a result the Democrats prospered in 2006, if narrowly. That’s how democracy works.
Somehow this immigration battle feels different. The bill is wildly unpopular, yet it’s close to passing.
I’m still stuck on the way this bill was going to be pushed through without a public airing of crucial provisions, in the two or three days before Memorial Day recess. But I should be stuck even further back–on the way this bill was cooked up in a backroom deal that bypassed the ordinary process of public hearings. We take them for granted, but those civics textbook fundamentals are there for a reason. We’re going to pay a steep price for setting the fundamentals aside.
Supporters of this bill sell it as a compromise that will heal America’s divisions. I fear it’s quite the reverse. This bill is infuriating the public and undermining faith in government itself. You can see it in the polling on confidence in Congress and the President. If this bill passes, it’s going to aggravate and embitter politics for years to come. Passing a measure over such overwhelming opposition is like slapping the public in the face.
You can’t solve an argument by imposing a “compromise” on parties who don’t actually view it as a compromise. You can’t heal social divisions by forcing your version of a “solution” down the public’s throats. Real healing comes only when two sides reach what they themselves consider a valid compromise, or when one side wins the argument by persuading a clear majority of the validity of its case. Democracy does work, but first the Senate has got to give it a try.
The argument–put forth by the Wall Street Journal, among others–that passing this immigration bill will allow our country to “get past” the divisive issue of illegal immigration reminds me of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision. Yeah, taking social policy out of the hands of the voters really ended that debate, huh?
The President and the Senate are also emulating the European Union in their push to pass their constitution. The voters keep rejecting the damn thing, and the politicians keep acting as if that’s a mere detail, of no real consequence.
The Corner (third time’s the charm!) also quotes Senator John Cornyn of Texas on the bill. He addresses the fact that it is absolutely impossible for the federal government to enforce the bill as it’s written. Read it if you have the chance. And the stomach.