EDITORIAL: A run for the border

The Senate demonstrates why everybody hates Congress

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The 15 Republicans in the Senate who voted for cloture Monday on the comprehensive immigration-reform legislation, so called, learned nothing from the Obamacare debacle.

The 1,190-page amnesty bill is being “fast-tracked,” so Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can get home to Nevada to play the slots or bag the quarters or whatever he has planned for the Fourth of July recess. Technically, Monday’s 67-27 vote was about limiting debate, meaning the “world’s most deliberative body,” as senators like to say about themselves, will spend less than a week “deliberating” a measure with sweeping consequences for the very future of America.

This kind of behavior is exactly why Americans hold Congress in such contempt. A Rasmussen poll earlier this month found just 6 percent of respondents rated Congress as doing a good job. The only people clamoring for an immigration bill are Democratic senators and other beneficiaries of amnesty. A Pew Research Center survey from earlier in the year placed the issue near the bottom of a list of priorities of actual voters.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the Democratic front man for the bill, hoped to obtain 70 votes to create irresistible momentum to persuade House Speaker John A. Boehner to help him serve this Democratic turkey with Republican stuffing. Mr. Boehner says he won’t be bullied into falling for that one. “Every day as Obamacare is being implemented, Americans are reminded of what happens when we have big legislation rammed through Congress with minimal support,” he said only last week.

Other Republicans are less resolute. They’re buying the last-minute border-security provisions, $46 billion worth of infrastructure advertised to close the border to illegal entry, including a fence and various electronic surveillance. The promise of enhanced security is actually meaningless, because the legislation gives Janet A. Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the authority to ignore the instructions to strengthen the fence if that strikes her fancy. It’s amnesty now, and security someday, maybe. It’s a repeat of the phony amnesty bargain Republicans bought in 1986. “Just trust us,” the Democrats say.

All of the Senate Democrats voted for the bill on Monday, and why wouldn’t they? This is immigration reform through the prism of election politics. The registration of millions of newly legalized voters will, Democrats reasonably believe, give their party a permanent lock on the White House. Amnesty beneficiaries usually vote for Democrats.

This may be a dream for Harry Reid and Barack Obama to drool over, but America deserves better. The nation’s immigration policies need attention, but it doesn’t follow that the cure must be rushed through in a single bill before anyone has a chance to read and understand what it means. Nationalizing the nation’s health care system with no real debate was bad enough; granting amnesty to 11 million with a phony promise to strengthen security could be a lot worse.

The Washington Times

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