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By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Gang Of Eight
President Obama's relentless bridge-burning strategy to get his way on the budget and health care legislation turns out to have an unexpected advantage for Republicans still smarting from the sting of defeat at the hand of the president. They might not be interested in surrendering to another licking on another big-ticket legislative item.
Deploying 20,000 more U.S. Border Patrol agents along the southwestern border as proposed in an immigration reform bill passed by the Senate would be "a huge waste of resources," according to former border agents, who say that money should be used to track down dangerous criminal aliens nationwide.
Sen. Marco Rubio's popularity has plummeted among tea party activists who say the Florida Republican, who helped ignite their movement with his 2010 Senate bid, has failed to live up to the hype — and made a major wrong turn by joining Sen. John McCain's push to legalize illegal immigrants.
Vowing that they have learned the lessons from the 1986 amnesty, the Senate on Thursday approved the biggest changes to the immigration system in a generation, promising this version will prevent another wave of illegal immigrants while granting a pathway to citizenship to most of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country.
Democrats who wrote the immigration bill insisted they didn't give up any core principles in agreeing to more fencing and adding 20,000 Border Patrol agents to the Southwest border, telling Univision that illegal immigrants will still get legal status well before the new security kicks in.
Sen. Marco Rubio broke Thursday with the rest of the Gang of Eight that wrote the immigration bill, voting to back a strict border security amendment that would have imposed real yardsticks for any eventual path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Monday to allow illegal immigrants who get legal status to begin collecting tax-welfare payments, as the panel spent a fourth day working through amendments to the massive immigration bill and party-line splits began to emerge.
Sen. Marco Rubio's office circulated a list this month of ways to toughen security in the immigration bill he helped negotiate, including potential amendments to cut down on chain migration, to require newly legal immigrants to show financial self-sufficiency and to build 700 miles of double-tier fencing along the border.
Senators fended off changes to the immigration bill in committee on Tuesday, but the first cracks emerged in the carefully crafted compromise between business groups and labor unions, leaving even some supporters frustrated at the defensive votes they had to cast.
In reading news accounts, it seems obvious that the White House and the so-called "Gangs of Eight" in both the Senate and House are far down the path of proposing some form of amnesty for illegal immigrants.