Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 28, 2007

STICK A FORK IN IT....A couple of weeks ago, a confident president said his immigration package was going to pass. "I'll see you at the bill signing," Bush said. So much for that idea.

The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush's plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

The bill's supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

Senators in both parties said the issue is so volatile that Congress is highly unlikely to revisit it this fall or next year, when the presidential election will increasingly dominate American politics.

Sure, we thought the bill was dead earlier this month, and it came back for a second round, but this time it's really dead. The AP's "drove a stake" metaphor is telling.

The roll call on the key vote is online. The 46 votes to allow the bill to proceed were made up of 33 Dems, 12 Republicans, and Joe Lieberman. The 53 votes to block the bill included 37 Republicans, 15 Dems, and Bernie Sanders. Before David Broder blames Dems for the bill's failure, let's keep in mind that nearly 70% of the Senate Democratic caucus backed the legislation this morning, whereas 75% of the Senate GOP caucus voted to block the bill.

As for the winners and losers, the president couldn't rally support from Republicans, a failure which ultimately did the legislation in. Immigration reform is the one major, sweeping policy area in which the White House and congressional Democratic leaders were at least near the same page. With this legislation falling apart, Bush appears to have lost his only shot at scoring a major legislative victory in the 110th Congress.

As for conservative critics of the status quo, I'm sure they're greatly relieved by today's "success," but they may ultimately regret it. First, a hard-line conservative bill won't magically replace the legislation they just killed. Second, as Kevin recently noted, their prospects for the future aren't encouraging: "[W]hen do they think they're going to get another crack at this? It's going to be years, and at this point it looks to me like the political environment in the future is more likely to be more liberal than it is to be more conservative. My guess is that the hardliners aren't going to get a better deal in 2010 than the one they voted down."

Steve Benen 12:32 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

You have it exactly right; the DC press corpse will wail with much gnashing of teeth that bipartisanship is dead and that this is one big fat loss for the Dem congress. But one look at the final score shows that the Dems voted for this bill, in a bipartisan agreement with the Prez, and the GOP killed it by sticking a stake in it's heart. Even Mitch McConnell, GOP Senate leader, voted to kill this bill.

This bill died because of the GOP and the GOP alone.

Posted by: CKT on June 28, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever happened to all that Political Capital Bush bragged about after the election? Guess he couldn't get Poppy to bail him out like with all his other investments.

Posted by: tomeck on June 28, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

This bill died because democracy worked.

This bill died because the voice of the American people was heard over the twitterings of the pundits, the futile attempts of the elite media to define a 'mainstream consensus', and the machinations of the oligarchs. This bill died because the American worker and taxpayer refused to be shafted so cheap labor business interests could bring back the sweatshop and the company store, so the left could have an new voting base, or so unions could pad their rolls while sabotaging the bargaining power of the American worker by glutting their labor market.

What the American people want is clear. Border enforcement. This is something that the American people will demand of their next president (so the Democrats can most definitely lose next year). Establishing the rule of law is a public good. Legalization and cheap labor are selfish private interests and it has been obvious that to the 'comprehensivisers', selfish private interests were more important than the public good.

Posted by: Charles Warren on June 28, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

This failure means that President Bush will not have much of a legacy. First term tax cuts and that's about it.

Posted by: corpus juris on June 28, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Now that this bill is out of the way, and the White House is stonewalling on subpoenas, maybe the Congress could move on to the impeachment process already? Let's start with Dick. Even David Broder has decided he was a mistake.

Meanwhile, perhaps we can get an avian orthopedist for Mr. Bush. If he wasn't a lame duck already, he certainly is proven to be now.

Posted by: biggerbox on June 28, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Bush already has a legacy in Iraq. That's not much either.

Posted by: David W. on June 28, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

George and Laura should just start going from room to room and turn out the lights.

Posted by: steve duncan on June 28, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, I don't mean to say that I think this bill was a good bill. I skeptical of any olive branch Bush holds out to Dems. But the media, led by Broder, will ignore the fact that the GOP and the GOP alone killed this bill. They will not even blame Bush. Instead, they will "blame" the Dems for the death of this bill, even though the Dems delivered. Just watch.

Posted by: CKT on June 28, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

The hardliners don't want a deal. I think that's pretty much the story.

The gamble is that the next President is going to have a bunch of other priorities and will be afraid of touching immigration in any big way. We will be stuck with the status quo until the pro-immigration businesses -- construction, farming, some service industries -- ditch the GOP wholesale. With dems likely to push UHC, I doubt that will happen.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot on June 28, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

This was a horrible bill. I don't see why everyone was worried about it not passing. Be glad it died.

This country should be acting on behalf of its citizens. It may not in the best interests of its citizens to open the borders, but neither is it in their interest to undermine their labor markets with a legal supply of cheap, desperate labor- i.e. guest workers- that has the nice side effect of creating an underprivileged caste to go nicely with our have and have not castes in a new caste system. Unlike our other two castes, separated by de facto boundaries of wealth or privilege, this caste would be separated from the others by the force of law. Legally these people would get some new goofy status and would not be defined as citizens. So ironically, in a de facto sense we would be creating a new class of citizens to which would accrue none of the benefits of citizenship. Great plan, guys.

This is how a caste system forms. An illegitimate population forms near some sort of border or wall or barrier, creating problems for the existing entrenched population with access to the legislative process, until the situation becomes so untenable with illegals everywhere that the law has to accomodate them. But as part of the bargain they are often incorporated into the legal structure as some sort of officially underprivileged class. That's what this bill was going to do.

This process has happened many times in history and it has created caste systems all around the world. You see it happening today with squatter cities in African national parks, or at borders of countries, and you'd see it with the guest worker provision in this bill. The status quo probably serves our interests better. As for the immigrants themselves this bill was at best a wash.

It was a toxic mix of noble intentions for humanity and corrupt maneuvering by a few, written for corporate farms, plantation owners, and crooked contractors. Bush was pushing it for a reason, you know.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on June 28, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't the children of illegal immigrants born on U.S. soil granted citizenship? If so, come 2027 the Republican party will be the new version of the Whigs, thanks to this generation's know-nothings (and how appropriate a phrase is that?).

Posted by: Vincent on June 28, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Yes it seems George didn't have enough political capital to ensure that this would be hereditary which would provide his political donors with cheap labor for generations to come. This would be more like indentured servitude.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on June 28, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Steve has this exactly right. Those of us who support the orderly legalization of illegal workers and increased immigration levels as a solution to the ills of illegal immigration have nothing to be very upset about. Frankly, this was not a great bill; in fact, the guest worker provisions were pretty bad.

Millions of Latinos now know which party has their best interests at heart. Democrat election gains seem likely, and then we can re-visit the subject.

Posted by: LaurenceB on June 28, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

This is poetic justice: The right establishment built up the talk-radio hordes to beat down liberalism and true populism, and now they are turning on their old masters to bite them in the ass. This is great, especially since I don't like the immigration bill anyway (progressives - it isn't really in the public interest ....)

Posted by: Neil B. on June 28, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

MillionthMonkey

Nobody thinks his was a great bill, but what do you propose we do with the 12 million people here illegally?

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 28, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Ridiculous that the "revival" of the damn bill got as much coverage as it did. Even if it got out of the Senate, it was never going through the House.

Posted by: ambivalentmaybe on June 28, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I was willing, in the spirit of compromise, to go along with the guest worker provision even though my ideal immigration reform would simply have made it easier for unskilled workers in neighboring countries to become citizens.

But the stupid "touchback" amendment would have been the tipping point for me--needlessly punitive, defeating the whole purpose of immigration reform, which was to bring the millions of undocumented workers out of the shadows.

You'll hear a lot of crowing today from Kaus/Malkin corner, but I can't say I'm real torn up about the bill failing. Of course it's Bush's last stab at relevance, so that's a consolation as well.

Posted by: kth on June 28, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Pass a bill without guest worker shit once Bush is no longer president and the Senate and Congress have shed more Republicans.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on June 28, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

A "better deal in 2010"? Try 2013. If then.

Posted by: penalcolony on June 28, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, I just wanted to thank you for the simple courtesy of not lumping Sanders and Lieberman in with the Dems, as almost everyone else does.

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody thinks his was a great bill, but what do you propose we do with the 12 million people here illegally?

Deportation through attrition. Set up serious enforcement procedures for hiring, and secure the border. Once we see that the inflow has been seriously reduced, THEN we should talk about legalizing the remainder. That way we're not going to have to worry about yet another 12 million (or more) showing up and asking for yet another amnesty.

Everyone in the senate (almost) agrees on a number of enforcement provisions. Well, fine, pass those, and let's see some results.

As it is with the bill, those saying it's as good a deal as conservatives can hope for don't know what they're talking about. They haven't read all the particulars in the bill, and neither have the senators voting on it for that matter. The whole hearings process was short-circuited to push through a crucial bill whose contents are largely a mystery. That's why about 1/3 of the Democratic caucus wound up defecting.

Posted by: Derek Copold on June 28, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Rhythmwize: Nobody thinks his was a great bill, but what do you propose we do with the 12 million people here illegally?

Reagan signed an amnesty for around 4 million illegal immigrants. Now there are 12 million. If this current amnesty had passed, in a few years we might have 36 million illegal immigrants.

In the opinion of many (including myself), first we should implement effective measures that reduce the flow of illegal immigrants to a trickle. Once we effectvely control our borders, then we should consider some sort of amnesty.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 28, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Is there anyone more worthless than Bernie Sanders?

Posted by: egbert on June 28, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Brenen "Before David Broder blames Dems for the bill's failure, let's keep in mind that nearly 70% of the Senate Democratic caucus backed the legislation this morning, whereas 75% of the Senate GOP caucus voted to block the bill."

"Facts are stupid things." -- President Ronald Reagan

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 28, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is probably dead wrong about everything he wrote.


1.) Webb and McClintock are 2 amongst the several Democrats who voted against this bill.

The wave of Democratic victories in 2006 was in large part supported by the Webbs of the world, i.e. conservative Democrats ("conservative" in the sense that they are at least hesitant about voting for bills that will fundamentally revolutionize the American polity without debate). They appealed to Republican-leaning moderates who were disgusted with the Rep. party. There is no reason to think that future Democratic Majorities will be irredeemably Left-Wing.

2.) There are very few bills that could possibly be worse than the bill that was just discarded by Congress, which was, in effect, an instant amnesty, an invitation for unlimited future illegal immigration, and a slave-labor program, combined with duplicitous empty promises of future enforcement.

3.) This bill was largely the result of George W. Bush's obsession with the Union of the U.S. and Mexico, probably spurred by the various royal marriages in his family with Mexican tycoons. Without Bush at the helm, the Democrats will probably be sensible enough to simply let things remain as they are, allowing foreigners to stampede into the country to illegally vote for Democrats.

4.) There may even be a Republican backlash against amnesty Republicans, (look for the excerable Lyndsay Graham to have a tough time in his next election) perhaps resulting in their replacement by enforcement Republicans, who might introduce real enforcement measures and dare Democrats to vote it down.

There are many potential developments, both ways, that could occur. The fact that Bush destroyed the Republican Party is forming a significant political paradigm shift. We can only stay tuned.

Posted by: BC on June 28, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Corpus Juris said:

"This failure means that President Bush will not have much of a legacy. First term tax cuts and that's about it.

--> Like David W., I disagree, CJ. Mr. Bush has a firmly-established legacy. 1) How about rolling back habeas corpus for starters, for a bit of nostalgia for 15th-Century practices like holding persons indefinitely without bothering to charge them, like before the Magna Charta.
2) His legacy of politicizing the Department of Justice, turning the Civil Rights Division in particular into a haven of theocracy; 3) Of secrecy in government, 4) Of earmarks and political corruption on a truly historic scale, 5) Of incompetence in governing (as in de-funding Gulf Coast/New Orleans levee maintenance which had continued without break under every recent president) giving us global black eyes like Katrina; 6) Of tax breaks and re-distribution of wealth leading to greater polarization and economic inequality in our society. 7) His legacy of destroyed global goodwill for the U.S. from our unprovoked and unprecedented invasion of Iraq based on distortions and outright mendacity, and, 8) His legacy of MASSIVE AND CONTINUING BUDGET DEFICITS in a calculated attempt to "starve the beast" to squeeze out successful, self-sustaining, popular and benevolent programs like MediCare and Social Security retirement/disability, will be with us, to our continuing shame and detriment,
for decades and decades after Bush and Cheney have mercifully passed from the stage, like a bad movie.

Posted by: shystr on June 28, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is probably dead wrong about everything he wrote.

So says someone who cannot even figure out who is writing what.

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody thinks his was a great bill, but what do you propose we do with the 12 million people here illegally?

Grant them citizenship and then move them to Red states.

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

As Kevin recently wrote"[W]hen do they think they're going to get another crack at this? It's going to be years, and at this point it looks to me like the political environment in the future is more likely to be more liberal than it is to be more conservative. My guess is that the hardliners aren't going to get a better deal in 2010 than the one they voted down."

When will this idiot stop wasting my time? The 2 minutes it took me to correct him could have otherwise been spent productively.


—Steve Benen 12:32 PM Permalink | Trackbacks |

Posted by: BC on June 28, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is probably dead wrong about everything he wrote.

Now see, I stopped reading right there because these are the first three words at the top of the post: Guest: Steve Benen

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 28, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Blue Girl,

Look at the bottom of the article where the relevant quote was situated.

As Kevin recently wrote"[W]hen do they think they're going to get another crack at this? It's going to be years, and at this point it looks to me like the political environment in the future is more likely to be more liberal than it is to be more conservative. My guess is that the hardliners aren't going to get a better deal in 2010 than the one they voted down."

Please be more careful next time.

Posted by: BC on June 28, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Corpus Juris, Bush will have a considerable legacy (not all of it good, IMHO)

1. Ending the recession and having prosperity and economic growth throughout his term (so far, at least)

2. Signing Campaign Finance Reform

3. Adding prescription drug coverage to Medicare.

4. Defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan

5. Getting democracy in Afghanistan (if it holds).

6. Defeating Saddam.

7. Installing democracy in Iraq (if it holds).

8. Making the fight against Islamic extremism a war, rather than a criminal matter.

9. No major terrorist attack against the US since 9/11. (We take this for granted now, but if there are several such attacks under the next President, we will retroactively give Bush credit.)

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 28, 2007 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Nice try BC, but your comments are directed at several of Steve's points, only one of which was illustrated by the quote from Kevin. Really, you're out of your depth here. You're going to have to do better than that.

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

A lot of your points are false or iffy, but I'll let others deal with those. Number 9 is false, because the anthrax attacks (with weapons grade spores in some cases) were certainly "terrorist attacks". They still haven't been solved. Interestingly, Democrats took the brunt of the DC anthrax mailings ...

Posted by: Neil B. on June 28, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm so happy we have a war and not a criminal matter now. Things are just so much cooler and safer.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on June 28, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal sez:

The Bush legacy includes: "9. No major terrorist attack against the US since 9/11..."

How about avoiding major terrorist attacks BEFORE 9/11, XL???

Here's historic reality:

1) Clinton legacy: Learns from 1993 World Trade Center attacks, and attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa and on U.S.S. Cole;

Consequently, Clinton administration places high priority on anti-terror activities, and successfully stifles huge and coordinated classic Al Qaeda simultaneous attempts to attack both U.S. east and west coasts in Millennium plot, December, 1999.

2) Bush legacy: Ignores warning from outgoing Clinton administration about Al Qaeda threat;

V.P. Cheney insists on chairing the President's Anti-Terror task force -- they meet exactly zero times between Jan. 20, 2001 and Sept. 11, 2001.

Bush administration focuses pre-9-11 on missile defense shield (huge defense spending boondoggle) as centerpiece of its homeland defense policy.

Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice (then-National Security adviser) ignore explicit warning that "Bin Laden determined to strike within U.S." during late summer, 2001.

Mr. Bush dismisses CIA staffer who briefs him about Al Qaeda threat at his ranch in Crawford, Texas in late summer, 2001, saying: "Okay, you've covered your ass, now."

That IS quite a legacy.

Posted by: shystr on June 28, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

This was a lousy bill crafted by people unserious about actually addressing problems, so I applaud it's defeat, and I write this as someone who thinks the country could benefit from more immigration, not less.

However, the political reality is that reform will have to start with firm control of the borders, and firm enforcement of employment laws. The border leaks like a sieve, and employment enforcement is very lax, and these flaws are extremely politically unpopular with both Democrats and Republican voters. This is why the bill failed, not because Bush is a lame duck (he is, but that is irrelevant).

Posted by: Yancey Ward on June 28, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

There is strong need for immigration reform, but that's been true for years.

I was glad when immigration reform died under a Republican congress and I'm glad it's dead yet again. There is a good chance of getting a better bill in two or three years.

This looks like a good outcome. Crazed nativists got lots of air time and Republicans followed along. Dems win points with key constituency, look relatively rational, and potentially get to craft a better bill next time.

Showing Bush as a fool and lame duck weakling is just a bonus.

Posted by: Tentakles on June 28, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

We already have better immigration laws. The problems lie in enforcement, and the the reason is corruption of the two parties and the Coyote-in-Chief Jorge Busch. Demoniacals are quite willing to destroy the country to get an endless stream of illegals voting Democratic, and the Coyote-in-Chief and his Reptilian and corporate cronies are willing to sacrifice the American people to get cheap labor and higher profits.

Time to deport the 12-30 million illegals (no doubt the gov is lying on the real figures, lowballing them.). Please don't try to lay a guilt trip on the American people. This "unacceptable situation," as the manipulative Coyote-in-Chief puts it, is due entirely to corruption of the Democratic and Republican parties, and they can do the apologizing. This won't cost any $250 billion dollars as the manipulative and fear mongering senador from Massachusetts puts it. We need only dry up the jackpot baby program and jobs and they will leave. Free. Sin Enganche.

We are on a self-destructive course, like an out-of-control automobile plunging into a watery abyss. While we slowly drown in illegal aliens, out oxygen bubble giving out, Sen. Kennedy just stands and watches.

Posted by: Luther on June 28, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK
ex-lax at 3:47 PM:...Bush.... legacy


1. Ending the recession...
Worst employment record for any president in decades. Worst economic growth since his daddy. Biggest deficits in history, 550 Billion per year.

2. ....Campaign Finance Reform
Rejected by the Supreme Court justices he appointed.

3. Adding prescription drug coverage to Medicare.
Refusal to allow bargaining means billions in subsidies to big pharameucitial firms that donate heavily to Republicans

4. Defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan
Not completed after 5 years fighting.

5. Getting democracy in Afghanistan.
Not guaranteed

6. Defeating Saddam.
Defeating a toothless, third world dictator, supporting dozens of others. Overthrowing democratically elected government in Haiti, unsuccessful attempt at overthrowing a democratically elected government in Venezuela

7. Installing democracy in Iraq
This 'democracy' isn't working, in case you haven't noticed.

8. Making the fight against Islamic extremism a war...
As has been pointed out by Bush's generals, a military solution is impossible without political actions.

9. No major terrorist attack against the US since 9/11...
Because he ignored all warnings about an attack before hand, he and his administration have earned opprobrium for their incompetence. There was a 9 year period between the first and second attack. Bush deserves no credit. He deserves blame for undertaking policies that have increased terrorism in the world.
Bush is the worst president in American history. His record is one of incompetence, failure, naked partisanship, and overreaching, imperial power coupled with illegal actions on his part.

Posted by: Mike on June 28, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone suggesting allowing illegal immigrants to serve in the armed forces and gain amnesty and legal status?

The twelve million illegal immigrants will be leaving the country or entering the criminal justice system if their employers are severely punished for hiring them.

Posted by: slanted tom on June 28, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

slanted tom:
Yes, that would be a good way for eligible and fit ones to pay a debt suitable for becoming citizens.

Here's another idea: Can't we at least *tax* the living here of illegals/semi-legals, by making their employers pay a sur-tax of a few dollars per hour of the illegals' work?

Posted by: Neil B. on June 28, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone suggesting allowing illegal immigrants to serve in the armed forces and gain amnesty and legal status?

Well, I guess setting up a US Foreign Legion is slightly less objectionable to creating a Guest Worker caste. We can outsource command authority to India.

Posted by: Disputo on June 28, 2007 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Crazed nativists got lots of air time and Republicans followed along. Dems win points with key constituency, look relatively rational, and potentially get to craft a better bill next time.

Showing Bush as a fool and lame duck weakling is just a bonus.

Posted by: Tentakles on June 28, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK"

Really ?

Comprehensive immigration reform sure didn't score any points with another key consituency. Blacks. The jobs that illegals have now, Blacks used to have. Black unskilled and semi-skilled workers have been steadily pushed out of the job market by competition with cheaper illegals.

The relationship between Blacks and Latinos in high immigration states is a lot closer to the Black-Irish relationship in the mid 19th century than to any 'Rainbow Coalition'.

Working class Blacks will be put in the position of dealing with the fact that the Lou Dobbs populist Right is doing a better job of looking out for their interests than Teddy Kennedy is.

Posted by: Charles Warren on June 28, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK
However, the political reality is that reform will have to start with firm control of the borders

The practical reality is that, without substantial reform, "firm control of the borders" is not going to be attained by any reasonable means.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 28, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: The practical reality is that, without substantial reform, "firm control of the borders" is not going to be attained by any reasonable means.

I'll go you one better, cm. My guess is that with or without substantial reform, firm control of the border is never going to be attained. The reason is that border control would be quite difficult, but our political do not give a high priority to controlling the borders.

The debate over this failed bill showed widespread agreement that enforcement should be dramatically improved. Given that political reality, one might hope that Congress would enct some strong "enforcement-only" measures. But, I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 28, 2007 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

About eight or nine years ago I was opening a new checking account in Florida, I had left my SS card home so the banker verified my number in seconds with an electronic verification system in her office. If we could just overrule the objections of the cranks and fanatics at La Raza and the ACLU and like organizations, and insist on a real ID/Driver's License for employment, this problem could be solved by attrition in a few years...then we could consider a generous amnesty to those that have been invited in with a wink and a nod over the last 20 years. Why does the left oppose this compromise so tenaciously?

Posted by: minion on June 28, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

I saw on the news today that 51% of Americans did not know enough about the bill to form an opinion. It seems to be overly long and complicated. Given the way it was trying to be forced on the American public. I'm glad it failed. I think we do need a guest worker program. And I see no reason why Illegal Immigrants already working in this country should not qualify for this program. No citizenship no permanent residency just a guest worker. And stronger enforcement of preexisting laws is a no brainier.

But 31% of the democrats voted against this bill.
Harry Reid failed.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on June 28, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

I thought that it was a mistake for Sen. Reid to try to force a cloture vote again. There would have been no harm in debating this bill for months, analyzing all the text and ammendments, and so on. Meanwhile, those congresscritters who think that the border control provisions are actually sufficient could continue to press the federal bureaucracy to enforce the present (Simpson-Mazolli) law more rigorously. The biggest hindrance to the bill is the widespread belief that the border control provisions will continue to be ignored, along with the belief that the bureaucratic requirements of the bill would never be satisfied (that is, the work load would continue to overwhelm the underfunded bureau.)

It's doable, but cloture is a terrible strategy for a bill that was written in secret with no committee hearings. The reason that Republicans were able to torpedo the bill, and the Republican president, is that the bill did not have majority support among swing voters. Everybody knows by now that only 25% or so of American voters favored its passage.

Debate another year, enforce the border, deport illegal aliens who are convicted of crimes, build fences and the virtual fence, increase staffing of the bureaucracy, etc. Then vote again in 2008. once the government proves that it will enforce the current law better, then the new bill can pass.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 28, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Nicholas Beaudrot: The hardliners don't want a deal. I think that's pretty much the story.

Many people have expressed this idea in various ways. THE CLOTURE VOTE failed because it lacked the support of the moderates in both parties. If they all keep working, talking, reading, dealing, ammending and so on, they can write a bill that will get a majority vote.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 28, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRmarler: The reason that Republicans were able to torpedo the bill, and the Republican president, is that the bill did not have majority support among swing voters. Everybody knows by now that only 25% or so of American voters favored its passage.

Sounds to me like the folks in DC screwed up, because democracy worked. No bill with that low an approval amongst voters should pass.

Debate another year, enforce the border, deport illegal aliens who are convicted of crimes, build fences and the virtual fence, increase staffing of the bureaucracy, etc. Then vote again in 2008. once the government proves that it will enforce the current law better, then the new bill can pass.

If they actually managed to make a dramatic reduction in the illegal immigration rate, then I would favor another amnesty. I'm not holding my breath waiting for the enforcement though - it's been 21 years since the last amnesty and we still haven't seen anything besides just-for-show enforcement.

Just because I'd favor another amnesty under those conditions though doesn't mean I'd favor this pig of a bill though.

Guest worker program? Forget it. They've never worked in an open society, and two tier systems are both the antithesis of the American tradition of immigration and generally corrosive to society. We got along fine for 200 years without guest worker programs, and I don't see any need for them now.

Increase the H-1B visa quota? Forget it. That hi-tech guest worker program was always about cheaper labor for the likes of IBM, Intel, Microsoft, etc. Nowadays they're also a great tool for outsourcers. See Norman Matloff's writings for the gory details.

STEM (scientific, technical, engineering, mathematical) based points? Oh boy, another assumption that there is a shortage of Americans educated for this, despite objective evidence to the contrary (unemployment rates, pay increase rates, etc.). We need more scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians has been the cry ever since Sputnik (see also pro-H1B propaganda). Why not special categories for doctors, lawyers, accountants, and the like?

Posted by: alex on June 28, 2007 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

The people want our borders protected.

They did not trust the Bush Administration to deliver.

The people are right.

The people figured they were being tricked once again.

The people were right.

This time, though, they raised hell about it.

Right again.

Posted by: securityfirst on June 28, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

"If they actually managed to make a dramatic reduction in the illegal immigration rate, then I would favor another amnesty. I'm not holding my breath waiting for the enforcement though - it's been 21 years since the last amnesty and we still haven't seen anything besides just-for-show enforcement."
Posted by: alex on June 28, 2007 at 10:13 PM

You've nailed it big time. The reason the bill "failed" is TRUST. Nobody trusts promises of enforcement after the lax attitude of the last several years. People are convinced they are being sold out to business interests (who ALWAYS win-when was the last time they *didn't* get their way??) and they are generally correct in that assumption.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 29, 2007 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

alex: STEM (scientific, technical, engineering, mathematical) based points? Oh boy, another assumption that there is a shortage of Americans educated for this, despite objective evidence to the contrary (unemployment rates, pay increase rates, etc.). We need more scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians has been the cry ever since Sputnik (see also pro-H1B propaganda). Why not special categories for doctors, lawyers, accountants, and the like?

The number of natural born Americans with STEM majors has been declining over the last 20 years, so we really do need the immigrants to meet our needs. Don't doctors and nurses get points? As for lawyers, that is one occupation class that definitely has too many already. But your points are worthy of thought and debate in the Congress. I have friends who worked their way through the H1B visas to pretty good permanent positions, so I am more optimistic about those as well -- especially when the alternative is for them to return to their natal countries and work for those. Again, whether we agree on details today is less important than that the measure be publicly debated, fully read, in the open.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 29, 2007 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

I pray the Democrats become known as the champions of citizenship for the 12 million (probably more) illegal aliens residing inside the United States.

Crusading for citizenship will do for Democrats everything that crusading for gun-control did.

Posted by: Brad on June 29, 2007 at 5:07 AM | PERMALINK

"As has been pointed out by Bush's generals, a military solution is impossible without political actions."
_________________________

Well, first of all, they aren't "Bush's generals," they are American generals who happen to be serving under Bush, but let that go.

I still cannot understand why the above quote about military solutions is at all surprising or noteworthy. It doesn't say that military action is useless, it doesn't say that military action isn't needed. What it does say is that political solution is needed, which is nothing more than what any student of Clausewitz would say. The military actions in any war are but precursors for the desired political solution.

Posted by: trashhauler on June 29, 2007 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

Disputo-

All of what I wrote obviously addresses the question of what sort of bill might be passed in the future. This was in direct reply to Kevin's point.

I realize that I'm out of my league; I'm just trying to elevate the discourse. You can help, by posting less...

Posted by: BC on June 29, 2007 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Has anyone suggesting allowing illegal immigrants to serve in the armed forces and gain amnesty and legal status?

The twelve million illegal immigrants will be leaving the country or entering the criminal justice system if their employers are severely punished for hiring them."

-slanted tom

It's in the bill.

"Tucked away in the recesses of the current immigration bill there is a provision to help boost military recruiting. It's known as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act of 2007 (sections 621 through 632).

The provision was expected to help improve sagging recruitment numbers by allowing illegal aliens to enlist as a way to obtain citizenship. The Defense Department figures showed that the Army fell short in May by 399 recruits. The Army National Guard fell 12 percent short of their goal, while the Air National Guard was well below their target by 23 percent.

Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, explained that if one had come across the border as a minor child and had been in the U.S. school system for "a number of years," then one could be eligible to enlist under DREAM. Under the provision, the newly enlisted recruits would be given a Z visa, granting them probationary status as a legal resident and making them eligible for student loans, job training, and other benefits as a first step toward citizenship.

Presently "about 35,000 non-citizens serve in the military, and about 8,000 permanent resident aliens enlist every year," said Marine Maj. Stuart Upton, from the Pentagon. (Only non-citizen legal residents and green card holders qualify to serve.) Drawing from the pool of illegal immigrants would add significantly to recruitment goals. With at least 750,000 of the youths admittedly at military service age even 10 percent of them would equal a year's worth of recruits."

http://www.jbs.org/node/4479

Posted by: mdana on June 29, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

The arrogance of office. In America, hope survives. Roberts, Alito, Cheney and Bush are but passing flies. We know who we are. We ensconce them with the privilege of service . . . and they fail us. They pass . . . we endure. It's one heck of a time . . . but remain faithful. They too shall pass.

Remember Martin Luther King . . . I have a dream. Remember Bobby Kennedy, and John F. Kennedy . . . ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Have a dream. Do for your country. Never let an Alito get you down. If a Roberts will rob you, know that this is your country. Take it back.

Posted by: GWB on June 30, 2007 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

Remember the Avon Lady: Ding Dong; remember the Beatles: All You Need is Love; Remember Dylan: Everybody Must Get Stoned; Remember Hillary: It takes a village to raise a child; remember Charlie Brown: Good Grief!

etc.

Posted by: BC on July 1, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK
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