Gang of Eight Seals the Deal In Senate Judiciary Committee

| May 10 2013
John Walker

Jeff Flake Votes with Democratic Majority

It was only the first day of consideration of the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill, but it was clear from the outset that the fix was in.

The Senate Judiciary Committee convened Thursday to consider amendments to the 867-page reform bill. Most were approved by voice vote. Seven amendments aimed at enforcement were defeated.

Shortly after the Committee session, ranking member Chuck Grassley said he was disappointed that “alliances” seem to have been made to ensure that nothing passed that would make substantial improvements to the bill.

“A number of amendments were adopted which helped make a slightly better bill,” Grassley said. “But without approval of provisions like my amendment to ensure the border is secure before undocumented immigrants are legalized, it’s clear, and the authors have admitted to it, that it’s legalization first and enforcement later.”

One alliance is clear. Republicans Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham voted with the Democratic majority to defeat a number of enforcement amendments. Flake and Graham are also members of the Gang of Eight.

The Judiciary Committee consideration of the reform bill is now a done deal, with most committee members determined to eliminate any provisions that favor security over legalization.

One example was an amendment proposed by Senator Jeff Sessions that called for completion of the double-layered border fence required by a law passed in 2006.

Graham voted for the measure in 2006; Flake supported it in the House. Flake and Graham joined the Democratic majority on the committee to defeat the Sessions amendment.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas offered an amendment to increase the number of Border Patrol agents and the amount of border surveillance equipment as a precondition to legalization. Flake and Graham again joined the majority to defeat the amendment.

Flake, the newest Republican member of the committee, offered two inconsequential amendments that were accepted by voice vote.

The Democratic majority on the Judiciary Committee, with the help of Flake and Graham from the Gang of Eight, are about to pass a reform bill that defies public opinion.

The pollster Scott Rasmussen reported earlier this week that support for immigration reform has fallen slightly as more voters than ever question the willingness of the federal government to control the nation’s borders.

Rasmussen said that 55 percent of likely U.S. voters still favor reforms that would give legal status to those here illegally who have otherwise obeyed the law as long as the government really secures the border to prevent future illegal immigration.

The Gang of Eight should read the polls, a good measure of the opinion of the voters who put them in office. They ignore public opinion at their own peril.

Americans are open to fixing a broken immigration system. Nevertheless, they want reforms that enforce laws already on the books and put border security above legalization for the 11 million illegals already in the country.

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