Immigration Bill Limps to the Finish Line with Corker-Hoeven amendment
Phony Amendment Gathers Republican Votes
When the United States Senate closed up shop on Friday for the weekend, it was more than the end of a frantic few days of haphazard legislating designed to save the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill.
It was really the end of months of political posturing disguised as a serious effort to repair a flawed immigration policy. Most of all, it was the rejection of the rule of law as the foundation of a free and prosperous society.
The centerpiece of the week’s frantic activity was an effort to save the bill from outright failure. After rejecting amendment after amendment proposed to assure border security, panic struck the Gang of Eight and their cohorts. They desperately needed a fix to sweep up Republican votes and send a bill to the House with bipartisan support.
At the last minute, out of nowhere came two backbenchers from the Republican ranks – Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota. Operating on the absurd notion that they were acting alone, the two obscure lawmakers magically produced an amendment to save the day.
Everyone knew that the Gang of Eight was calling the shots with the help of the White House. Even the New York Times broke the code and spilled the beans with a report that Obama operatives were working late into the night in a Senate office building to assure that the Corker-Hoeven amendment passed White House muster.
The amendment finally saw the light of day on Friday morning. It calls for 20,000 new border patrol agents along the southern border, 700 miles of border fencing, and a raft of technology gadgets such as drones.
It also calls for improved visa tracking procedures at airports and seaports, but not at land points of entry and exit. A nationwide system of employment verification is included.
The amendment says that these safeguards must be in place before newly legalized immigrants can seek green cards.
That is the catch. Any safeguards can be in place, but not in force. Without enforcement, they are meaningless.
The Gang of Eight bill places enormous discretion in the hands of the Secretary of Homeland Security. It is beyond naïve to assume that Janet Napolitano, acting at the direction of President Obama, will enforce the law. They will use the law to create a groundswell of new Democratic voters.
The losers will be American citizens who will face a flood of unskilled workers. The result will be increased unemployment and depressed wages. A report by the Congressional Budget Office made the point this week, but it was ignored in the rush to advance the reform bill.
All in all, it was a sorry spectacle in the Senate this week. We are told repeatedly that the immigration system is broken. It is broken because the federal government has ignored enforcement of laws already on the books for decades.
Now the Senate presents a legislative bill of goods filled with feel-good rhetoric and more empty promises. The Senate bill is not reform, it is more of the same, only worse.